"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 3 April 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.






Put this in your pipe: The first A-list movie star to get busted for smoking pot was Robert Mitchum. Robert Mitchum had a cameo in the remake of Cape Fear, which introduced Robert De Niro to Juliette Lewis by way of Zig-Zag. Juliette Lewis and Brad Pitt starred in Kalifornia, then Brad Pitt played a stoner in True Romance, which also starred Dennis Hopper. Dennis Hopper got his start in True Grit with John Wayne, then got famous for smoking reefer on screen in Easy Rider with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. In Easy Rider, Peter Fonda based his role on Duke Wayne's role in The Flying Tigers. And then Peter Fonda's daughter got high in Jackie Brown, with Robert De Niro. As the drowsy delinquent loitering in his baggy pants at our favorite Taco Bell might mumble, "That shit's fucked up."

Forget whether John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, or Jack Nicholson is the stem of cannabis cinema. If the Duke were alive today, he'd be riding to the rescue of Humboldt County pot ranchers, and McDonald's would be cross-marketing novelty bowls in the shape of P-40 Warhawks. Abusing combustible narcotics has been part of movie parlance since 1894's Chinese Opium Den; the only difference now is that it's big names firing up the hookah: Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski), Brad Pitt (True Romance), David Chappelle (Half Baked), method galoot Robert De Niro (Jackie Brown), and up-and-coming Chris Rock manqué.

How has marijuana supplanted cocaine as Hollywood's drug of choice? Easy - Hollywood loves that balance between slight transgressiveness and mainstream salability. At the same time, there's a humanizing quality in seeing a star who can open a movie light up a bowl instead - "Look, when he's getting high, Robert De Niro looks like a dimwitted slob, and I know people just like that!" Passing a blunt on screen may someday be what nude scenes are now - an embarrassing but necessary step on the path to superstardom.

And if you're reading this page, there's a one-in-five chance you nurse a secret jones to rise above your station by someday selling your script to Hollywood. If so, you'll need to learn the whys and wherefores of cannabis pictures, in Suck's Pot Movie Symposium.

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