Up In Smoke Cheech and Chong SQDC reviews

First time watching Up in Smoke, with some SQDC enhancement

We took Vert Sour Kush from Mirabel, Quebec for a test-drive during a screening of the Cheech & Chong stoner classic.

For any stoner, it seems like a rite of passage to watch a Cheech & Chong film. This month, that’s exactly what I’ve done for the first time ever, with their 1978 feature film debut Up in Smoke. Not only is this because Tommy Chong hails from my hometown of Calgary, but also because they’re probably the most loveable 420-friendly duo in pop culture history (with all apologies to Harold and Kumar).

My dried flowers of choice to accompany my stoned viewing of a seminal stoner film? An indica — more specifically, Sour Kush from Vert, a Mirabel-based subdivision of Canopy Growth. The Vert brand is sold exclusively within Quebec, and since one of my goals for this column is to promote Quebec cannabis companies, I’ll be giving one of their four SQDC-sold strains the old college try.

Despite my love for weed and regularly consuming it, I was a newbie to the hazy, smoked-out world of these two comedy legends, so it was high time (wink wink) that I had my first Cheech & Chong viewing. Here’s how that went.

INDICA: Vert Sour Kush

First, the weed. Two things can immediately be said about this strain as soon as you open its container: its buds are quite dry and brittle, and they don’t smell particularly potent, though their aroma is noticeably spicy. Once you do inhale it, you’ll likely notice that it primarily gives you a head high. It’s also pretty fast-acting: after only smoking about two-thirds of a joint, I am LIFTED. Even if the scent doesn’t hit you right off the bat, it delivers the goods as far as actually getting you nice and toasty. 

It definitely makes you a bit hungry and couch-locked, as many strains tend to—but fuck it, it’s winter. I’m more likely to stay nestled in my home and binge Yellowjackets all day than step outside in what feels like -25 weather for any reason whatsoever. In any case, this Sour Kush is an enjoyable head high… even though it made me a bit angrier than normal upon discovering that no less than FIVE people I know are supporting that stupid anti-lockdown/white supremacist trucker convoy in Ottawa. Barf.

Cheech & Chong, still Up in Smoke

As for the film? It’s basically the textbook definition of a “turn your mind off” movie. Your brain feels literally and figuratively fried while watching it. Our two protagonists embark on cannabis-fuelled adventures in various parts of California, and even the Mexican border, where they go to procure — you guessed it — more weed. 

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong both say “man” a LOT in this movie. Like, literally at the end of every sentence. Oh, and Tommy Chong’s accent is so ‘Berta it hurts. Long story short, this movie is about drugs, including the cat and mouse chase between Cheech & Chong and a gross-looking, weed-hating, moustachioed narc — even if such a subplot doesn’t hold up in a world where weed is legalized in Canada and in many American states.

Though Up in Smoke lacks an engaging plot, is extremely of its time and its jokes sometimes need more punch, it’s nonetheless a pretty enjoyable stoner flick. Cheech & Chong’s characters, Pedro and Man, make an extremely likeable team; the movie boasts a killer soundtrack (War’s “Low Rider” in the opening credits is a great touch); and the house party scene’s aesthetic is indisputably cool. The movie’s battle of the bands sequence is also a fascinating look at that era’s burgeoning punk movement. Best of all, the Sour Kush improved the viewing experience, as is always the objective. While you watch this movie, take a toke and let all your cares go up in smoke.

The weed: 8.5/10

The movie: 6.5/10

This article originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Cult MTL.

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