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The Movie Stoner Hall of Fame

From Cheech and Chong to the Dude, the pantheon of screen potheads

All screen stoners are not created equal: There are characters who take the occasional toke, and then there are the ones that have turned a wake-and-bake habit into a way of life. Some of them react insanely over the top after a few puffs; some simply get the giggles; and some of them can barely get off the couch after a few monster bowls. All of these silver-screen smokers, however, have given potheads some film heroes they can, like, call their own.

In honor of 4/20, a.k.a Mary Jane Christmas, we’re inducting our Movie Stoner Hall of Fame. These are the men and women who’ve bong-hit and hotboxed their way into screen immortality — your Cheech and Chongs, your Harold and Kumars, your Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowskis. Congratulations: We know the perfect way you can celebrate.

This list was originally published in April 2016

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Harold Lee and Kumar Patel, ‘Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle’ (2004)

Striking a blow for Hollywood inclusiveness, this stoner buddy-comedy was rare mainstream film to feature Asian-American protagonists — and in Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn), gave the big screen its best toker pals since Cheech and Chong. Theirs is a typical yin-yang friendship: Harold is the responsible investment banker, while Kumar is more of the temperamental screw-up. But unlike a lot of cinematic potheads, these buds are actually bright, articulate and sensitive dudes. Which doesn’t mean they can’t get some serious munchies — hunting down some grub is the whole point of White Castle — or experience crazy drug-fueled trips. (The Claymation sequence from 2011’s A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is one of the trilogy’s giggly highlights.) TG

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New Line/Photofest, Universal Pictures/Photofest, 20th Century Fox/Photofest

Jane F., ‘Smiley Face’ (2007)

Anna Faris’ comedic type is a combination of wide-eyed gentility and chronic klutziness — which makes her the perfect person to play a heroine high as hell on cannabis cupcakes. Her spacey protogonist in writer-director Gregg Araki’s toked-up midnight movie spends one crazy day in L.A., trying to straighten up enough to complete an urgent to-do list (“Get to that hemp festival”; “Try to figure out a way to return the Communist Manifesto without getting arrested”). Faris understands how intoxicated folks strain to act “normal” in public; she also inherently gets how great O.J. and Tostitos taste when you’re stoned to the gills, even if it takes Roscoe Lee Browne’s voice in her head to remind her. NM

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New Line/Photofest, Universal Pictures/Photofest, 20th Century Fox/Photofest

Dale and Saul, ‘Pineapple Express’ (2008)

Dope creates strange bedfellows — in life and in the movies. Seth Rogen’s shaggy young professional Dale Denton doesn’t have a lot in common with James Franco’s spacey drug-dealer Saul Silver in David Gordon Green’s throwback caper comedy, but when their business relationship puts them into mutual mortal danger, they discover that they make a good team. (Rogen and Franco would later make a DIY “sequel” to this stoner-cinema classic in their 2013 Apatow-MVP team-up movie This Is the End — itself a postapocalyptic pot-smoking epic.) Saul’s happy-go-lucky nature gets under Dale’s gruff, loner skin. But sometimes just sharing just one common interest is enough to forge an unbreakable bond, and these guys are connected by something truly divine: a superbud that smells “like God’s vagina.” NM