When we list great stoner characters, there are a few that always pop up: Jay and Silent Bob, the Dude from The Big Lebowski, Cheech and Chong, Shaggy from Scooby Doo, Harold and Kumar from Harold and Kumar. The classic trope stoners, the dudes we cosplay as and use as photos for stories about fictional stoners.
But they're just the tip of the bud. There are way more stoners that are rarely quoted yet deserve so much more love (especially today, 4/20, the unofficial stoner holiday). Stoners that are the secret heroes of the movie and TV shows that they're in — proving that sometimes being high out of your mind is a superpower, kind of like Spider-Sense, except the exact opposite.
Freeburg in Freddy vs Jason
Stoners in horror films get the short end of the stick. Usually, they exist to say "Haha. Wanna light up in the basement?" before they get a machete through their skull. That's why it's cool that Freeburg in Freddy vs Jason, a movie that the Criterion Collection needs to consider, gets to do something. Sure, that something is when he's being mind-controlled by the vengeful spirit of Freddy Krueger, but it's still something
First off, he decides to smoke weed while the rest of the cast is trying to, well, not die. He then has a vision of Freddy as a mutant version of the hookah-smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. Freddypillar then jumps down Freeburg's throat, possessing Freeburg to go confront Jason head-on. Freeburg tranquilizes Jason, but not before Jason cuts Freeburg in half.
So yeah, definitely a bit more to do than "Haha, let's go get high in that abandoned shed. Oh no, a hatchet."
George Hanson in Easy Rider
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper get most of the attention in Easy Rider due to the fact that they're stoners for the whole movie. But the real nomination for "Most Memorable Stoner" in this movie should go to Jack Nicholson's George, who initially shows up in the film as a high-strung, alcoholic lawyer. Now, "high strung" is a common personality trait for all Jack Nicholson characters that aren't slathered in clown make-up, so there's nothing new there.
Thus, the real joy comes when George tries his first joint and begins delivering monologues about secret alien invasions and the meaning of freedom. Now, "character gets high and starts deep conversations" is a trope in most movies that include stoners, but this is Jack Nicholson, the warped king of Type A personalities. You never expect it out of him, and that's what makes the Jack Nicholson Act of Easy Rider such a joy in retrospect.
Bobby in A Goofy Movie
I feel confident in saying that A Goofy Movie is one of the most underrated Disney films of all-time. It has some of my favorite sequences in any animated movie (the scenes in Lester's Possum Park are beautiful), I know all the lyrics to "Stand Out" and "I 2 I," and the characters are immensely likable. And that includes Bobby "Leaning Tower of Cheese-a" Zimuruski.
Not only does Bobby have Max Goof's back, but he's an AV genius, able to turn a school assembly into a full-fledged concert. That alone makes him a shoe-in for this list. Most people in my high school had trouble working a DVD player, and here Bobby is constructing something worthy of a Prince performance. And he does this with the typical Pauly Shore wake n' bake cadence. It's great and A Goofy Movie is great and before I write the rest of this article, I'm gonna go watch "I 2 I" a dozen times and maybe cry a little.
Kenny and Stevie in Eastbound and Down
Are Kenny Powers and Stevie Janowski heroes? To anyone but themselves, no. But in their own minds, they are valiant knights from southeast North Carolina. Are they good people? To anyone but them, also no. At their best, they are a strip-mall celebrity and his sycophantic posse of one. But in their own minds, they're taking over the world. And for the most part, they do it very, very stoned.
But that's what makes both of them so appealing as characters. They're 4/20 Don Quixotes, lashing out at enemies that only they think are there. And rather than be a morality tale about how marijuana (and other drugs) will ruin your life, the theme of Eastbound and Down is about how being a total jackass will ruin your life.
Todd in Bojack Horseman
Bojack Horseman is a pretty big presence in Bojack Horseman. He is the titular character. But he isn't the tender heart of the show. No, that honor goes to the stoner Todd, who is voiced by Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul. Some actors are repeatedly cast as jerks, and some as nerds. Paul is making a living playing stoner side characters that manage to persevere while the main character burns down everything around them. And he's great at it.
But Todd isn't just a likable stoner, he's enthusiastic, creative, and brutally honest when he needs to be. He's the stoner friend that we all wish we had, probably because we relate to Bojack a little more than we'd ever like to admit.
Marty in The Cabin in the Woods
I imagine that nobody thought Marty would amount to much in the real world, and amount to even less if he was to ever be put in a horror movie. As I mentioned in the Freddy vs Jason entry, stoners are slasher fodder. But they never counted on Marty being the star of a self-aware horror film, which turns the tropes of the genre on their heads and turns Marty into the hero.
But he's capable, not because he's secretly a genius or any nonsense like that, but because his heavy marijuana use has actually made him resistant to the manipulations of the villains of the film. Now, I'm not sure if this works in actual life, but I suspect that it might be scientifically accurate. So, if you ever find yourself surviving a satirical horror/comedy, please let me know.