November 02, 2011 9:31am EST
Fourteen out of fifty states in the USA have decriminalized the possession of marijuana (generally under one ounce). In 2005, the case of Gonzales v. Raich ruled that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution allowed Congress to trump state law and criminalize the production of cannabis, even for medical use. The fact is that, today, marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
And on Friday, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, the third in the stoner comedy series, arrives in theaters. While you won't see it in the trailers, let me remind you of the foundation on which this franchise is built:
Yes, that's Kumar a.k.a Kal Penn from the first Harold & Kumar, riding in a pedal boat lovingly embracing a giant, anthropomorphic bag of weed.
Cheech and Chong. Dazed and Confused. Half Baked. Pineapple Express. Hollywood has been hydroponically growing the pot comedy into its own subgenre since the '70s, each generation having their own quintessential stoner flicks. Backlash is rare—for all the effort seemingly put into keeping marijuana out of the hands of the country's citizens, each marijuana-infused film opens and closes with the box office equivalent of its cinematic competitors. No protests, no statements made, no ruckus. Everyone seems perfectly fine glorifying marijuana use if it's in a movie.
To be fair, I don't have the legal or medical knowledge to really debate whether cannabis should or shouldn't be legalized. But in a landscape where stoner comedies have become a mainstay, where the smoking of weed on screen has evolved to the point that it can be simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking (in other words, honest) in a movie like 50/50, then what's keeping legalized marijuana locked up in the federal legal system? In a Splitsider article from earlier this year (part of the site's Your Highness "Stoner Week," for the record), writer Erik Voss speculates that stoner comedies may be keeping legalization movement back from its full potential. It's fascinating devil's advocate work—are the movies too apathetic? too…funny?—but, in the end, even he admits the movies are really making audiences familiar and comfortable with cannabis use.
Last month, Gallup polled US citizens on marijuana, and for the first time ever, 50% of Americans favored the legalization of cannabis That sounds like a familiarization to me. So why is the issue stagnate? Or better yet, why the lack of action against these movies from proponents of marijuana criminalization? For reasons unknown, it's fine for Harold and Kumar to smoke weed (illegal) in an R-rated movie (a movie kids under 17 can see with parents), but a movie like the upcoming Shame, focused on the explicit sexual relationships and encounters of its main character (legal), is slapped with an NC-17 (restricting anyone under 17 from catching the film). That's confusing logic.
I don't want political pressure to put an end to Hollywood's production of stoner comedies. They're too funny to disappear. But either the people who insist marijuana should be illegal need to step up and stand against the movies (which would cause the opposition to react) or the pro-cannabis folks need to use the accepting attitude of their contenders as fuel.
Harold and Kumar, as insane as it sounds, are the face of a movement. People don't seem to realize it—stoner or not.
November 01, 2011 7:41am EST
Cast: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck
Director: Brett Ratner
Synopsis: A group of people conspire to steal back the money they lost from a wealthy Ponzi schemer (Alan Alda).
What We Think: Tower Heist sounds like most Ratner movies (i.e. pairing opposites with one another in an action-y comedy; or … the Rush Hour movies), but watching two of the giants of comedy, Stiller and Murphy, has undeniable appeal.
Cool to Know: Years ago, Eddie Murphy envisioned the movie as a potential “black Ocean’s Eleven,” alongside actors like Chris Tucker, Jamie Foxx and Dave Chappelle.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Cast: Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris
Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson
Synopsis: The whole gang is back for this stoner-y take on Christmas – in stoner-friendly 3D. Their shenanigans this time involve burning down a Christmas tree and looking for a new one.
What We Think: Aside from a different director and the addition of 3D, everything looks to be the same with this installment – meaning those who liked White Castle and Guantanamo Bay should enjoy Christmas -- even if it is almost two months before the actual holiday.
Cool to Know: Kal Penn left his job as President Obama’s associate director of public engagement in June 2010 to film 3D Christmas; he returned to his post in November.
October 27, 2011 6:26am EST
Last night, Justin Timberlake brought his old musical self back to us for a brief moment (and oh, how we miss it) on The Late Show to perform a quick example of what life would be like if it were a Broadway musical.
On The Tonight Show, Harold and Kumar stars John Cho and Kal Penn stopped by to talk about their own real-life run ins with airport security—but Kal Penn's experiences with profiling have changed quite a bit since he became famous—and how much like theri movie characters they are like in real life.
Salma Hayek joined Jimmy Fallon in a game of beer pong on Late Night...although she seemed a little confused by the "pong" part at first, she really warmed up to it once the "beer" aspect became involved.
Finally, Jane Lynch appeared on Conan to compare visiting her sculpture in the wax museum to attending her own funeral, to show a clip of the Jersey Shore cast's outtakes from the Emmys skit she worked on with them, and to explain how many of the parts she takes in movies were originally written for men.
October 19, 2011 5:14pm EST
IGN Movies today debuted a new red-band trailer for A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, featuring bare breasts, a bloody Santa and a coked-up baby. Needless to say, it's very NSFW:
More A Very Harold %26 Kumar 3D Christmas Videos
Can't wait to see that claymation erection in 3D. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and stars Kal Penn, John Cho, and Neil Patrick Harris. It opens November 4, 2011.
Click below for more pictures of the multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris:
September 09, 2011 6:06am EST
Ah, Christmas. A time for warmth. For family. For love. For pervasive sexual innuendo.
Okay, at least that's nice. A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas reunites the well-traveled pair after several years of growing apart. The fates will reteam Harold (John Cho), complete with a new life including a wife and an intimidating father-in-law, and Kumar (Kal Penn) at Christmastime to experience, once again, a series of chaotic events. And of course, they will once more cross paths with Neil Patrick Harris.
The posters below suggest some amplified hijinx...more violence, more debauchery, more babies.
August 23, 2011 7:21am EST
Summer is the time of year when everyone lets loose and acts a little crazy. The behavior stems back to the time when we were all students and had the whole summer to go nuts and release all the tension that had built up in us from the school year. Even adults do stupid things over the course of the summer because the notion remains that June, July and August is the time to get a little bit reckless and thoughtless. And celebrities do it too! Sometimes, instead of using their power and influence to make positive changes in the world, their judgment disappears and they get caught up in the fact that it's summer, feel like they deserve a break from the pressure, and they do something stupid. And since this summer has been no different than any other, here’s a list of all the ways celebrities disappointed us over the past few weeks.
1. We found out that Arnold Schwarzenegger had a love child
Arnold has long been criticized over stories that have him groping women and talking inappropriately to them and doing drugs and numerous other things that people are not supposed to do. But his supporters usually refuted those claims by pointing to his position in political office and saying things like, “how could someone get elected to be the governor of California if he liked to play ‘Tickle My Pickle’ day in and day out?” And so when we learned that Arnold had a child with his housekeeper 15 years ago, everyone’s reactions were somewhere in between “well, of course he did” and “hoooooooooly shit.” On the one hand, it was kind of amazing that he was able to keep it a secret from his wife, Maria Shriver (especially because he paid for the housekeeper’s house?!), but at the same time the controversy genuinely angered his fans because they defended him and stood by him throughout the years. So even though Arnold stepped outside his marriage 15 years ago, it frustrated millions of people that he lied to everyone for that long.
2. Snooki crashes a car in Italy When we learned that the cast of Jersey Shore was going to Italy, many Americans knew it was going to be a bad idea because Italians would take one look at the American cast and assume they were making fun of the local heritage. Intelligent fans of the show were terribly embarrassed that Snooki, Pauly D and The Situation, and the rest of the group were going overseas because America has a pretty bad reputation throughout the world right now, and so sending a group of people who have a habit of not respecting anyone (including themselves) didn’t seem like the best way to improve our global relations. But as the premiere of the fourth season approached and people hadn’t heard any terrible stories about how a baker was accusing Deena of sexual assault, our worries about the cast misrepresenting America died down…until we heard that Snooki got into a car accident that put two cops in the hospital. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt and while it was still kinda funny, we felt foolish for thinking their Italian rendezvous would go smoothly. 3. Kate Hudson and Matt Bellamy name their son “Bing” Celebrities are known for giving their kids crazy names. Gwyneth Paltrow notably named her daughter Apple and her son Moses, and Jason Lee curiously named his son Pilot Inspektor. Nicolas Cage named his son Kal-el and Sean Penn named his son Hopper Jack. The trend seemed to be on the decline, however, because then stars went back to giving their children dignified names again: Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck named their daughters Violet and Seraphina. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick named their son James and their twin-daughters Marion and Tabitha. Tina Fey and her husband named their first daughter Alice, and named their newborn daughter Penelope. So in a way, there’s been a game of tug-of-war taking place between the celebrities who give their kids strange names and the celebrities who give their kids respectable and more low-key names. And just when it seemed like the fad of hyper-original names had passed and the regular baby names were on the verge of triumph, Kate Hudson and Matt Bellamy chose to name their son Bing – as in doorbells, as in the search engine, and as in the beginning of ROUND TWO of choosing an absurd baby name over a normal one. 4. Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay rant Tracy Morgan is a celebrity who makes it pretty hard not to love him. In addition to his comical chops he prominently displays on 30 Rock, he’s spoken many times about the hard childhood he had and how he protected himself -- and his brother, who suffered from cerebral palsy -- from the neighborhood bullies by making them laugh so they wouldn’t have time to beat them up. And so it was agonizing when reports surfaced that at a standup show in Nashville on June 3rd, Morgan unleashed a slew of anti-gay remarks, and even announced that if his son was gay, he “better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I’ll pull out a knife and stab that little n****r to death.” Kevin Rogers (one of the people in the audience) wrote on his Facebook page that Morgan also said “all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that ‘Born This Way’ is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because ‘God don’t make no mistakes.’” Once Morgan’s routine pervaded into mainstream society he quickly issued an apology, saying “I want to apologize to my fans and the gay and lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent standup act in Nashville. I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others.” He continued showing his remorse when he met with homeless gay teens in New York City through GLAAD, but by that time the palm had already hit the face. 5. Kim Kardashian x-rays her butt Kim Kardashian spends the majority of her time getting her nails done and dreaming up new ways to keep us interested in her (seeing as she’s not famous for any kind of talent). Some of the most recent stunts she’s pulled to continue being the recipient of our attention is receive a $2 million engagement ring from Kris Humphries, write a fiction book with her sisters that’s loosely based on their famous lifestyles, and have a conniption about the onset of a very genetic and very manageable disease, psoriasis. But the most despicable way she’s pleaded for our consciousness took place on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. One day, Kim was suddenly so sick and tired of people insisting that she had butt implants that she decided to go to the doctor and have her butt x-rayed so she could once and for all prove to everyone that her derriere was natural. And once cameras caught her family doctor verifying once and for all that he did not see any implants in either cheek, Kim rejoiced. It was a glum moment for viewers everywhere – and not because we were wrong. 6. Lindsay Lohan befriends Paris Hilton In May, Lindsay Lohan pleaded no contest to stealing a $2,500 necklace from a jewelry store in Venice, California. She was sentenced to four months in jail but because she’s what’s considered a “non-violent offender” and because the jails in California are overcrowded, she was allowed to serve her time at home under house arrest. She was also sentenced to perform 480 hours of community service at a women’s shelter in Los Angeles and at the L.A. County morgue. Lindsay fulfilled all of her requirements without putting up much of a protest (which was nice, for once) and it seemed like she was really devoted to getting back into acting and leading a sober lifestyle. But then she became the target of outrage in July once again when she decided to befriend Paris Hilton, sex tape star and frequent drug experimenter. (Apparently the two were once very close, but they parted ways for some reason that doesn’t matter and probably isn’t very hard to guess.) To most of us, Paris and Lindsay becoming friends again sounded like a good thing because they both could probably use a friend who understands the pressures of the industry. But all the people rooting for Lindsay to lead a clean and honest lifestyle did not approve of the bond because Paris is known for driving under the influence, possessing marijuana almost all the time, mistaking a vial of cocaine for Chap Stick, and not making any attempt at achieving sobriety. So it was quite devastating when it donned on them that the production schedule for the sequel to “I Know Who Killed Me” was most obviously delayed until further notice.
7. Elisabetta Canalis gives George Clooney a legitimate reason to break up with her Before Elisabetta Canalis and George Clooney entered into a relationship with each other in September of 2009, George made it clear that he was not going to have kids or get married (in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, he even said, “I was married. Yeah, so I’ve proven how good I was at it, and I just…yeah, I’m allowed one.”). Elisabetta told George that she was cool with never getting married or having children, and so off they adventured into their fabulous life. But then a few years later (this past June), Elisabetta opened her mouth to the Italian magazine Chi and said that even though she was terribly happy with George and their no kids, she was “a firm believer in marriage” and that one day she would be married. That very same month the news broke that Elisabetta and Geroge had broken up. And you know what? Elisabetta is an idiot! If she thought there was a chance that one day she’d want to be married, she should have decided against being George Clooney’s girlfriend! She stole TWO YEARS that he could have been with someone else, who’d be willing to the whole “no marriage” or kids thing seriously!
August 11, 2011 6:18am EST
It's a little bit early for Christmas spirit, but it's always the Neil Patrick Harris time of year. Check out the first trailer for A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas, starring a newly not-working-for-the-president Kal Penn, John Cho, and of course, NPH himself. The combination of holiday film, stoner comedy, and 3D isn't one that immediately springs to mind, but hey, weirder things have happened. Like Kal Penn going to work for the White House, say.
AVHAK3C (which is one hell of an acronym) follows the titular stoners six years after the events of the last film, as they embark on a Christmas Eve quest to acquire a replacement Christmas tree for Harold's father-in-law. Expect hijinks to ensue, misunderstandings to be had, and a couple of hearts to be warmed.
If you get sick of family-friendly cheer this holiday season (and seriously, who doesn't), then check out A Very Harold And Kumar 3D Christmas on November 4. Even if Community did the claymation Christmas special joke first.
Source: Yahoo Movies
August 05, 2011 7:07am EST
It happened to Bill Murray. It happened to Jim Carrey. Broad comedians have, in this day and age, an overwhelming propensity to go indie. Now, it's happening to Kevin James. And to my readers, I apologize for putting Kevin James in the same category as Bill Murray and Jim Carrey. And to Kevin James, I apologize for that remark.
As of yet, James is starring in two films in 2012. The first is a Happy Madison goofball Mixed Martial Arts-themed comedy, Here Comes the Boom. Pretty standard James shtick. The second, however, will provoke some eyebrow raising. It's Little Boy, an independent family drama about a young boy dealing with an deployed soldier father (the setting is WWII) and a collection of antagonistic authority figures. Also starring in the film is Emily Watson, for whom this type of film is way more expected.
I do not mean to discount James' potential capability to handle more dramatic roles: I'm simply pointing out the surprise of it all (I don't know why I'm being so defensive; I guess I still kind of feel bad about the snark I made above). Traditionally, goofball comedians have proven adept at dramatic roles. I really enjoyed Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love (I did, stop groaning), I loved Will Ferrell in Stranger than Fiction, and as for the aforementioned Murray and Carrey? Heroes of the shift.
James has certainly made me laugh before, so I'm not going to expect that he isn't able to make me cry (I'm not exaggerating, he probably can; Kal Penn made me cry at the end of Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay—it's not difficult). Clearly, the actor is dedicated to this shift, as there's also the distinct possibility that he might be involved (as himself) in the developing, superbly-cast Charlie Kaufman (woo!) film, Frank or Francis, as James was actually written into the script.
So, I will Mr. James luck on his travails into dramatic acting. May his likability provide a life vest in this new waters until he learns to swim freely on his own.
July 22, 2011 5:00am EST
Marcellus Chambers pulled a gun on the movie star when he was working as President Barack Obama's Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in April, 2010.
The thief made off with cash and Penn's government issued cell phone, according to TMZ.com.
Chambers pleaded guilty to felony counts of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
July 19, 2011 6:19am EST
It seems that we may be closer to finding out who the mother is on How I Met Your Mother than we thought. It looks like we'll get the answer before the end of Season 8, but mostly because according to creator and executive producer Craig Thomas, it's likely there will only be two more seasons of the hit sitcom.
He told TV Guide, "All of our contracts are up after [Season] 8...So we're preparing for that to possibly be the end. As long as we know that a year from now, that's fine. But if we don't, then that's a problem!"
Add to that the show's other creator, Carter Bays, told Aol TV, "Right now we're contracted to go through Season 8, and at that point, there is every chance that that's the end of 'How I Met Your Mother.' If that's the case, then that's our end point." So, it looks like the duo is planning out the end, in fact they've already got all of Season 7 charted out, including a wedding for Barney, a new love interest for Robin (Kal Penn), a new job for Marshall, and Ted finally gets to be a big-time architect. It sounds like the beginning of the end if you ask me.
Of course, should CBS want to continue raking in cash with the sitcom, it's still possible the show could go on. Bays said, "We are open to doing this as long as we feel we have stories to tell, and, of equal importance, as long as people want to watch it. If it still feels exciting going into a Season 9, then we'll keep doing it." Which means if CBS coughs up the right amount of dough, there could be lots more HIMYM after all. But if that also means delaying the Mother reveal, could we handle it?
Source: Aol TV, TV Guide