Happy 4/20, everyone! We hope that you are celebrating this day responsibly. And by “this day,” we mean “Thursday,” a regular day that is not really different from any other day. It is certainly not a day to do anything illicit, such as the consumption of products related to certain plant associated with good times, good food, and Bob Marley. To celebrate this very normal Thursday, we have put together a short list of movies that might be enjoyable for very sober, very serious consumption.
THE TREE OF LIFE
Dir. Terence Malick
On any regular day, Terence Malick’s grand meditation on the nature of God’s relationship with his creation is a challenging but ultimately rewarding work. On 4/20, when minds are a little more open thanks to it being a regular Thursday where nothing out of ordinary is happening at all, the film’s lightness of plot and focus on creating ethereal imagery comes into sharper relief. Certainly, the middle section, which is basically a montage that documents the creation of the universe and the first emergence of life on Earth, is something that blow someone’s very sober, very regular mind.
Dir. Masaaki Yuasa
Animation is generally a good bet on 4/20. Any episode of Adventure Time, for example, is the kind of the thing that feels appropriate on this day, a Thursday. Masaaki Yuasa is a Japanese animator with a very distinctive art style who has actually worked on an episode Adventure Time, and all of his work is worth seeking out for any devotee of 4/20. He has one feature film under his belt, 2004’s Mind Game. Yuasa eschews the typical polish of anime films in favor of a wild, patchy style that perfectly suits the film’s unusual narrative. It’s a real trip.
Dir. Juzo Itami
While we’re on a Japanese bend, let’s talk about the classic Tampopo. If you haven’t seen it, it is about one restaurant owner’s quest to cook the perfect bowl of ramen. 4/20, of course, is a great day to watch a movie about delicious food, since people have to eat on normal days. We get the munchies all the time! Tampopo has the added benefit of having a really strange sense of humor and a penchant for little bits of surreality that might cause a completely sober, law-abiding person to break out into uncontrollable fits of laughter.
BOY GOLDEN: SHOOT TO KILL
Dir. Chito Roño
For those looking for more local 4/20 flavor, check out Boy Golden: Shoot to Kill. We understand that the presence of Jeorge Estregan might have kept you from seeing this movie back when it premiered at the MMFF years ago, but 4/20 provides the perfect context for seeing this pretty insane piece of work, which happens to be up on Youtube. The great Chito Roño builds a bizarre, colorful world of absurd characters where musical performances and fight scenes are equally likely to break out. Under the cloud of this regular Thursday, one can more easily appreciate what it is that Jeorge Estregan can bring to a movie: a complete lack of self-awareness often resulting in powerful comedy.