Cheech Marin

REVIEW: Cheech & Chong’s Greatest Hit (1981)

CHEECH & CHONG’S GREATEST HIT (1981 Warner)

Even if you’re not into comedy albums, Cheech & Chong’s Greatest Hit compilation should be considered for your collection.  For one, it can be found in any format for cheap.  And that justifies buying it for their classic song “Earache My Eye”.  Classic song?  It’s been covered and homaged by bands such as Soundgarden, Korn, and even Rush.  So listen up!

Cheech & Chong’s original “Earache My Eye” is heavy metal and horns gone wild.  Cheech sings as his persona “Alice Bowie”.  The song was featured in the group’s first movie, Up In Smoke.  There is also a lesser song on the album called “Basketball Jones”, but it too is noteworthy because there’s a Beatle on it:  George Harrison!  And a slew of others including Billy Preston, Carole King and Nicky Hopkins.

Everyone in the world should know Cheech & Chong’s comedy sketch “Dave”.  If you don’t, shame on you and go hear it immediately.  “Dave” is here in edited form so you’ll get the gist.  Other popular bits include “Sister Mary Elephant” (remember the teacher screaming “SHUUUT UPPP!” to the rowdy classroom?) and “Sargent Stadanko”.  Most sketches focus on (gasp) drugs!  “Let’s Make a Drug Deal” is a spoof of a popular TV show.  “Cruising With Pedro De Pacas” is a paranoid drive with a Latino stoner.  Pedro and his sidekick Man take up most of side two.

Listening to this is a real throwback.  Sneaking people into a drive-in movie back when a drive-in movie was just 50 cents per person!  It’s good stuff but it may only appeal to people who remember those times.  Cheech & Chong’s laid back style of comedy makes this album (almost 55 minutes long) difficult to finish in one sitting.  Take a break between sides if it’s too slow for you.

The most important life lesson contained within is don’t try to sneak friends into a drive-in movie in the trunk of your car.  Especially if you’re with two guys named Pedro and Man.

3.5/5 stars

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MOVIE REVIEW: Machete (2010)

In anticipation the of the soon-to-be-released sequel Machete Kills!

“Machete don’t text.”

MACHETE (2010, 20th Century Fox)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez

I really didn’t know what to expect when I bought Machete, sight unseen.  Can you really expand a novelty joke movie trailer into a full length movie?  If so, can you have it remain as funny, as action packed, and creative as that 3 minute spot? Robert Rodriguez answers us, “Yes”!

“They just fucked with the wrong Mexican”

Danny Trejo is awesome as our anti-hero and titular character. An unemployed machete-wielding vigilante, he has been offered a considerable sum of money to assassinate a corrupt senator (Robert DeNiro). However, it’s a double cross! The attempted shooting only boosts the senator’s popularity, thus ensuring his election victory, based on anti-immigrant propaganda.

Machete is not alone. His brother the Padre (Cheech Marin) is a gun-totin’ pot-smokin’ priest with a determination to right some wrongs. Blood, gore, people’s intestines being ripped out and used as a rope…this movie has everything you were hoping for and some things you weren’t. Done in the same campy style as Grindhouse, scratchy film and all, if you’re in on the joke you will love Machete. If you don’t get it, hey that’s cool.  They’re still making Fast & Furious films.

Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Don Johnson, Jeff Fahey, and Steven Segal round out the cast, and they were all clearly having a blast. DeNiro especially seems like he was having a great time camping it up with his cheesiest character yet. And then there’s the most overrated star of all time, Lindsay Lohan. I’m not sure what she’s doing here, except to attract some more viewers who want to see her frolicking around topless.

Blu-ray bonus features are kind of sparse, but there are deleted scenes. There’s also an audience reaction audio track, and I always enjoy those with a film like this.  It gives you the feeling of being there in the theater.  Still, I was hoping for more bonus features, like another one of Robert’s cooking features. They’re fun. Ahh well.

If you are a fan of this genre, and liked movies such as Grindhouse or Black Dynamite, you will love Machete. If you’re looking for glossy Hollywood action, look elsewhere.

5/5 stars