Official Winner: Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Maybe it's the holiday spirit, maybe it's the NJ cold and snow melting away miraculously just in time for skanky New Year's Eve outfits, or maybe it's just my unending stoner love that makes watching this movie hit the spot for me; regardless, I truly believe this is the greatest travel movie of our decade, and possibly even our time. It embodies the spontaneity and purpose of traveling when one is young, when it may be for seemingly shallow and selfish reasons and culture and growth is acquired accidentally. It even captures the spirit of the American roadtrip, rife with hitchhiking and crashing at friend's places and crashing at stranger's places and lying and hustling and stealing and running away, all with love, lust and desire at the heart of it.
But more than anything else, my favorite thing about rolling stones Harold and Kumar is their capacity to run into characters which both strengthen the resolve of the geographical or racial stereotypes they often embody and surprise them with kindness, warmth and a taste of the exotic. The people one meets and is assisted by is the exact purpose and true joy of travel, and what causes people to become addicted to it.
Though as Americans, many of us may feel isolated in the suburbs with reality out of reach while we're driving in our cars, there is a rich history in our nation's literary and pictorial past of people escaping the boredom of suburbs and leaving their cars behind to hitchhike or scam rides dating at least back to the generation of Jack Kerouac and the Beats. So while I may just be emblazoning (wink wink) stonerly melodrama onto this frequently gratuitous film, in my book, this flick is right up there with the classics of travel culture in the US.
Runner Up:Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
When this movie first came out (in July 2004) I was 17 and worked at a movie theater in the summer before I began college. We used to party in the theater after hours and reel up this or the movie "Garden State," which was out at the same time.
Also having been the summer in which then governor Jim McGreevy came out about being gay and stepped down from his title (**SCANDALOUS FACT**: According to some fellow 17-year-olds that had interned for the governor, everyone who worked for/with/around McGreevey knew he was gay, and he even lived with his lover while his wife only on paper would be flown in from where she actually lived for press appearances!) following corruption charges, I thought it must have truly been the summer of NJ. This classic road trip flick about trekking through NJ in search of stoner food was not only true to the fact that many NJers actually do things like that (we're easily bored and prone to tunnel vision) but also to the make up of what I'll call the Garden State of Mind.
The Garden State of Mind is multifaceted and complex, but some of its lobes which were highlighted in H&KGtWC were: the fact that we really are willing to drive anywhere within the state's borders to get something; the fact that even though we've probably gotten our asses handed to us in any of NJ's quiet suburbs, we still only really fear Newark and Camden; the fact that we all have fantasies about defeating cops using only our wit; and the fact that we know the best way to understand (and break through) all racial barriers is by confronting stereotypes head on, getting used to them, getting over them, having a good laugh and winding up the best of friends.
Second Runners Up: Any upcoming Harold & Kumar movies
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Maybe it's just looking outside my NJ bedroom window and seeing green instead of white for the first time in a few weeks, but something drew me to these movies, now, and I just had to share my views on them.
Do you love Harold & Kumar? Do you love these flicks? What are your favorite travel flicks?
Do we really have time to watch movies when traveling the world? Oh, I know sometimes we need quiet time, however, with so much planning and options, in my view our quiet time is generally catching up with family or updating your blog, not watching movies.
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