Bongs have long been used in the movies as comical elements, props for the actors to use in an attempt to view marijuana use in a humorous light. This is true even in movies that are not particularly comedic, such as Quentin Tarantino’s True Romance with Brad Pitt’s plastic honey-bear bong, or another Tarantino movie, Jackie Brown, in which Robert DeNiro’s character tokes on a ceramic Grim Reaper. The Coen brothers’ classic, The Big Lebowski, has several hilarious scenes involving pot and paraphernalia. Oliver Stone’s Platoon also had a memorable scene which gave new meaning to term “shotgunning” one’s hit.
Up In Smoke (And Other Films)
Some films, of course, are strictly about marijuana. This would include the entire catalog of Cheech and Chong movies. Pineapple Express was another one. In many of the classic slasher movies, marijuana use is portrayed as one of the deadly sins committed by callow youth on their way to a date with destiny – who generally wields an axe, chainsaw, butcher knife or claw hammer.
The MPAA Seems Unsure
The film industry (or, to be more precise, the MPAA) issues ratings, based on content, that determine how age-appropriate a movie might be. Eyebrows were raised all across Hollywood when the recent Meryl Streep romantic comedy, It’s Complicated, received an ‘R’ rating. The reason: Pot-smoking with no bad consequences. Cigarettes, booze, shootings, car chases, none of those things will garner an ‘R’ rating. The MPAA remains inconsistent in its evaluation of movies with regard to recreational drug use.
Motion pictures have long depicted taboos in society. They don’t do this because of any particular moral compass or sociological curiosity. They do it because it sells. Bongs and pipes will remain staples of the entertainment industry as long as people are willing to shell out cash for tickets.