Welcome back to Heady Entertainment, MERRY JANE’s weekly guide to just-released movies, books, and music — all fresh, dank, and THC-friendly. In specific, we choose our picks based on how they can enhance your combined consumption of cannabis and entertainment.
At the movies, Bad Boys For Life reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for merry mayhem, Dolittle depicts Robert Downey Jr. talking to animals, and The Wave is the first killer drug flick of 2020.
On the stream scene, HBO ignites the tenth season of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and debuts Avenue 5, a new space-set comedy from Veep creator Armando Iannucci; Leslie Jones does stand-up, and Sex Education returns on Netflix; and Apple+ premieres Little America, a new series from Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.
This week’s vintage cult flick picks include Rian Johnson’s high-minded high-school thriller Brick, the Kevin Costner curiosity Waterworld, the Hammer horror fave To the Devil a Daughter; and the freaky Soviet fright film, Viy.
New marijuana-ready music comes our way this week from 070 Shake, Stunna 4 Vegas, and Holy Fuck.
So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
Bad Boys For Life (2020)
Directors: Bilall Fallah, Adil El Arbi
Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens
The number of bongs that have been passed around while watching the first two Bad Boys movies easily dwarfs the number of bullets, explosions, car chases, and overall all-points mayhem that happens on screen. Finally, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as wisecracking supercops Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett to kick ass and crack up a new generation of stoned action fans.
Director: Stephen Gagan
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Selena Gomez, Tilda Swinton
If you haven’t smoked enough at some point to wonder if your pets are talking to you, get on that right away — and then go see Robert Downey Jr. in Doolittle as the famous doctor who can converse with animals. Foregoing the straight-up comedy of the Eddie Murphy Dr. Doolittle movies, this 19th-century-set version goes for action-adventure. Still, it’s goofy fun to witness celebrity voices come out of the mouths of all creatures great and small, including Antonio Banderas as a dragon who — for real — has bagpipes stuck up his butt.
The Wave (2020)
Director: Gille Klabin
Cast: Justin Long, Katia Winter, Donald Faison
Justin Long stars in The Wave as Frank, an insurance lawyer who goes to an after-work party and gets dosed with some kind of hallucinogen. Hellbent from there on finding a missing girl — and his wallet — Frank embarks on a psychedelic journey from office meetings to dance parties to gun battles to alternate time-streams and higher planes of the multiverse. All that’s to say that The Wave is a trip, both in the literal sense regarding its plot and in how filmmaker Gille Klabin conveys the sometimes woozy, sometimes scary, sometimes hugely inspiring anything-is-possible of a powerful drug experience.
Avenue 5: Season One
Cast: Hugh Laurie, Suzy Nakamura, Josh Gad
Watch It: HBO
Show runner Armando Iannucci uproariously took on Washington DC’s delirium with Veep and now, in Avenue 5, he’s aiming at all of humanity by blasting off to the cosmos. Hugh Laurie stars in this sci-fi satire as the sardonic, sarcastic captain of a massive spaceship used by the rich and privileged as a luxury liner. Zach Woods (Silicon Valley) shines as the furiously frustrated head of customer relations, as does Josh Gad in the role of the unkempt, obnoxious billionaire who owns the intergalactic cruise line. Funny people stuck with each other millions of miles above earth — what’s not to smoke to?
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 10
Cast: Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman
Watch It: HBO
If you thought Larry David was mean, petty, vindictive, and, above all, hilarious during the first nine seasons of the brilliant, drop-the-bong-from-laughing Curb Your Enthusiasm, just get ready for him in our present era of Trump, cancel culture, and a million other annoyances neither he nor anybody else saw coming. The entire Curb cast is back, and the show absolutely slays again — just when we so desperately need it!
Leslie Jones: Time Machine (2020)
Watch It: Netflix
Before she left her amazing permanent mark on Saturday Night Live, Leslie Jones ruled as a stand-up comic. Time Machine, Jones’s new Netflix special, showcases her in that gut-busting capacity. She waxes ferociously funny about attempting to seduce Prince at the Grammys, aging without giving a fuck, and, as she declares upon taking the stage, being “white-people famous!”
Little America: Season One
Cast: Harvey Guillen, Conphidance, Suraj Sharma
Watch It: Apple+
Since it’s a serious-minded, mostly-dramatic anthology about immigration, Little America may not seem like a show worth your weed, but consider its creators: Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the husband-and-wife team behind The Big Sick; Master of None co-creator Alan Yang; and Lee Eisenberg of The Office. Inspired by real-life tales of those who come to America to find a new home, the show is meaningful, moving, and even mirthful. Light up, and get ready to feel the feels.
Sex Education: Season 2
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Emma Mackey, Gillian Anderson
Watch It: Netflix
The second season of the awesomely funny and uncomfortable UK sitcom Sex Education picks up with teenage hero Otis (Asa Butterfield) still dealing out hormonal advice to classmates, much of which he cribs from his sex therapist mom, Jean (Gillian Anderson). Teamed with high-school hellcat Maeve (Emma Mackey), Otis’s flesh-pressing adolescent adventures get even more horribly hilarious this time, amusingly reminding us of experiences that all got us smoking dope in the first place.
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Richard Roundtree
Get It: Kino Lorber
Before writer-director Rian Johnson revamped Star Wars with The Last Jedi and amazingly reinvented old-school Hollywood whodunnits with Knives Out, he created the world’s first (and, so far, only) film noir set in a high school. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a teenage loner who investigates the death of a female classmate and finds himself in a world of twists, turns, dead- nds, live wires, and nonstop dark-hearted surprises. Get the collector’s edition Blu-ray of Brick from Kino Lorber, and pair it with a brick of hash. Trust us: They do go together.
The Candy Snatchers (1973)
Director: Guerdon Trueblood
Cast: Guerdon Trueblood
Get It: Vinegar Syndrome
One of the sickest and most savage grindhouse crime flicks of the 1970s — which, yes, is saying something — The Candy Snatchers is a film to approach with caution, which means getting stoned first because the ride ahead is bumpy and dark. Susan Sennett stars as Candy, a teenager heiress who falls prey to a trio of creeps that kidnaps and keeps her in a hole until her rich dad ponies up the ransom. Only a boy who’s non-verbally autistic knows where Candy is buried, and when he gets hold of a gun, watch out. Vinegar Syndrome has done a stellar job of restoring and reissuing this deluxe version of The Candy Snatchers. Watch it, with plenty of weed, if you dare.
To the Devil a Daughter (1975)
Director: Peter Sykes
Cast: Nastassja Kinski, Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee
Get It: Shout Factory
England’s legendary Hammer Films created a horror subgenre unto itself — gorgeous gothic masterworks typically starring Christopher Lee (Count Dooku in Star Wars, Sauron in The Lord of the Rings), most often in the role of Dracula. In To the Devil a Daughter, which was Hammer’s last release, Lee switches sides and plays Friar Michael Rayner, a priest doing battle with Satanists, one of who has pledged his daughter Catherine (Nastassja Kinski) to the demon Astaroth on her 18th birthday. Spooky, sexy, and sort of nuts, To the Devil is fiendish fun. Just add your own hemp-based hellfire.
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Cast: Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorne, Dennis Hopper
Get It: MVD
Waterworld initially made headlines as the most expensive movie ever made when it first came out. Many observers expected it to bomb, but this huge, wacko sci-fi epic did okay at the box office, then ruled for years as a go-to home video choice for ganja-boosted viewer.
In a post-apocalyptic world completely covered with water, Kevin Costner stars as The Mariner, the lone sane man. Adrift on his ramshackle boat, The Mariner picks up a pair of floaters, Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorne) and Enola (Tina Majorina). Dennis Hopper kills it as Deacon, the crazed, villainous honcho of a pirate fleet known as the Smokers. Everybody’s on a quest to find dry land, and you’ve really got to see how Waterworld plays out to believe it — stoned AF, of course.
Director: Konstantin Yershov, Georgi Kropachyov
Cast: Leonid Kuravylov, Natalya Varley, Alexei Glazyrin
Get It: Severin Films
Viy made history as the first horror movie ever produced in the Soviet Union, a fact that adds to its oddness and makes this Blu-ray a must for stoner scare-flick fans. Adapted from the same Nikolai Gogol story that Mario Bava made into Black Sunday (1960), Viy stars Leonid Kuralov as a 19th-century Russian seminary student forced to spend three nights next to the corpse of beautiful witch Pannochka (Natalya Varley). Of course, she rises from the dead, works her supernatural wiles on him, and unleashes a hell-storm of tripped-out frights.
For too long, Viy has been a buried treasure just waiting to be discovered by joint-passing audiences. Big ups to Severin Films for putting out this perfect edition and making that eerie, intoxicating fun newly possible.
By Holy Fuck
Get It: Drift Records
Few bands in drug music history have been as appropriately named as Canadian electronica daredevils Holy Fuck. Using both traditional instruments and whatever mechanical gadgets they get their mitts on, the Fucks crack open every known standard of EDM and its orbiting genres to concoct aural trips that, again, will just want to make you say the group’s name repeatedly as you listen.
The Fucks have declared that their latest LP, Deleter, is a frontline assault against the robots and algorithms presently dictating too much of what we now experience as music. As a result, what shines through the sonic firestorms is glorious humanity — and a reminder that getting stoned with fellow humans and listening to dope new sounds is among the highest of highs.
By 070 Shake
Get It: 070 Shake Official
Erupting out of New Jersey, the visionary known as 070 Shake has been electrifying hip-hop as the leader of the 070 music collective and as a fearless, multileveled artist with roots in slam poetry. Modus Vivendi, 070 Shake’s solo debut, is a game-changing firestorm of emo rap, dream pop, EDM, and genres she seems to be inventing with each new groove and lyric. Head-spinning and heartfelt, Modus Vivendi is on a high, high plane by itself. The trick, then, is to get high, press play, and get up there with it.
By Stunna 4 Vegas
Get It: Apple Music
North Carolina hip-hop firebrand Stunna 4 Vegas unleashes Rich Youngin, his second project as part of DaBaby’s Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment empire, and, once again, it slays. Naturally, DaBaby drops in on the mic, along with Offset, Lil Baby, and Blac Youngsta, and what comes across — in addition to explosive energy, crazily inventive rhymes, and absolute A-list production — is how much Stunna is enjoying his wild ride to the top. Rich Youngin’ feels like Stunna handing you a joint of his most primo stash and saying, “Spark up! It’s on!”
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