Guilty Treasures | Smokes and Jokes or I was going to put an ellipsis in the title because the previous two guilty treasures had them.
I was originally going to write about Hackers for this article because it fits within the geek realm and would possibly connect well with our audience; but the problem with that is that I feel no guilt nor shame for liking it. Hackers is an awesome movie and I will gladly talk about it with anyone who ever makes a mistake of referencing it or mentions that they have never seen it. You should watch it. When I told Angela and Heather what I intended to write about they didn’t seem to understand and when I further explained that I was between this and Hackers it was suggested that I go with Hackers because people might relate to that better. But that doesn’t quite fit with the intention of this column now does it?
The movie I’m going to ramble about is How High. I’m not a stoner. I don’t smoke but I love stoner comedies. To me Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle is one of the pinnacles of American achievement and guess what, I still don’t feel guilty for liking it. I mean, who doesn’t love Half Baked? I consider How High to be a forgotten triumph in the pantheon of early 2000’s stoner comedies. Method Man and Redman play the roles of Silas and Jamal respectively. Just go ahead and read the first paragraph from the plot synopsis on Wikipedia.
” When Silas’s friend Ivory dies, Silas uses his ashes as fertilizer for a new batch of marijuana. While both are sitting in the parking lot before taking their “THC” (Testing for Higher Credentials, a parody of the SAT in allusion to Tetrahydrocannabinol) exams for college, neither is able to smoke his individual marijuana stash without the help of the other. They soon discover that smoking Silas’s new batch summons the ghost of the recently deceased Ivory, visible to just the two of them. Ivory tells them the test answers as they take the test and they both score perfect scores. Several dubious colleges offer the pair scholarships, but none of them are appealing. Eventually, Chancellor Huntley (played by Fred Willard) suggests the two apply to Harvard University.”
They cheat on a test by getting answers from the ghost of their friend they can see when the smoke weed grown in his ashes and go to Harvard. Fantastically ridiculous. I’m not going to lie this movie makes use of base humor and hackneyed clichés but can be surprisingly funny and absurd. Two of my favorite moments involve the ghost of Ben Franklin and the corpse of John Quincy Adams.
*Warning – Graphic language and spoilers for a 12 year old movie*
Plus the name of the fictional Dean of Harvard is Carl Cain or as everyone calls him, Dean Cain. Stupid and yet hilarious because Dean Cain! There are also surprising cameos in this movie like Tracy Morgan and Spalding Gray(!)
If you’re wondering how this movie relates to our subject matter her at GeekCLE; part of the story involves Silas (Redman) excelling in botany class because it’s something that he’s actually interested in. So, this movie is really about how just because you look a certain way doesn’t mean you act a certain way.
Also, consider this interaction between Silas and his new roommate Bart.
Bart: Peace is meant to explain a state of tranquility. Ok? So why don’t you try finding a way to say goodbye, now that you’re among civilized people.
Silas: Well, Mr. Civilized, peace can also be used interjectionally, as a request, greeting or farewell. So, try to find another way to be an asshole, if you don’t know your grammar, that is. Peace.
There are a lot of random moments like that.
Look at me justifying this to you. I don’t owe you anything! I like this movie.
I think the first time I came across How High was late night/early morning on cable. Which reminds me of another comedic achievement The Story Of Everest skit from Mr. Show.
The first few times I saw this skit I didn’t find it funny, just annoying. One night after being exhausted from working all day I sat down to watch some Mr. Show because it’s the best. This skit came on and it just clicked and at 4am, exhausted and frustrated from a long day of work, I understood this to be what it is. Pure comedic genius and like the Story Of The Story of Everest it is a laugh riot.
What is your guilty treasure? Is it a video game you spend hours playing, keeping notes and leveling up? An ever growing collection of action figures? Here is you chance to tell everyone why you love it and why it’s awesome. Have no shame because we all like something weird. To submit, email your 1,000 words or less on your guilty treasure to heather [at] geekcle [dot] com and maybe we will feature it on the site!