Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

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Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDanny Leiner
Produced by
Written by
Starring
Music byDavid Kitay
CinematographyBruce Douglas Johnson
Edited byJeff Betancourt
Production
company
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • July 30, 2004 (2004-07-30)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$9 million[1]
Box office$23.9 million[1]

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is a 2004 American stoner comedy film and the first installment of the Harold & Kumar series. The film was written by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, and directed by Danny Leiner.

The story follows Harold Lee (John Cho) and Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) as they decide to go to the fast food chain White Castle after smoking marijuana, but end up on a series of comical misadventures along the way.

The film also features Fred Willard, Paula Garcés, Anthony Anderson, Dan Bochart, Ethan Embry, Jamie Kennedy, Bobby Lee, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Reynolds, Shaun Majumder, David Krumholtz, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Malin Åkerman, and Neil Patrick Harris, who plays a fictionalized version of himself.

Plot[edit]

Investment banker Harold Lee is persuaded by his colleagues to do their work while they leave for the weekend. Meanwhile, Kumar Patel attends a medical school interview, but intentionally botches it to prevent getting accepted. Harold is attracted to his neighbor, Maria, but is unable to admit his feelings. After smoking marijuana with Kumar, and seeing an advertisement for White Castle, the pair decide to get hamburgers to satisfy their hunger. After traveling to the nearest White Castle in New Brunswick, they find it replaced by "Burger Shack" but learn of another White Castle in Cherry Hill.

Kumar suggests stopping at Princeton University to buy more marijuana. Kumar buys marijuana from one of the students and they are discovered by campus security and forced to flee, losing their marijuana after it falls in the toilet. Harold and Kumar resume their drive, and when Kumar pulls over to urinate, a raccoon gets in the car and bites Harold. Kumar takes Harold to a hospital where Kumar's father and older brother work. Kumar steals ID badges to obtain medical marijuana, but after being mistaken for his brother, Kumar is forced to perform surgery on a gunshot victim and, after the surgery, the patient tells them how to reach White Castle.

Kumar spots Maria at a movie theatre, and decides to get her attention so Harold can talk to her, but Harold panics and crashes the car. They are rescued by Freakshow, a tow-truck driver, who takes them to his house to repair their car. Harold and Kumar are propositioned by Freakshow's surprisingly alluring wife, but after Freakshow suggests a foursome, Harold and Kumar flee in disgust. Kumar picks up a hitchhiker, Neil Patrick Harris, who is high on ecstasy. Harold and Kumar go into a convenience store to get directions and Harris drives away in their car. The duo are then harassed by a racist police officer for jaywalking. Harold attempts to punch Kumar for antagonizing the officer, but ends up punching the officer instead, resulting in his arrest.

Kumar fakes a 911 call to distract the police and breaks into the station to free Harold. After Harold and Kumar flee the pair encounters an escaped cheetah. After smoking marijuana with it, they decide to ride it to white castle, but Harold goes unconscious after hitting his head on a branch. After encountering a group of extreme sports punks who have been harassing the pair, Harold and Kumar steal their truck. A police officer spots the speeding truck and chases them. They are trapped when they reach the edge of a cliff. Spotting the White Castle below, Harold and Kumar use a hang glider from the truck to reach their destination. The pair place their orders but are disheartened to find they have no money. Harris suddenly appears, and pays for their meal as an apology for stealing their car.

Kumar realizes he wants to be a doctor, but is afraid of conforming to the stereotype of Indians becoming doctors. Harold then notices his co-workers pull up with two women and gets angry at them because they said they had to work with clients but were actually out partying. He tells them off and threatens to get them fired and humiliated if it happens again. After returning to their apartment they encounter Maria. Harold professes his feelings for her and they kiss. She informs Harold that she is leaving for Amsterdam but will return in ten days. Kumar convinces Harold to go with him to Amsterdam to pursue Maria, reminding him that marijuana is legal in the Netherlands.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

While living in Los Angeles, screenwriters Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg decided to write a low-budget stoner film and base the main characters on their high school friends from Randolph High School. They based the character of Harold on their real-life friend Harold Lee. Hurwitz got the idea to base the film around White Castle from his own experience craving White Castle burgers when he lived in Pennsylvania for several years. At the time, Pennsylvania did not have any White Castle locations and Hurwitz had to have family members bring him frozen White Castle burgers from New Jersey.[2]

The filmmakers received permission from White Castle in 2002 to use the chain's name in the film.[3] One scene that depicted a White Castle being closed was changed at the request of the company's director of marketing. The film was also supposed to feature a hunt for Krispy Kreme donuts, but the food was changed to hotdogs when Krispy Kreme refused to allow the film to use their name.[4]

Casting[edit]

Hurwitz and Schlossberg included a role for Neil Patrick Harris as himself in the script without asking him first. Harris liked the script and agreed to appear in the film.[5] During casting, both Kal Penn and actor Sendhil Ramamurthy were being considered for the role of Kumar. After auditioning seven times, Penn eventually won the part.[6]

The University of Toronto's campus was used as one of the sets in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

Filming[edit]

Harold & Kumar began filming on May 12, 2003.[7] The film is set in New Jersey, but was mainly filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Scenes set at Princeton University were actually filmed at the University of Toronto's Victoria College and Knox College.[8] The production design team had to build a White Castle franchise especially for the shoot since Canada does not have White Castle restaurants. During filming, Penn ate veggie burgers as he is a vegetarian.[9]

Soundtrack[edit]

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle – Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
ReleasedJuly 27th, 2004
LabelBulletproof

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle : Original Soundtrack was released on July 27, 2004. It contains 16 songs from the film.

Track list
  1. "Chick Magnet" – MxPx
  2. "One Good Spliff" – Ziggy Marley / The Melody Makers
  3. "Yeah (Dream of Me)" – All Too Much
  4. "Righteous Dub" – Long Beach Dub All Stars
  5. "Skunk One" – Kottonmouth Kings
  6. "Same Old Song" – Phunk Junkeez
  7. "White Castle Blues" – The Smithereens
  8. "Crazy On You" – Heart
  9. "Cameltoe" – Fannypack
  10. "Kinda High, Kinda Drunk" – Coolio
  11. "Mary Jane" – Rick James
  12. "I Wanna Get Next to You" – Rose Royce
  13. "Hold On" – Wilson Phillips
  14. "Ridin'" – Classic & 86
  15. "Arrival at White Castle" – Heiruspecs
  16. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" – Nicki French

Songs that are in the film but do not appear on the soundtrack include:

  1. "Also Sprach Zarathustra" – David Kitay
  2. "Baby Baby" – Amy Grant
  3. "Ballin' Boy" – No Good
  4. "Click Click Pow" – Lexicon (real song title is "The Official")
  5. "Warrior Dance" – Zion I feat. Pep Love
  6. "Fall In Line" – Phunk Junkeez
  7. "Faraway" – Dara Schindler
  8. "Gangsta Gangsta" – J. O'Neal / D. Black
  9. "Girl From Ypsilanti" – Daniel May
  10. "Let's Get Retarded" – Black Eyed Peas (this song is the unedited version of their "Let's Get It Started" hit)
  11. "Looney" – Moonshine Bandits
  12. "Mariachi Speier" – Eric Speier
  13. "On the Ganges" – Matt Hirt
  14. "Rock to the Rhythm" – Lexicon (actual song name is "Rock")
  15. "Rock Your Body 2004" – Stagga Lee
  16. "Ooh Wee" – Mark Ronson

Release[edit]

Marketing[edit]

In the 11 days before the film's release, New Line Cinema turned a parking lot on Sunset Strip into a temporary White Castle. The restaurant served 40,000 burgers to patrons, including Quentin Tarantino, Farah Fawcett and Jay Leno.[10]

White Castle launched several promotions in tandem with the film's release. The restaurant chain featured beverage cups with pictures of Harold and Kumar. They also provided free hamburgers to moviegoers attending the film's premiere.[3] Cho and Penn were inducted into the company's White Castle Cravers Hall of Fame in 2004.[11]

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $5,480,378 in 2135 theatres in the United States and Canada. In total it had a worldwide gross of $23,936,908.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The film was positively received by critics, with a 74% rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 147 reviews; the consensus states "The likable leads and subversion of racial stereotypes elevate Harold and Kumar above the typical stoner comedy."[12][13]

Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote "One secret of fiction is the creation of unique characters who are precisely defined. The secret of comedy is the same, with the difference being that the characters must be obsessed with unwholesome but understandable human desires."[14]

Home media[edit]

The "Extreme Unrated" edition of the DVD was released on January 4, 2005. It includes special features like a mockumentary, "The Art of the Fart", "The Backseat Interview", an interview with Cho and Penn, and a making-of featurette about the Land of Burgers animated segment. The DVD also features two commentaries: one by writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and one by actor Dan Bochart in character as Extreme Sports Punk #1.[15] The film was re-released on DVD in 2007 and a remastered edition was released in 2008. The film was released on Blu-ray on November 13, 2012.

As of August 17, 2008, the film had 2,878,770 DVD sales in the United States, grossing $30,609,751.[16]

Sequels[edit]

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is the 2008 sequel to White Castle. The movie revolves around Harold and Kumar trying to get to Amsterdam to find Maria, but when the two are mistaken for terrorists on the plane, they are sent to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Both Hurwitz and Schlossberg announced plans to write a third Harold and Kumar film, with Greg Shapiro returning as producer, and Kal Penn and John Cho returning in their title roles,[17][18] While Todd Strauss-Schulson directed the film. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, was released on November 4, 2011 in 2D and 3D.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  2. ^ Vespe, Eric (July 20, 2004). "Quint interviews HAROLD AND KUMAR writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg about Doogie and Battlesh!ts!!!". Ain't It Cool News.
  3. ^ a b Cebrznynski, Greg (July 26, 2004). "White Castle on Promotional Journey with "Harold and Kumar"". Nation's Restaurant News. p. 20.
  4. ^ "White Castle rolls dice with movie role". The Chicago Tribune. July 29, 2004.
  5. ^ Charaipotra, Sona (August 16, 2004). "Harold & Kumar's Neil Patrick Harris". People (Vol. 62 Issue 7). p. 37.
  6. ^ Preeti Chhibber and Swapna Krishna (May 23, 2008). "Interview: Sendhil Ramamurthy from NBC's "Reverie"". Desi Geek Girls (Podcast). Event occurs at 20:50.
  7. ^ "Film Co. News". Film Journal International (Vol. 106, Issue 6). June 2003.
  8. ^ Fleischer, David (June 17, 2008). "Reel Toronto: Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle". Torontoist.
  9. ^ "Kal Penn: Hungry for Sucess". Teen Tribute. June 1, 2004. p. 33.
  10. ^ Rushfield, Richard (August 10, 2004). "Farah Goes to White Castle". Variety (Vol. 395). p. 34.
  11. ^ Kim, Hank (May 31, 2004). "White Castle lands title role in feature". Advertising Age (Vol. 75, Issue 22).
  12. ^ "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle".
  13. ^ "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas - WarnerBros.com - Movies". Haroldandkumar.com. 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  14. ^ "Harold and Kumar:Go to White Castle". Roger Ebert.com. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  15. ^ Howard, Brendan (November 28, 2004). "DVD Review: Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle". Video Store Magazine. p. 22.
  16. ^ "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) - Video Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  17. ^ "Harold and Kumar 3 Announced - /Film". Slashfilm.com. 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  18. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (2008-07-24). "'Harold & Kumar' set for third puff". Variety. Retrieved 2008-08-02.

External links[edit]