In the great cinematic tradition of Road Trip and Dude, Where’s My Car? comes Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, which follows two likeable underdogs who set out on a Friday night quest to satisfy their craving for White Castle hamburgers and end up on an epic journey of deep thoughts, deeper inhaling and a wild road trip as un-PC as it gets. John Cho (American Pie 1 & 2) and Kal Penn (Malibu’s Most Wanted) take on the title roles in the film directed by Danny Leiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?) written by Hayden Schlossberg & Jonathan Hurwitz.
I love this movie to bits. Actually all these while I thought it’ll be a crappy movie. Rented the movie by chance from HollywoodClicks since I finished the Friends series, and since I have the habit of watching something while having my home-cooked lunch…
The movie idea is simple enough – about two Asian guys living in America on their quest to eat White Castle burgers. Their journey turn out to be an overnight adventure, where they encounter the most unimaginable incident imaginable. Not trying to give the story away to those who have not watched the show, here are some:
» Met a guy named “Freakshow” with totally hideous, pulsating boils on his face, who asked them to fool around with his wife while he repairs their car
» Sedate a cheetah with marijuana and later ride it through the jungle
» Locked up in a police station with a bunch of most racist policement imaginable
» “Smelled” a shit-bombing game exchange in a ladies toilet
» Hang-glided their way to White Castle
Though the idea was very, very silly to some, the underlaying lessons were awesome. In their entire show, various taboo elements, like homosexuality and racism, were artfully invoked, portrayed as comedy and got viewers laughing and thinking.
Most importantly, it taught me that in a foreign place like American, being an Asian does not necessarily mean hardship and loneliness. The two characters, Harold and Kumar given me such an inspiration to try my luck in US.
I did some search on the cast and found that John Cho, actor of the Harold character, is the lead singer of Left of Zed. He wrote this moving letter encouraging viewers to support the show, to have more Asian-American in US pop culture:
Dear Friends and Supporters:
Thank you to everyone who has seen “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.” We are deeply appreciative.
To you and to those who haven’t seen it, we need your help in spreading the word on our movie over the week. This week, the week after the movie opened leading into the second weekend, is perilous. Newline was convinced that the movie would perform well enough to put this movie on 2000 screens. We need your help to keep the enthusiasm going over the coming days.
As an actor, I meet more than my share of Asian Americans, and an issue that seems paramount to many is the lack of representation in American cinema. I recall that the vacuum of Asians speaking English without accents in movies and television was a topic that would overrun discussions in my college Asian American studies classes, though we began by talking about literature or government. I wondered why the focus? I concluded that Asian Americans felt that pop culture was the great symbolic glass ceiling. We feel well represented in literature, medicine and law. We are making strides in athletics and government. But pop culture seems to be lagging behind noticeably. And that, in America, more than anything else in this and the last century, is our common culture. We sense perhaps that it may be the most powerful way to be heard.
This movie, solely on the basis of scale (read: number of screens), is our greatest opportunity at making a dent in that culture. In terms of content, the movie has two Asian American leads, whose culture and ethnicity are neither unnecessarily highlighted nor ignored, speaking without accents and making people laugh. It’s a pop revolution wearing a very silly disguise.
I think it’s unfair, but we have been unwittingly handed an election. You can either vote to see more by buying a ticket, or you can vote against it by refraining from buying a ticket. There is no middle ground. Apathy, in the financially focused mind of Hollywood, is the same as a vote against.
However, I also view this week as an opportunity to hope bigger than we ever have. Just as Chan is Missing was an opportunity, just as The Joy Luck Club was an opportunity, just as Better Luck Tomorrow was an opportunity, Harold and Kumar represents a moment of potential action, of potential voice.
I thank you for seeing the movie if you’ve already seen it. And I encourage you to see it if you haven’t. If you like it, if you laughed, please tell your friends.
“A pop revolution in a silly disguise” – I love this quote. Now if this doesn’t tickle your travel bug and enthusiasm to make it big somewhere else, nothing else would.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Visit the official homepage
You can get the DVD on Amazon.com
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