Slacker comedy is a pretty broad concept that encompasses a wide range of movies about lazy, dim-witted characters who drift way out of their depth. If that sounds suspiciously like a stoner movie, there’s a good reason for that. While not every stoner movie revolves around slackers, just about every slacker movie features stoners.

In honour 4/20's arrival, CTV has launched a collection of slacker favourites (including Heavy MetalPuff, Puff, Pass, and Superbad), but those looking for a concentrated hit of stoner bliss can’t do much better than these five movies from the masters of the form (Cheech & Chong) and their modern equivalents (Franco & Rogen).
Nice Dreams

Following an impressive introduction to movies with comedy classic Up in Smoke, Cheech & Chong frustrated some fans with the middling, erratic Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie. Fortunately, they went into Nice Dreams armed with an abundance of out-there concepts, leaving little room for disappointment. At the outset, our heroes are using an ice cream truck to sell marijuana, but their Up in Smoke adversary Sgt. Stedenko (Stacy Keach) is on the case… as he slowly turns into a lizard. Following a bunch of complications (and drugs), they somehow find themselves alongside Paul Reubens in a mental institution, getting guidance from an LSD-obsessed doctor played by master hallucinator Timothy Leary.
Things Are Tough All Over

While this fourth Cheech & Chong vehicle was a conscious effort to get away from their stoner roots—as the film begins, Chong is going through a sober phase—Things Are Tough All Over offers most of what you’ve come to expect from the comedy duo. Sure, there’s some extreme bad taste (the characters Mr. Slyman and Prince Habib have not aged well), but a peyote-fuelled detour into the desert yields some memorable moments and the road movie format brings back fond memories of Up in Smoke.
Pineapple Express

Marijuana has always been a big part of Seth Rogen’s star persona, but as co-writer of this blockbuster action-comedy he finally allowed it to take centre stage. Whereas Cheech & Chong were both constantly dazed and confused, Rogen’s Dale Denton is a vaguely level-headed counterpoint to James Franco’s doofus drug dealer Saul Silver. However, all bets are off when this duo hits the Pineapple Express, the “dopest dope” they’ve ever smoked. This stuff is so powerful, it gives drug lord Ted Jones all he needs to identify Dale as a witness to his latest murder, resulting in a surreal, blooper-filled spree of violence and clumsy criminality.
This Is the End

After establishing himself as a screenwriter with Superbad and Pineapple Express, Rogen graduated to full-blown writer-director status, working in collaboration with longtime sidekick Evan Goldberg on This Is the End. Many of his frequent castmates (including several Pineapple Express veterans) are in the mix, and Rogen gave them the intriguing challenge of playing themselves—in an apocalypse. While this gang of ambitious, career-driven actors may not qualify as typical slackers, the pot smoking is excessive, as are many of the comic set pieces (Jonah Hill gets possessed by a demon at one point), which should make for ideal viewing if you’re having a 4/20 movie night.
The Interview

Everything about The Interview and its bizarre offscreen history seems like something a couple stoners would dream up in a movie, but it all really happened. For their second (and last) film as directors, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg chose to tell the story of a celebrity reporter (James Franco) and a producer (Rogen), who get recruited by the CIA to assassinate dictator Kim Jong-un. North Korea’s state news agency described the film as the “most blatant act of terrorism and war,” and when Sony Pictures got hacked and threatened, the film’s theatrical release was cancelled. Now that five-plus years have passed and the smoke has cleared, we can finally kick back and assess this film for what it really is: a ridiculous stoner comedy.