Up in Smoke (1978)

Up in Smoke (1978)

“You wanna get high, man?”

Two hippie stoners (Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin) accidentally drive a truck made of marijuana across the border from Mexico to the United States, pursued by an irate cop (Stacy Keach) and his incompetent men.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Comedy
  • Drug Dealers
  • Stacy Keach Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that this “screwy screen debut [about] Cheech and Chong trying to score marijuana so their band will be at its best during a battle of the bands at L.A.’s Roxy” is “terribly made” but “surprisingly funny”, and “by far C&C’s best movie”. In his lengthier review of the film for his first Cult Movies book, Peary elaborates on scenes he found “somehow funny” despite his dread of “scatological and drug-related humor” (he admits to not seeing it until two years after its release), and points out that “like many good comedians, Cheech and Chong intentionally write lines that make no sense”. He notes that while the pair is “stupid, lazy, and filthy” they’re also “genial and you needn’t worry that your kids will emulate them because they — and all other weirdos in this film — are cartoon characters”. Indeed, I think it’s this cartoonish quality that makes it so easy to laugh at silly yet morbid scenes where “a young woman thinks a plate of Ajax is cocaine and sniffs it all up, [making] several great distorted expression”, or when “the police dog that sniffs their Fibreweed-made van ends up a stiff on its back”. Keach plays an excellent straight man (complete with a villainous mustache and incompetent lackeys), and Jade East nearly steals the show as a Shelley Duvall-esque stoner who can’t seem to stop talking.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Plenty of surprisingly enjoyable lowbrow humor

  • Good use of L.A. locales

Must See?
Yes, for its cult status.


  • Cult Movie

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)


One thought on “Up in Smoke (1978)

  1. First viewing. …Skip it. This stuff is painful. Extremely painful.

    Five minutes into this POS, I just wanted it to end. Of course, there was the outside (way outside), kind-of hope that things (or anything) might improve…but it was not to be.

    I didn’t see where there was a single laugh to be found here. Nothing really works, or if it does it’s to verrry minimal effect.

    This is the kind of incompetent dreck that makes Ed Wood look like a genius. As Cheech and Chong themselves might say, “This is some bad shit, man!”

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