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Our 9 Favorite Movie Stoners

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
Warner Bros.

The numbers 4-20 have tons of significance in both world history and American culture. It's Hitler's birthday and the date of the Columbine massacre, for starters.

But since those two are such buzzkills, we'll focus on what else the date means: high time for stoners everywhere.

Looking back at our favorite stoner films, we notice many actors portray potheads one-dimensionally: eyes glazed, dopey voice, etc. We love the following movie stoners because they're not only funny, but also multidimensional.

Okay, but mostly because they're funny.

9. Brad Pitt, 'True Romance' (1993)

Warner Bros.

Floyd is the ultimate slacker stoner. Pitt plays the character as being so high he barely forms words outside of mumbling, "Hey! Get some beer and some cleaning products." His scenes provide great comedic relief in an otherwise rough and violent movie.

We relate because we've had nightmarishly lazy roommates like Floyd. The scenes are twice as funny now in hindsight, now that "Floyd" tops A-list celebrities.

8. Danny McBride, 'Pineapple Express' (2008)

Columbia Pictures

While McBride's character Red is not as recognizable as others on this list (or as the film's leads, Seth Rogen and James Franco), it should continue to standout as one of the most unique and entertaining stoners in cinema. Red is cocky, effeminate and completely eccentric. He alternates between cowardly and gutsy throughout the film, saves the day in the end and appears to be indestructible after being beat up, shot and blown up. Just thinking about him makes us smile.

7. Chris Tucker, 'Friday' (1995)

New Line Cinema

Tucker's character Smokey is a perfect test candidate for medical marijuana's effects on hyperactivity. Smoking seems to be the only thing that calms and focuses him. He's also a hilarious "devil-on-the-shoulder" for Ice Cube's straight-laced character.

We all have friends like Smokey (just not as funny). They'll get us in trouble but we'll keep them around because they always keep things interesting.

6. Bridget Fonda, 'Jackie Brown' (1997)

Miramax

There is currently a stoner comedy in development with Natalie Portman, which is exciting because there are surprisingly few great female stoners on film. Fonda's character Melanie Ralston is one of the few exceptions (see also Anna Faris in the not-so-good "Smiley Face"). She is every slacker's dream girl, a throwback '70s surfer chick living in modern times but still practicing free love. However, Melanie isn't just some peaceful hippy. She hangs with a dangerous run-and-gun crowd.

5. Dave Chappelle, 'Half Baked' (1998)

Universal

Chappelle is inspired as Thurgood Jenkins, the "straight-man" stoner. He balances out the crazy characters played by Jim Breuer, Guillermo Diaz and Harland Williams, and also guides the audience through New York's marijuana subculture.

Even if you are completely against the drug, you'll still enjoy hanging with Thurgood. He's hilarious, rationale and relatively productive. The reason he's not higher is we now realize Chappelle was just playing himself – at least before he dropped out of the biz.

4. Jeff Bridges, 'The Big Lebowski' (1998)

Gramercy Pictures

The Dude has to be on this list. What other stoner has conventions, books and an online religion devoted to him? The Dudeism organization, The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, has ordained over 50,000 Dudeist Priests. There are dozens of annual Lebowski Fests across the world. It's because The Dude, as well Daniels' portrayal of him, is multi-layered, at peace with his world and able to tackle large challenges when needed – all while stoned out of his mind.

3. Cheech Marin & Tommy Chong, 'Cheech & Chong' series

Everett Collection

These guys are to stoner comedy what the Sex Pistols are to punk rock. Even if they didn't invent it, they kicked off its birth. People joked about potheads beforehand but Cheech and Chong were the first to realize a whole movie could be built around these characters.

Their influence is even evident in today's pot-less comedies. Just look at all the movies with slackers or buffoons as the lead characters. Before "Up In Smoke," most leads were the wise person surrounded by fools.

2. Sean Penn, 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' (1982)

Universal

Jeff Spicoli is the prototype for all slacker high school students and teen stoners in subsequent movies. Penn nailed the surfer-dude vibe and clueless disposition that would inspire "Bill & Ted," Rory Cochrane in "Dazed and Confused," James Franco in "Pineapple Express" and dozens of others. What makes the performance even better is knowing Penn played a military cadet in "Taps" a year before and a juvenile delinquent in "Bad Boys" a year later. He proved his range from the start.

1. John Cho & Kal Penn, 'Harold & Kumar' series

New Line Cinema

Movie stoners are mostly portrayed as losers or criminals, with little going for them except the party. Yet, we know all types of people smoke weed. "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" depicted this reality to a tee. Harold is an investment banker and Kumar is a perfect candidate for medical school.

Refuting one stereotype after another in hilarious and lovable fashion, they prove Asian-American professionals enjoy late-night munchies as much as anyone.

Originally published Nov. 20, 2010.

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