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a/k/a Tommy Chong (2005)

tomatometer

63

Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 1,289

My Rating

Movie Info

When comedy legend Tommy Chong was arrested in 2003 and given a nine-month prison sentence for the manufacture and sale of drug paraphernalia, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's revamped war on drugs soared, like a mighty eagle stricken with vertigo in mid-flight, to new levels of absurdity. Fortunately, filmmaker Josh Gilbert's cameras were rolling at the time, offering viewers a firsthand account of the vengeful American justice system in action. In addition to glamorizing drug use,

G,

Documentary, Special Interest

Aug 26, 2008

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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (6) | DVD (3)

This isn't a great piece of nonfiction filmmaking, but it has its moments.

June 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even those unimpressed with [Cheech and Chong's] genially lowbrow work will be intrigued by the political tenor of this portrait.

June 16, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is also a portrait of resilience: Chong does his time (nine months) and has the last laugh, emerging as a born-again activist-survivor of the culture wars.

June 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Josh Gilbert's film tells the depressing, often ridiculous and generally enraging story of how and why Tommy Chong ended up doing time in a minimum-security prison.

June 14, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

How the feds inadver tently resurrected the performing career of stoner comic Tommy Chong by busting him is the ironic subtext of Josh Gilbert's one-sided documentary a/k/a Tommy Chong.

June 14, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This genial doc sprinkles Reagan and Nixon soundbites over its vintage stash of C&C clips for a suitably fuzzy squint at America from '69 to the buzzkill present.

June 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Josh Gilbert's curt documentary about the arrest and conviction of comedian and former bong-maker Tommy Chong reveals the federal sting operation that put Tommy Chong in a state penitentiary for nine months for shipping glass bongs to Pennsylvania.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

Rather than some rambling, pro-pot film, this flick actually does a pretty good job of documenting the issues surrounding Chong's arrest, and the obvious intention by the Ashcroft justice department to bring down an icon of the debauched 70s.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

A very scary documentary illustrating the carte blanche accorded Big Brother by the Patriot Act

May 24, 2007 Full Review Source: EURWeb
EURWeb

What comes across is Chong's innate elegance and intelligence, two qualities often missing from his trademark comedic work.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

This is an important propaganda film. After all, Gilbert has all the facts in hand and presents it halfway decently.

June 17, 2006
Greenwich Village Gazette

should have gone for more

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

What could have been either a scathing critique of the drug war or an intimate portrait of a stoner facing mortality instead comes off as a fawning infomercial for its subject.

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Apparently granted unlimited access to Chong's personal archives, Gilbert digs up some great footage and photos from his early years as well his '70s heyday.

June 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Premiere Magazine
Premiere Magazine

Josh Gilbert's smoothly produced documentary a/k/a Tommy Chong should leave even Nancy Reagan aghast at the unfair trials of comedian Tommy Chong.

June 9, 2006
Groucho Reviews

Its dramatic thinness doesn't dilute its simultaneously ridiculous and terrifying portrait of federal prosecution run amok.

June 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A surprisingly clear-eyed, sober account of what it's liked to be embraced by a culture, while loathed by the Powers That Be.

May 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

The movie's value varies according to how much of the story you already know.

April 29, 2006 Full Review Source: LYTRules.com
LYTRules.com

Audience Reviews for a/k/a Tommy Chong

Bill Maher: I can't think of a more ridiculous diversion of manpower than to bust Tommy Chong. If anyone feels safer because Tommy was put in jail, that's a ridiculous human being. 

"United States of America v. Thomas B Kin Chong"

Aka Tommy Chong is a documentary that strives to show just how stupid the government can be when it comes to the "War on drugs." It's solidly made and extremely entertaining if you are into the subject. Chong is a pretty charismatic guy and when he is onscreen, he's funny. Even right before he goes to jail and while he's in jail. He's cracking jokes, yet he's serious because the government made him serious. When he gets out, he says he's going to try to make a difference. 

This film goes in depth on the mission called "Operation Pipe Dream." Mary Beth Buchanan had Tommy Chong hand picked long before this and the DEA used a little loophole in the paraphernalia law to take down Tommy Chong and his glass company. When his company shipped to Pennsylvania, which was one of the few states that were illegal to sell paraphernalia to, the DEA swooped in. Actually the people Chong sent it to were in fact the DEA. He was entrapped. So they raided his business and his home, and when all was said and done, he was convicted to a nine month prison sentence. Nine months in prison for selling a few bongs. That's one of the most ludicrous things ever. If you want a bong, a lot of tobacco stores and sometimes even gas stations and liquor stores will sell them. This whole "War on drugs" is a fucking joke, and Tommy Chong's case just proves that.

The governments stand on drugs is getting ridiculous. Some drugs are okay, others aren't. You can go to a pharmacy and pick up bottles on bottles of dangerous prescriptions, but we can't smoke marijuana, which isn't dangerous at all. I'm under the impression that they should just legalize all drugs. Prohibition of them isn't doing anything except letting criminal organizations thrive off of the illegal sale of them. Sell them in drug stores, then people won't be forced to go to a killers house for their habit. They're going to do it anyway.

This documentary uses Chong's case, as it pertains to the bigger issue. $12 million dollars was used to take down Tommy Chong. There aren't better uses for the taxpayers money? He was selling bongs for christsake. He even makes a joke about his bongs being the only weapons of mass destruction the government found. Gotta love Tommy. 
July 14, 2012
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

A little history on cheech & chong and marijuana humor.
November 14, 2010
KLFilmmaker

Super Reviewer

AKA Tommy Chong has got to be one of the best documentarys ive ever seen and just shows how insane and out of wack our government is and where there priorites are. This follows the court case of the government trying to get Tommy Chong and how it wasted 12 million dollars doing so all for making and selling glass pipes of all things half funny half serious you see Chong and his family take it all in stride and laugh along with them at how dumb this case really became up untill his 9 month sentence and his release really worth a watch for any Chong fan.
September 1, 2008
silentbob66

Super Reviewer

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