Pineapple Express (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Gordon Green|
|Music by||Graeme Revell|
|Edited by||Craig Alpert|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$102.4 million|
Pineapple Express is a 2008 American buddy stoner action comedy film directed by David Gordon Green, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and starring Rogen and James Franco. The plot centers on a process server and his marijuana dealer as they are forced to flee from hitmen and a corrupt police officer after witnessing them commit a murder. Producer Judd Apatow, who previously worked with Rogen and Goldberg on Knocked Up and Superbad, assisted in developing the story.
Columbia Pictures released the film on August 6, 2008, and it grossed $102 million worldwide on a $26 million budget. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and Franco was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his performance.
In 1937, a soldier (Bill Hader) in a military facility is being observed through a two-way mirror smoking marijuana and revealing in his euphoria what he hates about the army. A high-ranking officer closes the project and deems marijuana illegal.
Seventy years later in 2007, Dale Denton (Seth Rogen), a process server visits his drug dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco), to buy marijuana. Saul says he may know Dale's next customer, Ted Jones (Gary Cole). At Ted's house Dale witnesses Ted and a police officer, Carol Brazier (Rosie Perez), shoot a man dead. While fleeing, Dale leaves his roach containing Pineapple Express, a rare strain of marijuana. Ted identifies the strain and sends his henchmen Budlofsky (Kevin Corrigan) and Matheson (Craig Robinson) to Red (Danny McBride), a dealer who tells them about Saul.
Back at Saul's apartment, Dale learns Ted is a drug lord and could trace the roach. Dale and Saul visit Red, who reveals that Ted knows who they are and intends to kill them. Dale and Saul decide they must leave the city. They sell Pineapple Express to raise bus fare but Dale is arrested by Police Liaison Officer Bobbra (Cleo King). Dale tells Bobbra that he witnessed Brazier and Ted murder a man. Bobbra has long been suspicious of Brazier's corruption and says she will investigate; however, Saul, thinking that it is Brazier driving, hijacks the police car. Brazier hears on police radio of Dale's arrest and pursues Dale and Saul in a high-speed chase, but they escape. After Dale and Saul argue and split up, Saul is kidnapped and is held in Ted's lair beneath the same military facility from 1937. Dale enlists Red's help to rescue Saul. Red backs out at the last minute and Dale is captured. While Dale and Saul are waiting to be killed, they reconcile and plan an escape.
Asian mobsters attack the barn to avenge their fellow gangster's death, the murder that Dale witnessed. Dale and Saul free themselves but are caught by Matheson. A brawl ensues. Red reappears and drives his car through the barn saving Saul, but is shot by Brazier. A mobster sets off a bomb killing Ted and setting fire to the barn. Red's car explodes and lands on Brazier, killing her. Dale carries Saul from the burning barn and Red, wounded but still alive, also escapes and reconciles with them. They talk about their adventure over breakfast at a diner before Saul's grandmother picks them up and takes them to the hospital.
- Seth Rogen as Dale Denton
- James Franco as Saul Silver
- Danny McBride as Red
- Gary Cole as Ted Jones
- Kevin Corrigan as Budlofsky
- Craig Robinson as Matheson
- Rosie Perez as 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 Bobbra
- Bill Hader as Private Miller
- James Remar as General Bratt
- David McDivitt as Cop with Mole
- Bibek Adhikari as Angie's ex-boyfriend
- Troy Gentile as Troy Jones, Ted's son
- Connie Sawyer as Faye Belogus
- Arthur Napiontek as Clark
- Dana Lee as Cheung
- Bobby Lee as Bobby
- Justin Long as Justin
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 film is named after a real cannabis strain called Pineapple Express.
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 and it grossed $12.1 million on its first day. Over the weekend, it opened at number two behind The Dark Knight with $23.2 million, a five-day total of $41.3 million. The film went on to gross $87.3 million in the U.S. and Canada and $14.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $101.5 million.
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 Gravy Train and Stir Crazy as sources of inspiration and influence on directing the film.
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.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 68% based on 199 reviews, and an average rating is 6.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Both funny and scatter shot, this loose-knit action/buddy/stoner comedy bridges genres and keeps a steady tempo of low ball laughs." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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. 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.
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 and reached the top 5 on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. 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)
- "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung (4:48)
- "Woke Up Laughing" by Robert Palmer (3:35)
Judd Apatow stated that there's a strong possibility for a sequel, but nothing has been announced officially. 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 then-upcoming film 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. After the Sony hack in 2014, there was an email leaked saying that Sony doesn't plan to make a sequel to the film.
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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.
- Choi, Mary H.K. "Trail Blazing". The Awl. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
I can only imagine Seth Rogen and crew were similarly smitten with the strain since it inspired an entire feature-length film.
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- "M.I.A., 'Paper Planes,' and coasting to fame on 'Pineapple Express'". Entertainment Weekly. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
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- "Pineapple Express – CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- Phillips, Michael (August 5, 2008). "'Pineapple Express' stars James Franco, Seth Rogen". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- Vance, Kelly (August 6, 2008). "Nice Dreams". East Bay Express. Jody Colley. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- "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. Archived from the original on 2010-09-22. 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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