Stoner Cinema: Tasty Nuggets for a Smokin’ Movie Night

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Some folks like movies; some folks smoke pot. For those people who enjoy both those pastimes, has got recommendations for movies you should watch while high! In our first Stoner Cinema blog spotlighting weed movies, we profile the reefer madness whodunnit, INHERENT VICE (2014).

Combine the classic detective vibe of a Raymond Chandler novel with a night of bong hits brimming with hydro bud, and you’ll end up with this twisty, THC-dripping Neo-noir mystery.

In this adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel “Inherent Vice” by acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson (“Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “Punch-Drunk Love”), Joaquin Phoenix plays to his weirdly intense strengths as dazed and confused private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello. This former hippie stumbles into the disco era kicking and screaming while getting sucked into a mind-bending conspiracy involving three separate cases that all dovetail together thanks to his missing ex-flame, the sultry, enchanting Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterson).

Shasta hires Doc to help her current lover, wealthy but crooked real estate developer Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts), from being kidnapped and committed to an asylum by his ex-wife. Doc then runs into an African-American militia member who wants the P.I. to find an Aryan Brotherhood goon who owes him money, and is currently working as one of Wolfmann’s bodyguards. In the third plot thread, a former junkie asks Doc for help in finding her missing husband (Owen Wilson), who, it turns out, has faked his own death to protect his family because he’s a police informant on the run from the smuggling operation that ties into the other plot threads.

Confused yet? It only gets crazier (and hazier) as Doc is framed for a murder at a massage parlor, bringing him into the orbit of intense L.A. Detective Christian “Bigfoot” Bjornsen (a masterful Josh Brolin), who’s got an agenda all his own that he uses to pummel Doc into cooperation. Though Bigfoot is the only straight-edge character in this whole production, he nevertheless chews the scenery with great aplomb every time he’s on screen. Doc’s trifecta of a case involves a mysterious conspiracy called The Golden Fang, which crops up several times in different iterations throughout the film, most notably as a collective of hedonistic dentists led by Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd, played by “SNL” alum Martin Short with cocaine-fueled glee.

Though the plot sometimes meanders like a pot-fueled all-night conversation throughout its overly long 148-minute run time, “Inherent Vice”–an acclaimed film with two Academy Award noms and a Golden Globe nomination for Phoenix to its credit–is more than just a one-hitter of a flick. A worthy addition to the auspicious genre of L.A. noir movies, this colorful period piece collects a cast full of stellar actors in unforgettable roles, and provides plenty of twists to keep the plot (such as it is) moving, as well as laugh-out-loud moments of levity. It then culminates in a shocking, hard-hitting climax that finds the easy-going Doc erupting into a cornucopia of violence that’ll have you on the edge of your seat (most likely as you pack a final bowl before the credits roll).

Much like our intrepid detective, you might not always know what’s going on with the plot of “Inherent Vice,” but twist another fat joint and go with the flow. In the immortal words of of our stoner sleuth Doc Sportello, “Don’t worry. Thinking comes later. What else?”

Stream “INHERENT VICE” on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play and iTunes.

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