It could be the stoner movie of the year.
“The Beach Bum” stars Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg. It’s set in Miami, the kind of place where a Jamaican drug smuggling operation founded a sham of a church in a mansion located in one of Miami Beach’s most exclusive neighborhoods. And, yes, that really happened—a crazy fact which shows just how ridiculous Miami can be and, by comparison, gives the antics of McConaughey and Snoop, in the movie, a distinct air of believability.
Directed by Harmony Korine—who is also behind “Spring Breakers,” “Kids,” “Gummo,” and others—”The Beach Bum” was released last week and also stars Isla Fisher, Zac Efron, and Jonah Hill. The movie is all about McConaughey’s character, Moondog, a pot-smoking, hedonistic beach bum poet who is forced to focus enough to write and publish a book of his poetry, or go broke and go to jail.
“The Hash” podcast, produced by Leafly, interviewed Korine, who says cannabis is ubiquitous in his films, because it’s a subject he’s keenly comfortable with, having grown up in a “kind of commune” as he calls it, in California, but it plays a more central and explicit role in “The Beach Bum”. To get his poetry flowing, Moondog smokes a particularly potent strain. His friend, Lingerie (played by Snoop), grows the strain in his basement (although as any Miamian would know, home basements in South Florida are practically unheard of due to the high water table, but let’s not distort the cinematic magic with hyperlocal truths, shall we?).
In the interview, Korine explains, “It’s a movie that’s kind of about people who are just devoted to getting baked, and it kind of inhabits the film as this kind of cosmic America and it kind of deals with the idea of ultimate freedom. And getting high, for these characters, is this ultimate freedom. It’s a check-out culture. These characters live in the [Florida] keys, and they’re checking out, and it’s a celebration of a kind of lack of ambition, and virtue in a lack of ambition and tuning out.”
Moondog is inspired by the characters he encounters in Southern Florida where he lives. “He’s like the guy you’ll see, you know, hanging out on the church steps, wearing a dress, listening to Jimmy Buffett, drinking red wine, doing coke with your parrot, playing with some chickens. He’s like that dude. It’s a burnout culture . . . but Moondog is meant to be a source of positivity.” In fact, Jimmy Buffett himself plays a cameo role in the movie.
Ultimately, Korine says his message for life, as shown in his movies, is “I think whatever you do in life, you just do it well and enjoy the ride.”
Apparently, cannabis wasn’t just an inspiration for the movie’s creator, and an integrable plot device (don’t worry, we won’t spill any more spoilers here), it also added some excitement to the filming process itself. There are a couple of stories out there about the complications of having Snoop Dogg, the perpetual stoner, on set.
“Snoop Dogg is always blazing. He’s always stoned, and he’s always normal. And you’d never say he’s always high, so he’s always normal,” Korine said on the podcast.
For one particular yacht scene, the captain doesn’t allow cannabis on his boat. So the filmers had to arrange for another boat to pick up Snoop to get his smoke on periodically. Then Snoop would come back with a big grin on his face and continue the scene.
Then there’s another story about Snoop’s sneaky cannabis pranks on set making the rounds on various media channels after Snoop and McConaughey proudly regaled the story on Jimmy Kimmel Live. While filming an eight-minute take, Snoop swapped a particular prop for the real deal. When McConaughey questioned what it was, Snoop proudly fessed up, with "Yo, Moondog. That wasn't prop weed. That was Snoop weed."
The rest of the night, considering ‘Snoop Weed’ is probably comparable, if not more so, to Lingerie’s fictional basement product, so the night was naturally a blur.
"It was the first take of the night. I didn’t say another word of English, really, the rest of the night. You said I rapped a lot.” McConaughey said. Snoop responded, with a smirk on national TV, "You rapped for thirteen hours straight."