FF151 - In the Army Now

Intro by John Roderick, spoken in its entirety in a "Stoner-voice"

Okay - like - we all know representation matters, and it is going to sound weird what I am about to say, but hear me out: There are actually almost no movies about stoners! Now you are protesting in your mind and listing all the movies about stoners like Caddyshack or whatever, but in fact: You are thinking of movies made for stoners and not about them. See, stoners represent an enormous demographic of cultural consumers that have always been exploited and excluded by the entertainment industry.

12% of Americans smoke pot, but what percentage of music and movies are consumed by stoners? Half? More? Stoners are picking up what you are putting down, global entertainment economy! *coughing* We are doing the heavy lifting of thinking that movies and music are good, yet stoners are always represented as - like - lovable losers and dopes and clowns! Are they those things? Sure! And sure - like - maybe the stoner character has a heart of gold, but is the stoner not complicated? Does the stoner not love and feel loved?

No! I mean: Yes! What I mean is: The stoner deserves better! Stoners love fantasy, they love SciFi, stoners love superheroes, they love Tom Cruise, they love Tom Hanks, they love Tom Hardy, they love Tom Arnold, they love Tom Green, you name it! Even - like - moody Cold War movies where gray-faced people move - like - pieces of paper around in the rain and at the end someone gets arrested and you don't even remember if they were in the rest of the movie or not. And: What side are we rooting for anyway? And did we win?

A lot of movies that are supposedly for kids are really for stoners, like Wall-E. Come on, bro! That is Stoner Chow right there! There is way too much violence and realism in superhero movies to show them to actual kids - God knows - but like - does Stoner America… - I mean: Does - like - Captain America have a stoner friend? Don't make me laugh! No, you could argue, as I am doing presently, that stoners deserve to see movies about themselves, just doing the things that they do, even if those things are mostly getting stoned and watching movies!

Like - Cheech & Chong was practically 50 years ago, bro! And although there are cultural references that are still relevant today, it is not enough! Stop pandering and start being more inclusive! Like - I am not… - I am not… saying I could organize any kind of boycott or anything - God! - It is kind of an empty threat, actually, but stoners are the cultural litmus test.

Look at it this way: Every film already has to be at least comprehendible by stoners, or at a minimum understandable collectively by a roomful of stoners where - like - one smart girl is following along and - like - able to recap what everyone else missed when they were making nachos. So now we need to start making stoners comprehendible to themselves, and stuff.

What Pauly Shore did with In The Army Now is in this sense groundbreaking because he made the fact that the protagonist is a stoner a secondary characteristic. He is not a wasteoid or a burn-out or a goof or a dope, or rather he is definitely all those things, but he is also - like - a hero and his heroism isn't in spite of being a stoner, it is a result of fully channeling his stoner powers that were heretofore untapped in the world of straights.

No pot is even smoked in this movie, but it is clear that the higher wisdom gained from a decade or more of getting high is a superpower in and of itself, capable of destroying the Libyan army? Ah! Getting stoned makes you wise beyond your years and stoners always knew that it makes you a warrior, too, but do Mr. and Mrs. USA America know it? Well: Now, thanks to seeing your Shore they do!

In conclusion: This film, In the Army Now, represents the peak of the golden age of stoner inclusion of what could have been a cultural moment, but after 9/11 and the fascist dictatorship of hair, Dick Cheney, the prejudice against stoners came down again like a curtain of iron, and it would be another generation of stoners before the prohibition would finally be lifted and stoners could once again breathe the fresh air!

We owe a debt to those pioneers who tried to show us the path. I only hope that Pauly Shore, wherever he is, looks down upon us with pride at our accomplishments of things. Right on! Oh, he is still alive? Oh, cool! Today on Friendly Fire: In the Army Now.

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