John Stalberg

Adrien Brody in High School

“I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner…” No truer words could represent the existence of John Stalberg Jr.’s High School, a film that sat on a shelf following a blistering run at Sundance in 2010, only to be released theatrically, in a very limited fashion, in June of this year. It’s the simple tale of two former friends whose paths have diverged in their later teen years. Henry Burke (Matt Bush) is the soon-to-be Valedictorian of his class, with a promising future awaiting him at M.I.T. Travis Breaux (Sean Marquette) is a burnout who spends more time wiping sharpie marker penises off his face than he does hitting the books. After a pre-school accident lands them together in detention, Breaux convinces Henry that his path to relaxation must go through the forrest of the sticky green, the cannabis sativa. And so they smoke marijuanna, not knowing that tomorrow will bring about a school-wide drug test at the hands of their overly theatrical dean, Leslie Gordon (Michael Chiklis). It’s here that the story gets interesting, and soon after the film finds itself introducing a mad, tattoo-covered dealer named Psycho Ed, as played by Adrien Brody. It’s here that High School becomes something quite special, indeed.

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Let’s face it, we exist as a generation that has grown up on stoner comedies. There have been drugs in our movies since before we were off the teet. So we should have seen it all by now, right? Not exactly.

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Sean Marquette and Matt Bush in High School

For those who have forgotten — as it has been a long time – I absolutely adored John Stalberg Jr.‘s HIGH School when I saw it at Sundance 2010. We’ve still got a glowing review to prove it. And now with it finally primed to hit theaters on June 1, we’re more than happy to share anything and everything the folks at Anchor Bay throw our way. Why? Because it’s a humorous, unique blast of insanity that’s worth our support. It’s worth your support at the box office as well. The story is simple: “The day after soon-to-be valedictorian Henry Burke (Matt Bush) takes a hit of the chronic for the first time, his school principal (Michael Chiklis) institutes a zero tolerance drug policy and administers a mandatory drug test for all students. Henry has two options: fail and lose his college scholarship, or team up with his stoner friend Breaux (Sean Marquette) to beat the system. They steal a high powered ganja from law student-turned-drug-dealer Psycho Ed (Adrien Brody) and spike the school’s bake sale brownies, getting the whole school – faculty included – completely stoned out of their minds. But with the student body getting higher and higher with every brownie, and a pissed-off Psycho Ed on their tails for stealing his stash, they must find a way to keep their half-baked plan from going up in smoke.” Our exclusive picks up with Henry and Breaux realizing that smoking some green wasn’t such a great idea, giving way to their far […]

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Adrien Brody in HIGH School

It feels like forever since we first reported on John Stalberg Jr.’s HIGH School at Sundance back in January 2010, but such is life in the big city. The distribution game is a tough one and once a film is sold, it could end up on a shelf for any amount. Thankfully, Anchor Bay is bringing this one off the shelf and into theaters this summer. June 1, 2012 to be exact. For those who need some catch-up, it’s a film that yours truly called “a stoner comedy worthy of being mentioned in the same paragraph as both Dazed and Confused and the great John Hughes. It’s funny, unpredictable and filled with performances that are as bankable as they big name stars who’ve disappeared into them.” One of those great performances comes from Adrien Brody, who becomes the crazed drug-dealing legend known only as Psycho Ed. You get a little taste of his madness in this newly released green band trailer, which doesn’t quite get as wild as what we saw in the film’s red band trailer, but you get the idea. Between Brody’s brilliance and an equally immersed performance from Michael Chiklis (yeah, that is Michael Chiklis), it’s no wonder this film ended up on my Editor’s Picks list for 2010. And now you all get to see it, as well. So start with the trailer after the jump and mark June 1 on your calendars. We’ll keep you updated from there.

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HIGH School

Anyone who knows me or has spent time in or around Reject HQ knows that I’m not much of a stoner. I don’t have anything against it, per se. I just don’t derive the same pleasure from smoking the good Earth’s finest herbs and spices that others seem to get. However, stoner humor does have a way of getting to me — especially when it’s well executed.

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In which I have a great conversation with HIGH School director John Stalberg over coffee, set to the soothing sounds of Paula Cole and injected with laughs. Behold, my favorite interview of Sundance 2010.

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