Sunday, March 15, 2009

Taking a "Trip" Across the Universe by The Pineapple Express or Paper Planes

As we watched Easy Rider and discussed the counter culture in class last week, I couldn’t stop making comparisons with a movie I own at home: Across the Universe. I even wrote it down on the margins of my notebook so I wouldn’t forget to comment on how comparable the movies are. Across the Universe is a movie all about the counter culture.

Throughout the story, a young man tries to find himself as he travels with hippies, druggies, and protestors. There is a specific scene where the group he is with goes on an acid trip (taken on a bus, nonetheless)…and it is WEIRD. To appreciate it, I actually believe you must be high. There is no possible way I can make any sense out of what that scene is trying to portray. Quite honestly it discourages me away from ever trying drugs, because the movie’s portrayal of their trip was not attractive at all.

Another recent stoner movie is Pineapple Express, a comedy about a lazy stoner and his equally lazy dealer who get their hands on a rare type of weed, so rare that it can be traced back to them. The movie follows as they run for their lives from a crooked cop and dangerous drug lord who are determined to kill them both. The movie makes the entire situation look hilarious, which must be why it is so appealing to audiences. The characters of Dale Denton and Saul Silver are so pathetic that as a viewer you want to see more and more. Unfortunately, could this be an encourager for viewers to hop on the Pineapple Express?

Drug use seems to be prevalent throughout multiple media outlets even today. Seems like the enthusiasm for drugs didn’t die with the counter culture. I am specifically thinking of the song “Paper Planes” by M.I.A. It is all about kids hustling drugs, weapons, visas, anything to get by. They murder (as apparent by the gunshots throughout the song), steal (hence the cash register opening), and do the drugs they sell. What is so disconcerting about this song is that there seems to be no hope for a way out. A lyric even states “We pack and deliver like UPS trucks. Already going to hell just pumping that gas.” Songs like this offer a contribution to the problem, but no contribution to the solution.

Also, I don’t know if anyone else noticed this while watching the movie, but Jack Nicholson’s character reminded me eerily of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight.. This would be ironic, considering Nicholson played the Joker in a 1989 Batman movie. With the way he talked and licked his lips during Easy Rider’s campfire scene, all he needed was some smudged clown makeup and scars by his mouth to turn into the most potentially creepy villain in Batman movie history…

1 comment:

  1. Between these two drug-glorifying movies' stories there is a good 50 years or so. Why do you think the drug culture went from the high-mindedness of the 60s to the slapstick of today? I am not so sure that it is just because drugs can be harmful...