2008 in Review: ‘Pineapple Express’

In 2008,  there was one film that seemed destined for rewatchability above all else. “Pineapple Express” became a breakout hit in August, making it one of the last movies of that summer. It starred James Franco and Seth Rogen, both of whom were still very much on the come up. The movie was stolen by Danny McBride, who was essentially an unknown at the time. Craig RobinsonGary ColeBill Hader, and Rosie Perez are all brilliant in their roles. That trailer made M.I.A. a thing when “Paper Planes” became a hit.

What makes “Pineapple Express” really stand out is its role as the perfect hangover film. You can throw on the film, barely pay attention, but jump in for 10 minutes at any point in the movie. Nothing is too complex, nothing is too serious, and it’s all about spectacle. The pace moves nice and steady, and almost every scene is full of humor. There might not be an easier film to watch from the year.

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The Moment I Fell in Love with “Pineapple Express”

Dale witnesses the murder of a Chinese businessman and cannot keep his shit together. He immediately crashes into several other cars, including a cop car. In his panic, he throws his weed out the window and drives away, quickly pursued by Gary Cole and Rosie Perez. The way in which the scene plays out is hilarious in many ways. One, it is almost certainly the way I would handle the situation. I would not be able to keep my cool, likely resulting in putting myself in peril.

Second, it introduces us to the stakes of the movie out the gate. These characters are idiots. All of them. A drug lord just murdered a member of a rival gang in his house with the windows open. Who does that? What kind of inept criminal do you have to be do something like this? Dale’s reaction is also dumb especially because no one knows he is there. As soon as the cop showed up, he should have driven away. The events begin the comedy of errors we are about to witness.

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Most Rewatchable Scene

The fight at Red’s house stands above all else. Again, Dale and Saul are not good at what they do. They have no control over the situation and make bad decisions over and over again. Trusting Red is the worst mistake they could make, yet they immediately go to him. Dale reads the situation quickly, but their battle as they fight and throw each other through the house is hilarious. Even the way they tie him up with tape is an absurd way to keep someone restrained.

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The Best Scene

Saul stealing the police car really showcases the action aesthetic better than other moments in the film. Not dissimilar to the characters in “Hot Fuzz,” most decisions Dale and Saul make are based on the pop culture images they can relate to. Jumping into a police vehicle and driving away seems plausible to them based on movies and television. Despite this, it obviously goes drastically sideways. What results is one of the more entertaining action sequences of the year.

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Why should you rewatch it?

“Pineapple Express” is a perfect conflux of talent and weird storytelling. The concept of a buddy comedy was mostly defunct until Rogen revived it with “Superbad.” “Pineapple Express” was a return to that formula, but included a real criminal element. The movie gets dark, and people get murdered in unspeakable ways. Yet the skill it takes to pull off a movie about two guys this stupid, fighting against criminals that are somehow dumber, is masterful. Both Franco and Rogen are excellent and combined with strong action sequences, the film continues to stand out as one of the more rewatchable films of the year.

What do you think of “Pineapple Express” 10 years later? Does it continue to hold up? Let us know in the comments

Check out our other retrospectives on 2008 here!

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