Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"AKA Tommy Chong (director: Josh Gilbert)" DVD

This is a fascinating documentary on the 2003 imprisonment of actor and comedian Tommy Chong for "distributing drug paraphernalia (bongs) through the internet". With a lot of astute and well-researched information, director Gilbert makes a startling case that the entire debacle was basically a "career move" by a certain rising politician, and a ham-fisted attempt by the government to discredit a countercultural icon.

Besides spending substantial time examining Chong's scapegoating by the Justice Department, this is a superb biographical document of Chong's long and surprisingly impressive resume (little did I know he was a guitarist in Motown group the Vancouvers way back when).

As it includes cameos and interviews with Chong's longtime comedic partner Cheech Marin, as well as friends and allies like Bill Maher, Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation"), Jay Leno, Peter Coyote, Lou Adler, and George Thorogood, this one brilliantly depicts Chong as a loving husband and family man, and a highly intelligent personality who should be treasured rather than vilified. Shame on those dirty politicians. Cheers to Gilbert and Chong for this endearing and enjoyable document. (MVD Visual)

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