Heady Entertainment: Hit the Clouds with Pop Smoke and “Birds of Prey”

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Welcome back to Heady Entertainment, MERRY JANE’s weekly guide to just-released movies, books, and music — all fresh, dank, and THC-friendly. In specific, we choose our picks based on how they can enhance your combined consumption of cannabis and entertainment.

At the movies, Margot Robbie majorly blazes as DCU anti-hero Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey, while Elijah Wood torches the concept of family values in the twisted father-and-son horror pic, Come to Daddy.

Dope streaming options span multiple genres this week. McMillions is a jaw-dropping documentary about a long-con heist of the McDonald’s Monopoly Game; the headtrip flick Horse Girl stars Allison Brie as a down-home woman whose sanity appears to be going up in smoke; Locke and Key adapts a graphic novel favorite into the next scintillating supernatural series; and Mythic Quest: Raven’s Blanket is a total toker’s triumph co-created by and starring It’s Always Sunny’s Rob McElhenny as a videogame designer.

This week’s cult film collectibles include Lucio Fulci’s splatter masterwork The House by the Cemetery; the high-’80s ski farce Hot Dog: The Movie; the fantastically self-explanatory Zombie Island Massacre; and the 1966 camp classic The Oscar, complete with a new audio commentary by Patton Oswalt.

Music-wise, we spark up new releases from Shopping, Boldy James and The Alchemist, and the incandescently headline-grabbing Pop Smoke.

So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.

Movies

Birds of Prey (2020)
Director: Cathy Yan
Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor

Marot Robbie returns from Suicide Squad (2016) as Harley Quinn, a psycho clown whose violently anarchic antics put her on lethal par with her ex-boyfriend, The Joker. Birds pits Harley against Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), a super-villain so extreme that, to take him out, our anti-heroine teams up with do-gooders Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and even Gotham City police vet Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez)

While last year’s Joker was a downer of narcotic-spirited nihilism, Birds of Prey arrives as a colorful carnival of carnage run riot with deliciously trippy candy-flip madness.

Come to Daddy (2020)
Director: Ant Timpson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Ona Grauer, Stephen McHattie

After producing the deliriously deranged stoner-horror favorites Deathgasm (2015) and The Greasy Strangler (201), New Zealand film maven Ant Timpson hops into the director’s chair for Come to Daddy, his biggest, darkest, and most marijuana-inviting howl fest to date.

Elijah Wood stars as Norval Greenwood, a hipster baby-man who reunites with his long-estranged father in a cabin on the Oregon coast. Their personalities clash — to say the least — and the result is a glorious opera of sick jokes, gross-outs, and hair-raising scares. Come to daddy, for sure… but don’t come without getting plenty blitzed first.

Streaming

Horse Girl (2020)
Director: Jeff Baena
Cast: Alison Brie, Debby Ryan, Molly Shannon
Watch It: Netflix

Alison Brie (GLOW, Community) both co-wrote and stars in the new Netflix mind-melter Horse Girl as Sarah, a craft-loving equine enthusiast whose hallucinatory dreams seem to start dripping over into her conscious life — or do they? As with the best psychological thrill-ride movies, Horse Girls keeps us wigged out, on edge, and guessing. Watch it with a hybrid that delivers both a spacey high and enjoyably potent paranoia.

Locke and Key: Season One
Cast: Jackson Robert Scott, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones
Watch It: Netflix

Locke and Key is an epic adaptation of a beloved graphic novel series by writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez that calls to mind a number of other Netflix series — especially Stranger Things and The Haunting of Hill House — in the best, most weed-worthy sense. Darby Stanchfield stars as Nina Locke, a widowed mom of three, who moves her brood into the Key House, a stately new home that just happens to be oozing supernatural weirdness.

McMillions (2020)
Watch It: HBO

The HBO documentary series McMillions recounts a story too insane to not be true: For more than a decade, an ex-lawman reportedly masterminded a scam that rigged McDonald’s popular Monopoly contest throughout the ’90s and stole $24 million — and that’s dollars, not double cheeseburgers! HBO scores yet another gasp-between-tokes true-crime triumph. 

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Blanket: Season One
Cast: Rob McElhenney, Danny Pudi, F. Murray Abraham
Watch It: Apple+

Co-created by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia heroes Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, the new Apple+ comedy Mythic Quest: Raven’s Blanket injects that masterwork’s magnificently nasty hilarity in the ripe-to-be-ripped-on world of video game professionals. McElhenney stars as Ian Grimm, developer of the world’s largest multiplayer game. As anybody who’s ever choked on bong smoke laughing at Rob as Mac on It’s Always Sunny can guess, he’s an uproariously bad boss. It’s the perfect set-up for an instant classic pot-com.

Cult-Classic Collectibles

Hot Dog: The Movie (1984)
Director: Peter Markle
Cast: Patrick Houser, Shannon Tweed David Naughton
Get It: Synapse Films

The zaniest, most zonked-out party-hearty ski comedy ever made, Hot Dog: The Movie combines awe-inspiring winter sports footage with hyper-’80s raunch-farce abandon — that’s two stoner-flick genres that smoke great together!

Harkin Banks plays a rookie downhill racer who falls in with a gonzo crew of slope-stormers to take on the evil Austrian ski team in a winner-take-all “Chinese Downhill” competition. David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London) steals the show as a snow-cruising wildman, while Shannon Tweed goes from Playboy Playmate of the Year to righteous goddess of the swinging ski lodge.

Severin Films’ new deluxe Hot Dog Blu-ray features never-before-seen action in an extended producer’s cut, a 50-minute documentary on the making of this mountainously fun classic, and liner notes by Teen Movie Hell author (and “Heady Entertainment” columnist) Mike McPadden.

House by the Cemetery (1981)
Director: Lucio Fulci
Cast: Catronio Macoll, Paolo Malco, Ania Peroni
Get It: MVD

One of the most bloodily berserk gore-storms from Italian splatter meister Lucio Fulci, House by the Cemetery chronicles the unfortunate real estate decision made by a New York City family when they relocate to a spacious New England home formerly occupied by a mad scientist named Dr. Freudstein — who may not have entirely vacated the premises (non-spoiler alert: The doctor and his monstrous creations are still down in the basement, ready to wreak horrific havoc).

Diabolically dreamlike, sensationally nonsensical, and tailor-made to be watched with bongs blazing, House by the Cemetery is out now in a luscious three-disc special edition from Blue Underground.

The Oscar (1966)
Director: Russell Rouse
Cast: Stephen Boyd, Elke Sommer, Tony Bennett
Get It: Kino Lorber

The Oscar is a long out-of-print, off-the-rails camp classic championed by the likes of John Waters and Patton Oswalt as a uniquely insane cinematic experience. In fact, Patton even provides audio commentary on Kino Lorber’s gorgeously restored new Blu-ray of this uproarious “exposé” of Tinseltown run amuck that will make the perfect pipe-passing pre-game viewing before this week’s Academy Awards telecast.

Stephen Boyd rips up the screen as Frankie Fane, an egomaniacal movie star who can and will destroy anyone who’d dare stand between him and a Best Actor trophy on Hollywood’s biggest night. The supporting cast includes Swedish model Elke Sommer, smooth crooner Tony Bennett, roughneck he-man Ernest Borgnine, and, in an inexplicably serious role, Borscht Belt mirth-maker Milton Berle.

Zombie Island Massacre (1983)
Director: John N. Carter
Cast: David Broadnax, Rita Jenrette, Tom Cantrell
Get It:
Vinegar Syndrome

Hoping to cash in on the two ruling grindhouse genres of its day — slasher flicks and tropical undead flesh-feast horrors — Zombie Island Massacre effectively combines those formulas into a memorably reefer-ready party video.

After a group of American tourists gets lured to a Caribbean paradise, their trip turns to pure hell as some psycho in a voodoo mask takes to gorily picking them off, one by one. The mystery builds, heads roll, guts spill, and Rita Jenrette — the real-life wife of a US congressman involved in a high-profile scandal — becomes the decade’s most unlikely scream queen.

Vinegar Syndrome’s Zombie Island Massacre Blu-ray presents the film in a more pristine form than has ever been possible before. The bonus features rule, too.

All or Nothing
By Shopping
Get It: Bandcamp

All or Nothing, the latest from UK post-punk skull-jammers Shopping, juices the group’s signature dissonant grooves with punches of pure pop for pot-smoking peeps. The record’s Nick Sylvester-produced radiance conjures rave energy while still delivering darkwave dopeness between the shiniest of beats.

Meet the Woo V2
By Pop Smoke
Get It: Apple Music

Brooklyn MC Pop Smoke may have generated non-musical headlines of late (but, hey, at least the allegations involved a Rolls Royce), but the real occasion to stop the presses — and roll the blunts — is the arrival of Meet the Woo V2. It’s a follow-up, of course, to Smoke’s 2019 burner Meet the Woo, delivering more dynamic raps and thunderous production across seven scorching tracks. Drop-ins include Lil Yachty, Quavo, Calboy, and Lil Tjay. 

The Price of Tea in China
By Boldy James and The Alchemist
Get It: Apple Music

Blazing onward and upward from last year’s sizzling Boldface EP, Detroit rapper Boldy James and monster mega-producer The Alchemist team again for The Price of Tea in China. Dishing out a dozen smoking wallops and featuring guests Benny the Butcher, Evidence, and Vince Staples, Price is an invaluable snapshot of two major players at their peak 2020 game.

Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter

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