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27 Essential Stoner Movies Ranked
Across the world over the last few months, people have been lighting up their rooms with the lights and sound of the movies, and as we arrive on this 4/20: 2020 Edition (a.k.a. The Smoke Break America Could Really Use), we’ve picked out the best nuggets from movie history for 27 Essential Stoner Movies.
Most of the movies here are overtly about marijuana and its attendant lifestyle and occasional risks: We’ve got counterculture classics (Up in Smoke, Easy Rider); mainstream hits (Pineapple Express, Friday); cult comedies (Wet Hot American Summer, Grandma’s Boy, Super Troopers); and stoner icons (Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Brad Pitt in True Romance, Dave Chapelle in Half-Baked).
Some movies didn’t necessarily set out to become stoner movies, but have built a grassroots reputation as immensely enjoyable under the influence. 1951’s Alice in Wonderland was a financial disaster for Disney, until its was re-released in the early ’70s after college students and flower children vibed on its vivid colors, silly characters, and random plot. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The Grand Budapest Hotel likewise also draw in the easily distracted with their bright looks and aesthetics, and hold the attention with zippy storytelling and insanely clever editing.
And to reserve when you want to go to the loony bin: Cats, a fantasia of mutilated celebrities and big songs about absolutely nothing, which threatens to be a midnight classic for years to come.
If you’re seeking a trip guide, something to pair with whatever state you’re in, check out the 27 Essential Stoner Movies!
Adjusted Score: 17.452%
Critics Consensus: A gross-out comedy that's more gross than comedic, Grandma's Boy is lazy and unrewarding.
Alex, a 35-year-old video-game tester, is forced to move out of his apartment and in with his grandmother and her... [More]
Adjusted Score: 18.427%
Critics Consensus: The movie isn't funny, the plot is too thin, and the production values feel more like a TV sitcom than a movie.
The startling effects of chemically induced short-term memory loss provide the backdrop for this resinous teen comedy. Jesse (Ashton Kutcher)... [More]
Adjusted Score: 33.853%
Critics Consensus: Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.
Universal Pictures and Working Title's Cats is a most-unexpected film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's beloved smash musical "Cats" and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 27.192%
Critics Consensus: How High is a sloppily constructed stoner movie filled with lame, vulgar jokes.
A pair of real-life multi-platinum rap artists star in this genial substance abuse comedy recalling the pro-marijuana work of Cheech... [More]
Adjusted Score: 29.546%
Critics Consensus: You'd have to be high to dig Half Baked's half baked production and scattershot sense of humor -- although maybe that was the point of this Dave Chapelle-led joint.
It's dopey time, again, in this pat-addled buddy movie that will scare you straight with its lack of humor.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 36.923%
Critics Consensus: A more-miss -than-hit affair, Super Troopers will most likely appeal to those looking for something silly.
A handful of state troopers are put in the uncomfortable position of having to actually enforce the law in this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 37.807%
Critics Consensus: Wet Hot American Summer's incredibly talented cast is too often outmatched by a deeply silly script that misses its targets at least as often as it skewers them.
The setting is Camp Firewood, the year 1981. It's the last day before everyone goes back to the real world,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 51.453%
Critics Consensus: Oft-quoted but undeniably flawed, Up In Smoke is a seminal piece of stoner cinema thanks to the likability of its two counterculture icons.
Then professional potheads Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong teamed up for Cheech & Chong: Up In Smoke, which features the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 53.38%
Critics Consensus: Visually creative, but also aimless, repetitive, and devoid of character development.
Journalist Raoul Duke and his lawyer Dr Gonzo drive from LA to Las Vegas on a drugs binge. They nominally... [More]
Adjusted Score: 55.826%
Critics Consensus: Tenacious D fan will find this movie hilarious; everybody else will see only a low-brow concept movie and a small assembly of jokes stretched past the 100 minute mark.
In this musical comedy-adventure starring self-proclaimed greatest band in the world Tenacious D, a pair of aspiring rock superstars attempt... [More]
Adjusted Score: 56.854%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Scary Movie overloads on crudity and grossness to get its laughs.
From the minds that brought you "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," "In Living Color" and "Don't Be A Menace In... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67.372%
Critics Consensus: Although many of the jokes have been done before, Anna Faris's bright performance and Gregg Araki's sharp direction make Smiley Face more than your average stoner comedy.
Jane F, an unsuccessful slacker actress, is having a bad day. And it's getting more outrageous and comically surreal by... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75.496%
Critics Consensus: Both funny and scatter shot, this loose-knit action/buddy/stoner comedy bridges genres and keeps a steady tempo of low ball laughs.
Critically acclaimed director David Gordon Green takes a break from the brooding drama that defined such early efforts as George... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76.868%
Critics Consensus: Ted's "romance versus bromance" plot is familiar, but the film's held aloft by the high-concept central premise and a very funny (albeit inconsistent) script.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77.85%
Critics Consensus: The likable leads and subversion of racial stereotypes elevate Harold and Kumar above the typical stoner comedy.
Directed by Danny Leiner, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle follows the life-changing (and mind-altering) journey of Korean-American investment... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83.372%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
"Inherent Vice," is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first ever film adaption of a Thomas Pynchon... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79.08%
Critics Consensus: What Friday might lack in taut construction or directorial flair, it more than makes up with its vibrant (albeit consistently crass) humor and the charming, energetic performances of its leads.
Hard-core rapper Ice Cube, after appearing in such hard-hitting films as Boyz 'N the Hood and Higher Learning, played his... [More]
Adjusted Score: 82.334%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Based on 22-year-old Cameron Crowe's undercover exposé on life in a Southern California public high school, this groundbreaking effort presents... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83.438%
Critics Consensus: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work.
When a couple air-headed rock-star wannabes are faced with the break-up of their band as a result of poor grades,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 85.518%
Critics Consensus: A good introduction to Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice in Wonderland boasts some of the Disney canon's most surreal and twisted images.
This Disney feature-length cartoon combines the most entertaining elements of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90.09%
Critics Consensus: Its script may not be as dazzling as its eye-popping visuals, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is fast, funny, and inventive.
Based on Bryan Lee O'Malley's Oni Press comic book of the same name, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World follows the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88.634%
Critics Consensus: Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.
The plot of this Raymond Chandler-esque comedy crime caper from the Coen Brothers (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen) pivots around... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91.544%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
The comedy This Is The End follows six friends trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.281%
Critics Consensus: Edgy and seminal, Easy Rider encapsulates the dreams, hopes, and hopelessness of 1960s counterculture.
After scoring cocaine in Mexico, then re-selling it in California, two bikers set off on a cross-country trek to New... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103.108%
Critics Consensus: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.61%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Like George Lucas' American Graffiti, Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused is an affectionate look at the youth culture of a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.966%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by Quentin Tarantino's savvy screenplay and a gallery of oddball performances, Tony Scott's True Romance is a funny and violent action jaunt in the best sense.
Quentin Tarantino scripted this wild and wooly blend of action and dark comedy, which reached theaters a year before his... [More]