How High?

Elsewhere in this edition, readers have learned about the finer movies to come out during the latter part of 2001 and the early 2002. These films, like “Ali” and “Lord of the Rings,” will no doubt be nominated for countless Academy Awards and Golden Globes and the like, based upon their richness of plot, their excellent direction and their wealth of acting talent. But friends, I am here to say that perhaps the greatest movie released during the past year will go unnoticed by Academy voters and perhaps the movie-going public. Under the direction of Jesse Dylan (son of folksinger Bob), audiences have been blessed by the two-hour work of wonder that is “How High.” The film follows the exploits of two stoners, Silas P. Silas (Method Man) and Jamal King (Redman) as they smoke the ashes of their dead friend, who returns in ghost form to help them pass their THCs (Tests of Higher Comprehension) and get into Harvard. Implausible? Perhaps. But throughout all of the lollapalooza that comes of two stoned rappers carving their niche into an overly white academic community, one finds that they don’t care how ludicrous or outlandish their exploits become. So, anyway, Method Man and Redman get into college and they find they live with a funny fat guy and an Asian stereotype, both of whose names aren’t really that important. They also cross paths with the strict Dean Cain (Obba Babatunde) and a crazy guy who rides a bicycle making citizens arrests. Don’t ask questions, these explanations make about as much sense as the plot, but like I said, it doesn’t really matter. Along the way, Silas falls in love with a girl named Lauren (as played by Lark Voorhies whom some may remember as Lisa Turtle from Saved By the Bell) who is attached to the cliche jock captain of the school’s rowing team. Jamal falls in love with the vice president’s daughter. Basically, hilarity ensues for the next hour and 30 minutes as the pot-smokers have to fight to stay in Harvard, find some way to get with their true loves, put some funk back into Dean Cain’s soul, and hire prostitutes from a third-generation pimp named Baby Powder (Mike Epps). Plus, long story short, they have to dig up former president John Quincy Adams to try to smoke his fingers. Oh yeah, and Cypress Hill shows up to deejay a party. Rock on, Cypress Hill. Surprisingly, through all of this, “How High” stands triumphant as a movie that you don’t have to be ashamed to go see, more than once even. It represents the spirit of the underdog, the underachiever, and the pothead that’s instinctual in all of us. Based solely on the charisma that the two leads bring to the film and their interactions with each other, somebody should win something for this. If “How High” isn’t eligible for an Oscar these days, I say what movie really is?