Drug films of each generation
It's 4/20, which also means that it's 420 Day!
Most people know by now that "420," in all of its forms (420, 4:20, 4/20) can serve as a sly reference to marijuana use. Wikipedia even has a page on "stoner films," comedies that wrangle as much humor as possible from that inebriated state. In recent years, think of the three HAROLD & KUMAR films, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, FRIDAY… fill in your favorite stoner comedy here (we've probably got it for rent).
Yet drug films can also be extremely powerful stories, which is probably why each generation has a classic.
In the 60s, it was EASY RIDER (1969), of course, starring Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, a portrait of the psychedelic generation that launched a revolution in Hollywood, with a stoned Jack Nicholson, an avant-garde LSD sequence, & a sobering end.
Then there was UP IN SMOKE (1978), which brought Cheech and Chong into pop culture consciousness as goofballs driving a van made of marijuana from Mexico to Los Angeles.
At the end of the 80s, Gus Van Sant directed DRUGSTORE COWBOY (1989) a stark drama about addicts who break into pharmacies, with Matt Dillon, a cameo by William S. Burroughs, and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100%.
And recently, we've seen HALF NELSON (2006) -- a powerful drama starring Ryan Gosling, nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for this role as an inspiring inner-city teacher who tames his dark side with a needle, finally finding help with one of his students.