Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Reefer Madness

Knowing some of Linklater's crew in Austin, this review that appeared at Digby's interested me a lot.

Two Bongs Up! Or, Six Degrees of Woody Harrelson

by Dennis Hartley

Richard Linklater entered the sci-fi arena in 2006 with his adaptation of the late Phillip K. Dick's semi-autobiographical novel A Scanner Darkly(now on DVD). Set in a not-so-distant future L.A., the story injects themes of existential dilemma, drug-fueled paranoia and Orwellian government surveillance (hmm, that's timely) into what is otherwise a fairly standard undercover-cop-who's-gone-too-deep yarn. Keanu Reeves stars as a dazed and confused narc who has become helplessly addicted to the mind-altering drug that he has been assigned to help eradicate ("substance D"). Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder and Linklater alumni Rory Cochrane are his fellow D-heads who may not exactly be whom they appear to be on the surface. Adding to the mood of hallucinatory psychosis is Linklater's controversial use of roto-scoping (as per his underrated Waking Life). The rotoscoping technique does present challenges to the actors; Downey, with his Chaplinesque knack for physical expression, pulls it off best, while the more inert performers like Reeves and Ryder are akin to oil paintings. Linklater's script keeps fairly close to its source material-particularly in relation to the more cerebral elements (Linklater's propensity for lots of talk and little action may be a turn-off for those expecting another Minority Report). Depending on what you bring with you, the film is a) a cautionary tale about addiction, b) a warning about encroaching technocracy, c) an indictment on the government's "war" on drugs, d) a really cool flick to watch while stoned, e) the longest 99 minutes of your life or f) all of the above.

Then Digby goes on to riff on marijuana a bit, and in reflecting that weed films have joined the commonplace, cited the following films:

American Beauty, Weeds - Season One, Traffic, The Big Lebowski, Homegrown, Reefer Madness - The Movie Musical, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Up In Smoke (well, any Cheech & Chong movie), Half Baked, Bongwater, Rockers, Countryman, The Harder They Come , Word, Sound And Power.

I believe a gratitous marijuana smoking scene so that characters can bond, loosen up, break the ice, contemplate the profound, get goofy, or whatever, is in nearly every movie I see. Examples would follow except I'm stoned and can't remember. I've been watching Six Feet Under re-runs with my wife, and the characters seem to be blowing doobies in every other scene.

A recent survey I saw noted that over 90% of individuals have pre-marital sex before age 21. Yet we have abstinence only education in schools. Similarly, with a nudge and wink attitude about pot, we still allow people, especially our children, to be sent to jail. Isn't it about time we frankly discussed our drug use?


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