In honor of 4/20, I decided to pay tribute to America's favorite stoners by reviewing "Up In Smoke" while taking bong rips and, incidentally, codeine that I was prescribed because I have a compressed nerve in my neck.
Photo courtesy of the author
According to Wikipedia, there are seven "primary" Cheech and Chong films made between 1978 and 1985, all of which Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin wrote, directed, and starred in. This does not include any of the secondary Cheech and Chong spin-off films (of which there are many), or the animated Cheech and Chong film that was released in 2013.
Despite the fact that I've smoked weed habitually for the majority of my two and a half decades on this earth, I have somehow never seen anything in the Cheech and Chong canon, let alone the secondary stuff. Which, frankly, is shameful. So in honor of 4/20, I've decided to pay tribute to America's favorite stoners by smoking weed nonstop while I watch Up In Smoke, the first movie in the Cheech and Chong franchise, and live-blog my reactions.
I will also photograph my eyes at various intervals throughout the film to catalog my transformation from "normal" to "crazy stoned lizard." I think it will help you get a more visceral image of just how incoherently high I am. Here's my baseline:
Unfortunately, yesterday I woke up with such intense pain that I couldn't breathe deeply without feeling like my rib was being stabbed with a knife. I wasn't too alarmed because I have had chronic pain in my shoulder and rib cage for probably eight years. I've been to a lot of different doctors about it. My general practitioner recommended physical therapy, which was helpful. All the other doctors lectured me on drug abuse and did nothing to diagnose or treat my pain.
But despite my insistence that doctors wouldn't help me, my boyfriend, Tyler, took me to urgent care. I told him I would only go if he came into the room with me, in the hopes that having a white male professional in there would make my pain seem more legitimate. I think that worked; the doctor not only diagnosed me with a compressed nerve, but he also showered me with codeine and muscle relaxers to treat the pain.
What I'm trying to convey here is this: In addition to marijuana, I'm also (legally) high on painkillers and muscle relaxers while writing this. Earlier this morning, Tyler fed me a muscle relaxer and a painkiller with breakfast by placing the pills on top of some scrambled eggs he made me... which I realize is similar to what you would do if you're trying to trick a dog into taking pills. Here we go.
Ok, I'm starting the movie now. Chong's car just broke down so he decided to hitchhike. Cheech drove by and picked him up because he thought Chong was a woman? What?
Wow, they became best friends seemingly instantly after Cheech picked up Chong on the side of the road... Damn. I wish making friends was that easy for me.
I think I'm too high to be writing this, even by VICE standards.
I laughed for, like, five full minutes when I realized Tommy Chong's full name is "Thomas Chong."
Wow. Cheech invented crop tops.
Oh my god. They're in the car and smoking a massive joint full of dog shit. Chong is saying how his dog accidentally ate his weed and he had to inspect his dog's poo for a week before the dog pooped out the weed. When he found the weed poo, he rolled it into a massive joint and now they're smoking dog shit.
I wonder if Divine and John Waters saw Cheech and Chong smoking dog shit in this scene and were like, Hmm we can do better.
Cheech stopped in the middle of the road because he started freaking out from the dog shit weed and now cops are pulling up. In this scene, Chong follows the same advice my mother always gave me: If you get pulled over by the cops and you have weed on you, eat all the weed.
Tommy Chong circa 1978 can get it.
God, Tommy Chong must be such a fun grandpa now.
All the drugs in this movie seem... oversized? Like, Cheech just cut a line of coke at a party the size of my hand and earlier Chong ate at least 10 hits of LSD. Were drugs bigger in the 70s? Or were humans smaller? Oh my god.
Oh wait, nevermind. It's not actually coke. It's laundry detergent? Now everybody at the party is tripping balls on laundry detergent. Seems like an orgy is immanent. It was a huge line of laundry detergent...
I like how they refer to weed as "grass" in this movie. The only people who do that now are narcs and lame dads who want to seem cool in front of their kid's friends.
My ex had a mustache like Cheech. I went through this phase where I couldn't stop imagining him (my ex) ramming his dick into blocks of cheese and cold tubs of margarine. Don't ask me why. I don't understand it either.
I feel like Devandra Banhart stole his fashion sense from Tommy Chong.
I think I overestimated my ability to not fall asleep in the middle of this movie.
Cheech is at his dealer's house to buy more weed to smoke with his new best friend, Thomas Chong. I haven't bought weed illegally since high school, I think. Buying weed from drug dealers seems... antiquated.
Cheech and Chong are now headed to a battle of the bands at the Roxy? They don't know any songs and Chong appears to be unconscious on stage. Cheech is wearing nipple tassels and a tutu. He seems to think his outfit will make them win?
Oh shit, I think they won.
Okay, so hear me out on this one: In this scene, a cop dressed like a Hare Krishna accidentally got stoned because a van made of weed caught fire nearby, so now he is rubbing pizza all over his face and body.
I want to rub pizza all over my face and body, but my dermatologist says pizza is comedogenic.
I would wear every item of clothing I've seen on both Cheech and Chong in this movie.
Am I asleep right now?
Oh shit, while I was typing "Am I asleep right now?" Chong somehow convinced Cheech to stick his face into a bag of salt and drink a cup of piss. I love him.
Thought "I hate America" apropos of nothing while coughing up a lung after taking an enormous bong hit.
Wow, Tommy Chong started coughing from smoking weed at the same I started coughing from smoking weed. We're soul sisters.
I almost forgot about the song "Macho Man" until I heard it in this movie. This is a beautiful song.
My phone buzzed which means it's time for another muscle relaxer. I have 100 percent lost the plot of this movie.
Oh shit, the movie is over now.
Up in Smoke
Notes: Despite the fact that it was made almost four decades ago, Up In Smoke stands the test of time with humor that appeals to the millennial stoner, such as myself. I laughed, I cried—okay, I didn't cry. But the movie actually did exceed my expectations. It was campy at times, but there was also some genuinely well written comedy. Especially considering the stars were likely more stoned during the filming of the movie than I was during my viewing of it.