Heady Entertainment: Keep Smoking Grass for Neil deGrasse Tyson and “Bloodshot”
Welcome back to Heady Entertainment, MERRY JANE's weekly guide to just-released movies, books, TV shows, 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.
Movie theaters will showcase wild, weed-ready action in the form of Vin Diesel’s superhero bash Bloodshot and the controversial political satire The Hunt. (That is, if movie theaters stay open admist the coronavirus panic.)
Smoking up streaming screens, Anna Paquin returns in the savagely funny PR sitcom Flack, HBO’s Westworld reinvents its own science-fiction premise for maximum reefer impact in season three, and Neil deGrasse Tyson blows minds even more severely with science fact in Cosmos: Possible Worlds.
Our classic cult-flick picks kick off with Verotika, outlaw rocker Glenn Danzig’s instantly legendary horror anthology, the ’80s slasher favorite April Fool’s Day, scare maven Paul Naschy’s werewolf-karate mash-up The Broad Sword and the Beast, and the mind-popping art visions of The Maya Deren Collection.
So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled and smoldering recommendations.
Director: David S.F. Wilson
Cast: Vin Diesel, Elza Gonzalez, Sam Heugan
Like RoboCop pumped up to amphetamine speed for the 21st century, Bloodshot showcases Vin Diesel as a marine who gets murdered then scientifically resurrected as “a superhuman biotech killing machine” called — you guessed it — Bloodshot. Piecing together bits from his pre-makeover existence, Bloodshot hunts for the fiends who mowed down both him and his wife, igniting a storm of cutting-edge visual effects vengeance best witnessed while giddily lit.
The Hunt (2020)
Director: Craig Zobel
Cast: Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts
After getting pulled from theaters last year following a Twitter condemnation from you-know-who, anticipation for the high-octane political satire The Hunt only built up like bong-smoke behind a chamber carb. At last, Hollywood has moved its finger, The Hunt is hitting theaters, and we’re all free to imbibe this savage send-up of red-state/blue-state warfare in which “liberal elites” stalk and kill “MAGA conservatives” for sport. Get high, see The Hunt, and make sure you’re registered to vote — then do it!
Cosmos: Possible Worlds
Host: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Watch It: Nat Geo
For Cosmos: Possible Worlds, science guy supreme Neil deGrasse Tyson blasts us off into the outer-most reaches of physical reality. Entertaining and enlightening as only he can be, deGrasse Tyson explores uncharted realms, lost universes, future landscapes, and a mind-melting array of new dimensions toward which humans may be heading. You already know which proper rocket fuel to fire up in order to best enhance this journey.
Flack: Season 2
Cast: Anna Paquin, Sam Neill, Martha Plimpton
Watch It: PopTV
The UK series Flack caught on globally last year as viewers coughed out bong smoke to the show’s vicious send-up of the A-list public relations game, and marveled at the deep performance delivered each episode by star Anna Paquin. As a Hollywood publicist relocated to London, Paquin mops up all manner of messes and guides celebrities through crises of their own making — oftentimes, just barely. Flack slaps.
Westworld: Season 3
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Aaron Paul, Geoffrey Wright
Watch It: HBO
After two must-smoke seasons of brilliantly brain-bending sci-fi about adult-theme-park robots programmed for human pleasure attaining consciousness, Westworld returns with eight new episodes set amid the danger of dynamics of Los Angeles in the future. Cast regulars Evan Rachel Wood, Geoffrey Wright, and Thandie Newton are back, joined now by Aaron Paul, Lena Waithe, Kid Cudi, and NFL running back Marshawn Lynch.
Director: Glenn Danzig
Cast: Kayden Kross, Rachel Alig, Natalia Borowsky
Get It: MVD
With Verotika, musclebound punk-metal frontman and scary movie fanatic Glenn Danzig adds “one-of-a-kind filmmaker” to his array of lifetime achievements, finally realizing his dream to write and direct a horror anthology as, literally, only he could possibly do it.
Verotika is adapted from Danzig’s adults-only comic book line of the same name, spinning a trio of sex-and-blood-drenched terror tales introduced by porn star Kayden Kross in the gothic garb of a horror hostess named Morella.
In the event anyone wonders if Verotika might pair well with potent marijuana, just consider that its very first segment tells the “the story of a woman with eyeballs for nipples who conjures a giant, murderous albino man-spider every time she falls asleep.” Again, that’s just how the movie starts.
After its 2019 premiere in Chicago, audiences emerged stunned from Verotika, with multiple critics likening it to a horror version of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. The comparison is understandable, but, truly, Verotika is an experience beyond, and one you must get high to and have for yourself ASAP!
April Fool’s Day (1986)
Director: Fred Walton
Cast: Deborah Foreman, Clayton Rohner, Deborah Goodrich Royce
Get It: Shout Factory
After Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Mother’s Day (1980), New Year’s Evil (1981), Graduation Day (1981) and so on, in 1986, classic-era slasher movie-makers eventually got around to April Fool’s Day, and fright fans have been ripping bongs to its bloody surprises every spring ever since.
Deborah Foreman of Valley Girl stars as Muffy St. John, a preppie college student who invites her classmates to her family’s remote island getaway for a weekend of pranks that turns deadly — or does it? Prank after prank, kill after kill, scream after scream, April Fool’s Day is a tricky treat, especially by way of Shout Factory’s new collector’s edition. Watch with serious weed ready, and have fun trying to figure out who’s dead and whodunit.
The Beast and the Magic Sword (1983)
Director: Jacinto Molina
Cast: Paul Naschy, Shigeru Amachi, Beatriz Escudero
Get It: DiabolikDVD
In the course of writing, directing, and starring in 14 varyingly insane, always entertaining movies about a John-Belushi-lookalike werewolf named Waldemar Daninsky, Spanish movie maven Paul Naschy became a howling superstar of hallucinatory horror.
The Beast and the Magic Sword, just released in a killer special edition by Diabolik, is Naschy’s final go-round as the way-out Wolfman and well worth your weed-bolstered viewing.
It’s a trip (in every sense) set in the 16th century. Daninsky travels from Spain to Japan in search of a sorcerer whose mystical silver sword might break the wolf curse. Along the way, our hairy hero goes up against martial arts masters, lightning swordsmen, and a host of other brain-straining challenges. Bust out the bud and bay at the moon while watching.
Maya Deren Collection
Director: Maya Deren
Get It: Kino Lorber
Maya Deren, revered the world over as “the Mother of Avant-Garde Cinema,” is one of the all-time most daring and dazzling visual artists who ever blew minds by way of a movie screen.
Beginning with the 1943 landmark Meshes of the Afternoon, Deren’s experimental films effectively treated audiences to acid trips decades before LSD became popular. Naturally, then, 1960s psychonauts rediscovered her work, and Deren’s absolute command of cutting-edge moviemaking has since remained a rite of passage for many who pursue higher consciousness through chemical enhancement.
Kino Lorber’s new Maya Deren Collection gathers the mind-altering master’s work in gorgeously restored form, along with fascinating bonus features. In addition to Meshes, the collection also features the “psychogeographical journey” At Land (1944) and Divine Horsemen, an hour-long montage of footage that Deren shot of Haitian voodoo ceremonies ranging from the '40s to the ’70s.
By Rich the Kid
Get It: Rich the Kid Official
Atlanta superstar Rich the Kid follows up last year’s The World Is Yours 2 with Bossman, a new album so definitively dope, it may as well be unofficially titled The World Is Yours 3. Building off the smoking strength of the singles “That’s Tuff,” featuring Quavo; “Money Talk” with YoungBoy Never Broke Again; and the pure solo suaveness of “Red,” Bossman is a bomb-ass endeavor, end-to-end.
I’ll Say It for You
Get It: Dax Official
Blazing an elevated trail out of Canada by way of YouTube, inspirational hip-hop force Dax lays himself out raw on I’ll Say It for You, a seven-track EP driven by pain, hope, courage, and heightened consciousness. We’ll say it for you: Spark a doob, and let Dax take you higher.
Get It: Bandcamp
Indie rock supergroup Ultraista consists of FEMME frontwoman Laura Betteson on vocals, Beck producer Joy Waronker on drums, and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich playing a multitude of other instruments. Sister emerged from nine improv sessions that evolved into fully engaging, exquisitely crafted songs.
It’s been eight years since Ultraista’s debut record, and, in the course of its members numerous other projects, they’ve fully absorbed the cultural zeitgeist which includes, of course, the overwhelming presence of cannabis.
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