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Monday, March 31, 2014

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle

I am so happy to be bidding the month of March 2014 farewell.  I am so sick of this longer than normal winter, and I am convinced that the lions ate the lambs this year.  I say bring on April.

Of course, we have one final day of March to get through first, and for today's Monday Matinee, I thought that I would do a blog that was actually a request from a long time reader.  So, first things first, I would like to personally thank Michael G. for the wonderful suggestion.  While his suggestion was for a film that I had never seen before prior to now, I downloaded it on my computer and gave it a whirl.  After all, what good would a Monday Matinee be if I never got a chance to see the movie, right?

Oh, and don't forget that I do take requests for topics as well.  All you need to do is drop me a line in the comments section here, or shoot me a message on the Facebook page for this blog.  You can access the fan page HERE if you want to suggest a topic.  I'll try to find a way to get your request in at some point.

The funny thing is that the film features a prominent fast food location that I myself have never eaten at.  Of course, I do have an excuse.  This fast food chain doesn't have any Canadian locations - well, at least not to my knowledge, anyway.

Of course, to be fair, I currently live in a town that doesn't really have a whole lot of...well...anything.  As far as fast food chains, we have some of the usual suspects such as McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Domino's Pizza, and about half a dozen Tim Hortons' donut and coffee shops.

But there are some fast food chains located solely in America that I have never tried.  I see ads for Sonic all the time, and while comments that I have heard have been mixed, I still would like to try it once.  We also don't have any Rally's, Checkers, In-N-Out, or Papa John's in this area.

And, then there's the restaurant known as White Castle.

White Castle is an American chain with hundreds of locations mostly scattered throughout the Midwest and Southern United States, as well as a smattering of locations in New York state.  Since the company was founded in 1921, the company became famous for their White Castle "slider", a small square shaped hamburger that literally cost pennies to make.  Rumour has it that the sliders were the lowest priced take-out hamburgers of all the fast food chains.  

As a result, I can understand why White Castle is so successful - at least in the United States anyway.  The food is affordable enough that almost anybody in any income bracket can eat there. 

And, today's movie happens to feature a White Castle restaurant.  As well as two guys who are high on life (and on drugs) trying to make their way to said White Castle restaurant.

Which is essentially the whole plot for the 2004 film "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle", which starred John Cho as Harold and Kal Penn as Kumar.

And, to say that Harold and Kumar are kind of considered to be aimless would be a bit of an understatement.

Though, you can't help but understand how they ended up that way.  In the case of Harold, he in an investment banker who is always doing the work of three people.  Literally, his co-workers take a weekend off, and convince him to do THEIR work as well as his own.  On top of all that, Harold has developed feelings for his neighbour Maria (Paula Garces), but lacks the confidence to tell her how he feels.

And Kumar is having a bit of a difficult time deciding what he wants to do with his life.  He's expected to enroll in medical school per his father's wishes, but purposely botches his interview just so he wouldn't be admitted.  It didn't matter that his brother and father were doctors themselves.  He wasn't sure if being a physician was what his true calling was.

So, what do Harold and Kumar do to forget about their problems? 

Well, they get high.  And then they see an ad for White Castle and they get hungry.

Interestingly enough, although I don't have any experience with smoking marijuana (particularly because the mere smell of it makes me sick), whenever people used to smoke it at my residence hall in college, they always craved pizza.  But as I said before, we don't have any White Castles in Canada.  I bet if we had, they'd be ditching the pepperoni and cheese.

There's just one problem.  When the duo drive down to what they think is the closest White Castle available, they are stunned to discover that another fast food place has taken over, and they have to start all over again.  The good news is that there is another White Castle in Cherry Hill, and Harold and Kumar decide to go there instead.

Of course, on the way to New Jersey, the high that Harold and Kumar were on fades away, and they come to the "brilliant" conclusion that they can only eat at White Castle if they are high enough to do so, and this leads to a whole comedy of errors which include...

- A trip to Princeton University so that they can purchase the drug from one of the students.
- Having an unexpected guest pop in on their road trip.
- Making a pit stop to the hospital where one of them is forced to perform emergency surgery.
- Getting into an auto accident where their repairman proves to be a real "Freakshow".
- And, they even pick up a hitchhiker by the name of Neil Patrick Harris who is more high on drugs than they are!

Seriously, are White Castle sliders really worth all of that?

So, what happens?  Does Harold get the girl of his dreams and tell his slacking co-workers no more?  Does Kumar come to a decision about what he wants to do with his life?  Does Neil Patrick Harris ever become sober?  And, most importantly of Harold and Kumar ever satisfy their craving for White Castle sliders?

You'll just have to watch the movie to find out.  But, what I can do is offer you some trivia in regards to this film.  Some of it is really quite interesting.  And, you know something?  After watching this movie, I can totally understand why people enjoy it so much.  Sure, it can get goofy at spots...but as long as you keep telling yourselves that the main characters are stoned, it suddenly makes more sense...

...anyway, on with the trivia!

1 - Aside from Neil Patrick Harris, the movie also features some cameos by other big named actors which include Malin Ackerman, Christopher Meloni, Anthony Anderson, Ryan Reynolds, David Krumholtz, Fred Willard, and Jamie Kennedy.

2 - It is rumoured that Neil Patrick Harris' role in this film helped get him the part of Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother" (in which the show's series finale airs tonight!)

3 - Kal Penn is actually a vegetarian.  Would be kind of difficult for him to eat a traditional White Castle slider, wouldn't you think?

4 - Kal Penn also almost died during the shooting of the film.  There's a scene in which Harold and Kumar are crawling out of a vent, and to simulate the dust in the vent, the crew used walnut powder.  Unfortunately, Kal has a serious nut allergy and had to immediately be rushed to the hospital.  In all future scenes, chocolate powder was used instead.

5 - If Neil Patrick Harris had turned down the cameo role in the movie, the producers second choice was "Karate Kid" star Ralph Macchio.

6 - A White Castle building was actually trucked into the filming location as there were no White Castle restaurants to be found at all!

7 - Although they did not appear in one episode together, both Kal Penn and John Cho appeared on the television series "House".

8 - Apparently, Maria's last name in the film is "Quesa Dilla". 

9 - The characters of Rosenberg and Goldstein were inspired by the Hamlet characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

10 - If you leave the menu screen on the DVD version of the film on too long, Harold and Kumar actually start mocking you, and encourage you to make a choice already! 

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