The quotes that ran in the CP story were just part of it. Here’s what I wrote about stoner movies in its entirety (and the discussion continues in the comments - please join in!):
I’ve been watching stoner movies since long before I was a stoner, and ultimately I suppose they are about snoozetastic stuff like “codified communications” and “re-drawing the paradigms of polite discourse” in less threatening ways than aggressively laddish movies like Jackass. If you want to look really closely at a clown character like Spicoli, you’ll see roots in Commedia dell’Arte and the archetype of the fool who speaks the truth when others can’t see it. It’s about pushing the boundaries of who’s accepted, but in fairly toothless, almost TigerBeat ways. As a drug, pot is pretty G-rated, and the consequences of its use are - especially lately - comedic and not at all life-threatening. At worst, society gets its pants pulled down in the town square by the lovable loser armed with no weapon save a thick cloud of sweet smoke and a fit of the giggles.
Contrast this with movies featuring cocaine use (Blow, Scarface), which must always feature a character arc where cocaine is ultimately rejected or vilified… or more commonly, hard drug abusers simply die. Robert Downey, Jr. in Less Than Zero was a classic example of how hard drug users must die because they can’t be redeemed. After his real-life problems with a lot of the same substances, I will bet you any money Downey’s agents would never let him be in a film with cocaine use again… but I could see how they might consider allowing him in a film with pot smokers!
Used to be that booze - and to some degree hallucinogenic drugs - formed part of the epiphanic equation (Arthur, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Apocalypse Now, Serpent & The Rainbow) - both joyous and bummer epiphanies - but if you’ve seen Thank You For Smoking, you’ll know what I mean when I say the moralists have decided the associations of booze with addiction and death (DUIs especially - because WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?) mean you can’t have a movie with an unrepentantly drunk character in the way you can have an unrepentant stoner character. Interesting shift. Kind of like you can’t have a hero that smokes cigarettes anymore in most things… and yet pot is okay (and as one who gave up tobacco 12 yrs ago, I’m actually not terribly upset about that). I haven’t seen it, but I’ll wager any epiphanies happening to characters in Pineapple Express won’t involve giving up marijuana.
The bigger question that remains unasked here is WHERE ARE ALL THE LADYSTONER FLICKS??? Pardon the pun, but isn’t it high time for a female Cheech and Chong?
(Hear that Hollywood? We should talk.)