Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Super High Me

No, I’m not doing an impression of Yoda describing my current state of consciousness. I’m referring to a major motion picture, Super High Me, which stars stoner comedian Doug Benson. The title and concept are a spoof of the documentary film Super Size Me, in which Morgan Spurlock eats nothing but food from McDonald’s for 30 days. Benson thought it would be funny (or interesting or something) to do the same sort of thing, but substituting marijuana for fast food. One twist he adds is that prior to smoking pot non-stop day and night for 30 days, he goes entirely without for 30 days first. Throughout the 60 days over which the film was shot, Benson was under the care of a physician who periodically ran him through a battery of physical and psychological tests (and psychic too, just in case), just like Spurlock did. Interspersed with Benson’s visits to his doctor are clips of his stand-up act, visits to various California dispensaries, and even some footage of DEA raids on a few of those dispensaries.

Now this is not what I’d call a great movie. The concept is pretty clever, and Benson is reasonably funny at times, although the pot jokes do get a little old after a while. Not being familiar with his work, I’m not sure if that’s his entire act or if they selected just his dope humor bits for this film and left out his other material. Either way, I did get a few chuckles out of the film and would recommend it as a must see for any stoner. Non-stoners will probably not be amused and/or really very interested.

What did stand out for me in this movie though were the results of his little experiment. All of the various tests administered to Benson during his 30 days of abstinence and 30 days of non-stop smoking showed no significant differences between the two periods. His health did not deteriorate dramatically (or at all), nor did his mental abilities during the month of constant smoking. He didn’t become stupid, or lazy, or psychotic. In fact, some of his psychological test scores improved slightly after he started smoking again. I was a bit disappointed that the film didn’t make more of these results. They did comparisons of the two period’s results along the way, but a summary of all the various results at the end would have been nice. Not only between the two 30-day periods covered in the film, but with the results of the film Super Size Me. In that film, Spurlock’s doctor recommend he quit living on fast food before the 30 days were even up. A constant diet of McDonald’s had caused his health to deteriorate to such a degree that his doctor was getting worried. I think that is a big deal. Fast food is more hazardous to your health than smoking marijuana. I believe that is the single most important thing about this film and should have been stated more explicitly.

Coincidentally, a few weeks earlier I wrote a little satire piece about declaring war on fast food. Little did I know how close to home I was hitting with my attempt at humor. Maybe we really should be more concerned with real, as opposed to imaginary, threats to the public health when passing legislation designed to protect people from themselves. Or maybe we should just let adults decide for themselves how they want to live their lives. Or maybe that’s just crazy talk, and we should just let things go on the way they have been. After all, we can’t go around putting people in jail just because they consume something that some people think they shouldn’t. Oh wait. Of course we can. This is America after all.

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