Pubdate: Fri, 19 Feb 2016
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2016 The Washington Post Company
Author: Pat Padua


The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and the 
District has led to a so-called "green rush" of prospectors looking 
to cash in. Can the commercial potential from this newly sanctioned 
vice revitalize a newspaper industry struggling in the Internet age? 
Documentarian Mitch Dickman's "Rolling Papers" follows Ricardo Baca, 
marijuana editor at the Denver Post since 2013, to find out. Yet 
despite slick production values, this look at the intersection of two 
potentially fascinating subcultures - journalists and stoners - 
yields only half-baked results. ALCHEMY Jake Browne's journalism job: 
Pot critic, writing reviews of such strains as Glass Slipper and 
Banana Kush for the Cannabist, a publication devoted to marijuana in 
the Denver Post.

Denver Post editor Gregory L. Moore picked Baca from the ranks of his 
music writers, confident that he would be equally at home with pot. 
This logic points to one of the film's weaknesses. "Rolling Papers" 
is scored with a variety of pot-friendly music, from stoner hip-hop 
to reggae. Unfortunately, the cues come off as increasingly flip when 
the film turns from its recreational subject to more serious matters, 
as when shots are fired at an outdoor cannabis festival.

Even as Baca assembles his team of writers, the film devotes less 
time to writing than to product photography of pot varieties with 
names such as "Death Panda." "Rolling Papers" is tailor-made for 
viewers who inhale.

But those who don't (and even some who do) may not find all of its 
subjects equally compelling. One of the more intriguing people in the 
film is the strait-laced journalist who declines to partake of his 
subject, and who is eventually taken off the beat. Writing about pot 
may require a balance between obsession and detachment, but too much 
of the latter, it seems, gets you expelled from the club.

Unrated. At the Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market. Contains coarse 
language and drug use - lots of it. 79 minutes.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom