Film and TV

Top '80s Movies to Watch While You're High

The Arizona Department of Health Services estimates more than 100,000 Arizonans will apply for medical marijuana cards as soon as they can (likely March or April of next year). We can already see ourselves undergoing treatment -- on our couches with a bowl of fruit, expanding our minds through skewed cinema.

We think one effect of marijuana is the ability to appreciate movies that would otherwise seem too downright crappy, particularly when looking at films of the 1980s.

There was some good stuff, like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and truly funny comedy franchises like Police Academy and Back to the Future. But the '80s was also a decade of bad hairdos, campy special effects, and morality tale after-school TV specials.

Here we humbly present the cream of the chaff, complete with trailers and clips:

Heavy Metal (1981): This animated anthology collects eight stories, which provides plenty of perfect moments to pause for a snack. The stories are told by an evil, glowing green orb named Loc-Nar, and feature plenty of lightning, metal music, mountains, swords, flying creatures, nudity and violence (it's definitely not An American Tail).

The animation looks elementary compared to today's technology, but who cares when there's an abundance of cartoon boobies bouncing across the misty mountains?

The Electric Grandmother (1982 TV movie): When I was a student at Sunnyslope Elementary School in Phoenix in the 1980s, I could never understand why, every single year, we were taken to the cafeteria around Christmas time and shown this movie about an old lady robot that some kids custom ordered from a factory after their mom died. Their grandma robot arrives in a bejeweled sarcophagus, dropped on their snowy lawn by a big red helicopter, and the little girl in the family doesn't like her. Turns out, the movie's based on a classic science fiction story titled I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury, and was supposed to actually be educational for us. Trippy.

Purple Rain (1984): This musical drama starring The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Now Known as Prince Again would not be nearly as riveting without weed, but Purple Rain works perfectly with Purple Haze, since the soundtrack is arguably one of the best of all time. Long before emo, Prince was riding on a purple motorcycle in skin tight stretchy jeans and purple pleather, screaming for Apollonia and tearing up his sheet music. Plus, there are lots of dark, smoky scenes, so it's totally like you're there. Or something.

The Last Dragon (1985): Produced by Motown record label founder Berry Gordy, Jr., this cult classic comedy/blaxploitation/action flick has enough music, eye candy, action scenes, and one-liners to keep high heads going for hours: "Who's the master?" and "Sho'nuff!" and "What it look like?" The plot of the movie (yes) revolves around Bruce LeeRoy, who must overcome the nefarious Sho'nuff, "The Shogun of Harlem" (our blue ribbon winner for most awesome '80s hair), while simultaneously conquering Vanity (red ribbon for her "claw" 'do). The best scene to watch stoned is the fight finale between LeeRoy and Sho'nuff, when both of their hands glow with electric light. Because you can't overcome the power of "the glow."

Weird Science (1985): This is a wacky movie about two nerds who create their dream woman, played by Kelly "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" LeBrock. Watching Anthony Michael Hall concoct a hottie in a lab while you're under the influence might make you think, I could do that. If so, pass us some of what you're smoking. (Trailer below potentially NSFW).

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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