Up In Smoke Film Analysis

1359 Words 6 Pages
In later years, drug exploitation cinema loosened up. After the collapse of the Production Code, films could depict drug use without consequences. In the 1960s, “drugs became a symbol of pride and subversion” (166). In contrast to the films made in the first half of the twentieth century, “many illegal-drug films produced in the 1960s are startling in their rejection of earlier narratives about ‘demon’ drugs” (Boyd 63). The increased acceptance of recreational drug use lead to it being more freely depicted on screen. “A number of counterideological films were produced in […] the early 1960s to the early 1970s that illuminated societal shifts about drug use, addiction, and treatment” (64). Later in the 70s, films glamorized teens defying authority …show more content…
Stoner is shown in a very nice house in a beautiful neighborhood. He enters his kitchen to find his father, who begins to yell at him and berate him. Stoner ignores this and proceeds on with his day. In the next scene, Pedro is shown waking up in a cramped living room full of children. Their socio-economic standing is clearly quite different. Later, as Pedro is driving, he sees Stoner on the side of the road, trying to get a ride. Thinking that he is a woman, Pedro picks him up. In the car they smoke a gigantic joint. They get pulled over by the police and go to court, but face no consequences. The police, who keep trying to make drug busts, are painfully incompetent, creating many humorous situations. Pedro and Stoner head to Tijuana, where they stay for a short while and then begin driving back. Throughout the film, they are searching for marijuana, but failing to find it. Ironically, they are driving back to the states in a van made entirely from the drug, but completely fail to notice it. The police are searching for the two men and the vehicle, but fail repeatedly. In the end, Pedro and Stoner play with their band, the cops get high, and marijuana makes everything better. Marijuana makes the men happy, it calms down a frustrated crowd, and it keeps them from getting caught by the police. There is little to no narrative: Pedro and Stoner seem to travel along thoughtlessly, not ever …show more content…
Early films, such as Reefer Madness, were used to scare people away from taking any kind of drugs, even fairly harmless ones. Later, films like Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke take advantage of the collapse of the Production Code to make lighthearted, humorous films about the effects of relatively harmless drugs, like marijuana. However, current films make hard drugs such as heroin seem to have little to no impact of a person’s life, as seen in Trainspotting. It seems that the focus of these films has shifted: the earlier films addressed in this analysis had incidental plots and not much narrative whereas Trainspotting is mainly focused on the story and on character progression and development. By this same coin, the visual impact of the first two films is less pronounced; in Trainspotting, visual effects and aesthetic value seem to be explored more in depth. The impact of drug films in exploitation cinema has decreased, but the focus has shifted from the drugs themselves to the art behind

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