Up in Smoke (1978) - Special Collector's Edition
|Paramount || R - 86 minutes - $14.98 || September 4, 2007|
|Reviewer: Kushmeer Farakhan || Posted On: 2007-09-08|
Writer(s): Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin
Cast: Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin
Theatrical Release Date: Septembember 15, 1978
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Man: You wanna get high man?
Pedro: Does Howdy Doody got wooden Balls man?
Growing up, I missed the Cheech and Chong fan train. The duo and their various films and comedy routines came out before I was born and although I've had ample time to give them a shot over the years, I never have... until now. Don't know why really. My best friend and my younger brother are both huge fans of them. But then again those two had something in common that I don't with Cheech and Chong: both my friend and brother used to be hardcore stoners. I haven't been and honestly, I think you kind of have to have been at one time or another to really appreciate their supposedly classic first film, "Up in Smoke".
In Up in Smoke, Cheech and Chong play Pedro and umm..."Man" Stoner (Chong's character is never officially named in the film but that's what they list him as on IMDB so...), two stoned guys who meet up and drive around getting high. Through a series of "wacky" circumstances, the two somehow end up caught in some kind of marijuana border scam involving a van made of weed. The two also pick up two girls and try to become punk rock stars. And... that’s about it.
There really isn't much of a plot to speak of. Just a bunch of skits one after the other that are loosely tied together with a shoestring of a storyline. But not all of that would matter if it was funny. Was it? Well, kind of but not too much really. For example, there's a scene where the duo get pulled over by a cop and the cop does nothing but ask them if he can have their hot dog, eats it, and walks away. Is that funny? Not really, it's just more odd than funny and I think that's my overall problem with the film.
In short, it's not a bad film. It's well directed and well acted considering what it is but it's just not all that funny to me. Well made but that's about it.
- Commentary with Cheech Marin and director Lou Adler is awesome. I was much more riveted by this than the film itself as Cheech and Adler talk in great detail about how the movie was made, why, the signifigance of every scene, bit, etc. It was all quite revealing. Obviously, Cheech still really digs the film becuase there were several little lulls where he gets quiet and then burst into laughter.
- Roach Clips is a series of deleted scenes(there were about a dozen I think) and they range from dumb to giggle worthy. None are needed in the film but if you're a fan, they're fun to look at.
- Lighting UP: A Look Back at Up in Smoke is a 11 minute documentary where Marin, Adler, and Chong talk a bit about their love of the film, why they did it, and how relevant it is to today's audience as well as entire generation of people in the industry. Way too short but still very good. I did kind of wonder why Chong was on this doc but NOT on the commentary. That was weird.
- "Earache My Eye" is an really strange animated music video version of one of the group's skits where Chong plays a guy who doesn't want to get out of bed and get a job much to his dad's chagrin. This is easily the strangest thing on the set and I really didn't even know what it was until my best friend explained it to me.
Also included are "The Man Song", a series of clips from the movie where a character says "man" strung together for 2 and a half minutes, and 2 Vintage Radios Spots and the trailer. Trailers and spots were cut together much differently back then and they were neat to watch and listen.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The video is surprisingly good considering how old the film is. There were a couple of scenes where things probably could've been cleaned up or restored some but nothing too distracting.
Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is available along with 2.0 and a French mix.
I didn't think the movie was great but I know it has it's fans and for them, I think this is a slam-dunk. The features on the DVD are a mixed bag but the commentary and making of helped a lot. Cheech and Chong's UP in Smoke is a must for fans but I think a rental for the rest of us.