Talkhouse Film Contributors Talk Watching Movies Under the Influence

Because sometimes seeing a film straight just isn't the right choice...

Clay Liford (My Mom Smokes Weed) Has Fun with Fungi at a Screening of Paddington
“Seeing as how obviously weighty an event this was, I decided to, well, “amplify” my experience by doing something I’ve never done before. Pushing my limited journalistic talents to the brink… and beyond. Paddington seemed worthy of it. And there was the nagging desire to soak in the experience with a sense of newness and wonder that my aging, jaded eyes have perhaps lost over the years. Oh, who am I kidding? I just always wanted to try ’shrooms.

My films may feature an unsettling amount of recreational drug use, but I’m not your hip uncle who always has weed. Recently, though, fortune shone upon me in the form of a new and friendly neighbor. A neighbor who happened to be a bit more worldly than I. In exchange for 20 bucks and my plus-one to the screening, said neighbor/Dr. Feelgood provided two things: a goodly quantity of psychedelic fungi and her services as a “spotter,” in the event of things going horribly awry. Per her instructions, I took a healthy dose of nastiness (nobody can really prepare you for how gross those things taste) 45 minutes before the screening. Plenty of time for them to kick in.

…The funny thing about mind-altering drugs, in particular when it comes to newbies like yours truly, is it’s really hard to tell exactly when they’ve begun working. I kept fixating on the tiny Christmas tree lights that ran along the path marking the exit. Were they brighter… more colorful than usual? Was it something akin to the placebo effect? Ugh. I was psyching myself out. My neighbor kept laughing at me, making me severely self-conscious. Everyone here can tell!!! They know! I can see it on their faces! Mercifully, the movie began.”

Cat Agent (Uncle Kent 2) Takes a Little Pot Candy at the Minions Press Screening

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Calvin Lee Reeder (The Rambler) Gets Messed Up for the First Jodorowsky Movie in 25 Years
“It used to be difficult to find a Jodorowsky film at all. If you came upon El Topo or The Holy Mountain, even the most crud-covered and faded VHS, you felt lucky. My time-traveling partner, Carlos Lopez, was always the one to unearth these little mysteries. We watched ’em a bunch. They burrowed in, we changed a little. Jodorowsky’s work is like a window into some place where laws and rules have no meaning; art, I guess. This was formative stuff for me. It’s not cute and it’s not academic. There is no formula. It’s mystical with ideas, power and voice. It’s difficult to brand that sort of thing. In another life, Jodorowsky could be a cult leader; in this one, he’s the father of midnight cinema. It was fitting that I was planning to see Carlos when the Talkhouse asked me to write something about Jodorowsky’s new movie, The Dance of Reality. New legs for an old trip.

Carlos was babysitting quarter horses up in Mt. Vernon, WA. Quarter horses are named for their speed and are known to outdistance a thoroughbred in a quarter-mile race. There might be some kind of metaphor in there. One Jodorowsky movie is the creative equivalent of most filmmakers’ entire careers. He doesn’t need to run every race, he just waits for a good one. He’s potent.

We did the chores, got messed up and watched The Dance Of Reality. …When the film was over, Carlos and I walked around the woods and drank Rainier until the sun came up. The movie really burned in. We fed the horses, fed the chickens, took out the trash, fed the dogs and talked about the movie some more. When I finally got to sleep, it gave me intensely lucid dreams of Christ, Buddha, God and folks you haven’t heard of yet. I never think of or dream about religion. Jodorowsky bled that stuff out of my subconscious. He woulda made a great cult leader.”

Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair (High Maintenance) Look into Tomorrowland with the Help of Some Weed Gummies
Katja: It’s a Disney movie, and everybody sounds a little theatrical in those movies. Still, I felt like these actors were pretty grounded. Good casting. The hokiest characters were the villains.

Ben: Keegan-Michael Key.

Katja: Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn! Yes. I do love those people.

Ben: You know what’s so funny is that Keegan-Michael Key came out and I was like, “Good for Jason Mantzoukas — he’s working so much!”

Katja: That’s so weird, honey. Too many…

Ben: Too many hilarious olive-complexioned men to keep track of?

Katja: (laughs) No, I was just gonna say too many weed gummies before the movie.

Ben: Ah, yes. We had some weed gummies. Fine.