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Plot Overview

ole gloryred maple leavesAfter a twenty-five year hiatus—due in part to a drug bust and incar­cer­ation—Cheech and Chong (Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong) are back on stage, along with Chong's fetching wife Shelby. It's the end of their “Light Up America and Canada” reunion tour. We're with them in San Antonio and the Majestic Theater is packed with Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Anglos, and one Negro. The famed duo sock it to us with stand-up comedy w/embellish­ments to an admittedly stoned audience. They love it!


teaching nunBeing inter­viewed is mustached Sister Mary Elephant the only sober one in the bunch. She'd taught Chong from grades 1–8. My Concise Thesaurus has “sober adj. temperate. A person who is sober is not drunk. A temperate person exercises moderation and self-restraint and for that reason is unlikely to drink to excess.” (170) Being temperate she is moderate in all things including alcohol. Indeed, she admonishes the loud crowd to temper their volume, “Boys and girls, bring it down.” Okay.

Temperance is part of the Catholic catechism and it's in the Protestants' KJV Bible in various places as well. However, it has been reinterpreted by the latter as self-control so as not to confuse the common man who since Prohibition has come to regard temperance as applicable only to drink. Modern Protestant Bibles read “self- control” where they used to read “temperance.” Let's see how that would work out in this movie.

CatsThere's a mock routine similar to one described in a David Baldacci novel:

Lancaster eyed with disdain the stripper, who was in the process of shedding her skin­tight Cat­woman costume.

“Amazes me what gets young men excited.”

“It's the same thing that's always gotten them excited,” said Decker absently. “Pretty women in the process of taking off their clothes.” (291)

The movie's catwoman act used a Coke bottle and it ended in the accolade, “Now, that's muscle control, by Jesus!” Muscle control is a kind of self-control but it sure wasn't temperance. Temperance would have been, say, spin the bottle, which while being moderate is the opposite of hand-muscle control; with the latter the broad would simply point the beverage bottle at her boy­friend and buss him. Spinning it lets God decide who gets kissed.

Solomon provides a metaphor, (Eccl. 4:13-14) “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.” The wise native words of our King James Version (KJV) have become poor in currency due to reduced usage in common speech. Never­the­less, the wise KJV is still better than the foolish, intract­able modern ones that place them­selves beyond correction from pew or scholar, “For out of prison he cometh to reign,” that is there's some kind of sordid history behind this “king,” which makes this movie insightful about what went into making our modern English Bibles from the RSV onwards.

Rather than the corrupt speech the king brings from his former prison days, we can see the same thing from a porno incident where two angels showed up to warn Lot that God was about to destroy the wicked city of Sodom where he was living. The Sodomites wanted to molest his visitors, but Lot gave them an alternative: (Gen. 19:8-11) “Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for there­fore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied them­selves to find the door.”

The compromise offer of the virgins is temperate, a solution of moderation. The blinded men strug­gling to find the door to get at the hand­some angels is a determined exercise in self-control to pursue their nasty ends. It could be said of them, “Now, that's muscle control, by Jesus!”

soldierRemember what happened in the Bible when the apostle Paul was mobbed by the Jews in Jerusalem for preaching the resurrection of the dead, which didn't set well with them. A troop of soldiers rescued Paul and spirited him away to be investi­gated by the governor Felix for that disturbance of the pax Romana (peace of Rome.) Felix found Paul had done nothing amiss, it was no concern of his the particulars of Jewish beliefs. But rather than set Paul free outright he kept him under house arrest.

Roman officer(Acts 24:23-26) “And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.”

It was intemperate of Felix to keep Paul under guard. Temperance was what Paul wanted. It was denied him through the iron willed self-control of authorities who had other ideas though they knew better.

Modernized, Protestant, English Bibles have been substituting self-control for temperance, which is a malapropism. It can mean the opposite of the other as it does above, depending on the circumstance. Paul didn't want Felix to be more self- controlled in his set course but to temper his sentence to time served. That, we gather, is one of the reasons he was preaching temperance. It's as Baldacci has put in a novel:

“Cops have zip. You were in jail at the time. The judge dismissed the case with­out prejudice, but they can't re-charge you unless they have some evidence tying you to the crime. Now, they may go out and get some. Find an accomplice who did the killings for you for some reason. They may even make something up.”

“Can they do that?” asked Leopold in childlike wonder.

“Sure. They do it all the time. If they think you're a bad guy they'll do anything to nail you, get you off the streets. They're sworn to protect and defend. You can see that, right?” (158)

Which translation is God's word?As George P. Marsh put it in an 1859 post­graduate lecture on the English Bible of 1611, (448–9):

the English Bible sustains, and always has sustained to the general English tongue, the position of a treatise upon a special know­ledge requiring, like any branch of science, a special nomen­clature and phrase­ology. The language of the law, for example, in both vocabu­lary and structure, differs widely from that of unpro­fes­sional life; the language of medicine, of meta­physics, of astronomy, of chemistry, of mechanical art, all these have their approp­riate idioms, very diverse from the speech which is the common heri­tage of all. Why, then, should theology, the highest of know­ledges, alone be required to file her tongue to the vulgar utterance, when every other human interest has its own approp­riate expression, which no man thinks of conforming to a standard that, because it is too common, can hardly be other than unclean?

Production Values

” (2010) was directed by Christian Charles. It was written by Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin. It stars Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong and Shelby Chong. The fans loved them.

MPAA rated it R for drug content, crude sex-related humor and language throughout. It wasn't just the stage performance that was filmed, but tech booth, audience, entrances, dressing rooms, and balcony populated by ringers of the featured duo. This kept it interesting. The stage was in front of a projection screen that provided relevant back­ground. It was filmed on location in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Run­time is 1 hour 23 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

BibleThe performance included some Bible humor, which was a vestige of the stars' parochial upbringing. The nun seems to be the authority figure they're all rebelling against, although Bush gets mentioned too. This is no faith-based picture but gets more laughs. Not for the faint of heart.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Unless otherwise stated, scripture quotations were from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Baldacci, David. Memory Man. Copyright © 2015 by Columbus Rose, Ltd. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2015. Print.

Marsh, George P. “Formation of our English sacred dialect.”
       Lectures on the English Language. London: John Murray, 1863. Print.
       ——available to read or download at www.bibles.n7nz.org.

The Right Word II. A Concise Thesaurus. Based on the New American Heritage Dictionary. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1983. Print.