- Movie Rating -

Up in Smoke (1978)

| September 15, 1978

When Up in Smoke was released, the late, great Gene Siskel gave a capsule review of Cheech and Chong’s first screen adventure by offering concern that, in some way, the film might give fuel to reactionary-types who have always wanted to punch a hippie but never had the courage.  Well, I’m not a reactionary-type so I’ll never know.  Having seen the film, I have no real desire to punch a hippie but at the same time I have neither the time nor the energy to hold someone back who might want to. 

So, now to the task at hand.  Is Up in Smoke the worst movie I’ve ever seen?  Certainly not.  Is it a struggle to sit through?  Not at all.  I laughed a few times, although while I was watching it my better sense of taste kept tugging me back toward the pile of DVDs in the corner of the room – more specifically a pile of quality independent films that eager young film students spent their life savings to turn into a movie.  My conscience kept getting the better of me.  Why am I watching a movie about a pair of slow-learners driving a truck made entirely out of marijuana when I could be watching something that could potentially change my perception of meaning of the art of the cinema?  Maybe, I thought, I need a shift in priorities.  Maybe I need a life-change.  Maybe a Tylenol.  Maybe I should stop here before I start to cry. 
Never-the-less, your tolerance to Up in Smoke really depends on exactly how often you can stomach the words “Hey, Man” which are belted so often that they’re like punctuation.  I’m not kidding, if you took those two words out of the script (provided there was one) then this might make for an effective short subject and maybe it would be tightened down to the few times that I laughed. 
I have no desire to see this movie again.  I should also note that, despite Siskel’s claim, I have no desire to punch a hippie.  Again, I’m not a reactionary-type.  That said, I should also note that I have no desire to become a “reactionary-type” Nor, in fact, do I have any desire to find out what a “reactionary-type” might be.  It doesn’t sound pleasant. 

In conclusion, I can note that I also have no desire to punch Siskel, which is a relief since he’s been dead for 21 years.  Although I guess it is progress if I have no desire to dig up the body of a dead man and punch him in the face over a three-minute review that he offered up 42 years ago.  Always moving forward.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1978) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy