Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (unrated edition)
from my DVD collection

True story: when I was in high school, I took a special art course at Cooper Union one summer. One of the assignments they gave us was, if I recall correctly, to make a sculpture out of found objects. So what did I do? I made a small cube out of White Castle hamburger boxes. Still have it, too.

Personally, I always preferred the Castle's
chicken sandwiches. I used to go to the Castle near my house all the time for them, but one day they took them off the menu and I can't find them anywhere around here anymore. It's no big deal, but it is kinda disappointing. And the only fast food burger I'll touch these days is Five Guys.

I'm gonna sound like a total killjoy, I know, but it's true: ever since reading Fast Food Nation, I've tried to reduce the amount of fast food I eat. (Eliminating it altogether is not quite an option yet.) Vija lent me the book years ago, and I've never regretted r
eading it. Don't get me wrong; I've never been one of those people who stuff their faces with McDonald's every day. The most I would do is once a week - and again, my preference would be for the chicken sandwiches.

Giving up McDonald's was easier than I thought - although in recent years, I've shifted over to Wendy's and Popeye's. When I was living in Columbus,
I ate at Wendy's a bit more than usual. Maybe that was because Wendy's originated in Columbus.

Actually, the Midwest has some decent fast food places - some we don't have back east, some we do. Jimmy John's is a sandwich shop like Subway, although I'd also go there for the chocolate chip cookies. Charley's is a better sandwich shop; they make fresh cut fries and have lemonade
. The OSU location is where it originated. The first time I ate Five Guys was in Columbus. The one near OSU opened up while I was there and they stay open super late. My absolute favorite, though, was Raising Cane's. They serve chicken fingers, along with fries and a slice of French toast and it's all delicious. I ate there all the time and I wish there were one here in New York so badly!

These days, I try to be a little more health conscious whenever I eat fast food. I've cut back on Wendy's and Popeye's, but whenever I do eat there, I make an effort to take long walks immediately afterward to use all those calories. I also eat at places like Cosi and especially Panera Bread for less junky options. I am deeply in passionate love with Panera. The first time I ate there was in Columbus, and I was so happy to find when I came back that New York has it too. It's a nice place to sit and relax, too, whether with a computer or not.

In addition, I've greatly reduced the amount of soda I drink. I used to drink Pepsi all the time; now I almost never touch it. If I do drink soda, it's always in the smallest cans possible, but otherwise it's lemonade and tea (sometimes iced, sometimes not) and juice and punch all the way. Ginger ale too. It's just as easy to live without soda as with it.

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle was a pleasant surprise. I didn't think it would be quite so good, but it is. It's funny because I've seen John Cho and Kal Penn in more serious roles prior to this. Cho, of course, is the new Sulu, and I first saw Penn in The Namesake, a wonderful adaptation of the Jhumpa Lahiri novel, in which he did a fine job. So it was a bit odd for me to see them do comedy, even though this movie put them both on the map. (By the way, is it my imagination, or does Penn's skin look lighter on that poster than it actually is?)

This is another DVD formerly from Sue's collection. Inside it there are unused coupons for White Castle, which makes me wonder whether this whole movie was intended to be one big commercial. I mean, this could've just as easily been a made-up burger joint. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith create original brands specifically for their movies with no loss of credibility - the very opposite, if anything. But maybe the director needed the extra cash such a blatant product placement could provide. Regardless, I can't say it bothers me that much.

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