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Friday, April 11, 2008

Movie review: Compare Harold and Kumar go to White Castle with Bachelor Party

For inexplicable reasons, I recently watched these two movies almost one after the other.

"Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" is definitely aimed at immature teenage boys, so I fit right in to their market demographic. However I found it hilarious. Well worth watching for a bit of a laff. A couple of scenes I classify as IWM¹ funny. Kind of Cheech and Chong for the current crowd of wannabe drug-swilling hetero nerds. Mostly formulaic and predictable (except for the appearance of Neil Patrick Harris as a degenerate pervert called "Neil Patrick Harris", and the controversial use of the "goto" instruction²) but it struck me that this film illustrates the current state of censorship (perhaps self-censorship) of Hollywood. Lots of references to violence, soft drugs, and "strong language", but very little nudity (a few bosom flashes only) or serious sexual references. Acting was strong, scripting pretty good and the plot, FWIW held together. Production is actually pretty good.

I contrast H&K with "Bachelor Party", the 1984 film that was one of the first big-screen appearances by Tom Hanks. In this movie, pretty well aimed at the same age group of teens, there is a lot more nudity, sexual situations, orgies, S&M, bestiality, hard drug use (admittedly mostly by a donkey) and depictions of prostitutes³. The acting (apart from Hanks) varies from bad to seriously bad (his leading lady appears to be made from some kind of sap wood); the first half is more or less unwatchable. You won't lose anything by skipping to the middle. I would guess it was a very low budget film at the time.

Perhaps I should have watched "Cheech and Chong" alongside H&K, but I think we are can say from this experiment that teen movies have cleaned themselves up as far as sex is concerned. Disappointing, really. The last part of BP is kinda fun.

One constant between 1984 and today is the design and structure of North American school buses. How can it be that these are the only vehicles that remain unchanged in 25 years?

¹ IWM: I Wet Myself
² Sorry, but I do make programs for a living & don't get out much
³ This is therefore literally "pornographic", pedant.

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