8 Stoner Comedies That Are Now Obsolete
For many years, stoner comedies were a bread-and-butter cinematic subgenre that produced everything from cult classics to box office hits. Much of their appeal, of course, was linked to the illicit nature of the central drug. But today, with so many states across the country legalizing weed, a considerable number of our most beloved stoner comedies — particularly those below — have been made obsolete by the modern world.
On the bright side, though, this means we can now pop an edible, sink into our couches and enjoy these movies for what they once were.
‘Half Baked’ (1998)
With New York legalizing the use of recreational marijuana in 2021, the entire premise of Half Baked gets tossed out the window. Why would anyone buy weed from disorganized potheads when they could walk into a dispensary that looks like an Apple Store? Also, people who do sell weed likely no longer have turf wars over clientele. Our triad of stoners would likely make a GoFundMe to get horse-killing Kenny out of prison, but at least they wouldn’t have to be afraid of Samson and his crossbow.
Another pot dealer with a big debt to settle? Could hot mom Nancy Botwin really stand a chance against Big Marijuana? Further, would the quirky series-turned-crime saga really have lasted eight entire seasons? As Showtime is reportedly set to reboot the series after more than a decade, we’re looking forward to seeing how the marijuana-centric plotlines remain relevant in 2023.
‘Pineapple Express’ (2008)
Pineapple Express is no longer an elusive strain, throwing this stoner classic’s name and premise out the window. While yes, stoners still find themselves in stupid situations, the plot of murderers tracking down two moron witnesses based on a specific strain would be thwarted by oversaturation.
‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ (2000)
An odyssey in its own right, like O Brother, Where Art Thou for the stoner set, Dude, Where’s My Car? finds best friends Jesse and Chester on the hunt for their missing vehicle after a wild night of partying. The roommates, played by Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott, spend an entire film working backwards to piece their night together and locate their car. While it was easy to be charmed by this misadventure and go along for the ride in the days of the film’s release, advancements in navigation would make it very difficult to buy into today. Waze and Google Maps are readily available, and boast features that allow users to pin the location of a parked car to their map for easy finding later on. In other words, the titular question at hand is clearly no match for the power of Bluetooth.
‘Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle’ (2004)
Harold & Kumar takes the relatable phenomenon of getting the munchies, and turns it into an entire journey. It’s true that sometimes you do need a very specific snack after smokin’ on that zaza, but these days, our duo would just fire up UberEats to get those tasty little sliders. And while the thought of being transfixed by a White Castle commercial is almost heartwarming, it feels more likely that they’d be watching TV on an ad-free streaming service to begin with.
Friday finds newly fired slacker Craig and small-time dealer Smokey doing whatever it takes to scrounge together $200 to avoid the wrath of Big Worm. The many, many, many lengths the pair go to in order to settle this debt could have been resolved with the help of one of several advance payday apps at our disposal. Granted, that may create another debt, but at least it’s one that doesn’t involve having your shit rocked.
‘Smiley Face’ (2007)
Turns out Craig and Smokey wouldn’t be the only ones to benefit from this fiscal technology. Perennial stoner Jane F. in Smiley Face would avoid an entire day of conflict by securing a loan and hiring a Taskrabbit to complete her laundry list of chores. Sure, they couldn’t go to her auditions for her, but they could at least pay her electric bill while she’s there, freeing up plenty of time for her to think about lasagna.
‘Reefer Madness’ (1936)
While not inherently a comedy, Reefer Madness has been reclaimed as one by stoners the world over, thanks in part to the lunacy behind its premise. The original intent behind the 1936 film served to warn parents and youth alike about the “dangers” of marijuana. But the danger in question? Various counts of manslaughter, shared psychosis and a newfound affinity toward organized crime. Although its Hays Code propaganda may have been effective when it was released, modern science debunks every myth in the film, meaning parents can rest easy knowing that their college-aged children aren’t conspiring to murder one another after enjoying a joint.