Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Kid Cannabis: The Canadian Connection
was a case that just might change how you think about Idaho. Potatoes are still
the state’s cash crop, but there was (and presumably still is) plenty of “B.C.
Bud,” as in British Columbia, just across the border. For an awkward high
school drop-out, it represented an opportunity that turned out to be golden—at least
for a while. Based on the true stoner story of Nate Norman, John Stockwell’s Kid Cannabis (trailer here) opens this
Friday in New York.
started at the bottom of the social pyramid in his sleepy Idaho town.
Delivering pizzas to support his troubled single mother and younger brother, he
and his mate Topher Clark have only one pleasure in life—weed. Unfortunately,
the local dealer, privileged adoptee Brendan Butler, only sells crummy stems
and seeds at inflated prices. However, it is a different world up in Nelson,
Canada. After a bit of reconnoitering, the lads blunder into a dream supplier: organic
farmer and connoisseur John Grefard.
his misfit high school cronies as runners, Norman establishes a high volume
trafficking operation, with the financial backing of Barry Lerner, a vaguely Russian
sounding gangster and cell phone store magnate. When the money starts flooding
in, Norman and Clark predictably lose their heads binging on drugs, parties,
and women. Unfortunately, rather than finding competitive inspiration from
Norman’s lower prices and higher quality product, Butler opts to go gangster.
this is a total stoner movie. Even if only a handful of people see Kid in theaters this Friday, nearly every
frat boy in America will know it by heart in a few years. True to genre form,
it gives the outward appearance of a cautionary morality tale, but really
implies the good times were totally worth it.
if the hedonistic excesses were not enough, Kid
also has Ron Perlman and John C. McGinley for cult film fans. Perlman could
probably play Lerner is his sleep, but he is still cool as Fonzy whenever he is
on-screen. While McGinley only appears in an early sequence, he memorably
supplies the film’s (thoroughly high) voice of reason. Happily, Jonathan Daniel
Brown exceeds expectations as Norman, largely avoiding lazy shtick and cheap
sentiment. In contrast, the rest of his criminal associates are a dull,
colorless lot, except for Aaron Yoo chewing the scenery like a hash brownie as
the increasingly erratic Butler. In fact, Norman’s best bud Clark is so
lifeless, one might assume he is a refuge from a zombie flick.
Stockwell is quite the working director, with Kid opening a mere two weeks after the release of In the Blood. Nobody will accuse him of
being an auteur or a pretentious stylist (even if he was part of Andy Warhol’s
inner circle), but he has a knack for keeping things snappy. It all flows along
nicely, keeping viewers hooked, despite telegraphing exactly where it is all
Remember kids, drugs are bad and trafficking is
really, really dangerous. While not exactly a good movie per se, Kid Cannabis is something of a guilty
pleasure that certainly accomplishes everything it sets out to do. Recommended
for those who will relate, Kid Cannabis opens
this Friday (4/18) in New York at the Village East.
Labels: Ron Perlman, Stoner Movies