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11/23/2005 Archived Entry: "Reefer Madness; Yeah, what Debra said"

YEAH, WHAT DEBRA SAID. About Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, I mean. I got my copy today from the Pre-Christmas Fairy.

It was a howling hoot of sendup of the entire war on pot, mostly the propaganda of the 1930s (with some 1950s sneaked in, and with alas all too much relevance today). It was a top-notch production in every way -- song, dance, acting, sets, costumes, editing, writing, directing. It was, of course, funny as hell. And the more you know about the history of the drug war or the actual effects of cannabis, the more funny you're likely to find it.

I can imagine that somebody who never knew the kind of propaganda put out in the 1930s might think they were exaggerating to the point of absurdity. And ... well, definitely they did reach out there.

But really, if anything they underplayed some of the Anslinger-era propaganda. Like they never tossed out any of Anslinger's insane statistics about "9,372 marijuana addicts in New York and the majority of them are niggra or latin jazz musicians" (or whatever). They implied it all. But Anslinger went to lengths -- and depths -- this movie lightly skims

But the thing that really smacked me upside the head was the ending. Wow. Good ending. For the last 10 minutes, I'd been wondering how they'd manage to wrap it up without falling into cliche -- having already spent the entire movie shredding cliches. Then they did it. I don't want to give away too much, so I'll make this the mildest possible spoiler. But in the last few seconds, the tone of that movie changes from mocking fun to ... well, see for yourself.

It'll stay with you. Sure will with me. At least until the next time I watch it.

Oh. And they have the original Reefer Madness on there, too. I know Debra said that. But that's a rare treat -- especially for anybody Boomer age. We all heard about that movie all the time back in those hippie dens of iniquity, but for a long time it was more legend than fact. Only after VHS came in did the actual film become really accessible. Been years. So I'm delighted and looking forward to seeing that.

Thanks for the early Christmas present, Debra. :-)

Posted by Claire @ 09:25 PM CST

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