Film and TV

Silver Screen High: Five Marijuana Movies with the Midnite Movie Mamacita

Film fan and Madcap Theaters director Andrea Beesley-Brown, aka the Midnite Movie Mamacita, has a well-known appreciation for cult films and grindhouse cinema, but it turns out, she's also a fan of funny movies about marijuana.

This weekend, Madcap Theaters will show one of the first films ever made about marijuana, the 1936 anti-weed propaganda movie Reefer Madness. It's just one of five films about pot that Beesley-Brown says really stand out for her.

(Check out the full list, with trailers, after the jump.)

1. Half Baked (1998, Robert Simonds Productions): The characters are always up to something completely ludicrous when they're high, like random encounters with animals. There's a scene where they accidentally kill a horse by overfeeding it when it has the munchies, and then they go to jail on $1 million bond or something crazy like that. This movie, like every movie on my list except Reefer Madness, was made by a major studio, which shows the industry recognizes weed as part of our culture.

2. Reefer Madness (1936, George A. Hirliman Productions): There are so many alternate titles for this -- Tell Your Children, Dope Addict, The Burning Question -- it's like, how many titles do they need? It's a propaganda film meant to scare people away from "the scourge of marijuana," but crazy stuff happens, like someone smokes pot and kills somebody. I don't know of any stoners that walk around killing people because of marijuana, but whatever. It's propaganda. The movie's only 60 minutes, so we've attached additional animation and clips to the film to try and stretch it out.

3. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004, Endgame Entertainment): There's a random encounter with an animal in this movie, too, when the guys ride a cheetah. It's a road trip/discovery movie, with a hilarious cameo from Neil Patrick Harris. In the U.K., the movie was known as Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies, which doesn't have the same ring to it. I'm a vegetarian, so I've never had a White Castle burger, but I'd almost want to try one, because this movie makes them sound so good.

4.Up in Smoke (1978, Paramount Pictures): This movie is really topical right now, and funny. Cheech and Chong get deported -- and by the way, being deported is never funny -- but it's their attempts to smuggle marijuana across the border that causes all kinds of hijinks. Cheech and Chong are really the stars of this show, and Up in Smoke spawned countless movies in this genre. It's hard for me to pick a favorite moment from the film, but the part where they first meet the two female hitch hikers and all the ensuing chaos is one of my favorites.

5. Dazed and Confused (1993, Alphaville Films): This movie has Matthew McConaughey in it, and he plays a total slime ball who wears super tight jeans and slicks back his hair. In the movie, his character says, "You know what I like about high school girls? I keep getting older, and they stay the same age." This is the film my friends and I were obsessed with in high school, so we watched it so much we could pretty much quote the whole movie.

Reefer Madness will show at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 30 and 31, at Madcap Theaters, 730 S. Mill Avenue in Tempe. Tickets cost $8. Visit or call 480-634-5192 for more information.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea