Nice Dreams

Nice Dreams (1981)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Cheech Marin, Thomas Chong, Stacy Keach, Paul Reubens
Extras: Bonus Trailers

The counter-culture rejoices once again as those likable loadies are back in their third feature-length cannabis caper. But, as with the other Cheech & Chong titles, you either get it or you don’t – which is the beauty of their humor.

Director Tommy Chong is at the helm a second time as he and his lowrider compadre, Cheech, are in business selling hefty amounts of herb from their ’Nice Dreams’ truck under the guise of ice cream novelties (the ’Big Stick’ treat). They amass quite a fortune in cash, guitars, and a beachside manor that can only be considered a thumbing of the nose at the conservative capitalists of the then-presiding Regan Administration. Parading and puffing away at obscene amounts of weed that makes today’s viewer almost uncomfortable, the film is rife with continual consumption that leads to deep analyses of timely topics (such as hippie retirement homes), plus the usual wacky encounters with other dopers, degenerates, and semi-nude women. Stacy Keach returns as the now drug-addicted Sgt. Stedenko from ’Up In Smoke’ who slowly transforms into an iguana (yes, it’s true) while Sandra Bernhard, Paul Reubens, and Dr. Timothy Leary deliver equally bizarre performances.

Coming from Columbian . . . er . . . Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment, ’Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams’ is presented on a dual-layer disc which offers both, a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and a fullscreen versions of the film. Though presumably inspired by Paramount’s wonderful ’Up In Smoke’ DVD, Columbia sadly misses the mark here with a noticeably inferior transfer that’s upstaged by a distracting level of graininess and noticeably dirty source print. It’s not an unwatchable presentation by any means – the color is actually quite rich as is most of the shadow detail – but knowing the product Columbia TriStar is capable of turning out, this appears to be an uninspired attempt at best.

The audio, presented in Digital Mono is decent. The sound field has a reasonable span, kicking off with some nice wailing guitar riffs at the film’s opening. The musical numbers, varied and vibrant, provide an energetic audio presence without ever challenging the clarity of the dialog, which is always easily understandable.

Although the disc is visually disappointing and feature-devoid, ’Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams’ is still an enjoyable albeit very unusual stroll through the prohibited pot gardens of yesterday and today. Cheech & Chong devotees laud the film as second or third-best in the duo’s film repertoire (with the ’Save the Whales’ song being a personal favorite of mine). If you think you ’get’ drug humor, get this DVD, then lay back, lighten up, and laugh a bit at this antidote to our uptight times.