Note: This is part of an ongoing series. One of us goes to a Redbox DVD rental, picks a movie, and writes about it. The movie has to be one we’ve never heard of.

It all started when my brother got married. My lovely wife and I drove up from Tulsa, OK to Kansas City in order to take part in the festivities. And festivities there were. Most of them involved me standing at the front of a church in a moderately ugly tuxedo. Man, were my feet sore. But alas, this is the price we pay to get rid of our loved ones. (Note to my bro: I keed! I keed!)

Anyway, the whole thing went off without a hitch. Or, with a hitch, as it were. Vows were exchanged, pretty dresses were worn, unnecessary photographs were taken, dances that were popular ten years ago were danced, and an enormous cake was cut and duly shoved into the couple’s faces. The whole nine yards. And also there was a chocolate fountain. Those things are awesome.

Hey, where are you going? I promise, I’ll say something about a movie soon. Real soon. Keep reading, you’re just getting to the good part.

So anyway, the party ended eventually, and then we had to drive back. We were driving along, and we ran into a detour. An unexpected detour that took us into the heart of Missouri. It was Missouri, right? I can never tell that place from Kansas. Or Iowa. Or Illinois.

Lost in the middle of nowhere, nearly out of gas, and starving for a bite to eat, we came upon a backwater town. I think it was called “Some Backwater Town in the Middle of Missouri (Population 20, Incorporated 1894).” Like all backwater towns in the middle of Missouri, it had nothing but a gas station and a McDonald’s. And like three Starbucks.

Starving and exhausted, we stumbled into the McDonald’s, wolfed down our respective Big Macs, and walked out the door, only to see it…

That’s right. That kinetoscope of the modern age, that Big Brother of bread and circuses, that opiate of the masses, Redbox. Burger King has its frozen Coke dispensers, Pizza Hut has its gumball machines, and McDonald’s has that most joyous of all colored boxes, the Redbox. (Can I have some money now, McDonald’s Corp.?)

Maybe it was the massive quantities of grease I’d just ingested that were talking. Who knows? But as we shall see, chemicals can impair decision-making. As we all know, the rules of this column stipulate that I had to choose a film that I’d never heard of. At this particular Redbox, the choice was obvious: Empty Case.

No, just kidding. But I swear that this machine had an empty case for rent. Not that renting an empty Redbox case for a dollar would be a waste of money, or anything. Every grace that Redbox chooses to visit upon us mortals is okay with me. But I wasn’t quite that knocked out, so I chose the next best thing: a little stoner comedy called Smiley Face. Directed by “New Queer Cinema” icon Gregg Araki, and starring Anna Faris (Scary Movie, My Super Ex-Girlfriend) as a Marxist pothead, this one was bound to be a winner. Or at least, to be less of a travesty than Swept Away. Actually, what I’m trying to say is…

So, like, the good thing about stoner films, man, is like, y’know, no matter how, like—bad—they are, they’re still, like, um, good, y’know? It’s like, when you’re high, everything’s messed up, like, maybe, like a bad movie is—and then—wait—so, like, a—bad—movie becomes, like, a—good—movie, because it’s…like…being…high…or something.


I need to write this down, man. Where’s some paper? Oh, maybe under that pizza box…on the floor. No man!!! Don’t touch it…there could be, like, things under it.

Terrible things.

I’m so scared.


Wait, where was I?

Right, Smiley Face, starring Anna Faris.

Let me just say this: Anna Faris is hilarious.

And like, Faris, and hilarious, like rhyme, y’know? Kind of.

Whoa. I’m like a poet.

It opens with our friend Jane (Faris) talking to the narrator, played by Roscoe Lee Brown (whom you may remember as Mr. Arrow from Treasure Planet—um, or not).

Whoa. Treasure Planet. Now that movie was trippy. It’s like an ocean…of the mind.

Anyway, Jane is a B.A. in economics. She’s also an aspiring actress. But most of all, she’s the world’s biggest pothead. It’s only 9:30 in the morning, and she’s already sucking on a bong. Soon, she gets the munchies. And what does she find in the fridge, but some cupcakes that her roommate (Danny Masterson) baked for his friends. Guess what said cupcakes are laced with.

So now, stoned out of her mind, Jane is faced with three problems: She has an audition in an hour. She has to pay the electricity bill. And she has to bake her roommate some more pot cupcakes. I think this is what Shakespeare called “conflict.”


So, like, this chick Jane, first she calls her dealer, and she, like, buys a bunch of pot, and she starts trying to make more cupcakes, but—dude, she is so stoned—she just starts a fire, and then, she’s all whoa! and so she grabs her secret stash of government pot, and runs to her audition, and she tries to sell the pot to the people there, ‘cause she’s got no money or something, so then the cops are all chasing her and stuff. Which sucks.

So it’s around this point where we meet her wannabe boyfriend Brevin (John Krasinski, whom you probably know as Jim from The Office), who shows up to drive her to Venice, CA, where she has to find her dealer at a hemp festival and pay off her tab. Or something. That set-up doesn’t last long, but she does manage to steal a first edition of The Communist Manifesto from a former professor of hers. Desperately in need of cash, she starts scheming to sell it.

Dude…selling The Communist Manifesto? That’s, like, meta-ironic.

So anyway, I think, like, after that…she, like, jumps on a sausage truck…and then there’s this scene where she totally tells this dude off. He’s, like, the head of the sausage factory, and…I think…she goes all Communist on him…and then she gets to Venice, but the hemp festival’s over, and she’s like, dude! But people are, like, chasing her, and then she gets arrested for stealing.

The movie ends with her serving 1500 hours of community service.

So there is that.

A stoner comedy where actions have consequences? Yeah.


Now I’m kind of puzzled.

I mean, whoa…I never thought about how…I could, like—steal—something—and then I’d like, go to jail, and—

Don’t…touch…that, man…it might, like, be someone’s.

I know it looks like mine, but how do you know, man? How do you know…?



So sdfij high aslkfjd/////////////////

Editor’s Note: Smiley Face is currently showing at your local Redbox. It has been rated R for “intense scenes of people that are, like, so totally high, and also for lowering the I.Q. of everyone near it.” The MPAA adds, “We also, like, laughed our butts off, but then we all got really scared. NORML roXXXors!” Luke gives the film five (5) stars because “The DVD was shiny.”

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