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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.
In theaters this week, The Rhythm Section rocks with Blake Lively in righteous 007 mode, and Gretel and Hansel enhances the fable favorite with high-tech horror.
Streaming-wise, The Masked Singer returns for another dose of dumb, smokable fun; The Good Place ends its uproariously enlightening run; Miracle Workers: Dark Ages finds new stoner-ready work for leads Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi; and the suspense series The Stranger scorches Netflix.
The ganja-ready gorehound classic Body Part leads our vintage cult flick picks, followed by the apocalyptic insanity of The Astrologer, Burt Reynolds’ bacchanalian football farce Semi-Tough, and the enjoyably skin-crawling yuckiness of Slugs.
On the music front, Lil Wayne lights up the weekend with Funeral, Key Glock keeps it sticky with Yellow Tape, and Supersuckers take their own hard-toking advice with Play That Rock-‘n’-Roll.
So, let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
The Assistant (2020)
Director: Kitty Green
Cast: Julia Garner, Kristine Froseth, Matthew Macfayden
Julia Garner (Booksmart) stars in the title role of The Assistant, playing Jane, a direct-report employee to a top-tier show business mogul named Wilcock (Matthew Macfayden) who holds absolute power over everyone in his domain — and abuses it.
The Assistant is an important film about a deadly serious subject that disturbs, enrages, and ultimately inspires. Smoke beforehand to better absorb the movie’s ideas and the emotions it conjures, and then smoke afterward to discuss it openly and ponder solutions for a better world going forward.
Gretel and Hansel (2020)
Director: Oz Perkins
Cast: Sophia Lillis, Same Leakey, Alice Krige
You know how it goes. In Gretel and Hansel, lost and starving, 16-year-old Gretel (Sophia Lillis) and her eight-year-old brother Hansel (Sam Leakey) stumble through the woods to an isolated house occupied by Hoda (Alice Krige), a witch far more wicked than any previous storybook incarnations. Gretel and Hansel unleashes a 2020 sensibility and cutting-edge CGI optics on the centuries-old fairy tale, whipping up a wild ride ready for your reefer-ized enjoyment.
The Rhythm Section (2020)
Director: Reed Morano
Cast: Blake Lively, Sterling K. Brown, Jude Law
With The Rhythm Section, Blake Lively triumphantly stakes her place among badass action heroines whose adventures go best when watched while baked. Blake plays Stephanie Patrick, a self-destructive spy on a road to ruin who reinvents herself as a world-class assassin after discovering the plane crash that killed her family was no accident. Director Reed Morano is one of the helmers of The Handmaid’s Tale TV series, and EON Productions is the studio behind the James Bond movies. Fire up a fatty, then get ready for a fierce feminist blowout that fires on all levels.
The Good Place: Series Finale
Cast: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Ted Danson
Watch It: NBC
Time is at hand to spark up one last doob in honor of The Good Place, NBC’s uniquely mind-bending and soul-searching existential sitcom that somehow, amid all those skull-popping concepts, delivered big laughs with nearly every line. The big send-off includes a super-sized episode followed by all the cast members joining Seth Meyers for an after-show celebration.
“The Masked Singer”: Season Three
Cast: Nick Cannon, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeon
Watch It: FOX
The Masked Singer, the crazily campy hit that made it possible for Tommy Chong to serenade the world while dressed as a pineapple, returns for another go following the Super Bowl. As usual, the celebrities behind the masks remain a mystery, but we do know the new costumed crooner characters include a banana, a robot, a mouse, a hippie llama, a boxing kangaroo, and a frog in a zoot suit. We’ve all seen some version of that combo while tripping, right?
Miracle Workers: Dark Ages
Cast: Daniel Ratcliffe, Steve Buscemi, Geraldine Viswanathan
Watch It: TBS
The first season of the cosmos-warping sitcom Miracle Workers took place in Heaven and featured Steve Buscemi as God and Daniel Radcliffe as a put-upon, low-level angel. It was as dope to smoke to and laugh at as it sounds.
For season two, Miracle Workers has kept the cast, but come up with an entirely new, equally pot-inviting premise set in medieval times and subtitled Dark Ages. Buscemi stars as the appropriately named Ed Shitshoveler, a minion in the royal realm of Radcliffe’s bad boss, Prince Chauncley. Surrounding them are villagers who, as the show puts it, “try to stay positive in an age of extreme income inequality, poor healthcare, and widespread ignorance.”
The Stranger: Season One
Cast: Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Hannah John-Kamen
Watch It: Netflix
The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage stars in the UK thriller series The Stranger as Adam Price, a happily married dad whose existence gets insanely upended when an unknown female figure reveals that his existence is a lie. Mind-fucks reign supreme as Price uncovers layer after layer of freak-out material, all madly delivered via ace performances and diabolical direction. Pair The Stranger with your most paranoia-inducing strain and just let the strangeness carry you away.
The Astrologer (1975)
Director: James Glickenhaus
Cast: Bob Byrd, Monica Tidwell, Mark Buntzman
Get It: Severin Films
Prior to ruling ‘80s grindhouses as NYC’s main maven of glorious action trash (directing The Exterminator and Shakedown, producing Maniac Cop and Frankenhooker), James Glickenhaus concocted The Astrologer, a bong-begging brain-boggler also known as Suicide Cult.
Playboy model Monica Tidwell stars as a woman swept into a firestorm of government conspiracy, devil worship, human sacrifice, and zodiac-driven messianic mayhem. Severin Films has restored this rarity to 4K and reissued it in a loaded collector’s edition just waiting for your next joint-passing bizarro cinema fest.
Body Parts (1991)
Director: Eric Red
Cast: Jeff Fahey, Lindsay Duncan, Brad Dourif
Get It: Shout Factory
One of the last great theatrical grindhouse hits, Body Parts is purely insane corporeal horror courtesy of Eric Red, writer of the toker terror classics The Hitcher (1985) and Near Dark (1987).
Jeff Fahey stars as a criminal psychologist who loses his arm in one of the most awesomely shocking car wrecks in a cinema history. Chaos ensues after he gets a donor’s arm surgically attached, and it takes on a homicidal life of its own. Blood, guts, and loose limbs splatter the screen from there.
Director: Michael Ritchie
Cast: Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh, Kris Kristofferson
Get It: Kino Lorber
Set in the anything-goes, party-hearty overdrive of ‘70s pro football, the classic, cannabis-packed sports comedy Semi-Tough stars Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson as Miami gridiron greats and Jill Clayburgh as the team owner’s daughter who they mutually adore (and vice versa).
In addition to all the happily hilarious bud, booze, and other substance consumption on-screen, Semi-Tough mercilessly sends up the era’s self-help movements in scenes that deliver an extra uproarious sting now that we’re all surrounded by life coaches. Toke up, put on Semi-Tough, and score a touchdown.
Director: Juan Piquer Simon
Cast: Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Philip MacHale
Get It: MVD
“They slime. They ooze. They kill.” So goes the tagline for Slugs, an absolutely off-the-rails creature feature from Spanish filmmaker Juan Piquer Simon, the mad man responsible for the one-of-a-kind slasher bash, Pieces (1982). Chronicling a sewer invasion by giant creepy crawlies who multiply like mad and munch disgustingly on human flesh, Slugs is a vintage ’80s gross-out riot. Get lit, press play, and prepare to squirm no matter how much — or even what — you smoke!
By Lil Wayne
Get It: Apple Music
Superstar wildman Lil Wayne’s thirteenth album Funeral arrives shrouded in mystery and blazing on impact. If you’ve smoked to Lil Wayne in the past — and if you’re reading this, you have — you might think you know what kind of power Funeral packs, but brace yourself and roll your blunts fat for some sonic surprises. The guests alone make up a hip-hop Mount Rushmore (made of weed): Jay-Z, Halsey, Big Sean, Trippie Redd, Nicki Minaj, DaBaby, Lil Baby, Corey Gunz, and Gudda Gudda. Time to torch up a proper Funeral pyre.
Play That Rock-‘n’-Roll
Get It: MVD
Rooted in desert mushroom punk and dipped in THC batter for proper southern rock frying, Arizona barnstormers Supersuckers recorded their latest, Play That
Rock-‘n’-Roll, over four mega-baked days inside Willie Nelson’s Texas studio. The result is eleven tracks of bruising, bong-ripping brutality and bliss. Supersuckers have made 2020’s first mighty marijuana rock album for super-stoners.
By Key Glock
Get It: Apple Music
Young Dolph discoverer and collaborator Key Glock busts out his first solo effort since the 2018 mixtape, Glockama. Glock amps up his already well-known energy now for the 16-track Yellow Tape, erupting slick, intricate wordplay through booming, take-no-prisoners rap style. Yellow Tape is eminently worthy of your sticky green.
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