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Release Details
Title: a/k/a Tommy Chong
Release Date: 08/26/2008
Label/Distributor: Infinity Ent
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Retail Price: $24.98
Genre: Comedy Cast: Paris Chong,Shelby Chong,Peter Coyote,Jay Leno,Bill Maher
Running Time: 80
DVD Video Options: Color,DVD-Video,NTSC
DVD Audio Options: English;Original Language
UPC Code: 623667304207
a/k/a Tommy Chong is a dynamic portrait of comedy legend Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong set against the unfolding political horror story of post 9/11 America. Filmmaker Josh Gilbert follows the tragic and absurd tale of Chong as he travels down the rabbit hole of America's war on drugs and the federal prison system after becoming the primary target in a government sting, code named "Operation Pipe Dreams." In February of 2003, at a time of unparalleled assaults to our freedom by international terrorists, John Ashcroft and U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan spent 12 million dollars to take down Tommy Chong for selling art glass water pipes, a/k/a bongs, over the internet. What emerges is an intimate portrait of a cosmic character, caught in the crosshairs of a surreal Cheech and Chong fantasy come to life.

A/K/A Tommy Chong

By Buzz McClain -- Video Business, 8/4/2008


Street: Aug. 26
Prebook: now
> Candid film of an imprisoned cultural icon is as enlightening as it is infuriating.

This expansive, candid documentary details how Tommy Chong, of the famed Cheech and Chong comedy duo, spent nine months in prison for selling hand-blown glass bongs (water pipes) on the Internet to a Pennsylvania head shop operated by the DEA. Chong is a self-satisfied, happy martyr in this 2005 film (the arrest was in 2003), as he and devoted wife Shelby deal with the SWAT invasion and the $12 million case created by Attorney General John Ashcroft to put Chong away. Director Josh Gilbert examines the victimization of the laidback celebrity as well as the 30 years of shifting cultural influences that led to his bust. The story is one-sided, to be sure, but all the better to enrage the target audience. Jay Leno, rocker George Thorogood, Bill Maher, Peter Coyote, Cheech Marin and others make appearances as they come to Chong’s defense.

Shelf Talk: The 2003 imprisonment might be old news, but Chong’s book, The Unauthorized Autobiography of Cheech and Chong (Simon and Schuster), hits stands Aug. 12 and is ripe for pairing with the DVD. The film won a handful of festival awards, and Chong picked up a whole new generation of fans via his appearances on TV’s That ’70s Show.

Documentary, color, NR (mature themes, drug use, drug humor, language), 80 min., DVD $24.98
Extras: interview with the Chong family, featurette
Director: Josh Gilbert
First Run: DVD premiere


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