Last Updated on October 29, 2021 by Josh Desair
Last Updated on October 29, 2021 by Josh Desair
Have you ever heard the term “stoner movies” and felt confused, yet intrigued? This sub-genre of films is attributed to essentially any movie that includes smoking pot, or storyline surrounds it in some way. Whether stoned or not, these movies are usually easily paced and hilarious to watch, whether alone or with a group of your best friends.
While typically stoner movies amass popularity via cult followings, including much later after the release, it is not uncommon to find high-brow and high-budget stoner movies, particularly nowadays given the increasingly relaxed views on weed.
Trust us when we say, it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are with, or even if you are just looking for a random movie to watch because you are bored- a stoner movie is always going to satisfy your craving, and they are by far, the funniest, most bizarrely entertaining movies around. So without further ado, let’s get into our favorite stoner movies of all time, and why!
Super Troopers is the utter definition of a stoner cult classic; the movie holds a paltry 35% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, while its audience score is a much more impressive 90%. The entire story kicks off with a Winnebago and a semi-truck filled with marijuana, and the quest for our four-state trooper protagonists begins.
A massively underrated and oft-forgotten movie, Super Troopers was an undeniable smash at the box office, returning more than nine times its budget by the time the film closed in theatres. There are twists, turns, betrayals, rivalries, romance, but all packaged in such a comedic way that you can’t help but get on board with how it jumps haphazardly from one scene to the next. The writing and acting are so earnest, particularly between the leads, that Super Troopers feels like an old friend who you can call after six years and pick up as you’d just had a coffee with them that morning. Everyone gets what’s coming to the – good and bad – and if you haven’t seen this one I highly suggest you check it out on streaming platforms now.
Kevin Smith has made some awesome films; none more genre-defining than the feature-length debut of Jay and Silent Bob. After popping up in a couple of Smith’s earlier movies, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Bob (Smith) get their own story which, as far as lunacy goes, might just be Smith’s finest hour (other than possibly Dogma, RIP Alan Rickman). The titular twosome is on a typical buddy film mission: travel to an unknown and faraway land to avenge injustice.
In the context of this film, the land is Hollywood, and the injustice is that a new movie based on Jay and Silent Bob’s likenesses is being made, and our protagonists haven’t seen a penny of that sweet, sweet royalty money. The journey to the end credits is peppered with brilliant cameos and genuinely ridiculous plot points; most memorably the kidnap of an orangutan. The blatant rip-off of The Empire Strikes Back isn’t just reserved for the film’s title or marketing either. One of those brilliant cameos, probably the best of all, has very close connections with Star Wars… Plus, his character’s name is Cocknocker.
A full three decades before the world embraced Keanu Reeves as the true king that he is, he was teaming up with Alex Winter as a dimwitted duo who must pass their history class or risk changing the fate of the future. To do so, Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) travel to various points of history and kidnap a host of historical figures in order to learn from them first-hand.
Naturally, a plethora of hijinks ensue; Napoleon Bonaparte in a bowling alley, Socrates loitering around a California mall, Napoleon Bonaparte in a water park, just reading these scenarios brings a grin to my face. The movie runs a pretty tight 90 minutes, never overstaying its welcome or getting bogged down in boring historical accuracies or contemplating the wider implications of gathering some of the most notorious figures of the past in an 80s high school classroom. Over thirty years later, it is still fondly remembered in the world of stoner films. It even spawned an animated series and its own cereal. Woahhhhh.
Similar to Jay and Silent Bob, Wet Hot American Summer will have you raising your eyebrows and exclaiming with excitement with every appearance of a young actor who has gone on to become a household name. Looking back at it now, it’s mindblowing to look down the list of talent packed into the 97-minute runtime. Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Joe Lo Truglio, H. Jon Benjamin, and a wonderfully weird turn from David Hyde Pierce enough for you? No? Don’t worry, that’s not the end of the talent list.
It’s a teen comedy set in a 1980s summer camp, but not to worry, there are no horror movie villains jumping out of the bushes or snatching young couples out of windows. Instead, we get people going through various stages of life while trying to deal with the offbeat world of running, supervising, or attending camp. There’s a tinpot NASA storyline (courtesy of Hyde Pierce’s character) Poehler and Cooper’s characters attempting the most ambitious talent show in the history of Camp Firewood, and make sure you aren’t eating anything whenever Christopher Meloni is on screen. You’ll spit it right back out again.
Those four words alone should attract enough interest for those who enjoy the stoner genre. If not, allow me to elaborate. Three guys (John Cusack, Craig Robinson, and Rob Corddry) get into a hot tub with John Cusack’s nephew (Clark Duke) and are transported back to 1986 to relive several unwanted experiences that shaped their very futures. Time travel is a difficult theory to get away with on film – unless you’re not trying to get away with it. What is usually a high-concept plot device turns into an enjoyable and relatively stakes-free ride.
The caliber of actors on the show means – with Robinson and Corddry in particular – that laughs are guaranteed throughout. That’s not something you can say about every zany comedy. The relationships between all four leads give the film something to grab on to in between jokes, and its subject matter gives the ending a little more room to breathe than, say, any other John Cusack movie. As one last indicator of why this film belongs on this list; the reason they are transported back in time is due to a Russian energy drink called ‘Chernobly’. Yup.
“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”Sure, the iconic line from Matthew McConaughey has not aged well over the past twenty-eight years, but Dazed and Confused remains a staple of the stoner genre. Richard Linklater plays with the drugs and alcohol-fuelled images of the 70s high school experience with satirical malice, undercutting some pretty intense hazing scenes with some devilishly entertaining antics. It was most certainly a time when kids were able to get away with a lot more than they would now, and the rock n’ roll tendencies of the time mesh perfectly with the movie’s subjects. The soundtrack is a who’s who of rock greats from one of the genre’s greatest decades, from Black Sabbath to ZZ Top, and the film oozes cool because of it.
Rock music goes hand in hand with the stereotypical stoner teen; with Dazed and Confused, you get the best of both worlds. Think Little Nicky, only without another insufferable Adam Sandler voice. What sells this as an all-time great stoner movie, though, is the fact that it is so low-stakes that you’ve probably had several experiences that aren’t all that dissimilar to what you see on screen – if to a slightly lesser extent as the years have gone on.
In many ways, Walk Hard is a tragic tale of a simple genius before his time getting sucked into the hard-partying world of rock n’ roll, and the stardom and pressure that comes with it. In many other ways, it is a hilarious parody of the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line, with characters pulled from all corners of rock’s greatest bands. The fact that many of them were never actually active at the same time is moot; it’s just so damn entertaining to watch. The list of cameos playing said stars is phenomenal, as the movie takes us through Cox’s (played by John C. Reilly) musical career; from an Elvis-esque 50s sensation through punk rock and Bob Dylan-inspired music, culminating in him losing everything he holds dear as the drug-taking and party lifestyle grows across decades of living a rockstar lifestyle.
Sounds pretty grim for a stoner movie, right? Wrong! In a way that is difficult to pin down, Walk Hard has become a huge cult favorite, largely down to the absurdist way the movie takes on these heavy subjects, while Cox remains the flawed but loveable hero who we just want to succeed so badly. The fact that the original songs Reilly performs throughout the film hits in their own right really helps the case for this one, too.
As we start off this list with a bang, I have to say that I absolutely love Ted. Personally, I think only Seth MacFarlane (Creator of Family Guy and much, much more) could pull off even the notion of a teddy bear coming to life and it somehow NOT be a children’s Christmas movie, but he does- and spectacularly well. If you haven’t seen Ted (and really, who hasn’t) then you are truly missing out. While certainly being incredibly funny, Ted defies the classic stoner genre, and actually includes a consistent storyline and high budget. McFarlane’s writing in this movie is particularly impressive as he goes above and beyond his usual writing style in Family Guy and American Dad, as well as finding the perfect balance between crass and vulgar humor without it being one or the other. Join Ted (voiced by Macfarlane) and his best friend John (Mark Wahlberg) as they engage in a legal battle of Ted’s humanity status, while the implications of their heavy drinking and pot smoking comes to life.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk *laughs hysterically*
If you haven’t seen this film, it’s still very unlikely that you have never heard of it. Dude, Where’s My Car is a staple noughties stoner comedy starring pre-fame Ashton Kutcher and post-American Pie Sean William-Scott as they try to find their car after a wild night of drugs and heavy drinking. Dude, Where’s My Car defied critics who said it wasn’t going to be a hit, and was a box office success and had now achieved cult status. We can’t say for sure why, but as the movie nears its 20th birthday we can only assume the stoner community had something to do with it.
Known as the defining stoner movie, Cheech and Chong’s first movie Up in Smoke was such a commercial success that they were asked to do another. Cheech and Chong (a comedy duo consisting of Richard Marin and Tommy Chong) set the bar with stoner movies, essentially creating the first one of its kind in the ’70s. I think the most difficult part of reviewing stoner movies is the inability to describe the plot in just a few sentences, due to their generally incongruous nature, but I will try anyway. Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie surrounds the bizarre life of the duo as they face losing jobs, angry neighbors and romantic issues- all the while they party and get high in Hollywood. It’s a pretty awesome movie.
Though I will delve into why we hate to love How High, I will first open with the fact that it’s produced by Danny DeVito. If I still haven’t convinced you to watch it after this, then I am afraid there is no hope for you. Regardless, How High is an aesthetically cheesy noughties movie (cue copious amounts of hair gel and everyone dresses like the members of Smash Mouth.) While simultaneously easy to watch and immensely cringeworthy, How High debuts as the guilty pleasure of stoner movies, with a bizarre but easy-to-watch stoner storyline, you can either laugh or laugh at How High- and what more perfect than a cheesy, silly movie to watch while you are stoned.
While generally unknown outside of the U.S, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle is yet another noughties stoner film where it’s not the end that counts, it’s the journey that matters. If Dude, Where’s My Car was the tip-top of the two-totally-inept-friends-try-to-find-something-they-can’t kind of movie, then this would be its little brother. And The Hangover, I guess, would be like its second cousin. Just replace the car with a White Castle.
As a personal favorite movie of mine, I cannot recommend Pineapple Express enough. Aptly named after a strain of weed known in the movie, Pineapple Express embodies and evokes the life of a habitual smoker and the semi-friendship between his dealer. Join Dale (Seth Rogen) and his drug dealer Saul (James Franco) on an epic adventure after they unwillingly witness a murder. With no one to trust, Dale and Saul find themselves en route to a giant underground weed farm, hidden from the public eye since the ’30s. Expect explosions, a car chase, and a classic finale shoot-out as Pineapple Express brings the chaotic energy of two good-for-nothing stoners to life and encompasses a bromance between the two main characters. Pineapple Express is easily relatable, enjoyable and entertaining when you learn just how often the cast were ad-libbing in certain scenes.
If Pineapple Express is the pinnacle of noughties stoner movies (and one of my favorite movies of all time, stoner or not) then This is the End would be its more bizarre, high-budget successor. While it doesn’t necessarily have the same cult following as Pineapple Express, This is the End takes place in affluent Beverly Hills and surrounds the Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow classics as they encounter and battle through the apocalypse. If you count on this movie to make sense or be thrilling in any way, then you have come to the wrong place. With a large main cast and a plethora of A-list cameos such as Emma Watson, This is the End is a silly but hilarious take on the apocalypse in the eyes of a group of friends with one brain cell between them. This is the End and Disaster Movie are perfect examples of…well, a disaster movie.
While not necessarily a movie, Broad City fits perfectly into the stoner entertainment category. Starting off as a low-budget web series, Broad City encapsulates life in New York as a young woman- one who smokes weed on the regular, and the other who only does after a terrible day. Watch as these ladies incorporate New York as its own character, as we take a look into their disastrous, chaotic and sexually frivolous lives as they frequently make use of their self-sabotaging lives and turn to debriefing at the end of the day with a nice fat spliff in their oversized hoodies while lying on their bed. Which I highly suggest is how you watch Broad City.
My personal favorite episode is in season four, where the girls trip on shrooms and the whole episode is animated- and, might I say, portrays incredibly accurately how it feels to be on shrooms.
If you are a fan of low budget documentaries directed and starring laid back hilarious comedians, then you are in luck. Known as the successor of Supersize Me, Doug Benson stars as the face of the world’s most important experiment, cleansing himself of any trace of marijuana for thirty days, then smoking or consuming any form of weed for the next thirty days and noting the differences. Follow the incredibly insightful, relaxed and laid-back documentary from the beginning to the end of Doug’s journey, with lot’s of laughs along the way.
Why it’s such a hit with stoners: Though I’m sure you can imagine why, Super High Me is much loved by stoners and non-stoners alike. One of the most prominent reasons stoners relate to it so well is due to its rather intriguing results because after all, it is an experiment (if that’s how you define it.) At the end of the month, Doug only puts on eight pounds, and all the other effects are relatively indifferent (besides him being slightly more forgetful) which as you know is perfect supporting evidence for weed enthusiasts trying to argue with their relatives.
Don’t be a menace to South Central while drinking your juice in the hood – Boy, wasn’t that a mouthful and an earful at the same time? Don’t Be a Menace or DBAMTSCWDYJITH- for short, is the perfect amalgamation of nonsensical and highly exaggerated life in the hood. Based off stereotypical films and movies about the hood in the ’90s, Don’t Be a Menace provides a hilarious commentary on this. Easy to watch and lucrative with stereotypical humor, Don’t Be A Menace is perfect to watch sober or stoned, while very obviously onomatopoeic humor is much easier to understand when inebriated. Don’t Be A Menace is simple to watch and laugh with, and also laugh at the movies it spoofs. Spectacularly coming-of-age, Don’t Be A Menace is like no other.
“Yeah but, what’s it about?” Oh, it’s basically about a guy who goes back to where he grew up in the hood. But that’s not really important.
If I haven’t convinced you to watch at least one of these movies, then I can safely say I will be shocked. Despite stoner movies having a storyline which typically centralizes weed, the life of a stoner or simply smoking up in itself, this isn’t to say if you are not a fan of one film, you also won’t be of another. They come in many shapes, sizes, and sub-genres, meaning there is definitely going to be the perfect stoner movie out there for you. If you are new to stoner movies, then rest assured that you don’t need to sift through wads of terrible movies to find a perfect fit- because we have already done that for you.
With stoner movies it is always safe to say there is not one which isn’t a comedy- so take a pick from our selection, sit back, relax and enjoy the laughs!
Did you watch one of our recommendations? Comment below to let us know your opinion!
If you imagine Seth Rogen in absolutely any part he has played in every single one of his movies, this in an aesthetic is a stoner movie. Under the umbrella genre of comedy, stoner movies are usually golden go-to movies when you want to get high, or simply feel high by watching it and its incongruous ways.
While simply put, stoner movies are placed under this subgenre when there is a significant amount of smoking on camera or a few pot references, it is so much more than that. Very often stoner movies can just be a simple movie that advocates liberality or accentuates behavior found commonly in stoners. More often than not, the subgenre will have movies containing none of these traits, but are simply a bizarre or poorly made movie, amassing a cult following in the process.
Sometimes it is not necessarily the movie in itself, but it is how you react when watching it. For me, this is why The Room is just THAT great to watch when stoned. It is poor in script and production, but that is what makes it so beautiful- and what is more entertaining than a movie you can watch while getting high with friends, and simultaneously saying “Oh hi Mark!”?
Cult following isn’t the only wonderful thing about stoner movies, it’s also a great way to reminisce by watching a movie you liked as a child. I don’t know about you, but the ’80s and 90’s movies had something so uncalculated, so unnecessary and a certain je ne sais quois about them. Personally, re-watching “Good Burger” is cripplingly painful for me when sober- but when high, it is the most enjoyable thing and sparks up old memories for me, and I remember why I loved it so much back then!
If you imagine the golden age of classic Hollywood cinema where the rise of romantic movies not only existed but influenced the western world, then stoner movies/comedies would be its kinda useless, lazy third cousin. Typically known as a sub-genre, the notion of a stoner movie, while not defined as a comedy, label goes hand-in-hand with the genre, as usually the general preface of a movie surrounding pot is automatically going to be somewhat funny. Rising in the late ’70s when political changes which allow pot to be shown on TV and in the cinema, such films as Cheech and Chong, Fast Times at Ridgemont, Nice Dreams and many more, became defining movies of that era, and representative of a subject never really utilized before. These movies created an influx of influenced movie writers and “copycats” which led to the boom of stoner movies into the ’80s and ’90s, and sparked the culture as we know it today.
I guess stoner movies and TV shows highlight everything we love and adore about the world that we never truly express, which is exactly how it feels to be high. A large part of stoner movies is how it either fluctuates by either being a weed-based comedy or a bizarre stoner-esq cult movie. For both, we receive mutual enjoyment-by-proxy. Seeing other people having a good time helps us to have a good time. The general simplicity of the jokes, visual stimuli, and friendly casts are also what makes the movies so watchable when inebriated.
If you have never watched High Maintenance then I would highly recommend that you do. Not only is it one of my favorite shows of all time, but it perfectly embodies everything wonderful and not-so-wonderful about smoking weed, and also life as a habitual smoker. Not only is it hilarious and thought-provoking, but High Maintenance is a perfectly paced and well-scripted show, with wonderful visualizations of being high, and the empathy from this is why people respond so well to the show. While it may not be a film, it is a wonderful example of life as an avid weed smoker, and the writers’ humble beginnings of the show from a basic web series.
While touched on briefly before, there is no denying that low budget movies often become cult classics, but why? For me personally, the lowbrow take on stoner movies is what makes them so easy to watch. Whenever I smoke up, understanding basic colloquial sentences is almost impossible for me- so I can understand the appeal of an easy-to-grasp movie.
The cultural significance of these movies is also something to note. Looking back, these films define a genre somewhat incomparable to others. Yes, they may be bizarre and wacky on the surface, but they generally take an abnormal structure (instead of, a classic three acts for example) which is probably why they are so hard to define, or even explain why they are liked so much. There is a reason Cheech and Chong is not just an Afroman lyric, it is a culturally reminiscent piece of history, which is why it resonates so deeply with various generations. If you haven’t seen it (and I highly recommend that you do) it is basically a movie filled with hilarious chaotic energy and is generally known as the defining movie (and the beginning of) stoner comedies.
While stoner comedies usually remain a cult classic, or a very under budget move, loved by a few- there are also large-scale and big-budget movies that utilize sociological changes to marijuana and the public’s perception, and, in short, give a very different vibe. Ted, for example, makes use of the legal rights to display pot smoking in a movie, which was less common back in the ’80s. So due to its increasingly legal status in the U.S, the notion of smoking pot in a movie provides less of a cult following, guilty pleasure-esq vibe than it did before. But nevertheless they are still hilarious, and as long as the movie sits under the umbrella term of a stoner movie, you can almost always guarantee it will be hilariously entertaining.
Whether alone, with a group of friends, sober or not, a stoner movie is always good fun. Whether you like the movie or not isn’t important, the point is that you can’t argue how undeniably entertaining stoner movies are. Niche, bizarre, funny and incredibly silly, stoner movies are the perfect way to bring together a group of friends for a chill night in- and I personally can not think of a better way to spend the evening.