Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|a/k/a Tommy Chong|
Actors: Tommy Chong, Cheech Marin, Bill Maher, Jay Leno, George Thorogood
Director: Josh Gilbert
Genres: Comedy, Documentary
a/k/a Tommy Chong chronicles the entrapment and incarceration of comedy icon Tommy Chong of the legendary comedy duo, Cheech and Chong. Josh Gilbert takes on the event in his documentary, and offers a sometimes frightening... more »
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Damian M. (ratchet)
Reviewed on 3/11/2009...
A bit too much of an advertisement, but still very interesting. It did teach me a lot about his early career. For Instance, did you know he was once in a MoTown band called Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers. Most of the back-story was worth the watch as you will hear little tidbits like that. But the main focus was on the ridiculous use of $12 million of our dollars by nutwads like Mary Beth Buchanan and John Ashcroft in prosecuting people under a little-used statute banning bongs. And the admittance by those prosecuting the case that Mr Chong was given harsher treatment under the law because of his celebrity status as one who mocks the laws of the country. Also to note, up to 10,000 copies of this DVD were siezed in raid (ran by Mary Beth Buchanan) which was designed to look for drug paraphernalia.
Shirley R. (sdrred)
Reviewed on 9/6/2008...
very skewed look at rrugs as a correct and valid lifestyle.
It's a Documentary and it's a good one.
BeWild | San Jose, CA USA | 08/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Buy this dvd, it's not an movie it's a documentary documenting the arrest and
prosecution of him for a bong company he's son had created.
It shows just how evil the goverment can be if they really want to get you."
Tommy Chong as a Counterculture Martyr
stoic | Mobile AL | 07/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A/K/A Tommy Chong is an interesting look at the doper comedian's legal troubles in the early 2000s. For those who don't remember, the U.S. Government arrested Chong because he sold bongs over the Internet. Filmmaker Josh Gilbert follows Chong to prison (where he served nine months) and covers his life after his release.
There is a lot to like in this film. The film recounts Chong's life story and he is an interesting character; he grew up half-Chinese, half-Caucasian in 1950s Canada. Chong also played guitar as a member of the 1960s rock band the Vancouvers, for whom he wrote a top-40 hit ("Does Your Mama Know About Me").
The film does a good job of recounting Chong's initial meeting with Cheech Marin and the beginnings of their career as "Cheech and Chong." I did not think that the film did a particularly good job of explaining Cheech's decision to disband Cheech and Chong. The only interviews with Cheech are archival and Cheech's absence is obvious throughout A/K/A Tommy Chong.
The presentation of Chong's drug case is more "hit and miss." Viewers likely will be fascinated at the steps to which the Feds went to bust Chong. (According to Chong, his company did not ship bongs to Pennsylvania because his employees knew that it was illegal; the film details the contrivances the Feds used to get Chong to ship the bongs that ultimately landed him in prison to Pennsylvania). It is difficult to believe that the U.S. Government spent over $12 million to put Chong in jail. While one may question whether there was a vendetta against Chong, it is revealing that he was the lone defendant without a prison record (of 55 charged) to serve jail time.
Other aspects of the film are not as interesting. Many of the peripheral characters in Chong's life appear in the film, but contribute little. Chong's wife Shelby comes off as his Yoko Ono - an untalented schemer who got her husband to put her on stage. Chong's cellmate and his son (Paris) both appear in segments that should have been cut. There is a boring series of interviews in which people explain how easy it is to make a bong.
The film "stacks the deck" in Tommy's favor, so you might wonder if there is another side to the story. The Government officials who prosecuted Chong are all but accused of fascism. (Filmmaker Gilbert takes a cheap shot in noting that prosecutor Mary Beth Buchanan grew up in "an all-white town," as though that alone is sufficient to reveal her dastardly plans). Gilbert also includes interviews with self-aggrandizing celebrities such as Jay Leno, Bill Maher, and journalist Eric Schlosser.
In the end, despite its shortcomings, A/K/A Tommy Chong is well worth a look. Chong recounts toward the end of the film that many people ask him what prison life is like. Chong said that he replies, "You'll find out." That line made me think. Whatever your politics, the film will force you to consider what role the U.S. Government should play in regulating drugs and punishing those who break drug laws. (Perhaps this is the first Tommy Chong film that ever forced anyone to think). As to whether Tommy is a martyr, a stoner who pushed the Government "over the line," or a little of both, viewers will have to judge for themselves.
Uncle Elmer | USA | 02/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tommy Chong's drug story is a sad tale told over and over again in our society where someone who is basically harmless and goofy is made an example of by a repressive segment that simply resents his lifestyle. The citizenry did not benefit from this prosecution one bit and, in fact, a lot of money was wasted.
Sure, let's prosecute scum like the late Pablo Escobar or some low life like that but these pointless foolish celebrity cases of an entertaining doofus who likes bongs are utterly meaningless."