I'm not trying to be stuck-up about this whole marijuana movie craze called the "stoner flick," but I find it funny that something that is supposed to be bad for you, not to mention illegal, is celebrated so highly and made so pop-culturally popular.The new "Pineapple Express," which recently came out in theaters, is the latest in something I didn't even realize was in existence. The "Cheech and Chong" movies of the 70s and 80s are iconic on college campuses, and the Jay and Silent Bob series have overtaken the new generation of "pot-heads."

It was news to me, though, that we even had a genre of a "stoner flick." The concept just seems a bit funny. Maybe I need to have a better sense of humor on the topic.

People have a hard time believing this, but I have never tried any drug. Never took a "hit" of pot. I guess all the commercials, school assemblies and good-hearted grown-ups somehow got to me. I'm proud to say I've never done it but it's not about pride; it was simply my choice.

Looking back on the movie age, there really have been a lot of "stoner flicks" that have become iconic movies in their own right. All of them with the joint acting as best supporting actor or sometimes even lead.

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" was huge in the 80s and still holds its weight today. Sean Penn was the goofiest, carefree and constantly-stoned high-schooler who made it famous to get a pizza delivered to class.

"Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" is one of those movies I've always heard about but have never seen. I've knocked back at least 10 White Castle burgers in one sitting and that's without the influence of any green substance. This duo was still popular and stoned enough to get them into a sequel escaping from Guantanamo Bay.

One of the greats, "Up in Smoke," slingshot Cheech and Chong into superstar status, especially when they're parked on the curb smoking a funny cigarette the size of a rolling pin. They're so out of it, they still think the car is doing 50 mph.

These are movies people watched because they were funny but this new genre is a bit odd to me. In the middle school where I teach, we have social workers deterring drug use.

We still have those assemblies to show them the effects of using drugs and we try to make them understand that, although Hollywood profits from it, smoking or injecting or snorting is not something anyone should try.

Those assemblies somehow got to me years ago.

The movies don't necessarily come out and say, "Here, smoke this!" But they certainly aren't denouncing drugs either. "Pineapple Express" will be huge. It's even received three stars out of four from USA Today. It must have genuine laughs so I can look beyond the whole commercializing and somewhat glorifying of drugs.

Maybe I just need a better sense of humor about it.

Chris Barnes, of Allentown, is the former editor of The Free Press and The Saucon News. His e-mail address is chrisbarnesopinion@gmail.com.

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