As an avid stoner, film buff, and feminist I’m ashamed to say I didn’t. Luckily, a local organization set me right.
In early April I entered a contest run by my favourite local Toronto bakery. The amazing Glory Hole Doughnuts, owned and operated by bad-ass baker Ashley Jacot De Boinod, was raffling off tickets on Instagram to “MUFF‘n’PUFF”, a theatre screening of Half Baked presented by The MUFF Society.
The MUFF Society
According to their website, “The MUFF Society (Monthly Underground Female Film Society) is a feminist screening series based in Toronto … [that aims] to champion women in film both on and off screen.”
They believe that what makes a film feminist is not just the story line or its female characters, but also the women involved in making the film. The MUFF Society shows the work of not only female performers but female directors, editors, producers, writers, et al.
They also host online conversations about the various roles of women in film, and actively support other women-centred film events.
I was surprised to see the event come across my feed. Not because I don’t think it’s an amazing idea, but I have become so accustomed to cannabis community events. It seemed refreshing to see another activist group embrace cannabis culture.
I messaged the event organizer to introduce myself as a writer for Twelve High Chicks. And I donated a copy of Twelve High Chicks Volume One to the prize raffle that night, which they happily accepted.
I won tickets! I have seen Half Baked (more times than I can count) but I had never seen it in a theatre. So on April 12th, 2017, I packed up some pre-rolls and some Wake n’ Bakery Ginger Snapped Cookies and took myself off to the movies.
Baked for Half Baked
I asked my best ride-or-die guy to accompany me to the first MUFF‘n’PUFF — every high chick should have a great stoner guy to call when she needs a little arm candy.
We arrived at the theatre an hour before showtime to a lobby filled with booths featuring local feminist zines and art. And a The MUFF Society photo booth! First we posed for obligatory photos. Then, since we had arrived early, we had plenty of time to go outside to partake in a big old New York Sour Diesel-filled blunt.
Of course, we made a visit to the concession stand to feed the munchies created by the aforementioned blunt. I was maybe a little excited to find out the concession would add vodka to my blue slushie fountain drink for a small additional charge.
For those that might not be familiar with Half Baked (where have you been and how did you get here?) three buddies steal medical weed to sell on the streets to raise the funds for a friend, Kenny’s (Harlan Williams), bail. This 1998 film, written by Neal Brennan and Dave Chappelle, has joined the likes of Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke and Nice Dreams in the stoner film hall of fame.
Filmed in New York and Toronto, Canadian stoners might recognize the old Toronto Hemp Company location featured in the film. It also supplied a lot of the heady stoner gear seen in the film.
The humour is immature and silly, and perpetuates too many stoner myths to list. But it’s a comedy and you have to leave your disbelief at the door. I still giggle every time Brian (Jim Breur) quits his job — I would so go with him after almost 20 years!
Feminism and Representation
While Tamra Davis’s creative direction gave us this great stoner movie, it is impossible for me to call Half Baked a feminist film.
I’m not a huge fan of the female archetypes used in the film. The fight scene between our stoner heroes and bad guy Sampson’s (Clarence William III) henchwomen is sexist and ridiculous.
And of course the love interest, Mary Jane (Rachel True), is a “good girl” who doesn’t smoke weed. It doesn’t read as well to a new, socially aware generation. Today you can be a good girl and still smoke weed.
So did I have a good time at the MUFF‘n’PUFF? Yes! Half Baked is still a funny movie, you should watch it. But don’t expect a feminist lens in this stoner comedy. And watch it while you’re on weed, man!
May I suggest a New York Sour Diesel?
Find out more about The MUFF Society and their May 17 screening of Girl, Interrupted here.