DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: DVD Chronicles Case of Pot Comic Imprisoned after Passing of the Patriot Act
Cheech & Chong were a celebrated comedy duo whose sophomoric brand of humor appealed to stoners because it basically revolved around behaving like their brains had been burnt out fom smoking pot. They came to fame in the Seventies, appearing in a seemingly neverending series of Marijuana movies in which they were typecast as goofy hippies.
After the comedy well ran dry, Chong chose to continue to milk the theme that had made them famous by selling a line of bongs and other drug paraphernalia over the Internet. The business flourished until President Bush came into office and decided to make an example of the 66 year-old head shop supplier.
Attorney General John Ashcroft set up a sting operation in Pennsylvania, one of only two states where it’s illegal to sell pipes and rolling papers. From there, federal agents called Chong in California over 20 times, trying to entrap him into sending some contraband across state lines.
Because Chong repeatedly refused, the frustrated agents finally traveled to West to place a huge order in person, promising to return to pick up the merchandise. But then they began nagging Tommy to mail the goods to an address outside Pittsburgh. After eight months, against his better judgment, he capitulated, since the boxes were taking up half his valuable storage space.
Well, that technical infraction was all that Ashcroft needed, and immediately, helmeted DEA agents with guns drawn swooped down on the house, arresting the entire Chong family. This frightening nightmare ended with Tommy behind bars after pleading guilty only to save his wife and son from a long stint in Federal prison.
A very scary documentary considering the carte blanche accorded Big brother by the Patriot Act.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 80 minutes
Studio: Infinity Entertainment
DVD Extras: an interview with Cheech and Chong, and a featurette showing Tommy at home.