Midway through the wacky sci-fi nonsense of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, injured protagonist Idris Elba acquires a grip of painkillers. Advised not to take the pills at once, the grim-jawed Elba immediately swallows the handful.
I could relate. Two hours previous, I had eaten a half-ounce mega-brownie the size of my face. A fan of King’s noirish cross-dimensional cowboy fantasy novels since childhood, I kept imagining watching The Dark Tower while unable to critically respond. Ultimately a garbage adaptation of this epic tale about a neo-futuristic gunslinger (Idris Elba) hunting an evil demi-god (Matthew McConaughey), The Dark Tower is only to be viewed under the following conditions.
From the tiny weed shack Ganja Vita, I bought a full ounce of Cascade Growers’ Tangie Sativa for $60. The flower smoked like a rusty nail, but burned down into a nice murky oil using my bulletproof edible recipe. I baked a half-ounce into a single brownie I dubbed “The Oathbreaker.” As I ate the edible, my mind kept saying, “Stop eating this.”
An hour after, I began to feel the effects. I sat at my desk, shaking my head, muttering and laughing, “No… no… no…” Walking to the theater, I could feel my heartbeat in my shoulders, my midsection involuntarily dishwashering. I reached down to tie my shoes and my fingers were digitized.
Sitting in the swirling cinema, I reached up to take off my 3D glasses. I wasn’t wearing any; It wasn’t a 3D movie. Eyes wide, I could feel the veins pumping along my skullbones. On screen, characters warped through dimensions and fought beasts made of wood planks. “I could watch this shit all evening,” I wrote.
Many times, I forgot what movie I was attending, who was in it, what the plot was. “It feels like my skeleton will jump straight from my skin,” I wrote. The ex-boyfriend of an ex-girlfriend showed up playing a homeless man. “Alfredo!” I shouted without having the ability to stop myself beforehand.
“In every scene,” I wrote, “Matthew McConaughey looks like he woke up five minutes ago.” Dressed like a casual General Zod, McConaughey struts around like Bowie in Labyrinth, basically playing the salamander from Monsters Inc.—literally stealing the fear of children by strapping them to a scream-extraction machine. “This is McConaughey’s Battlefield: Earth,” I wrote somewhat lucidly, “a struggle of a performance that works against all his natural charms.”
Few sights are more pleasurable than Idris Elba pulling glass out of his palm with his teeth. But The Dark Tower’s goofy ramshackle Beastmaster vibe obscures Elba’s brooding, slow-burn take on the gunslinger—a performance belonging to a better movie. The mega-brownie obliterating my social filter, I audibly said “yes” every time Elba shot a demonic extra in the film’s rousing climax, a crackerjack set piece stuffed with pleasingly crappy ’90s-style CGI effects.
But ultimately, both The Dark Tower and the mega-brownie never settled into themselves, waiting for an ease that never came, working too hard to be outlandish. Ingesting both the drug and the film, I had the sensation of perpetually cresting the first hill of a rollercoaster—a rush of gravity sucking downward without any forward motion.
Delirious and spinning after the credits, I went straight to the largest Target I could find and shopped real slow. Then I walked home and fell asleep for 15 hours.
Last time in Cinema Stoner: Atomic Blonde vs. XJ-13
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