DVD REVIEW: Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical

Well, I'm going to get a few things out of the way from the beginning. I am a lover of theatrical productions, and can appreciate the odd musical here and there. Yeah, It's weird, but what can I say, I like music, and I like theater, so liking musical theater doesn't seem too far of a stretch, right?

So, why then would I choose this movie to be my first DVD review? Well... it is because of this film that I went back and watched Veronica Mars. Not to mention one of the actors in this film happens to have a voice that is practically synonymous with my childhood.

So, what do I think of this DVD? For an in-depth analysis, read on after the jump.

The origins of this particular film are insanely convoluted. It is a made-for-cable movie, based on a stage musical, based on a 1930's propaganda film, which coincidentally enough was at one point known as "Reefer Madness" (also known as "Tell Your Children"). The movie had a great cast that consisted of notables such as Kristen Bell, Alan Cumming, and John Kassir (the voice of the Cryptkeeper from "Tales from the Crypt" as well as Buster Bunny from "Tiny Toon Adventures".

The film makes a great jab at the ultra-conservative sensibilities of propaganda films, with an added catchy soundtrack that ends up stuck in my head for months at a time. I'm serious on that one. I've found myself randomly humming tunes from the film as I drive, or work, or do just about anything. And if you watch this film for nothing else, watch it for the soundtrack. There are some songs in this film that are visual masterstrokes, with masterful dancing. Keep an eye out, and you'll see the likes of people such as Neve Campbell showing up at various points, sometimes for just a single song and dance.

The story itself is a bit of meta-insanity. It is a film, about a film, about marijuana. The encompassing film is all about a man showing the central flick to a small town parent's association. The central film is a story of Jimmy Harper, and Mary Lane, and all about how marijuana leads them down the path to ruin and despair. Alan Cumming acts as the thing that ties everything together, acting in both the black and white main film, as well as the full-color central flick.

The film in general defies explanation. It is a genre-spanning mind-fuck of a film, filled with so many stereotypes, and sly cuts at the propaganda films of the era that one can't help but get some good chuckles.

And if you find yourself unfamiliar with the propaganda film that gave rise to this masterpiece, just head on over to the special features, and learn of the unintentional hilarity of the original Reefer Madness.

All in all this particular DVD is not one of the feature-rich products that we have come to expect, with no deleted scenes or a much-needed blooper reel, but it is still worth at least a viewing. If you enjoyed the comic genius of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog" you should find at least some enjoyment in this film.

Final Score: 8.0

(Working on a proper format for DVD reviews. Want to try and keep these generally shorter than regular movie reviews, though.)

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