Stoner movies have been around since the ’70s. One of the best stoner films of the era that I remember is ‘Up the Smoke (1978)’, which depicts the tale of two stoners who are on the run from Mexico to the US with the police on their tail. Then we’ve had some classics like ‘Sausage Party’, ‘Dazed and Confused’ etc., which are often regarded as benchmark stoner movies, albeit for no reason. Based on the potency of what you smoke, we have also witnessed movies like ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’, ‘Knocked Up’, ‘Growing Op’ etc., which have crossed all the limits of being called as “stoned” and they all stand way above the regular stoner movies on the “stoned” index.
Netflix, however, only has a limited number of stoner flicks and we couldn’t find the major hits of the stoner sub-genre on the streaming giant. Still, this list of “stoner movies” includes not only great films that will blow your mind while you smoke something but also a documentary about marijuana usage and movies that, in one way or the other, involve drugs. Because who cares what you’re watching when you smoke, right? They are all going to surprise you in different ways. With all that said, here’s the list of really good stoner movies on Netflix in the honor of 420.
20. War Dogs (2016)
Directed and co-written by Todd Phillips, ‘War Dogs’ is a dark comedy-crime film that is inspired by Efraim Diveroli’s 2016 memoir and a Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson. The heavily fictionalized film revolves around two arms dealers named Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, who receive a $300 million contract from the U.S. Army. Their task is to provide arms to the Afghan National Army and navigate through the shady business of global arms dealing. With little to no prior experience of accomplishing a task of that proportions, can Efraim and David achieve their ambitious goals?
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19. Dude (2018)
Four high school friends who are entering their last year – Lily, Chloe, Amelia, and Rebecca – are generally fooling around, smoking weed, dealing with their family problems, and generally talk about strenuous relationships, boys, proms, vulgarity, and weed. As they head into their final year, they start dealing with the losses in their lives: the pain of losing their friends, the parting of ways owing to jobs, and the typical withdrawal symptoms one faces while leaving school for the last time. About the weed, there’s a donkey-kong shaped bong named Donkey Bong that has been repeatedly focused upon throughout the film, without any reason; however, apparently, it consumed a lot of the film’s budget. The movie was criticized and appreciated equally and remains to be one of the best Lucy Hale movies out there.
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18. The Package (2018)
A black comedy at the outset, and with an IMDB rating of 5.5 (you’re the best judge), ‘The Package’ is mostly set around a group of five friends/crushes/acquaintances – Sean, Jeremy, and Donnie – the boys who were planning on going to this camping trip, which is later joined by Becky (Jeremy’s sister) and Sarah. During the booze-filled fun night the folks are having, with campfire, profanity, and everything, Jeremy happens to cut off his organ by an accident. This sends everyone to a frenzy, with folks searching for his organ and aiming to take it to a hospital within 12 hours for penile reattachment surgery. Everything happens with a comedy of errors and horrors, with the remaining four seemingly failing at each and every task they’re picking up. Long story short, ‘The Package’ is hilarious and at the same time, a lot clichéd with jokes that we’ve previously seen in many other movies. Still, it is like a breath of fresh air compared to the movies we’ve had so far on the list.
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17. The Do-Over (2016)
Max and Charlie are old buddies. As they are fed up with their routine lives, they hatch up an evil yet effective plan to get out of their shells and be something else. While on a boat trip, Max blows up their boat, and when Charlie wakes up, Max proposes that they can have a new and different life by assuming other identities. They relocate to Puerto Rico and assume the identities of Dr. Ronald Fishman and Butch Ryder respectively. Soon, they start getting troubled by the pasts of their newfound namesakes. ‘The Do-Over’ is a typical Adam Sandler movie that would give you both moments of laughter and cringe. Yet, it is one of those stoner movies that can be watched over the weekend.
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16. Weed the People (2018)
The name might be suggestive of a “stoner movie” but this one is definitely worth a watch. Receiving rave reviews, this informative documentary highlights the struggle of parents using marijuana for the treatment and pain management of their children with cancer. ‘Weed the People’ documents testimonies of people who struggle as they spend a large amount of money trying to obtain “federally illegal” medications. This exposes the hypocrisy of the laws and the politics of the pharmaceutical industry as they refuse these treatments based on “lack of research” or “empirical evidence” whereas they do not facilitate research in the area, instead they are being a hindrance. Obtaining standardized and safe medications under these circumstances is made harder due to these legalities. This goes beyond the pot-activist propaganda and educates us on the legitimate science behind marijuana.
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15. How High 2 (2019)
Written by Shawn Ries, Artie Johann, Alex Blagg, and Neel Shah, ‘How High 2’ is a stoner comedy television movie that serves as a sequel to Jesse Dylan’s 2001 film. The Bruce Leddy directorial follows Roger, an unemployed young adult who dreams of starting his own weed delivery business. His wild imagination finds new wings when he gets his hands on a “Weed Bible” in their basement, which lays out a unique method to grow a special kind of weed. Unfortunately, his hopes are soon dashed when the weed bible is stolen, and Roger sets out on a misadventure across the city to find it accompanied by his cousin Calvin.
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14. Woodshock (2017)
Written and directed by Kate and Laura Mulleavy, ‘Woodshock’ is a psychological thriller drama film starring Kirsten Dunst, Joe Cole, and Pilou Asbæk. The movie focuses on a young woman named Theresa, who helps her terminally ill mother end her life using a cannabis joint laced with poison. Once she inherits her mother’s rural Northern California home, Theresa struggles to deal with the loss and ends up using a powerful substance unbeknownst to its violent repercussions.
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13. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Inspired by the Arthurian legend, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ is a British comedy film directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. The search for the knights who will join him at the Round Table in Camelot takes King Arthur to the countryside, but gathering up man turns out to be a far more complicated task than he had imagined. His problems only multiply when many start leaving, only to be stopped when tasked to find the Holy Grail by God. The misadventures of the individual knights take them to unexpected places, which ultimately comes to a conclusion when the Police intervene.
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12. Lommbock (2017)
Stefan and Kai have been friends for years. They meet again and while Stefan has been successful being a lawyer in Dubai, Kai is struggling his way to have a good time with his stepson who is getting into the “drug” business. Whether he would be able to make amends with his son, whether his career will finally take off and whether Kai and Stefan together can address the problems of Kai’s son is all that the movie is about. As far as the film as a whole is concerned, we could see some emotions flowing in – hope, love, and the ambition to strive for the best above all. Perhaps, this is one of the few lights of hope amongst the prevailing darkness in this sub-genre.
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11. Udta Punjab (2016)
One of the best Bollywood films in recent years, ‘Udta Punjab’ is set in the Indian state of Punjab which has been going through a massive drug problem for quite a few years now. This film vividly depicts the widespread use of narcotics in the state by following the lives of some characters across the film. First, we meet a Punjabi musician whose use of cocaine affects his creativity. His manager sends him to a farm where a girl called Kumari Pinky gets caught up in another serious drug-related matter. Fighting against this social problem is Preet Sahni, a doctor, and Sartaj Singh, a policeman. The film connects the lives of these four characters in what becomes a brilliant thriller as well as a powerful social drama. An impressive screenplay laced with doses of black humor coupled with powerful performances by the four leading actors makes ‘Udta Punjab’ a must-watch.
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10. Take the 10 (2017)
If you are someone who enjoys movies like the ‘Harold & Kumar’ series or ‘Pineapple Express’ then this one is definitely for you. This is a story about two best friends who make it to a hip-hop concert on counterfeit tickets and manage to annoy a lot of people on the way including a dangerous drug dealer. This film has Josh Peck (of Drake & Josh fame) as Chris, Tony Revolori as Chester Tamborghini, and also Andy Samberg who somehow finds his way to movies like this. Chester Tam, who has written and directed the film also plays the role of Jay Morrison. Did you notice that Chester’s character may have been named after Chester Tam himself? Not to be taken seriously, this film is simply an entertainer.
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9. Brahman Naman (2016)
Netflix’s first Indian original movie is a story about four losers, neither of whom can manage to get a girlfriend or convince their parents that they are grown up to make their own decisions. All they are good at are quizzing, drinking, and thinking about sex (of which they don’t get any) all the time. The film is set in the 1980s in the south Indian city of Bangalore. These four boys do get a chance to be by themselves when they visit Kolkata for the finals of a national-level quiz, but misadventure follows them there as well. Despite being a sex comedy, the best part of this film is that it never glorifies sexual objectification, and ultimately shows how entitled Indian upper-caste men can be. This is exactly why the director Quashiq Mukherjee highlights the leading character’s cast, that he is a “Brahman”, in the title of the film.
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8. Special Correspondents (2016)
Written and directed by Ricky Gervais, this Netflix original comedy film is the story of radio journalist Frank Bonneville (Eric Bana) and sound technician Ian Finch (Gervais), both of whom are assigned to visit Ecuador and cover the political uprising that is taking place in the country. When it comes to light that Finch has lost both their passports, the two men decide to hide in a cafe owned by a Spanish couple and fake their reports from there. In order to sensationalize their news, they invent a man called Emilio Santiago Alvarez and say that he is closely linked to the uprising that is taking place. This alerts the U.S. government who think that these two Americans might be in danger. Things soon begin to escalate out of hand as Bonneville and Finch worry that they will be found out. While Gervais’ humor is on point, it does not penetrate deep into social problems or any serious concerns for that matter. Be that as it may, ‘Special Correspondents’ remains a highly entertaining film.
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7. Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics (2020)
This documentary is a “trip” in itself- from the visuals to the stories. Watch celebrities talk about their experiences and experiments with psychedelics. Not only will this give you random trivia and the “ultra-stoned” anecdotes from some of the most interesting people, but it will be highly relatable (forgive the pun). Writer-producer Donick Cary shared that the reason to make a film like this is not to encourage or discourage it but simply to demystify the concept and introduce it as a rational and balanced point of conversation. Some of the people you will see in this documentary are Sting, Ben Stiller, Carrie Fischer, and David Cross among many others.
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6. Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019)
Zack Galifianakis’ comedy talk show ‘Between Two Ferns’ had gained immense popularity on YouTube before Netflix decided to order a movie on the same. The film centers around Galifianakis, who plays himself and hosts ‘Between Two Ferns’ on public access television. However, when comedian Will Ferrell sees the show, he decides to upload it to his comedy platform Funny Or Die. Galifianakis and the show become a laughing stock after this, but he does get a chance to interview numerous celebrities all across America. The film follows Galifianakis and his many misadventures as he goes about the country and meets a number of well-known faces. If you have been a fan of the original YouTube show, you will have no problem understanding or relating to the humor of the film. Galifianakis’ deadpan humor works well with the ridiculous situations he finds himself in.
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5. The Legend of Cocaine Island (2018)
‘The Legend Of Cocaine Island’ is a documentary film, but it packs a powerful punch enough to give you the thrills you might expect from a feature production. The reason behind this is mainly the fact that ‘The Legend Of Cocaine Island’ recreates Florida-based business Rodney Hyden’s journey in order to come across some quick money when the 2008 financial crisis destroys his business. He wants to locate a bag of cocaine worth around $2 million somewhere on the Caribbean shore. Some undercover cops send him a picture of a bag and convince him that it is full of cocaine. They then wait patiently to arrest Hyden once he meets them to share the profits. This documentary shows us how desperate some people became after the economic crisis in order to save their lives from drifting down the drain. Highly entertaining with comical moments interspersed between the drama, this is a film you must check out.
4. Grass Is Greener (2019)
Netflix has always been a company that manages to come up with content that is relevant for its time and is also something that will interest a large section of its viewers. The documentary ‘Grass Is Greener’ is something which a number of people are sure to be interested in since it deals with the history of marijuana in America, its socio-cultural effects, and how the government has always been after the users and distributors of the same. The film also points out to us how the crackdown on marijuana has been a racist ploy that has destroyed the lives of many young black males by putting them behind the bars. The documentary features interviews of influential people like Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Sen Dog, DMC, and others who put forward their own views regarding the United States’ culture around marijuana.
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3. Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (2006)
Based on the TV series ‘Trailer Park Boys’, this series centers around the characters of Julian, and his two friends Ricky and Bubbles. All of them live in a trailer park, but the dream of a better lifestyle. However, instead of working for the same, these boys plan to rob an ATM machine to get rich. Their plan backfires and though Bubbles escapes, Ricky and Julian are sent to jail for a period of 18 months. When the two of them return, they team up with Bubbles once again and decide to carry out one big robbery, which they refer to as “The Big Dirty”, after which they can give up their criminal lives. Do not expect any lofty ideas from the film, but be sure of the fact that it is hilarious and you will have a great time watching it. It does justice to the original TV shows and did go a long way in popularizing the characters to audiences across the world.
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2. Game Over, Man! (2018)
Featuring stand-out performances by Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, Blake Anderson, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Aya Cash, ‘Game Over, Man!’ is an action comedy film directed by Kyle Newacheck. The movie revolves around three friends whose dreams of having their video game financed are dashed when one of their benefactors is kidnapped by terrorists. The trio realizes that now not only is their future on the line, but many innocent lives can also be lost. Therefore, they join hands to save every hostage by putting their lives on the line.
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1. The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir (2015)
Bob Weir was a youngster from Palo Alto who rose to fame as the rhythm guitarist and singer for the rock band the ‘Grateful Dead.’ This documentary captures his journey to fame and his relationship with his bandmates. You will also hear some hidden treasures from the archives of the band, as Mike Fleiss, the director, and producer of the film, confirms. As we know, the musicians, especially in the 60s and 70s were at the heart of the counterculture where psychedelics and creativity were seen as one of the most definitive traits of the era. This documentary includes interviews with various people in Weir’s life as well as from Weir himself. This Netflix Original throws light on a person who usually would not stay in the limelight.
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