Thursday , April 18 2024

SXSW 2024 Film Review: ‘Cheech & Chong’s Last Movie’ a Real Trip

Cheech & Chong’s Last Movie takes you on a real trip. No, that wasn’t a drug reference, although I’m sure the notorious pair wouldn’t mind.

This bio-documentary, directed by David Bushell and produced by Bushell (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Dallas Buyers Club) and Tommy’s daughter Robbi Chong, premiered as part of the 2024 edition of the SXSW Conference and Festivals. It was the first fully authorized biography of the duo.

Robbi Chong helped produce the film about her father’s life

SXSW, which ran March 8 through 16, now in the 31st year of the film and TV festival, included 118 feature films with 91 world premieres. The festival also included over 100 TV shows, short films, and extended reality (XR) experiences.

The Trip

For those of you under 30, Cheech and Chong have been a part of pop culture for over 50 years. They have influenced music, comedy, and film with an ongoing obsession with marijuana. Their first movie, Up in Smoke, was about two marijuana smugglers. For the premiere of this new film, they arrived at Austin’s Paramount Theatre in a truck towing a gigantic 20-foot-long joint spewing white smoke all over Congress Avenue.

on the SXSW red carpet
Cheech and Chong on the SXSW red carpet

For the film, Bushell put Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong in a car in the Southern California desert and had them drive and talk. Their conversation was mostly unscripted, but touched on their history and a few old routines such as: “Dave? Dave’s not here, man.”

Inspiring the Past

Bushell then used that conversation in the car to inspire and intercut archival footage, interviews, and film clips. As the trip progresses, they stop once, but mostly just continue to reminisce, while claiming they don’t know where they’re going. Ultimately, they reach their goal (which I won’t spoil).

Although I have been aware of Cheech & Chong for most of their career, the dialog and clips did reveal things I didn’t know. For instance, they started out in music, and over the years they broke up several times.

In researching the film, I ran across trivia such as the fact that Chong was in That 70s Show and in That 90s Show.

Some of the archival footage was familiar, but other cuts, not so much. In preparing for the film, they discovered an old interview captured on 16mm film, in a trash bag, stored in a closet. It became part of this cinematic trip.

'Cheech and Chong's Last Movie' is a nostalgic trip
‘Cheech and Chong’s Last Movie’ is a nostalgic trip

Movin’ On

The film does not have distribution plans yet, but if the entertaining craziness of this iconic duo appeals to you, check the film’s website for updates.

Next year’s SXSW will take place March 7 through 15. You can find out more at their website or on Twitter (@sxsw), Facebook , Instagram, or LinkedIn .

About Leo Sopicki

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

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