Dave Chappelle’s winning weed fable “Half Baked” celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year. In 1998, Chappelle’s career was just gaining steam when he wrote and played two roles in the movie, which proved to be a cult hit over the years with – you guessed it – the cannabis crowd.
Director Tamra Davis (who also helmed Adam Sandler’s “Billy Madison” in 1995) gets the most out of a bucketful of stoner comics, and the end result is a breezy madcap adventure that is even sillier if you bolster the viewing experience with ample cannabis doses of your own.
Enjoy the following 20 Memorable Moments from this Stoner Classic!
“Abba Zabba, you my only friend.”
In a brief opening flashback sequence, we meet our four stoned heroes as youngsters, bonding together over a mutually shared first joint and giant junk food fantasies.
Flash forward to the present day, and we meet Thurgood Jenkins (Chappelle), a janitor for a large pharmaceutical corporation. In flashback Thurgood fetishized a yard-long Abba Zabba – a memory so powerful, he maintains a taste for the odd taffy-n-peanut-butter candy, even as a “mature” adult.
“What, did you go to weed college?”
After meeting the heroes as adults in brief vignettes, it’s onto the matter at hand – time to get some weed! The boys are dialed in with a delivery service, and when the deliverer hits Thurgood with just a bit of cannabis chemistry knowledge (“I say they got a piney taste, almost minty. Notice the little red hairs. And the rich greenery?”), Thurgood hits him back with the “weed college” crack.
This little part of the movie foreshadows the current cannabis revolution, and twenty years on, customers have more knowledge than ever, home delivery is part of the life, and budtenders and caregivers take care of all of our needs. Thurgood must love how far it’s all come.
And can we get that “weed college” thing to be real? Because I am living on campus for all four years.
“Break out Billy Bong Thornton.”
Billy Bob Thornton’s breakthrough role in “Sling Blade”, released in 1996, catapulted him to stardom, allowed him to briefly actually marry Angelina Jolie, and led to the inclusion of a joke bearing his name into a movie about four stoner roommates living in NYC.
By cleverly replacing the final “b” in “Bob” with “ng” instead, the resulting “Billy Bong Thornton” was the moniker of the group’s house bong, an orange, 2-foot plus hooka-style bong with four smoking hoses, adorned with a large party bowl.
“Fire in the hole!”
“I love buttered stuff.”
Sweet Kenny Davis (Harland Williams), out on munchies duty and space station high, spies a hungry NYC police horse, and like any concerned citizen, proceeds to feed him several servings of junk food. The horse promptly dies, leading to Kenny’s immediate arrest as a “cop killer”.
Kenny, high, disoriented and flustered from the escalating arrest situation, cannot seem to get the horse’s name quite right, hearing the “Butter” in “Buttercup”, but hearing little else. The resulting wrong names uttered by Kenny only aid in deepening the grief of the attending officer.
“My weed’s wearing off.”
For a movie about stoners dealing weed and getting high constantly, the weed-free prison scenes, anchored by Kenny, are hilariously crude and effective.
After being whisked from the scene of his horse-killing crime, innocent Kenny is plopped into prison, and while looking through the prison bars with a single tear on his cheek, he bemoans not his possible long upcoming prison stint, or even the death of a sweet employed horse, but the fact that his high is almost gone.
We feel you Kenny, when the weed wears off, it truly does all go to shit.
“All my life I did everything right. I never screwed up. I fed the horse. I didn’t know it was a diabetic.”
Kenny gets in some winning lines throughout the film, but none more heartfelt than this mea culpa behind prison glass. It’s a rallying cry for our stoner heroes.
“Motherfucker said, “Ice cream!”
“You know, I might’ve came on too strong with the whole ice cream thing.”
The angelic Mary Jane Potman (Rachel True, breaking hearts) somehow gets mixed up with this lewd crew at a prison visit, and the boys end up hitching a ride into the city with her.
When Brian (Jim Breuer sporting hippie-wear & fanny pack) and Scarface (Guillermo Diaz) “fall asleep” in the back seat, Thurgood sees his chance to make the moves on the way-out-of-his-league Mary Jane.
Well the boys aren’t asleep, and they leap into action when Thurgood suggests an ice cream date. They “wake up” and ruthlessly, hilariously mock Thurgood’s limp seduction efforts.
After ejecting the boys, Thurgood keeps to his task and gives off his number to Mary Jane, hoping for a long shot chance.
“Oh – hold it. I gotta give The Guy some of this.”
“I don’t need to tell you this, but this weed was… the shiz-nittle-bam snip-snap-sack!”
A realistic plan for saving Kenny emerges when Thurgood unwittingly discovers that his pharmaceutical corporation houses brick of fine weed.
Given a small sample of the wares, which send them all soaring, the boys realize that Thurgood just stumbled onto the best weed in the city, and at work no less! They even share a bowl with “The Guy on the Couch” (droll comic Steven Wright) and immediately scheme to get more of this valuable stash.
“Then we called the company Mr. Nice Guy in honor of our friend Kenny.”
In a snap, Thurgood gets access to the required forms, and the boys are in business with bricks of free weed. Now they just need to sell a bunch of them to raise the money to spring their friend from prison.
Stoner friendships are at the core of this film, and the boys never waver, ever, in their commitment to get Kenny free from his weed-free hell.
“Man, give me your fruit cocktail.”
“Well, I can’t. If I did that, then I’d have to give it to you every day, and I won’t get all my vitamins.”
“I’m somebody’s bitch.”
Sweet gentle Kenny’s reasoning makes total sense, but Nasty Nate, who’s been on “Fish” from the get go, isn’t going away quietly.
Kenny receives protection from fellow inmate Squirrel Master (OG weed king Tommy Chong), but the danger is real, as it is eventually revealed that Squirrel Master’s prison stint is soon to end – leaving gentle Kenny on his own soon against Nasty Nate.
“I smell it. Let me inhale it. Let me have some.”
Excellent cameo by the legendary Snoop Dogg, playing the neighborhood weed scavenger. Snoop appears out of nowhere to take down half a joint, and he’s gone in a puff of smoke. He may have done this a few times over the years.
“Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. You’re cool. And fuck you. I’m out!”
Scarface checks out of the fast food business in grand style. Notice the giant thumbnail on the “You’re cool” guy. Just a great scene.
“And Smoke-a-Lot opened up to me like I was Barbara Walters. It was ridiculous.”
“He had sex with my mama! Why?”
“Doctor said I need a backeotomy.”
“Greeneyes gonna miss ya.”
Thurgood and Sir Smoke-a-Lot meet face to face at Smoke-a-Lot’s party house. After spending nearly $10,000 on a pound of weed, Smoke-a-Lot unloads all of his personal problems on Thurgood, who can’t high tail it out of there fast enough.
The resulting hilarious scene is full of quotable lines from Chappelle, who of course plays both parts.
“All right. Then get me a toilet paper roll, a corkscrew and some tin foil.”
“We don’t have a corkscrew.”
“All right. Then get me an avocado, an ice pick and my snorkel. Trust me, bro, I’ve made bongs with less. Hurry up!”
Another good cameo has Stephen Baldwin of Baldwin brother, and “The Usual Suspects” fame, playing a resourceful mechanic adept at bong construction.
“Who is this Mr. Nice Guy?”
The boys are well on their way to getting the money to get Kenny out, when they run afoul of Samson Simson (Clarence Williams III), the local NYC weed king.
Sir-Smoke-a-Lot pops a video promoting the merits of Mr. Nice Guy weed, and Samson is less than happy. Samson sends his leather-clad gang of henchwomen to find out what the boys are up to.
“Man that first day of sobriety sucked. And I realized something: I was a real irritable guy when I wasn’t smokin’ marijuana.”
During our adventure Thurgood continues to chase the sexy Mary Jane, and when he loses her, the only we he figures he can get her back is to give up his true love – weed. So he vows to get off the weed, so he can get Mary Jane back in his life.
But Thurgood speaks the truth, because once you get used to the cannabis life, stepping out of it, even for a short time, can be an annoying experience. Thurgood is feeling hopelessly un-high as scientists wander all over his mopped floors.
“It ain’t always good to get high before you have important things to do.”
Good call Thurgood. The problem is that he says this just before he’s heading off to a potentially deadly confrontation with a jealous angry drug dealer – when he’s high as a kite.
“You’ve got to be the dumbest dealers in the history of the dope game.”
When confronted with the boys at their most idiotic, as they try to lure Samson into admitting a crime while Thurgood wears a wire, Samson calls them out for the crime rookies that they are.
But the joke’s on Samson, as the boys get the recorded admission they need, and then have to fight their way out through Samson’s crew of scantily-clad model thugs.
“Fully, man. That is an official fully.”
“Jerry, we need you.”
In the brief final confrontation, all the action screeches to a halt to focus entirely on the stray exposed breast of one of Samson’s models. Brian’s final assessment that this constitutes an “official fully” is… awesome.
Then, the ghost essence of Jerry Garcia, summoned by Kenny, KO’s Samson and saves the day.
“What was important is that we cut a deal, and Kenny was finally free. Hallelujah!”
All movies should have happy endings like this. Best friendships rule – especially when you are all so high.
Oh my, Mary Jane!