Up in Smoke (1978)

Directors: Lou Adler & Tommy Chong

Now, it’s in the nature of lists like the ones I’m working my way through to be contentious. Even with something the size of the 1001 Movies list, there’s going to be room for argument, and I know I’ve questioned why more than a few titles to appear on that list over the years have done so. And that’s fine; that sort of thing is unavoidable, and no one’s going to agree on everything on a list like that. I may not care for Fellini overmuch, for example, but I understand I’m kind of in a critical minority there (hence why so many of his films are on the list). But there’s always been one film on the list, right from the very first edition, that, even without having seen it, made me ask “what the fuck is that doing there?”, and I suspect I was in the majority rather than the minority with it. I’d almost say its inclusion was basically an act of trolling, but it’s still on the list all these years later, so someone must want it there… Well, having seen Up in Smoke at last, it still just feels like I’ve been trolled by the book. Mr Honeywell concisely describes it as “specifically made for an audience so baked that it can barely remember its own name”, which I think neatly captures the almost unutterable stupidity at work. I mean, I know Cheech & Chong were a popular comedy act so a C&C film would’ve made financial sense (as it did; 15th highest US box office drawer of 1978 raking in over $40m). I’m just goddamned if I can understand why. Were people really that drug-fucked in 1978? Would I have liked this if I could have been in that state myself? I will confess that I did think the van made out of marijuana has some conceptual genius behind it, but I can’t believe they settled for calling it “fibreweed” rather than “fibregrass”. Honestly, FUCKING STONERS can’t even get a simple pot joke right, apparently…

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One thought on “Up in Smoke (1978)

  1. SJHoneywell November 21, 2014 at 9:56 am

    And here’s the thing–I understand the listmakers waning a certain number of films from a given year and I understand them wanting a representative number of films in given genres. You know what other comedy was released in 1978?

    Animal House.

    Animal House gets left off the list, but this unfunny, stupid afront makes it on. Where’s the justice in that?

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