(G-) 13 Cinematic Stoners Whose Names Aren't "Harold" or "Kumar", stoner movies, pot movies

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With the premiere of "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" looming on the horizon (it arrives in theaters on April 25th), we here at Bullz-Eye found ourselves considering some of our other favorites who've fired up on film over the years. Originally, we were going to have 15 entries, but after we hit 13 we just didn't have the energy to do much of anything except lie on the couch and scarf some munchies. Go figure. In the end, though, we realized that all we had to do was slap a "G" in front of the number, and we had ourselves an instant tribute to the most legendary strain of cannabis in history. (It's killer stuff, man. Not that we've had it ourselves, y'know, but Lester Burnham swears by it, and that's good enough for us.)

Danny & Presuming Ed
"Withnail and I," 1986

Danny: The joint I'm about to roll requires a craftsman and can utilize up to twelve skins. It is called a Camberwell carrot.
Marwood: It's impossible to use twelve papers on one joint.
Danny: It's impossible to roll a Camberwell carrot with anything less.
Withnail: Who says it's a Camberwell carrot?
Danny: I do. I invented it in Camberwell and it looks like a carrot…This will tend to make you very high.

We'd like to believe the Camberwell carrot is the most famous joint in film history. Unfortunately, we know better. Time and again, we've found that most people haven't seen "Withnail & I," which is why one of our missions in life is to expose as many of the right people to the film as possible. (Unfortunately, we don't exactly know who the right people are, so it's kinda taking awhile.) For the many that haven't yet seen the film, Danny (Ralph Brown) is a drug dealer, and Ed is his mostly-silent accomplice, who shows up in the film's last reel. The pair symbolizes a period long since gone: the sixties, an era that's either laughable or nostalgic, depending on your level of cynicism. While the film's titular characters indulge in drug and drink as a means of escape, Danny and Ed partake because it's who they are. It's their way of living and understanding the fucked-up world around them, their method of creating a rational state out of imminent chaos. Granted, only someone high on the very best herb would be able to pull this off, but Danny & Ed manage to do so without coming across as a joke. As the film comes to a close, so does the decade, and it's anyone's guess where Danny & Ed end up when the seventies take off, though one suspects it's not nearly as ideal a place as the decade they've left behind. It's best to not think too much about the fate of the filmic stoner. Conventional hippie wisdom claims it's better to burn out than fade away; stoner icons are in the enviable position of having to do neither. – Ross Ruediger

Ralph Wiley
"Reefer Madness," 1936

Ralph: Mae? MAE!
Mae: What do you want?
Ralph: Bring me some reefers!

"The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you," reads the roll at the beginning of "Reefer Madness." "It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers. Marihuana is that drug: a violent narcotic, an unspeakable scourge…The Real Public Enemy Number One!" Huh. So, basically, the film was written by someone who had never smoked pot nor known anyone who'd ever smoked pot…? Gotcha. Of all the laughably unrealistic characters in "Reefer Madness," the title of Most Ridiculous must certainly go to Ralph Wiley (Dave O'Brien), a former college student turned pot dealer. While under the influence of the wicked, wicked weed, Ralph nearly commits rape, finds himself in the midst of a manslaughter case and, by film's end, commits murder himself and ends up in an asylum for the criminally insane for the rest of his natural life. (Though he probably couldn't be tried for it in a court of law, Ralph also forces his fellow dealer, Blanche, to play a piano so fast that the safety of her fingers is clearly in jeopardy.) It's sin, it's degradation, it's vice…basically, it's pure insanity and a full-fledged laugh riot, which is the exact opposite of what its creators probably intended. But, hey, 65 years later, and "Reefer Madness" still lives on. You can't argue with that kind of longevity. – Will Harris

Melanie Ralston
"Jackie Brown," 1997

Ordell Robbie: Damn, girl, you gettin' high already? It's only 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I get my shit done for the day, then I get high. And, besides, getting high and watching TV will rob you of your ambition!
Melanie: Not if your ambition is to get high and watch TV.

She's cute, perky, and even a little ditsy, but Bridget Fonda's free-spirited beach bunny from Quentin Tarantino's oft-ignored "Jackie Brown" is also the sexiest stoner to ever blaze up on the silver screen. Like a few of the other characters on this list, Melanie doesn't play an especially large role in the main storyline, but she's a fun addition nonetheless, proving that while she may not show signs of the stereotypical stoner, she smokes more than enough ganja to hold her own. Curiously enough, it isn't Melanie's extracurricular activities that land her in trouble, but rather her big mouth. A major pain in the ass to both Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson) and his ex-con best friend Louis (Robert De Niro), Melanie doesn't make it out of the movie alive (she's shot twice in the chest after making fun of Louis for forgetting where he parked the car), but she does impose some sage advice to fellow tokers along the way: coughing is good, because it opens up the capillaries. Remember that, kids, the next time you're hacking up a lung. – Jason Zingale

"Friday," 1995

"I know you don't smoke weed, I know this; but I'm gonna get you high today, 'cause it's Friday; you ain't got no job...and you ain't got shit to do."

All he ever does anymore is make "Rush Hour" sequels, but for a period in the mid-to-late '90s, it seemed like Chris Tucker was on the verge of ascending to the comedy throne vacated by Eddie Murphy at some point between "Best Defense" and "Harlem Nights." Tucker made a lot of star turns in so-so films during this era ("Money Talks," anyone?), but few of them have held up as well as his appearance as Smokey the stash-inhaling pot dealer in 1995's "Friday." Ice Cube wrote the script and took top billing, but if you think this hazy, low-budget comedy would have engendered as much cult love – or inspired as many sequels – without Tucker's high-pitched jabbering, you must be puffing on Big Worm's weed. Now that a fourth "Friday" – supposedly titled "Last Friday" – is on the way, rumors of Tucker's involvement are running rampant. It'd certainly make for an easy script – Smokey's absence from the first sequel was chalked up to a stint in rehab, and it's been over a decade – but Tucker's salary for "Rush Hour 3" was bigger than the entire budget of the last "Friday" sequel. Dare we hope for more? – Jeff Giles

The Guy on the Couch
"Half Baked," 1998

The Guy on the Couch: Hey, is it January?
Thurgood Jenkins: No, it's August.
The Guy on the Couch: Really?

It only wound up grossing $17 million – probably the rough equivalent of what people spent on popcorn during a single weekend of "Titanic's" senses-shattering run – but with an $8 million budget, "Half Baked" is that rarest of cinematic beasts: The cult classic that turned a profit. As the title implies, "Half Baked" is a film full of stoners; in order to stand out, Steven Wright's The Guy on the Couch would have to be the Ultimate Stoner – which is, as it turns out, exactly what he is. While the rest of the characters follow a convoluted (for a stoner flick) plot involving the accidental death of a police horse, medical cannabis, and a drug dealer named Sampson Simpson, The Guy on the Couch is…well, he's The Guy on the Couch. In the role of a lifetime, Wright (right) does little more than loll around, emitting various noises, a performance brilliantly parodied in the "Fully Baked Edition" DVD's special feature, "Five Minutes with the Guy on the Couch," in which a stationary camera spends five minutes watching a Wright lookalike sleeping on a sofa. Perfect. – Jeff Giles

Carl Spackler

"This is a hybrid. This is a cross, ah, of Bluegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Featherbed Bent, and Northern California Sensemilia. The amazing stuff about this is that you can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon, take it home and just get stoned to the bejeezus-belt that night on this stuff."

Scourge to gophers, assistant to the head groundskeeper at Bushwood Country Club, and inventor of one of the greatest hybrids of all time, Carl Spackler was Bill Murray's perfect post-"SNL" launchpad into the big leagues. Although "Caddyshack" was initially widely panned – producer and co-writer Douglas Kenney went into a drug-and-alcohol-fueled downward spiral after the film's release, ultimately falling (or jumping) off a cliff in Hawaii – the film has gone on to earn classic comedy status, due in no small part to Murray's appearance as the filthy, mushmouthed loner who may or may not have once caddied for the Dalai Lama (and earned total consciousness as a tip). He's almost certainly the only character on this list whose name doubles as a URL. And that iconic "Cinderella story" riff? Yeah, Murray improvised it. Of course, without Spackler, Adam Sandler never would have had a career, but let's not hold a grudge. – Jeff Giles

"True Romance," 1993

Floyd: They're staying at the Safari Motor…Motel Inn.
Virgil: Safari Motel. How do you know that, have you been over there?
Floyd: No, but they were here, and they said that they were going to…go there. Then they…went. Hey, you wanna watch some TV or something? They might be back here.
Virgil: No, no, thank you. All right, you take care, I might be back.
Floyd: Yeah, good, be cool. (After Virgil leaves) Fucking condescend to me, man. I'll fuckin' kill ya, man.
Make no bones about it: most of the charm of Floyd, the TV-loving roommate of struggling actor Dick Ritchie (Michael Rapaport), is in the casting. His star was only recently beginning to rise thanks to recent turns in "Thelma & Louise" and "A River Runs Through It," but it was his turn as Floyd in Quentin Tarantino's hilarious Honey-I-stole-the-coke action thriller "True Romance" that earned Brad Pitt his first cool points. For starters, all of his screen time takes place in the dimly lit apartment that he shares with Dick. That, combined with the stringy hair and three-day stubble, reduces Pitt's good looks to pretty much nothing. Even better is the fact that not once does Pitt leave the couch in the entire movie (a recurring theme with stoners in movies, as you'll soon see), but then again, with the gangsters repeatedly stopping by to look for Dick's friend Clarence, Floyd never has to lift a finger, except to flick the lighter on his next bowl. As lazy stoner characters go, there is none more slack than Floyd. You just have to love a guy with so little motivation. He's the original Guy on the Couch. – David Medsker

The Dude
"The Big Lebowski," 1998

Brandt: You never went to college...
The Dude: Oh, no I did, but I spent most of my time occupying various administration buildings...smoking a lot of Thai stick...breaking into the ROTC...and bowling. To tell you the truth, Brandt, I don't remember most of it.

He's The Dude…or He's Dudeness, Duder, or El Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing ("The Big Lebowski"). If you've traveled in the right circles over the past 10 years, you've either heard or said (or both), "The Dude abides." Are you amazed The Dude turned 10 this year? Then you are traveling in the right circles…or at least you're going around in them. Congrats! Time has stood still, and you're one of the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers. What we've complied is a list of burners, but no matter what the order, the Dude is, in the minds of many, always going to be #1. The Dude demonstrates that cluelessness equals genius. He shows that getting nothing done at all results in everything ending as it should. For The Dude, toking up in the morning is no different than eating breakfast. Between the Coen Brothers' sharply dimwitted script and Jeff Bridges' seemingly effortless interpretation, The Dude emerged as the hero for the '90s. Whether he was suffering through Walter's stupidity, coping with Lebowski's duplicity, or coming to grips with Maude's fertility, The Dude always dealt with crises through herbal self-medication. You White Russian devotees may see The Dude in an entirely different way. If so, in the spirit of all things Dude-like, we'll abide by your point of view…even though that's just, like, your opinion, man. – Ross Ruediger

Tenacious D
"Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," 2006

JB: I did it, man. Check it out! (Shakes coffee can full of change) Do you hear that? The training is working, man! I made 10 whole bucks with my rock!
KG: Good. Go score me a dime bag.
JB: A what?
KG: Ten dollars worth of weed…? Now listen: go down to Wake ‘N' Bake Pizza, ask for Jojo, and tell him you want the Bob Marley, extra crispy. He'll know what you're talking about.

KG's right: Jojo totally knows what they're talking about. But by the time their extra-crispy Bob Marley finally shows up, the D – Jack Black (JB) and Kyle Gass (KG) – are already so completely stoned out of their mind that they can barely move. JB fights off the effects, however, when he gets excited about a TV show that's coming on. KG calmly replies, "When you are able to snatch this remote from my hand, you will be ready to choose the channels we watch." JB tries…and fails. "Patience, young grass-smoker," says KG. "Patience!" Indeed, you'll need patience if you're watching "The Pick of Destiny" solely to see the guys toking up, because they're far too busy rocking the fuck out to indulge in much smoking…although JB does manage to trip his ass off on some tasty mushrooms at one point. ("Sasquatch!") So why did they make the cut for our piece? The band asked me to read this: "Listen up, all you non-believing fucks: if the D is bad enough to take one of the Devil's horns and make it into the Bong of Destiny by the end of their movie, then it is not your place to question their status within the list. But it is your place to sit down, shut the fuck up, and listen to the greatest rock band in the world, namely us." Hey, we can't argue with that. – Will Harris

"Dazed and Confused," 1993

"Behind every good man there's a woman, and that woman was Martha Washington, man, and everyday George would come home, she would have a big fat bowl waiting for him, man, when he'd come in the door, man. She was a hip, hip, hip lady, man."

In a film set on the last day of high school in 1976, it's a fair bet that there'll be more than a few stoners in the student body, but if you're going to pick one of out of the crowd, you might as well go with the guy whose first onscreen appearance finds him clarifying to a fellow shop student how to construct the perfect bong. ("You're getting air from there, man, it's not good. You see this? It's gotta be tight. Put some gum around the base to get a good hit.") Slater's the stereotypical stoner, always looking to score some charity weed ("Can you spot me a ten? I'll pay you, like, Tuesday and shit."), never missing a chance to get in on someone else's smoke ("Pickford's got a duber about to burn. You with us?"), and not a little bit paranoid, as his rant about how our country's founding fathers were into aliens clearly proves. ("Didja ever look at a dollar bill, man? There's some spooky stuff going on on a dollar bill, man. And it's green, too!"), but he's an archetype of the ‘70s and a necessary inclusion in the proceedings. That's necessary rather than integral, you understand, given that you could edit him completely out of the film and not have any of the storylines suffer…but if you leave him in, it's fixin' to be a lot better, man. – Will Harris

Jeff Spicoli
"Fast Times at Ridgemont High," 1982

Brad Hamilton: Why don't you get a job, Spicoli?
Jeff Spicoli: What for?
Brad Hamilton: You need money.
Jeff Spicoli: All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine.

The quintessential '80s stoner who put the "high" in high school, Spicoli was perhaps the first filmic toker to come across as genuinely cool; even if you didn't get high, it wasn't difficult to admire his antics. After partaking in "Fast Times," who didn't want to get a buzz on, order a pizza to class, and call their teacher a dick? The role of Spicoli fit Sean Penn like such a tight glove that it took years for many of us to accept him as anyone else ("Madonna's marrying Spicoli? Rad, dude!"). But a hero like Spicoli is only as good as his enemy, and he had a most formidable adversary in the form of Ray Walston's Mr. Hand; their back and forth banter is the funny bone of the film. They taught us the danger of answering "I don't know," and the value of "my time," "your time," and most importantly, "our time." In the end, Spicoli was so damned cool that even a square like Hand had some respect for him…and vice versa. It'd be asking too much of Penn, Cameron Crowe and The Gods of Cinema to successfully revisit the character all these years later, but who wouldn't bask in the experience of discovering where Jeff Spicoli ended up 25 years later? As long as he hit the pipe at least once for old time's sake, we'd be willing to accept whatever story there is to tell. – Ross Ruediger

Jay and Silent Bob
"Clerks," 1994, et al

Jay: "Noinch, noinch, noinch, smokin weed, smokin' weed, doin' coke, drinkin' beers. Pack o' wraps, my brother man! Time to kick back, drink some beers and smoke some weed!"

These two cats go back a long way, having first met outside the Quick Stop when they were still in diapers, and they've continued their heterosexual lovefest ever since, both on a personal and a business level. Jay's generally perceived as the leader of the duo, mostly because he's incapable of shutting his mouth, but it's clear that Bob only stays silent as long as he's comfortable with what's going on around him; when he finally finds a need to say something, you'll want to listen up, because it's gonna be worth hearing. We first met the guys in "Clerks," as they loitered outside the same place where their friendship began, dealing pot (both Jay and Silent Bob are members of the United Jersey Brotherhood of Dealers Local 404) and driving Dante and Randal crazy, but they've appeared in every View Askewniverse movie to date, including "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy," and their very own adventure, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." Thanks to Holden McNeil and Banky Edwards, they were immortalized in comic book form as the superheroes Bluntman and Chronic; by the time they turned up in "Clerks 2," however, Jay and Silent Bob were clean, sober, and espousing the virtues of Christianity. It's a slightly disappointing fate for the two coolest stoners in recent film history, but at least there's one up side: as the film closes, they're back outside of the Quick Stop again, right where they belong. – Will Harris

Cheech and Chong
"Up in Smoke," 1978, et al

Pedro: Man, what is in this shit, man?
Man Stoner: Mostly Maui Waui, man, but it's got some
Labrador in it.
Pedro: What's
Man Stoner: It's dog shit.
Pedro: What?
Man Stoner: Yeah, my dog ate my stash, man.
Pedro: Yeah?
Man Stoner: I had it on the table and the little motherfucker ate it, man. Then I had to follow him around with a little baggie for three days, man, before I got it back. Really blew the dog's mind, ya know?
Pedro: You mean we're smokin' dog shit, man?
Man Stoner: Gets ya high, don't it? I think it's even better than before, you know?
(Considers it for a moment) I wonder what Great Dane tastes like, man…

"Dave's not here, man." From the moment a nation of spliff-toking comedy lovers heard those words, in 1971's Cheech and Chong album, they were hooked – and it was an addiction that carried the duo through six albums, six films, and decades of undying affection from fans of laid-back, irreverent humor. Though they haven't worked a stage together in something like a quarter century, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are still undeniably the alpha and omega of stoner humor – and classic routines like "Sister Mary Elephant" and (of course) "Dave" still earn guffaws. Their celluloid track record – starting with 1978's "Up in Smoke" and carrying through 1984's "The Corsican Brothers," not counting appearances in various non-C&C projects like "Yellowbeard" and "After Hours" – is rather spotty, to put it lightly, but what do you expect from a pair of guys who told essentially the same joke for over a decade? Give 'em credit for making it last that long – and cross your fingers for that long-discussed reunion movie, rumored to be titled "Grumpy Old Stoners." – Jeff Giles

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