The craziest, ickiest, most rabid tales on the silver or plasma screen. These are either so funny you’ll die laughing or so freaky you’ll go permanently psychotic…
UNDER THE SKIN
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams
Director: Jonathan Glazer
It’s not easy being an alien, even when you look like Scarlett Johansson. Under The Skin is a dreamy cruise through the Scottish Highlands at dusk, a series of seductions and one-night stands between Scarlett’s alien and whole lot of dumb dudes. Right before they get to hook-up, Scarlet traps these fellas in a bottomless pool of black goo and empties out their insides to make food for her alien friends back home. But things get a little tricky when she starts thinking maybe all these idiots who come home with her aren’t so bad after all.
Part slasher flick with a movie starlet instead Freddy Kreuger, part steez-dripping psycho/sweet road movie, it’s the wickedest Molly trip of a film since Spring Breakers.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, and Katherin Waterson
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
A hippie pothead detective and a fascist cop with a frozen banana fetish try to figure out what exactly the fuck is going on after a real estate billionaire disappears into the schwag smoke and South Bay fog of Los Angeles, circa 1970. They stumble and smoke their way through a maze of Neo-Nazis, FBI douches, cocaine-and-sex-crazed dentists, a heroin cartel, and a sailboat that’s much more than just a sailboat.
The moving-picture equivalent of a sativa spiral joint. In the beginning it’s all giggles and pretty colors while our detective hits nitrous tanks, drinks tall glasses of tequila zombies, and flirts with beach babes. But when swastika-tattooed freaks on PCP, bad men with baseball bats, and pizza-loving cult members infect the scene, the buzz starts to harshen. By the end, the roach is burning your fingertips, but the hits are still so good you can’t let it go.
All in all, a great time. If Cheech and Chong put their potheads together to investigate a conspiracy of True Detective depths, it’d be pretty close to Inherent Vice. Just fire it up and let the high take over.
Weird, awesome, wonked-out films buried in the wasteland of online streaming.
CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH
Starring: Janelle Brady, Gil Breton
Directors: Richard W. Haines, Michael Herz & Lloyd Kaufman
Like that third dab that rips your face off, this movie launches you into the scorched-air nether-regions of the stratosphere. Troma Films was the king of degenerate psychedelic trash for decades, and Nuke ‘Em High is their biggest tripped-out, balls-out, gross-out motherfucker of a film.
When a bunch of high school students smoke radioactive weed, a girl gets pregnant with a mutated nuclear monster baby, nerds turn into murderous cavemen with assault rifles, an exploding laser fight breaks out, everyone goes bananas, and there’s a whole lot of 80’s blood, boobs, slimy puppets, and bubbling green bile. It’s even better if you can watch it on VHS in a dark basement with shag carpet, but streaming on Netflix will do.
Also worth checking out by Troma: The First Turn On – At summer camp, the hot couple want to get high so they take the stoner with them to a cave, and they bring the fat kid along because he’s got a bag full of snacks. When the super babe camp counselor finds them in the cave, the fat kid farts and causes a cave in. Trapped and facing death, each of them tells the bonkers story of how they popped their cherry. Then they all have an orgy and moan so load that the rocks shift and they’re freed. The end!
Starring: Christos Stergioglou, Michelle Valley
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Three home-schooled teenagers have never left their parents house, used a computer, or seen television. All they know about the world comes from their mentally ill mom and dad so they think the word “pussy” means “keyboard,” house cats are bloodthirsty predators with hammers, airplanes that fly over their house are no bigger than their fists, and their grandfather is Frank Sinatra.
Everything’s going pretty well until this prostitute comes along, trades VHS copies of old movies for oral sex, and then it all goes fucking nuts. This is like The Village if M. Night Shyamalan was locked in a sensory-deprivation on chamber on acid for two months before he sat in the director’s chair. A screaming, laughing nightmare of a movie. But director Lanthimo’s new movie The Lobster sounds pretty normal – starring Colin Farrell, it’s about a world where people who don’t find love get banished to the woods and turn into animals, so at least he’s leveled out a little.
TeeVee & Web
The Spoils of Babylon
Starring: Will Ferrel, Toby Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins
Created By: Eric Jonrosh, Matt Piedmont, Andrew Steele
Picture an author at the top of his game. A 1970’s media-rich playground oozing with epic event television. Miniserieses of the grandest scale, a la Shogun and The Thorn Birds. Enter Eric Jonrosh, said author, a self-styled Fabulist and stringent perfectionist leaning on (absolutely) delusional. This is the backdrop for The Spoils of Babylon, a six episode miniseries adapting the sprawling epic novel of the same name, written by Jonrosh. An epic novel never written, by a man who does not exist.
Within the walls of this show is a universe unto itself, one in which Jonrosh spent three years producing twenty-two hours of this adaptation that never saw the light of day. Until now. Not just a show within a show, Spoils is the telling of the tenuous journey made by a man and his collaborators over a thirty-plus year struggle. Thirty-plus years that saw losses of funding, cast in-fighting, weddings, divorces, and all forms of trial and tribulation. Oh, and the adaptation. What we get is a story bookended by musings and outbursts from the author, and in truth, an elaborate web of meta storytelling catered to comedy nerds hungry to dissect and investigate an interconnected, self-contained world in the breadth of Mr. Show and Darkplace. And brought to us by Will Ferrell and the minds behind the majorly underloved Casa de Mi Padre, no less.
It’s no wonder that this coming year, IFC will present the next adaptation of epic Jonrosh literature, The Spoils Before Dying. Set your televisions for Breath-take-o-scope.
Starring and Created By: Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson
For the girls of Broad City there’s only one escape from the nightmare grind of day jobs, shitty roommates, bad sex, and customer service hotlines: a lot of green stuff packed in their bong. For everyone else there are two escapes: said green stuff and watching Broad City. How can one show be the most surreal thing on TV and the most realistic day-to-day portrayal of today’s pothead at the same time? Dunno. But it is.
If adventuring through the horrors of modern life with two cute-as-shit, funny-as-fuck, baked-as-hell girls is your bag, then Broad City is your JanSport. In their second season, they’ve already stepped up their game from last year: funnier, more stylish, and with a little bit Seth Rogen’s sweaty man boobs thrown in for good measure. Binging it out on Hulu or catching new episodes on Comedy Central, it’s a good companion to maxing out on the couch, hitting that rig, and saying “fuck the man.”
Starring: Ben Sinclair
Created By: Ben Sinclair & Katja Blitchfield
A neighborhood delivery guy (Ben Sinclair) bikes frantically between burrows, bringing bud to impossible-to-please clientele. Each episode is an independent vignette with its own cast of characters, but some particularly kooky stoners pop up more than once.
The web-series started out largely comprised of character sketches rendering neuroses in the Big Apple, but later seasons focused more on relationships. In “Ruth”, lonely stoners quickly become intimate when one of them gets a hot pepper in his eye and needs help soaking his balls in milk. In “Geiger,” weddings plans are upended by an imminent natural disaster that leaves the bride jonesin’ for some kush.
Capturing the 420 friendly at their funniest, least friendly and most bizarre, the show is just as fun to watch as it is a poignant, top shelf storytelling; episodes range from slapstick to cerebral, and are brief enough to hold the attention of even heavily faded viewers. Native New Yorkers will get a kick out of acute observations of the city’s eccentrics, and anyone who’s used a delivery service will empathize with Sinclair’s fiendish clients and enjoy poking fun at them.