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Cheech and Chong hit the big screen (and other items) for the first time in this ruder, cruder, drug-culture complement to the outsider comedy of the same year's Animal House.
Flipping the finger to his rich, conservative parents and hitting the road, pothead drummer Anthony "Man" Stoner (Tommy Chong) is picked up by fellow weed enthusiast Pedro de Pacas (Cheech Marin) while hitchhiking. After they are mistakenly deported to Mexico — after Pedro's relatives call the INS on themselves in order to get a free ride to a wedding in Tijuana — the pair must make it back across the border in order to rock out at a Battle of the Bands in Los Angeles. Unbeknownst to them, however, the panel truck they're travelling in is constructed entirely of "fibreweed," sparking a cross-state pursuit by a police narcotics squad led by the super-square Sgt. Stedenko (Stacy Keach). Cheech and Chong's big-screen debut, based on material the duo had created over their decade as a popular stand-up team, is the gold standard of stoner-movie classics, packed with classic moments, from "Labrador" weed to baked nuns. A ruder, cruder, drug-culture complement to the outsider comedy of the same year's Animal House, Up in Smoke helped make 1978 one of the most crucial years in the evolution of modern comedy.