These traumatized fishes could use a joint.
Pixar’s Finding Dory has hit box office highs and has already grossed over $554 million worldwide. It’s the sequel to the beloved sea story, Finding Nemo. In this latest edition, amnesiac/forever-forgetful fish Dory, while on a cross-ocean trek to find her parents, is captured and placed into an aquarium.
There’s a lot to like in this wacky bunch of animals, including a heap of disabled fish who, like Dory, fit a very silly and perfect stoner stereotype. Perhaps that’s been the biggest win for a Pixar film so far—it’s one of the first animated family feature flicks to address disabilities at all.
And the Internet is aglow with parents’ essays about the movie, and a lot of big idea commentary. Some are happy; some annoyed. Overall, everyone seems pleased that a giant like Disney decided to take on the challenge of at least talking about disabled people. It seems parents of disabled kids were well stoked to see the film.
From The Daily Beast:
What makes this an unusual portrayal of cognitive disability is that her sudden memory does not result from being, say, banged on the head or abruptly cured. Rather, it is the result of the fact that careful, painstaking lessons her parents had given her in how to return home had paid off. Throughout the movie, we see the benefits of those lessons. Much more importantly, we see how Dory has taught herself to get around in the world with her disability, such as how to make friends with some and avoid others who lack good will, how to ask for help when she needs it, how to solve problems.
So Dory “keeps swimming” and she stops apologizing for her disability. She makes the most of her life, despite any unfair roadblocks. And maybe that’s enough.
But in this film, one where many sea creatures seem to be high anyway, I wonder if there’s an underlying positivity toward weed and disabilities. Like, if these sea things smoked a little medicinal product, maybe they’d have even better luck in life. Just like real people do.
There’s a whale shark who can’t see very well—weed is superb for glaucoma and other eye problems.
There’s a beluga whale who has serious anxiety about his “inability” to echolocate (use sound waves and echoes to determine where objects are in space)—weed is superb for anxiety and also enhances focus on sounds.
There’s an octopus who has severe PTSD and is afraid to be released into the wild—weed is superb for PTSD.
And then there’s Dory, who can’t remember anything, and Nemo who has an undersized fin. If anything, Dory seems pretty stoked and high most of the time—even though we never see her getting that way, it’s gotta be helping her somehow.
Disney is no stranger to stoner culture either, especially not in the Nemo/Dory stories. Just look at Crush, the super-stoned surfer turtle who drags the crew to the other side of the ocean in Finding Dory. He talks like an idiot beach bro and has saggy eyes and is basically telling all the parents in the theater, Hey, I’m a stoney sea creature, man!
While the film doesn’t address weed in any explicit way, it’s curious that the positive effects of medicinal cannabis seem to be lurking in every wave and eddy of plot and character. An octopus, as the movie shows, can drive a truck. Why couldn’t said octopus smoke weed to cure his treacherous PTSD imposed upon him from living in the wild?
The movie ends with a goofy gang of disabled sea animals released to the wild sea—to swim out beyond the loving (safe) care of the state-of-the-art aquarium and fish hospital. I guess to have received sufficient support and nurturing to make the foray into the bigger, badder world is growth enough to justify an under-the-sea sequel. But when a third installment of this franchise comes along, it should most certainly include submarine weed that helps ease the real-life disabilities in these fictional creatures.