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By Susannah Breslin | June 3, 2000

Sometimes, new movies come out about racy subjects. And sometimes, people get all confused thinking that just because the movie features an edgy topic, therefore it’s a great movie. Porn, strippers, pimps, etc.–we get a big boner when we’re finally allowed to watch naughty people do naughty things we’d like to do. But, it doesn’t always a great film make. Even if you’re high.
“Grass” is a documentary of sorts–really more a collection of found footage than a newly minted investigation–looking at the exciting world of getting stoned. Directed by Ron Mann, the so-called “geek documentarian” who also gave us “Comic Book Confidential” and “Twist,” “Grass” uses Woody Harrelson voice-overs and tons of pot-toking clips to take a peek at the history of being burnt in America.
Focusing almost exclusively on the battle over the legalization of marijuana, the film extensively recounts the various judicial wars and excessive taxpayer dollars our nation has devoted to regulating the friend we call weed. While there’s great footage of everything from Vietnam War boys using a rifle as a bong to a university test-subject relaying just how much he’d like to be tested with the drug again, “Grass” nevertheless reads largely as an infomercial on just how wonderful pot is and just how bad America is for keeping its use illegal.
A movie touting the joys of pot use is not inherently bad because of its politics, it’s just that watching “Grass” is more like being force-fed a classroom video at a hippie school that intends to teach you exactly how fabu weed is. Propaganda, whether not you agree with it, has a high tendency to be boring for the very fact that it is by nature so polemical, regardless of whether or not you are bought or sold on its message. Ultimately, to preach the basic harmlessness of pot in the year 2000 seems, at least to me, a little late in the day–isn’t this really preaching to the converted?
“Grass” isn’t a bad movie, just a pedantic one. One that’s probably best, well, if you’re with a bud.

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