Monday, July 18, 2016

Cheech and Chong's Next Movie

Year 8, Day 200 - 7/18/16 - Movie #2,400

BEFORE: Another century mark, another milestone, and the year is 2/3 over.  And I'm coming to the end of my Cheech & Chong chain at the exact same time, while simultaneously packing for San Diego.  (OK, I know the Cheech & Chong films are set in L.A., not San Diego, but unless I've got a stopover at LAX, that's usually as close as I get to La-La-Land.)  I'm watching their second movie fourth, because there's an actress in here that will link to tomorrow's film, which coincidentally puts me back on the politics theme, just in time for the Republican Convention.  If I planned this, it was done subconsciously, or else it's another synchronous sign that I'm on the right track somehow.  
THE PLOT:  The two stoners and their friends go through another series of crazy, drug-influenced misadventures.

AFTER: You know, I didn't even mention that most of these Cheech & Chong films are all set in the weird, sleazy L.A. underworld, and that I'm off to San Diego this week to help promote another film that's set in that same scene - only it's an animated film titled "Revengeance".  But it's also got bikers, drug dealers, Latinos, and crazy cults in it.  Umm, I think, I haven't really watched it all the way through yet.  I was supposed to today, to make a dialogue list for the film's French distributor, but the file wasn't ready in time - I'll have to get to it after Comic-Con.  Anyway, I'm sure there's lots of similar themes to what I've been watching lately.

And what OF the Cheech & Chong films?  Even the ones with the recurring characters are incredibly inconsistent - why is Cheech's character called "Pedro" in the first film, and then "Cheech" after that?  Why is Chong's character named "Tommy Stoner" in the first film, and then "Mr. Chong" - or in this one, he's called "Mr. Ching" and sees no need to make the correction, man. 

Cheech also has a dual role, in "Next Movie" he also plays his own "identical cousin", Red Mendoza, who's in town from Texas (or something) with a big bag of weed.  This gives the actor a chance to play a different kind of character, with a more Americanized voice, but it's the most blatant of contrivances.  Cheech's character invites a girl over to the house he shares with Chong, so he tells Chong to go hang out with his cousin while he waits for his lady friend.  It's a very sneaky way to allow two plotlines to develop at the same time.  Red and Chong party with girls they meet at a massage parlor/brothel and a music store, then go home with one of the girls, only to find that the girl's father was also a client of one of the "massage girls".  

But of course, rather than this being all awkward and stuff, they all get stoned and go out to a comedy club.  Pee-Wee Herman is performing there, but apparently his day job was as the annoying desk clerk at Red's hotel.  So everything sort of comes full circle, just before the wheels fall off the proverbial wagon.  There are SO many plot threads that are never followed up on.  What happens to the bag of weed?  Was that really a UFO?  How did Pee-Wee get out of jail?  

Worse, this connects to "Nice Dreams" only tangentially, and Pee-Wee plays a different character in both films.  What gives?  Well, at least I found out tonight why Cheech and Donna broke up, at least they get back together for some fun a couple films later.  Am I asking too much here, for some consistency in the multiple-film story arc?  Geez, if this were a superhero trilogy, fans would have gone crazy pointing out all the little inaccuracies between the three films.   I think you truly have to turn off your mind, relax and float downstream to get the most out of these films, and my movie-watching drug of choice (Mountain Dew) just isn't gonna get me there. 

I guess the rumors are that the duo has finally gotten their act back together - like Martin & Lewis, they didn't work together for years, except for the occasional animated film where they both did voices.  Considering all the changes in certain states' laws, this would appear to be overdue.  There are references in "Next Movie" to Chong's plans for what to do after marijuana is legalized, so by all means, let's see that!  These two should have their own business, running a farm if not a chain of dispensaries.  I don't suggest that they repeat the plotline from "Nice Dreams" - gaining a fortune, losing it and trying to get it back, but there still should be tons of comic potential in the genre.

Also starring Evelyn Guerrero (last seen in "Nice Dreams"), Paul "Pee-Wee" Reubens (ditto), Shelby Chong (also carrying over from "Cheech & Chong's The Corsican Brothers"), Rikki Marin (ditto), Edie McClurg (ditto), Betty Kennedy, Sy Kramer, Bob McClurg, Ed Peck, with cameos from Lupe Ontiveros (last seen in "California Suite"), Jake Steinfeld, Rita Wilson (last seen in "The Story of Us"), Phil Hartman, Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, Michael Winslow (also last seen in "Nice Dreams").

RATING: 4 out of 10 welfare applicants

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