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Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (Blu-ray Review)

Sure, plenty of time has passed and comedy has come a long way and changed since the 1970s and 1980s, but Cheech and Chong have been lacking incredibly when it comes to the Blu-ray format. These Latino stoner brothers were a staple of their time and are much better than just the Corsican Brothers that lies on Olive Films release. That’s also easily one of their weakest efforts. Growing up in the 1990’s, these guys were still a staple. Stuff like Up In Smoke (Their debut, which, wow, how is this not out yet) and Nice Dreams were a must back when I was growing up. My personal favorite of the bunch was the first one I ever saw, which is what I’m here to talk about about today, Next Movie. Shout! Factory is putting it out via their Shout Select line. You can make sure you have it by the June 13th release date by pre-ordering it on the Amazon link below.

Film 

The zany twosome is back for some smoke-enhanced misadventures in this riotous comedy. This time, Cheech must deal with an angry neighbor and losing his job, all while trying to score with a sexy young lady. Meanwhile, Chong meets Cheech’s cousin, Red, and the two buds have a wild time buzzing around Hollyweird in a bad Ferrari. Along the way, the dynamic duo find time for some mishaps at a movie set, the welfare office, a hotel, a brothel, a music store, a rich girl’s house, a comedy club, the ultimate weed field and on a UFO!

Growing up, I had heard of Cheech and Chong and friends had recommended to me Cheech and Chong. This was in the days long before reliable internet databases and I had no idea where to start. Obviously Up In Smoke is the beginning, but via copyright dating on the back of the VHS box, the earliest film n the library at the local video store by me was Next Movie. Judging by the title, I already knew this wasn’t first, but what the hell, right? So, then I took the plunge that wound up in my going as far as i could to see everything else. Cheech & Chong were hilarious in a way I hadn’t seen at that point.

Next movie is just a sort of adventure that randomly comes along, mixed with sketches, songs and little different kind of comedy bits for the duo to showcase for a 90-ish minute runtime. After having a hit in Up In Smoke, this feels like the comedy pair was allowed more creative freedom and allowed to control and just wing it. However random, or nonchalant the film can feel at times, the comedy and character work showcased is always funny or thoughtful enough to have you not care about any of that.

Maybe its because it was first, but this one has made me laugh more than any other of the tokin duos oeuvre.  You even get Cheech Marin playing two pretty different roles, both amounting to some really good comedy whenever he opens his mouth.  Part of the appeal with these two dude when they came out was how acceptable and taboo all the stoner stuff was at the time. The film may have a bit of different pace compared to modern comedies and the attitude unique, but I think a lot of it still holds up quite well.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie debuts on Blu-ray with a pretty good image. If you were to ask Cheech to ask questions and observe, he probably would. Now I’m thinking about the document Chong found. You probably just want to get a cat or other dog and then bag things up and move them to your new house. The image is a probably as sharp and crisp. One wonders if they couldn’t have done more. But, this image is par for the course on Shout! Factory.

Depth: This one is a little more flatter, but there is some solid pace between character and background. Movements are smooth and cinematic with minimal detail .

Black Levels: Blacks are solid, though though they do hamper the information a little bit with some details missing. In medium to close up shots, though, this isn’t really present as you can make out hair follicle and more without resorting to start our own mover.

Color Reproduction: Reds area a stand out, but the other colors don’t really completely pop. THere are some moments, like a lava lamp scene, that have a good sense of vividity without being too overbearing. Reds area a stand out, but the other colors don’t really completely pop.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones skew natural and maintain a consistent appearance throughout the film.

Noise/Artifacts:  A solid layer of grain and some intermittent dirt/specs.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: This mono track is pretty engaging and impressive for what its worth. The mix has minimal analog hiss and is loud with great clarity. This mix is pretty well balanced, too. It also features some surprisingly good lows that do thump more than you would expect.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and loud here in this mix. Very minimal analog distortion and most diction is picked up in the mix.

Extras 

Interview With Cheech Marin (HD, 19:27) – Marin starts with a law suit that held up production on this film and sort of matter of factly works away with some of his career while also going over his experiences and some anecdotes on this movie.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:35)

Radio Spots (HD, 4:54)

Summary 

Cheech & Chong may not have had themselves sobered out of the pop culture conscious, but they’re still pretty funny if you give them a chance. Does this Blu-ray deserve a chance? Its definitely the best the film has ever looked and sounded. Cheech Marin gives a really solid interview as a bonus feature. If you remember this movie, its a solid pick up at the right price.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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