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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Doug Benson Wants No Part of a Super High Me Sequel (But Check Out the Trailer)

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 11:07 AM

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If you have not seen Super High Me, chances are you've at least heard of the 2008 documentary in which 420-friendly comedian Doug Benson — even then a "Stoner of the Year," according to High Times — was stoned for 30 days straight, a la Morgan Spurlock.  

Spoiler alert: Benson did not die, go crazy, or lose his job and home. In fact, nothing much of anything happened, which may go a ways toward explaining the film's tepid reviews.

Things may have been different had the film adhered to its original concept — a reality TV series to be sold to Netflix, the project's initial big backer and distributor. (Hard to imagine now that the entertainment powerhouse behind House of Cards had a stoner's whimsy as one of its first projects.) Things might also have been different had Benson pulled out of the project, as apparently he threatened to do, according to a theatrical trailer for a possible sequel.

Speaking of that sequel, Benson also wants nothing to do with that — to the extent that he's filed suit in federal court to bar the release of a Super High Me Redux, or the public viewing of any additional footage shot during the original 2007 filming.

Now is not the time to pre-order a Super High Me special edition DVD. But by all means, view the trailer for yourself, after the jump. 

Benson filed suit against Alex Campbell and D.J. Paul, the producers of Super High Me and his former business partners, in federal court in August. A judge moved the suit to state court, where the two parties are trading motions. Benson says that extra footage can't be released without his consent and the consent of a company the trio created together for the original film; Campbell and Paul say the footage is theirs and can be used to make a "documentary about a documentary" without Benson's involvement. 

But why does Doug hate this movie? According to court documents filed in the suit, releasing another film — or any footage at all — would do immense damage to Benson's carefully cultivated reputation and "alienate" his fans. Let's peek at the trailer and see if there's a clue as to why.

There are a few revelations here. First, Netflix wanted Super High Me to be a six-episode reality show for a time. There's Netflix chief of content Ted Sarandos on screen talking about the project — and then the project participants having a tough time, largely because they were unsure if they were making a film or a reality show.

Then there's Benson trying to drop out. At least the way the trailer is cut, this suggests that Benson wasn't so much a willing participant in what became a landmark career moment for him. It also suggests that he wasn't so much interested in medical marijuana as a social movement at all, just a vehicle for his comedy.  

It's unclear what Campbell and Paul plan to do and how long the lawsuit will take to work out. But this may go a ways towards explaining why, at least on Benson's website and his Twitter bio, there's plenty mention of his many projects, but not a word about Super High Me.

Guess we at least know that Benson won't be sponsoring any of the legalization initiatives later this year — though we'd surely pay to see Sean Parker on Getting Doug With High.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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