Solil Devyn Borthwick
For my last semester of Reel Bad, I want to focus mainly on movies that mean something to me. To kick off, I figure I may as well start with “Grass,” a movie about two girls smoking a backpack full of weed in a park. Yes, that is the entire movie.
Aside from that, however, details about “Grass” are pretty hard to pin down, starting with its runtime. While the only version I’ve seen runs 57 minutes, IMBD, Google and director Tanuj Chopra’s website each list much different times — 92, 73 and 85 minutes respectively.
Whatever happened to those extra 15-30 minutes is a mystery to me, but the film really doesn’t need them. After all, it’s already an hour, and how much more footage of two women smoking weed in a park do you really need?
A lot. The answer is a lot more, and I’ll tell you why—because after I first saw “Grass,” there was a six-month period where I was unable to watch it because shortly after, it got taken off Amazon’s streaming services.
Suddenly, watching the movie had become as impossible as figuring out how long it lasted. I checked up on it every month or so, only to find an “unavailable” message still blocking the play button on Amazon.
Scouring every corner of the internet, users on Vimeo and DailyMotion failed me. I even attempted to torrent the film, but it’s such a blip on the cinematic radar that after a week of waiting, I closed qBit empty-handed.
Flash forward to spring 2021 — while conducting one of my intermittent searches, I let out an enthused gasp. The film had been picked up by Tubi, a free streaming platform which I already adored for its wide selection of B-movies.
I copied the link before the page had even finished loading, and within seconds, I had an mp4 downloading — a personal failsafe should the movie ever disappear from the internet again.
To most, I expect these efforts to seem excessive, if not obsessed. After all, I’m fully aware this movie is remarkably bad for a lot of reasons — it has no reviews on Google, a 3.6/10 on IMBD, and Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t even have a page for it.
The only place I’ve seen it praised is from its two reviews on Amazon, very obviously from like-minded movie-goers, one of whom called it “easy and fun and silly,” the other regarding it as “enlightening.”
The movie itself is centered on a pair of friends named Jinky (Pia Shah) and Cam (Emily Chang). Cam is a straight-cut girl whose dealer fiancé Austin has asked her to deliver a backpack full of weed to one of his buyer’s. Jinky is her pothead best friend.
Naturally, Cam calls Jinky to ask for advice, and they meet in the park. Jinky, being the stoner she is, immediately suggests they smoke some of the several pounds of bud at their disposal.
“We’ll take like one or two buds,” Jinky declares upon first seeing the bag open. “We’ll take like ten buds,” she then continues before upping her scale to fistfuls.
Eventually, Cam caves, and the two take some tokes in the park. Then, they get real, and talk about serious things, like Cam’s shaky relationship with Austin, and Jinky’s munchies jeopardizing the whole operation.
“First and foremost, I think we need to share food,” Cam declares after watching Jinky devour a sandwich she was promised a bite of. “Rule number one — my food is your food, your food is my food.”
As far as plot, that’s all there really is, but the girls are pretty (aren’t they all?), and the movie is, visually speaking, rather engaging at times.
A number of scenes feature distortive effects, which — while not how cannabis actually works — certainly make the movie more entertaining if you’re under its influence, which is probably the only way anyone should watch “Grass,” anyway.
Shah and Chang helped Chopra write the script, and it certainly shows. They perform their lines with vigor and enthusiasm far exceeding the gravity of the text. This perhaps is the most accurately depicted effect of the eponymous drug — a tunnel focus through a foggy lens of the here and now.
Hardly any of the nonsense they spew moves the story forward — save a heated debate about whether to order a pizza — and with how jarring and disjointed they are, I’m honestly never quite sure what they’re actually talking about.
There’s also some random shots of wild animals and various engines being started, I guess. I think we’re supposed to take them non-literally, but whatever, they’re fun to laugh at. Between all of the film’s flaws and the mildly sapphic undertones of Cam and Jinky’s friendship, there’s plenty for me to enjoy.
I’m so enamored with the film that over the summer, I ended up buying a DVD of it after it popped up on Amazon. I figure between that, my trusty mp4 and my old pal Tubi, I shouldn’t ever have to worry about losing access again.
But if Tubi takes it down, the DVD cracks, then my laptop goes kaput, you can be certain of this — I’d do just about anything to get my hands on “Grass.”