Monday, October 19, 2015

Girls on Ganga in "Grandma's Boy"

Netflix has done it again:
found a little-known film with a surprising amount of pot smoking in it.
This one is 2006's Grandma's Boy starring Linda Cardellini of Freaks and Geeks,
the short-lived but acclaimed TV series
that was NBC's more thoughtful answer to  That 70's Show.

In Grandma's Boy, Cardellini plays Samantha, a project manager at a video game company dealing with a bunch of geeky guys, including a pothead game tester named Alex who's living with his grandmother (Doris Roberts from Everybody Loves Raymond). Significantly, Alex isn't apologetic about his pot use. He admits he wasn't much of an accountant, but he shreds at his new job, especially after smoking a phattie. Samantha turns out to be a smoker herself, and she's soon the life of the party.

Most surprising (and delightful), Alex's grandma and her friends have their fun when they accidentally drink some tea made with his stash. Shirley Jones, in her dancingest role since Pepe (1960), gets in on the fun and makes out with a grateful geek. (Note the interesting "flower vase" in the shot at right.)

The film, directed by Nicholaus Goossen (of Trevor Moore's "High in Church") makes it until the final scene without a single negative reference, and then it's not too bad. No one has to quit smoking pot to get the girl, because the women are all cool too. Too bad Roberts couldn't smoke on Raymond because Peter Boyle, who played her husband, was a pot smoker (and was the best man at John Lennon and Yoko Ono's wedding).

Freaks and Geeks is also on Netflix. The series that launched Seth Rogen and James Franco put out mixed messages on pot, no doubt under the heavy hand of the censors. Cardellini's character Lindsay, a smart girl looking to be bad, tries smoking in her bedroom and gets a look of self awareness on her face for an instant, but just then her Dad knocks on the door and sends her babysitting, and she gets paranoid. In the season finale, her guidance counselor (an old hippie radical from Berkeley) turns her on to the Grateful Dead and she has to choose between a summer filled with academics or fun.

Cardellini was also seen as Velma in the Scooby Doo movie, in Brokeback Mountain, and recently as Don Draper's neighbor/lover in Mad Men. She's in the new Avenger's movie, too.

Busy Phillips, who played Kim in Freaks and Geeks, appeared on the wine-soaked ABC/TBS series Cougar Town. Its finale earlier this year was titled "Mary Jane's Last Dance," wherein everyone says "What?" to weed when Chick (for Chico?) brings it up. 





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