Release Date(s)1980 (June 13, 2017)
Studio(s)Universal Pictures (Shout! Factory/Shout Select)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: C-
Despite their popularity throughout the 1980s, Cheech and Chong’s shtick appealed to a limited audience, yet they were popular enough to get a few films under their belt. Unfortunately, by the time Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie came along, that popularity had begun to wane. Regardless, there was a pocket of fans to support and keep them going, even if the movies were a lot of the same ideas repeated over and over again.
What I personally appreciate most about Cheech and Chong is that their humor comes mostly from character and their reactions to the circumstances that they find themselves in. They’re charming and funny, and hanging out with them for a day to see what kind of shenanigans they get themselves into is always a hoot. Their humor can be an acquired taste, but I’ll take two comedians coming up with jokes from a character perspective rather than mean-spirited humor or cutaway gags any day of the week.
Plot-wise, there isn’t much to Next Movie. It’s simply a day in the lives of two poor musicians who love to smoke weed, party, long for women, and go on wacky adventures together. While some consider it to be one of their lesser efforts, I actually find it to be much funnier than its predecessor, Up in Smoke. More fantastic elements also begin to creep their way in as well, case in point: Tommy Chong being abducted by aliens. You never really question it and just go along with it because the plot is ultimately pointless, which sums up the movie nicely.
For the movie’s debut on Blu-ray from Shout Select, an older master seems to have been used. However, it’s sharp with excellent fine detail and solid grain levels. Color reproduction is a bit of a mixed bag, but for the most part, it appears natural to the film’s surroundings anyway. Skin tones also look decent. Black levels are mostly deep while brightness and contrast levels are satisfactory. There also isn’t much leftover damage to report other than a few lines running through the frame here and there. The sole audio option is an English mono 2.0 DTS-HD track. It’s a little flat, but features clear dialogue reproduction, strong music, and good sound effects. There’s no major hiss or distortion-related issues either. Honestly, this movie is never going to sound overly crisp anyway, but I had no major problems with it. There are also optional subtitles in English.
In terms of extras, including From Records to Movies: Making Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie with Cheech Marin, the movie’s original theatrical trailer, and a set of 7 radio spots. It’s also worth nothing that this release also features the original theatrical version of the movie with all of the music and dialogue intact, some of which was altered for previous home video releases. The trade-off is that the much-wanted TV version of the movie hasn’t been included, if it could even be found.
If you enjoy their movies in any capacity, then picking up Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie on Blu-ray should be a no-brainer. Its unstructured and untamed nature may not appeal to everyone, but it’s a fun movie that looks and sounds good on the format, which is all you can really ask for.
- Tim Salmons