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Smoking makes most everything funny, and many will have a go-to
selection of movies that pair especially well with pot. It's
surprising, then, that movies about weed don't automatically fit into
that category. If you've ever been sober in a room full of smokers you
know that watching other people get stoned just ain't that funny, and
it's even more difficult for a movie to impart a contact high.
Fortunately, High School straddles the divide between "stoner movie" and "movie to watch while stoned", because it's very, very funny. The plot is a lean, generic high school story - Henry (Matt Bush) is the straight-A valedictorian, tempted astray just before graduation by stoner and one-time friend Travis (Sean Marquette) after a chance accident lands them in detention. Henry tries pot for the first time, just as Principal Gordon (Michael Chiklis) is about to call for a school-wide drug test after a spelling bee incident embarrasses his school's good name. Henry and Travis plan to foil the drug test by getting the whole school high on drug savant Psycho Ed's (Adrian Brody) ultra-potent supply.
The setup is goofy but handled lightly and with a relatively straight face, which already distinguishes the movie from pure stoner material like How High or Cheech and Chong. The laughs come early and often, not relying too much on stoner tropes (although they're around if you want 'em) or character mugging, but on good, old-fashioned gags. The pace is a little uneven, perhaps because the script runs very tight around the speedy storyline, but the comedy is not.
Brody is given plenty of space to go wild; by the end his influence on the film is much bigger than his screen time. The same could be said on a lesser scale for Colin Hanks as vice-principal Brandon and Yeardley Smith as a teacher, who do typically fine jobs. Bush and Marquette, the two young leads, hold up their end of the bargain very well.
This is a movie that deserves to find wide distribution. If Pineapple Express, a perfectly entertaining movie in its own way, can find a decent audience, then for this to be left on the shelf is criminal. If you get the chance and you're even remotely curious, see it. Once again: it's very, very funny.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Stoners beware! This will be the film you buy and keep next to your
bong. In case of a need for laughter emergency.
Sitting in a packed theater. Stars of the film a mere popcorn toss away. I kept thinking to myself. "Why is Oscar winning actor Adrien Brody in a stoner film." When all was said and done. As the crowd cheered and laughed upon the rolling of credits. It all made perfect sense to me. The script as "neck aching funny."
A high school valedictorian Henry Burke (Matt Bush). Allows himself a break from his strict studies. Of course he was persuaded by his long lost stoner pal Travis(Sean Marquette). As Henry inhaled his first hit ever. You knew it can only get worse. Announced at school the following day. Principal Gordon(Michael Chiklis) was enacting a mandatory drug test. Where if any student failed. It meant expulsion. After hearing this collegiate(scholarship to M.I.T) death sentence. Travis and Henry decide to get the whole high school high. Brownie bake sale baby.
As Travis and Henry begin such a tall order. They first must score the weed. To pull off such a feat. So, like all good plans. They decide to steal from Travis's drug dealer. Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody). And like all stoner plans. It gets worse around every turn.
I will leave the storyline there. And I will tell you. It is laugh out loud hilarious. Entertaining from start to finish. With some great acting from the star studded cast. So, look for this in theaters sometime this year. I will leave you with one word "WHUT?"
Normally I am not keen on the 'stoner comedies', as I have seen a good
share and most of them have been pretty boring, lacking comedy and
basically not really been worth watching. But the cast list credited to
this movie made me sit down and give it a chance.
And "High School" really surprised me as it turned out to be the best of all the 'stoner comedies' I have ever suffered through.
The story is about Henry (played by Matt Bush) who is a student with great grades and about to makes it to MIT, but in a moment of weakness he tried smoking weed with his childhood friend Travis (played by Sean Marquette). Unfortunately the high school they are attending implements mandatory drug testing for the following day, in lieu of a former spell bee champion from the school making headline news from being high on drugs during the competition. Coming up with a clever plan, the two friends decide to drug the entire school, to make everyone fail the drug tests, and end up stealing drugs from Psycho Ed (played by Adrien Brody). The following day becomes a chaotic race against time, as principal Leslie Gordon (played by Michael Chiklis) is piecing together what is really going on.
I will say that the story was cleverly thought through, and it had some nice moments. Sadly, though, this is not the type of comedy that will have you laughing hard throughout the entire movie. I laughed only a couple of times. But it is the type of comedy that is fun to watch and entertaining.
As for the cast list, the reason why I decided to watch this movie, well I must applaud Adrien Brody for his performance in this movie. He played the role of Psycho Ed so well, and it was a sheer joy to watch him in this movie. But also hats off for Michael Chiklis for his portrayal of the oddly behaving principal. It was very surreal to see these two in a movie like this and have roles like this. But they did a tremendous job, and they really carried the movie.
If you enjoy the 'stoner comedy' genre, then you definitely have to treat yourself to this movie, because it is really great.
And with that, I will leave you with a great quote from principal Leslie Gordon: "If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this footage should be worth a thousand pictures. Which would equal a million... words."
I saw this movie's meta-ratings on IMDb and rotten tomatoes expecting it to be totally woeful...It may have been the incredibly low expectations that I had initially, but I was delightfully surprised. This movie deserved way more than the $139,000 it made in the box office. It's such a shame that an awesome movie made so little, whereas Old Dogs (an absolute pile of crap) made 61 million in profit. I say ignore the ratings that other people have given it and give it a chance for yourself. Movies are so crappy nowadays, what do you have to lose? And if you like it, you may also want to give other box office flops like Tucker and Dale vs EVIL, Defendor and God Bless America a chance too. They may surprise you.
Be sure to stay after the credits for the bonus scene! Way better than I thought it would be, they really botched the trailers for this one. Hanks give a great performance. Being close friends with someone who works in public education I can say that the characters in this film do exist out there in real life. Unlike many other films in this genre there is not gratuitous amounts of time spent showing people actually consuming the herb, the screen time is instead spent on plot and some really funny jokes. The characters have some depth which helps pull you in to the story. Not nearly as many stereotypes as I was expecting. Our theater had both young and old alike in attendance and everyone was laughing at all the right spots. Slam or beer or something before you go to get in the mood, hehehehe "Whut?"
"Drugs, fornicating, a grown man singing about his feelings, it's time we win this war, expunge this school of all dope fiends." Henry Burke (Bush) has everything going for him. He has a scholarship to MIT and is in line to be his classes valedictorian. After an accident leads to detention he is brought back together with his old friend Travis (Marquette). They decide to take a break that night and unwind with a joint. After the school's representative in the national spelling bee loses it on TV the principal (Chiklis) institutes a mandatory drug test for everyone in the school. Fearing he will lose everything Henry and Travis come up with a plan. I am not really a fan of "stoner' comedy (I did like the Harold & Kumar movies) but the plot to this and the cast made it seem interesting to me. I was not disappointed. Adrien Brody is very funny as the man they steal from and Colin Hanks is good as a clueless asst. principle but Michael Chiklis steals the movie. Playing a clueless borderline pervert in charge of the school he is perhaps the funniest clueless principal since Ed Rooney. This is a very different style of stoner comedy and it is more like "Girl Next Door" then "Pineapple Express". This is nothing amazing but I enjoyed it and laughed quite a bit. Overall, a funny movie you can just put in and not think about, those are fun sometimes. I give it a B.
It's not just the film's stoner antics, but the wonderfully natural
dynamic between protagonists Henry and Travis (Matt Bush and Sean
Marquette) that make this film such a delight! At it's heart, that's
what HIGH School seems to be about: two very different guys finding
friends in each other in the midst of a sticky situation.
Many equally memorable moments are offered thanks to the expert talents of Michael Chiklis and Adrien Brody. Chiklis (as pompous Dr. Leslie Gordon) exudes a deliciously-villainous disdain throughout the film. His inflated sense of righteousness, and Shakespearean presence, make him a truly love-to-hate personality. As Psycho Ed, Adrien Brody is just so damn fun to watch! One moment his crazed behavior had me in a laughing fit; next, his insane anger had me scared for Henry and Travis' safety. Dr. Gordon and Ed are uniquely accomplished performances that add so much to HIGH School's entertainment value!
I hope you'll believe me when I say this film is so much more than a "stoner comedy". I LOVED it, and have extremely limited experience with other films of that genre. HIGH School made me laugh, made me think...I hope it does the same for you!
Seriously, this was an AWESOME and a really fun and funny movie! A
great film, even right from the very second the movie studio company
names came on screen. Funny throughout and it was a decent length, not
like some of these new comedies/films that just make it past an hour,
this makes it the full hog!
From a 24 yo guy (with a wicked sense of humour) that watched this un-stoned for the first time, well it was funny as f^ck! Can't wait to blaze up for the second watch!
As to all the hate/res, WHAT!? the hell man!? I see many haters hating, but not reviewing, as there's really nothing that bad you can say about this film. You could almost go as far to call this masterpiece a great 'family' movie... I mean is there not enough quotable jokes and analogies in here for you all? Was the fine acting, by all, BUT WOW was Adrien Brody SOOOOOOOO good, not enough? This movie made me search more with him in it, as well as a bunch of the other actors/crew!
In my opinion this will become a cult CLASSIC stoner film! But saying that, I understand these 'new-age-hipster' stoners think it's not cool to just have fun and relax, hence why they don't find movies like Smiley Face funny (if you haven't watched Smiley Face high, you haven't seen it). I know as a community of potheads we are changing the 'cheech-chong-hippie' image to something more 'suit-like' and 'get-it-legal' type image, but I beg of you all, let us not forget that weed shouldn't be taken so seriously as to not allow ourselves to unwind and laugh at pointless nonsensical feats of 'wisdom'... at least from time to time. I get the 'legal' stance, hell, I'm actively doing something to make it legal, but it doesn't mean we should wear these hats 24/7/365, that in itself couldn't be healthy. Just remember to unplug and laugh once in a while... :)
I highly recommend you all give it a chance, I'm sure there's so much going on in it, that by the end, you'll feel you could just rewind (if we all still did that) and start it from the beginning, all over again.
To cast and crew, WOW, thanks for making a rare 'modern' stoner classic. Adrien Brody, that performance deserved an Oscar! I'd love to see a sequel. But regardless, it's right up there, probably higher than some of the best of them - think How High type funny, quiet possibly funnier.
Hope this helps some of you!
Most of the stoner comedy films that come along play pretty stupid and
are an acquired taste. The latest High School looks to take the same
template but add something a bit unique to it with more story. Is it
possible to really be able to make a stoner film that stands out as
more than just that or is it just a guise to attract a bigger audience.
High School follows a valedictorian who decides to take his first hit of pot only to find out that they are having random drug testing the same day. To try and nullify the test he teams up with the school's biggest stoner to attempt to get the entire school high. For the most part this is your typical stoner comedy, but thanks to the great cast and new twist with the story it manages to become something more and quite entertaining. Of course the story is highly unbelievable, but if you can set that aside and just have fun with it you are sure to have a great time. The entire cast does a great job, but two standouts come in the form of school faculty with Colin Hanks and Michael Chiklis. Hanks seems to just letting it all out to having a lot of fun not taking himself seriously and delivering some memorable moments. If Hanks is letting it all out, then Chiklis has split open and pours it out on the floor. His delivers a performance out of character that is both hilarious and a bit creepy. The obsessed principal he brings to life would easily become one of the more memorable film characters if this film got a wider release. Every aspect of his performance works and is bothersome on so many levels. The other stand out is Adrian Brody who is always good and seems to enjoy the stranger roles, but here just seems to lose his mind inside the character and become one with this psychotic drug dealer.
This movie is a lot of fun and reminiscent of the comedies of the 80's. Filled with a great cast, over the top story, and an original take on the stoner comedy High School will have you eager to light it up and smoke until the last puff.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is, as far as stoner movies go, kind of ingenious, but High School
rushes through the parts it should savor and then pads out its runtime
with filler elsewhere and, less forgivably, it doesn't make getting
high look like fun. The stoner comedy as a genre has few requirements
other than summoning up a THC haze and being generally good-natured,
but High School leaves you feeling like the sober person at a party,
wincing at how everyone's acting and wondering if that's how you look
when under the influence. This may be because that's how Henry feels
all the time he's a tightly wound scold who belongs to that wan breed
of recent high school protagonists (see It's Kind of a Funny Story and
The Art of Getting By) who seem on the verge of implosion thanks to
some vague, self-imposed psychological distress.
The hollow-eyed Henry reunites with Travis, who is leading a seemingly parentless life on a perpetual high, after nearly running into him in the parking lot and instead hitting the principal's car and earning a detention. "You come to see how the other half lives?" sneers Travis, who's stuck there too. It rings strange the division between the pair isn't due to any class difference but to a lifestyle one, and Travis hasn't exactly been forced to smoke pot constantly. But the two feel enough nostalgia for their younger days to end up hanging out afterward, where Travis coaxes Henry in smoking his way to an unpleasant first-time high that leaves him paranoid, dazed and with a black eye from falling out of a tree house.
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