Pineapple Express (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Gordon Green|
|Produced by||Judd Apatow
|Music by||Graeme Revell|
|Edited by||Craig Alpert|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||112 minutes
Pineapple Express is a 2008 American stoner action comedy film directed by David Gordon Green, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and starring Rogen and James Franco. Producer Judd Apatow, who previously worked with Rogen and Goldberg on Knocked Up and Superbad, assisted in developing the story, which was partially inspired by the buddy comedy subgenre. The film was released on August 6, 2008. Franco was nominated for a Golden Globe award for his performance in the film.
Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a 25-year-old process server and habitual pot smoker. He makes a visit to the home of his drug dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco), to buy weed. Saul tells him that he may already know the identity of his next service, Ted Jones (Gary Cole). Dale drives to Ted's house and witnesses a cop, Officer Carol Brazier (Rosie Perez), and Ted shoot an Asian man to death. Dale panics and flees the area, but leaves his roach at the scene which contains a rare strain of marijuana called Pineapple Express. Ted is able to identify the strain and sends his two henchmen, Budlofsky and Matheson (Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson) to dealer Red (Danny McBride), who discloses that he has only sold the pot to Saul.
Dale flees to Saul's apartment and learns that Ted is a dangerous drug lord and could trace the roach back to Saul. Dale and Saul flee into the nearby woods while Ted's henchmen persuade Red to arrange a meeting between Saul and Red. They accidentally fall asleep in Dale's car and wake up to find that they missed their meeting with Red. They leave the woods and arrive at Red's house, hoping to determine whether Ted has linked them with him. Red says Ted is not after them but Dale realizes that he is lying, starting a fight that results in Red getting knocked out. They wake Red and question him until he reveals that Ted has discovered who they are and means to kill them. Convinced that they are being pursued, Dale and Saul decide that they must leave the city.
In order to leave town, Dale and Saul sell some Pineapple Express to raise bus fare. However, a police officer witnesses Dale and arrests him for selling marijuana. Dale tries to convince the arresting officer that Officer Brazier is corrupt, but Saul leaps out in front of the police car and hijacks it thinking that it is Braizer driving. Officer Brazier hears a police radio call of Dale's arrest and pursues Dale and Saul in a high-speed chase but they successfully evade her. After an argument with each other about the situation they are in, Dale and Saul go their separate ways. Saul visits his grandmother in an assisted living home but is kidnapped and held hostage in Ted's lair beneath a barn. Dale enlists Red to help him rescue Saul but Red unexpectedly backs out at the last minute and Dale is captured. While Dale and Saul are held hostage, they reconcile with each other and make plans to escape.
Suddenly, a rival Asian drug gang attacks the barn to avenge a member's death at the hands of Ted and Officer Brazier, the same murder that Dale had witnessed. Dale and Saul finally free themselves but are caught by Matheson. Matheson grazes Dale's ear with a gunshot but is disarmed and shot by Saul. Dale and Saul join the fight and an ensuing brawl between Dale and Ted leads to Ted's death when one of the Asians activates a bomb that sets fire to the barn. Before then, when Budlowski refuses to kill Saul, Matheson emerges from the lair and shoots him in the chest, killing him, then turns around to kill Saul but Red drives through the barn and saves Saul by crushing Matheson with his car but is supposedly shot to death by Brazier. Red's car inside the barn explodes, flips over and kills her. The explosion incapacitates Saul but Dale finds and carries him and they escape from the burning barn. Red, wounded but still alive, also escapes and reconciles with them. Afterward, they eat at a diner and talk about their adventure before Saul's grandmother picks them up to take them to the hospital.
- Seth Rogen as Dale Denton
- James Franco as Saul Silver
- Danny McBride as Red
- Kevin Corrigan as Budlofsky
- Craig Robinson as Matheson
- Gary Cole as Ted Jones
- Rosie Perez as Officer Carol Brazier
- Ken Jeong as Ken
- Amber Heard as Angie Anderson
- Ed Begley, Jr. as Robert Anderson
- Nora Dunn as Shannon Anderson
- Joe Lo Truglio as Mr. Edwards
- Cleo King as Police Liaison Officer Barber
- Bill Hader as Private Miller
- James Remar as General Bratt
The inspiration for making Pineapple Express, according to producer Judd Apatow, was Brad Pitt's character in True Romance, a stoner named Floyd. Apatow "thought it would be funny to make a movie in which you follow that character out of his apartment and watch him get chased by bad guys". According to Rogen, the ideal production budget was $40 million, but due to the subject matter—"because it's a weed movie", as he described it—Sony Pictures allotted $25 million. The movie is named after a real cannabis strain called Pineapple Express.
Release and reception
The film has received generally positive reviews from critics with a rating of 68% on the review website Rotten Tomatoes. Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune praised the film's script, noting that it "recalls what made Superbad worth seeing: the sidewinding conversational riffs, the why-am-I-laughing? wordplay." However, he was critical of the second half of the film, and felt that the violence in contrast to the comedy of the first half was jarring and gratuitous. Sonny Bunch of the Washington Times agreed with Phillips, opining that "It’s a shame so much attention was paid to the gun battles and so little to character development." Kelly Vance of East Bay Express enjoyed Franco's performance, stating that he "steals the movie easily", as well as the authenticity of the film's sets.
A "red-band" trailer for the film, featuring the song "Paper Planes" by M.I.A., leaked in February 2008. Sony Pictures had the video removed from YouTube within a few days of its posting. Patrick Goldstein's Summer Movie Posse of the Los Angeles Times described its incorporation as "the most impressive use of M.I.A.'s 'Paper Planes' ever". The film's makers had been keen on including the song in the film's main trailer and approached M.I.A.'s U.S. label Interscope Records for permission. She added "Interscope asked me and I was, like, well, since it’s just the trailer, that’s cool. I didn’t really think twice about it" stating she would have thought more carefully about permitting the song's use if it was in the main film, "scrutinizing what scene they were using it in and stuff like that". Pineapple Express had an advance screening at the Just for Laughs Film Festival on July 19, 2008. The film was released on August 6, 2008. Cable network FX pre-bought exclusive rights to air the film after its theatrical run. One particular aspect of the film that has been almost universally praised is the cinematography; Seth Rogen even joked on the commentary that "even people who hate the movie admit that it's shot well".
David Gordon Green met with Apatow, Rogen and Goldberg on the set of Knocked Up, and later on the set of Superbad to discuss the project. Green cited The Blues Brothers, Midnight Run, Running Scared, the Terrence Malick written The Gravy Train and Stir Crazy as sources of inspiration and influence on directing the film.
Rogen was originally going to play Saul, but Apatow suggested that Franco should play the role instead. After a table read, Rogen agreed, thus casting himself in the role of Dale Denton.
Sony released the film on Wednesday August 6, 2008 with $12,085,679 in ticket sales. Over the weekend it opened at number two behind The Dark Knight with $23,245,025 for a five day total of $41,318,736. The film went on to gross $87,341,380 domestically with a worldwide total of $101,549,277.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 6, 2009. Both rated and unrated versions of the film are available. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia on December 31, 2008. Both the Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD versions of the film come with a digital copy of the unrated film. As of November 1, 2009 the DVD has sold 2,510,321 copies and generated $43,033,863 in sales revenue.
The original motion picture soundtrack to the film was released on August 5, 2008. Although featured in the trailer for the film, the song "Paper Planes" by M.I.A. is not used in the film or on its soundtrack. Following the trailer's release, "Paper Planes" gained massive airplay, entering the Top 5 on Billboard Hot 100. Also featured in the film but absent from the soundtrack album are Grace Jones' Sly and Robbie produced cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire", the former of which can be found on her 1998 compilation Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions.
- "Pineapple Express" by Huey Lewis and the News (4:27)
- "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant (3:48)
- "Dr. Greenthumb" by Cypress Hill (3:08)
- "Lost at Birth" by Public Enemy (3:33)
- "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe (4:20)
- "Wanted Dread and Alive" by Peter Tosh (4:22)
- "Don't Look Around" by Mountain (3:44)
- "Pineapple Chase (aka The Reprise of the Phoenix)" by Graeme Revell (3:03)
- "Bird's Lament" by Moondog & The London Saxophonic (2:02)
- "Coconut Girl" by Brother Noland (3:36)
- "Hi'ilawe" by Arthur Lyman (1:09)
- "Time Will Tell" by Bob Marley (3:31)
- "Tha Crossroads" by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (3:45)
- "Pineapple Fight (aka The Nemesis Proclaimed)" by Graeme Revell (3:08)
- "I Didn't Mean to Hurt You" by Spiritualized (5:12)
- "Woke Up Laughing" by Robert Palmer (3:35)
Judd Apatow stated that there's a strong possibility for a sequel, but nothing is officially announced yet. A supposed trailer for the sequel was released on April 1, 2013 with Rogen, Franco, McBride, and Robinson reprising their roles, and Jonah Hill appearing as Woody Harrelson, but this was revealed later to be an April Fools Prank, promoting their upcoming movie This Is the End. According to Rogen and Goldberg, however, the homemade Pineapple Express 2 film in This Is the End depicts what they envision for the actual sequel.
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- Svetkey, Benjamin (April 18, 2008). "'Pineapple Express': High hopes for James Franco". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- Halperin, Shirley (April 11, 2008). "Marijuana Movies: Riding High In Hollywood?". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
- Phillips, Michael (August 5, 2008). "'Pineapple Express' stars James Franco, Seth Rogen". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Bunch, Sonny (August 6, 2008). "New Apatow comedy goes up in smoke". Washington Times. News World Media Development. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Vance, Kelly (August 6, 2008). "Nice Dreams". East Bay Express. Jody Colley. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Foerster, Jonathan (June 12, 2008). "We've got the soundtrack to your summer". Naples Daily News. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- Sperling, Nicole (February 13, 2008). "And the red-band played on... or not". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- Sperling, Nicole (February 14, 2008). "Smoke up, Seth Rogen: 'Pineapple Express' red-band trailer is finally online". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- Goldstein, Patrick (April 29, 2008). "Summer Movie Posse gives its thumbs up....and down". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
- "M.I.A., 'Paper Planes,' and coasting to fame on 'Pineapple Express'". Entertainment Weekly. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
- Kelly, Brendan; Frankel, Daniel (June 17, 2008). "'Pineapple' opens comedy festival". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
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- Dempsey, John (June 24, 2008). "FX to 'Mess With the Zohan'". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved September 3, 2008.
- Douglas, Edward (August 4, 2008). "Exclusive: Pineapple Express' David Gordon Green". comingsoon.net. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
- Goldman, Eric (March 18, 2008). "Judd Apatow: From Freaks and Geeks to Sarah Marshall and Beyond". IGN. Retrieved August 4, 2008.
- Halperin, Shirley (November 26, 2007). "Seth Rogen inviting Huey Lewis aboard 'Pineapple Express'?". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- "Top Selling DVDs of 2009". The-Numbers.com. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- "Pineapple Express Original Soundtrack". Allmusic. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
- Williams, Leslie (May 14, 2008). "Leslie Williams: Selecting summer music, films". The Orion Online. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
- "Judd Apatow talks possible PINEAPPLE EXPRESS sequel". GordonandtheWhale.com. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- "Judd Apatow Says ‘Pineapple Express 2′ Likely, ‘Superbad 2′ Not So Much » MTV Movies Blog". MoviesBlog.MTV.com. 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- Rogen, Seth; Goldberg, Evan (2013-06-14). "We are Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg - Ask Us Anything". Reddit. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
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