Sunday, 13 May 2012

Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke (1978)

Wherever you are in terms of weed smoking, this cult flick was a huge box office blast in 1978, which seems like ages ago now. Can you imagine it done nowadays? No way! Defnitely could have only happened in the 70's as at the time it was as close to legalizing weed in USA as it gets. In fact Jimmy Carter won the ticket to the White House two years before officially backing it up and even Hunter S. Thompson swallowed the bug. It's a real pity it never happened as Carter's aide was busted with a big load of snowflake and his progressive, liberal agenda was promptly flushed in the toilet when media caught wind of the scandal. In a way late 70's – although driven by everlasting, cocaine high – were the highest mark of countercultural dreams gone big – if we measure them purely in media and entertainment pitch. Cheech Martin & Tommy Chong could have never found a better time to pop up with their homegrown comedy style.

For many people "Up In Smoke" is the best one in whole Cheech & Chong's series and although it worked for me I have to say I personally found "Nice Dreams" to be much more of an inventive oddball, just dripping with this peculiar, stoner aura. Still, we cannot really go through Cheech & Chong's astonishing film career without bumping on their first, groundbreaking picture. It's cool, it's hilarious and it's definitely baked! How many times it's been ripped off afterwards it's hard to count and that includes recent lame, stoner shit. What makes "Up In Smoke" a wild card and prevents it from aging though is a genuine vocation behind it... this feel of auteur's loco so much buried in the 80's by the big studios cashing on countless clones of "Star Wars", "Jaws" and "The Exorcist". Even if decade under influence was almost over by the time Cheech & Chong caught up, few great movies have been made even as late as 1980-1981.

A plot of "Up In Smoke" is obviously as loose as high mind can be. Two amateur musicians meet casually somewhere around Los Angeles – one just crawled up from a ditch by the beach actually – and they immediately hit it by sharing a gigantic joint (packed partly with Mauie Wowie and partly with labradorian shit). Shortly they get so stoned that driving is impossible anymore and while cult line "I think we're parked, man" comes off of a screen we surely know this bender's gonna last and it does! But the adventures of two dropouts – Pedro de Pacas and Anthony, are not really addressed to any straight viewers, so beware! However, if you've reached for your dear bong or just finished a phat one, they'll leave you spaced out in no time. Among many silly scenes you'll witness a weird music rehearsal and you'll meet wasted Vietnam veteran, who unfortunately flips out while guys want to score some dope from him. You're also gonna drown in some very bizarre ideas like crossing USA-Mexico border in a car made out of liquid marijuana.

In the end you'll have to face a struggle between our anti-heroes and local police forces led by unforgettable sergeant Sedenko, always alert to bust the hipsters as key personalities of a drug-dealing network... and you'll see their gig on young talents night at The Roxy, including obscure californian New Wave and punk rock acts. A cool cat Chicano-black-street speak adds to the flavour making it one of the least pretentious picture of all times and while it contains some lightweight, countercultural agenda it should be watched mainly for these mythical 10 lbs of hysterical giggle. If you have the right attitude and give it a first try, it will definitely blow your mind with it's off-beat pacing and revised version of Marx Brothers humour. You need to know, that only few 60's/70's movies have gained such a cult following with time and while comedies among them are scarce, this is the top. A fantastic trip in glorious past of a truly entertaining cinema, which will grab every serious toker "by the boo boo".


Anonymous said...


Conradino Beb said...

Polska recenzja na stronach MAGIVANGI!