Hazy Halcyon Days of Pot and Puberty

The film director Jonathan Levine never sold marijuana in high school, though he may have inhaled some. “Possible,” he said recently, fighting a smile. “It’s possible.”

Nor did he ever trade weed for sessions with a psychiatrist, as the protagonist of his new movie, “The Wackness,” does. But in other respects “The Wackness” — Mr. Levine’s second feature, which opens Thursday and stars Josh Peck as Luke, the teenage dealer; Ben Kingsley as the shrink; and Mary-Kate Olsen as a spaced-out hippie chick — is largely autobiographical. Set in New York in the summer of 1994, when the first Giuliani term was in full swing, and rap was pulsing from headphones everywhere, it’s a portrait of the artist as a young stoner who can see only the “wack,” or dismal, side of things, and never the “dope,” or bright and uplifting, stuff.

Mr. Levine, who just turned 32, is small, intense, a little nervous. He looks less like a movie director than the eager-to-please guy who fetches the director’s coffee.

(New York Times)

Directors, New Movies

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