I don't care what any of the haters out there say, but "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" is a funny movie. If Vince Vaughn were in it, I'm sure it would be considered a must see, but instead we get a bunch of no-names and Neal Patrick Harris (his cameo alone is worth the price of admission). For a dumb stoner movie, the characters are well developed and endearing. It is the kind of classic "nerds get revenge" type movie, but with one important twist- these guys aren't really nerds- just not white and that is their handicap as they continue on in their adventures. Anti- minority bigots are the butt of most of the jokes in the film.
As far as the homophobic charges against the film, I disagree. Yes, there are gay jokes, but I don't feel like they are mean-spirited. Some of them are utterly ridiculous, some put the jokes squarely on homophobes, and some are merely indicative of the average 22 year old male who makes jokes about having sex or blowing their male friends. Shit, if I had a dime (bag) for every gay joke I was part of ten years ago, I'd be a rich man. To top it all off, we get two Jewish characters who are nice supporting characters.
And I don't give a shit what any of you say, "Dude, Where's My Car?" is mostly inspired in its absurdity and silliness and I know at least one of the Paquette boys who will back me up on this one.
Another interesting film out there is "The Manchurian Candiate." This film has two strikes against it from the beginning. Why remake a classic and why Denzel? The first question is answered quite nicely for me but the second one isn't and it is a detriment to the film. Mr. Washington just isn't very good.
This remake updates the original's story for 2004. Among other targets in that film were politicians and their quest for power at all costs. In this film, the real enemies are corporations and how they pretty much have politicians in their back pockets. Jonathan Demme creates a paranoid atmosphere where every scene seems to include bad international news on the radio and TV. The underlying message seems to be how we are willing to let our civil liberties be taken away from us in order to protect ourselves from terrorists. The American public's gullibility connects both the 1962 and 2004 versions. Not a perfect film, but a film well worth seeing.
Regarding both of these films, I have immense respect for mainstream films that get their points across to a wide audience in an entertaining way. Some of the points in "The Manchurian Candidate" remind me of the recent documentary "The Corporation" but only one will be seen by millions of people. Preaching to the choir can be satisfying, but reaching new audiences is much more subversive.
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