Up in Smoke

Posted by sepoy on August 09, 2004 · 2 mins read

Busy today. I saw Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle last night. I was hoping to catch it with my peeps but ended up going late and on a whim. After watching the movie - hilarious - we decided to go get some take-out from Chinatown. We then proceeded to drive in a circle around Chinatown for 30 minutes. It got absurd. I mean, we have been in Chicago 6 years and gone to Chinatown a gazillion times. Whatever. After we got home, I discovered that my Mongolian Beef was not-Mongolian and not-Beef. White Castle sounded really good at that time but I went to sleep.
The movie, like I said, was hilarious. Perfect stoner jokes. Seeing a korean and desi guy as leads in a hollywood movie is disconcerting. Shouldn't be but we are programmed as audiences to see these ethnicities as side-kicks and comic relief. The script is smart (one of the writers, Hayden Schlossberg is a recent Uchicago alum - history, I think) in that it tweaks that expectation into having us immediately like the title characters and riffs on ethnic stereotypes throughout the movie. The overachieving asians, the racist cop, the rad skaters, the redneck woodsman, the servile indian and so on. The funniest thing in the movie, bar none, is Neal Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D.). I will attempt to see this again with a more "attuned" audience .
This morning, I have been trying to lug through Nu'aym b. Hammad's apocalyptical Kitab ul Fitan. It is filled with gentle descriptions of the AntiChrist (Dajjal). I cannot concentrate. I am trying to find this apocryphal tradition that states, "Allah will protect two groups of my Umma from the fire of hell, One which will fight in al-Hind and one which will side with Jesus".
I have a sneaking suspicion that I will not find it here.


Sumana | August 09, 2004

I also enjoyed "Harold and Kumar" - although NP Harris is very, very funny, the various dream/cartoon sequences are also disconcerting and funny.

sepoy | August 09, 2004

yes, they were really funny...esp. the fantasy sequence with kumar and the anthropomorphic bag of weed. special stuff.

desesperanto | August 10, 2004

one of the mailing lists i am on received a chain letter from the actors who play harold and kumar asking that we see the film to uplift the (asian) race(s). i was a bit repulsed at the niche marketing. speaking of commodification of dissent and all that.

sepoy | August 10, 2004

interesting. can you post that letter here? i am interested to see the language...is it markedly different from viral marketing for "urban" movies where the black community is urged to show support for Barbershop 2 or something? can tom cruise start sending out letters to closeted white males with perfect teeth?

desesperanto | August 10, 2004

> >Dear Friends, Fans, Haters, Players, and True Money Makers, > >Hey! This is Kal Penn (aka Kalpen Modi) and John Cho writing to encourage >you to go see our upcoming comedy from New Line Cinema, "Harold and Kumar >Goto >White Castle," opening nationwide on July 30th. This film marks the first >time a major studio is releasing a project with two Asian American males >as >the leads. We don`t have stereotypical accents, we don`t passively tread >through the story, we`re not asexual or hypersexual, there are no martial >arts >scenes, one-dimensional cab driver segments. We play a couple of >all-American >guys who happen to be of Indian and Korean descent. Our characters (Harold >and > Kumar) are post-collegiate buddies who get the munchies and end up going >on >the adventure of their lives as they set out to >satisfy a spontaneous craving for White Castle burgers. Ebert and Roeper >just gave our movie "Two Thumbs Up"! We hope you will too. Read on. > >The opening weekend for any film is extremely important. Studio executives >(the people who make big decisions about movies) track the numbers from >that >first weekend`s ticket sales and make all kinds of decisions based on that >data. They decide if they will add more screens to show a film, if they >will >spend more money in promoting it, if they will start investing in a >sequel... >but most importantly, they decide if elements of the film work and whether >they >should do it again. In our case, that means they will be >asking, "Will a strong script and story succeed or fail with 2 Asian >American guys in non-stereotypical roles?". We personally think it >willsucceed, but we need your help! This film is our chance to prove that >realistic, >nonstereotypical depictions can make an audience have a blast, and take in >enough money to make this happen in the future. > >By buying a ticket to "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle", you aren`t >just >gonna get to see a really funny movie with two dudes who look like you. >Nope. You`re also going to be saying to media outlets, "I support accurate >representation of Asian Americans and would like to see more." You have >the power >to change things simply by buying a ticket to a film that we believe >you`ll have fun watching anyway! > >Please go to the theaters next weekend and watch "Harold & Kumar Go to >White >Castle". We look at this awesome opportunity like we do voting in an >election. Every movie ticket someone buys is a VOTE, and the cool part is, >you`re >allowed to vote as many times as you want. With your support of the film, >we >will show decision-makers in Hollywood that supporting movies like >these is not only the right thing to do, but is also good business. We`ll >also show YOU what it`s like to ride a cheetah, hang glide off a cliff, >pick up >a hitchhiking Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser), tell off a bunch of >ignorant punks, get love interests, and sing Wilson Phillips at the top of >our >lungs. > >So just hold on for one more... week, and check out the website at >www.HaroldandKumar.com. This film opens the weekend of July 30th! Tell all >of your friends. Throw parties. Order food. Make a night (or weekend) out >of it > and go see "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle"! This is a landmark >opportunity for the Asian American community, and we are proud to be the >faces >involved. With your support and the success of this film, we hope that >it`s only >the beginning of many more Asian Americans on screen... > >Enjoy the movie, > >Kal Penn and John Cho > >"Kumar" and "Harold" >New Line Cinema`s "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" >