Netflix & Chill: 420 Edition – ‘Finding Nemo’

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

There is no possible way you can have a bad time watching Pixar movies high. Visually, they are colorful and vibrant. Emotionally, they are sincere and profound. Narratively, they are surprisingly complex and funny. Plus, they’re ultimately intended for both adults and children to enjoy (and watch together), so you’ll feel cozy and child-like again, almost as though safe in your mother’s embrace. Nothing threatening or strenuous.

“Finding Nemo” is my favorite Pixar flick. In actuality, the ocean is a vast, dark, craggy mass of water filled with god-knows-what terrifying creatures, plenty of shipwrecks and decaying bodies. But Pixar paints the ocean as a dynamic universe teeming with life much like ours; there are families, bullies, stoners and single fathers struggling to get by. “Nemo” centers on a fussy clownfish named Marlin who loses his wife; once a widower, he is forced to raise his son Nemo alone, and does a pretty good job until Nemo gets abducted by scuba divers. Poor Marlin, already grossly overprotective, is frantic. So, along with a jolly blue tang fish named Dory (who suffers from extreme short-term memory loss and is voiced with hilarity by Ellen Degeneres), he travels across the sea in search of his offspring.

Nemo gets forced into a tank at a dentist’s office, then nearly killed by a braces-wearing villainess (the dentist’s niece, Darla), who murdered her last fish by shaking its bag too much. But he escapes in the end. Marlin is almost devoured by sharks (who are in a rehabilitation program, trying to become vegetarians) and he’s accidentally eaten by a blue whale. But he escapes, too.

The lesson of “Nemo” is bittersweet and true: If you love something, set it free. While separated, both father and son learn how to survive on their own. Nemo must figure out how to appreciate his father’s overbearing tenderness and simultaneously begin to navigate the wide world without his dad’s help. And Marlin, in turn, has to let him go. “I promised I’d never let anything happen to him,” Marlin says tearfully to Dory when he loses his son. “That’s a funny thing to promise,” she replies. “You can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him!”

Stoner bonus: Marlin and Dory meet a gang of sea turtles who are clearly stand-ins for burn-out surfer dudes. They’re totally chill and 100 percent high. Crush (the head turtle) has a great relationship with his son Squirt, largely because he supports and encourages him, but doesn’t helicopter-parent.

Anya Jaremko-GreenwoldDGO Staff Writer

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