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Super High Me

Original film poster
Directed by Michael Blieden
Produced by Alex Campbell
Starring Doug Benson
Distributed by Eagle Ridge Entertainment
Release date(s) April 20, 2008
Running time 97 minutes
Language English
Budget $600,000 (est.)

Super High Me is a 2008 documentary film about the effects of smoking cannabis for 30 days. The documentary stars comedian Doug Benson. The documentary's name and its poster are plays on the 2004 documentary Super Size Me.

Contents

Synopsis

Super High Me documents Benson avoiding alcohol and cannabis for a cleansing period and then smoking and otherwise consuming cannabis every day for 30 days in a row.[1] Benson says that Super High Me is "Super Size Me with weed instead of McDonalds".[2] The film also includes interviews with marijuana activists, dispensary owners, politicians and patients who are part of the medical marijuana movement. Benson claims that he tells kids "you should not smoke pot until you become a professional comedian".[3] The DVD was released on April 20, 2008.

Benson took various tests to gauge his physical and mental health both before 30 days of not smoking cannabis, and after doing so for 30 days straight. Benson's physician concluded that the effects on Benson's health from his use of cannabis were generally inconsequential. The greatest changes noted were in his weight (Benson gained eight pounds during his "high" month). His sperm count actually increased, contrary to the expectations of medical studies. In an ESP test, it's arguable whether his results were notably better or worse because his "sober" ESP score was 1 correct guess out of 25, which can be considered unusually low, his score while high was 7/25. His overall score on an SAT test increased (mostly verbal), although, it was mentioned that his mathematical skills were significantly reduced. The one effect that Benson was surprised at by the end of the smoking month was that he was sure that he'd be sick of smoking cannabis for a continuous extended period and that he felt like he was going to need an extended break afterwards. He instead felt perfectly fine with his continued casual smoking with no apparent, acquired disdain of any kind. In the end credits, the movie was dedicated to Michelle Benjamin, aged 23.

Sober High
SAT 980/1600 1030/1600
Psychic ability 1/25 7/25
Sperm count 21 million/mL 93 million/mL
Lung capacity 92% 89%
Weight -2 lbs. +8 lbs.
Mini mental stats 27/29; 2/3 words 24/29; 6/3 words

Cast

Production

The star of the film, comedian Doug Benson, said that the conception of the film originated with a joke in his stand-up act, asking, "If there's a movie called Super Size Me about a guy who ate McDonald's every day, why couldn't there be this movie called Super High Me, where I smoke pot every day?"[4] He shared the joke with friend and filmmaker Michael Blieden, who saw potential in producing a film. When they made the film, Benson ensured that his "antics" were legally tolerated in the state of California. The comedian said of the experience, "It would be difficult for anyone who has obligations to do, so I wouldn't break the law. I didn't operate a motor vehicle for the 30 days of filming. The crew drove me everywhere." The documentary also featured several marijuana advocates, including Marc Emery, the Canadian "Prince of Pot". The film was reportedly marketed for the same budget as one for a two-inch advertisement in The New York Times.[1]

Reception

Super High Me had a regional premiere at the South by Southwest film festival in March 2008, where it screened alongside two other marijuana-focused films, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and Humboldt County.[4] The documentary premiered to the public in the widest documentary opening ever, screening at over 1,000 venues on April 20, 2008. The release date is 4/20 in American vernacular, intended to reflect the number 420 in cannabis culture.[1] The film was distributed by Red Envelope Entertainment (a distribution arm of Netflix), B-side, and Screen Media Films in a partnership. The companies arranged for grassroots screening events, where people could sign up on a website to receive a free DVD and have a public screening with a group of any size. The aim of the distribution strategy was to encourage later DVD sales.[5]

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter thought that documentary consisted Benson merely "expanding a bit from his stand-up act to strained results". Scheck wrote, "Super High Me mainly is an excuse for a series of comic riffs from its undeniably amusing subject who apparently is a favorite among the stoner crowd." The critic thought that the examination of the issues of medical cannabis and the conflict between the drug policy of California and the drug policy of the United States was "superficial".[6] Mark Rahner of The Seattle Times wrote, "Benson's [stunt] isn't as much of a revelation [as the one in Super Size Me], and it's more amiable than funny." While Rahner applauded the on-screen graphics as "professional caliber", he found the video footage to be "distractingly poor". Rahner concluded, "In the end, this is a weak advocacy film without much to interest anyone else."[7]

References

External links








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