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The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
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War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
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Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
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Kino Korner April 26, 2008
Film Review: Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
By Eileen Jones Browse author Email

Ask anybody under twenty-five what he/she thought of the 2004 stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and he/she will almost certainly say, with intense feeling, “It was huh-LARE-ious.” There’s going to be a similar reaction to the sequel, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. It’s a movie that needs no review. Everybody who liked the first one, or heard that the first one was huh-LARE-ious, is going to see the second one, and will likely find it to be funny as hell too.

Still, since we’re here, let’s review the thing.

Directed by the screenwriters who also wrote White Castle, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay picks up right where the first film left off, with our heroes still feeling the effects of their epic adventures scoring White Castle burgers to assuage the pangs of pot-induced munchies. Their hair-raising trek through the wilds of New Jersey has marked these young men in very different ways. Harold (John Cho), an uptight investment banking drone, is taking a blissful shower and daydreaming of his inamorata Maria (Paula Garces), whom he’d finally kissed at the end of that first traumatic odyssey. His friend Kumar (Kal Penn), a hedonistic pre-med student, is dealing with a savage case of indigestion from eating all those White Castle “sliders.” And there you have the two poles of the franchise coming together in the very first scene. Sweet clichéd young love and explosive diarrhea. Presumably we’ve all been there.

This dynamic duo is about to fly to Amsterdam in romantic pursuit of Maria and the legendary legal weed available there. But as you can tell by that wonderful title that can’t be repeated too often, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, something goes wrong. A series of air travel disasters that seem like the stuff of our culture’s collective post-9/11 nightmares put the boys at serious odds with America’s beefed-up Homeland Security forces, and off they go to Gitmo where a macho pinhead Fed (Rob Corddry, former Daily Show fave) is determined to nail them as terrorists.

I viewed these early scenes in a spirit of gentle approval. All the kids love Harold and Kumar, and I like to see the young folks happy. I also like to see the young folks embracing proper, traditional young folk values like the commitment to recreational drug use and new experiences and raw language and irreverence toward authority. I worry sometimes about how many young Americans seem to be moving away from these wholesome pursuits. They get religion, they stay at home with their parents, they take abstinence pledges, they don’t do drugs, they don’t drink, they don’t rebel or express their fledging individuality—they purse their lips and Just Say No a lot. They’re like stereotypical middle-aged people used to be: weird, repressed, judgmental, xenophobic.  No fun at all.

These Harold & Kumar movies seem to be offered up as an antidote to that trend. There’s so much about them that’s in the right camp. Hordes of film reviewers have already marveled at the H & K films’ nonchalance in dealing with race and ethnicity. Our heroes just happen to be a Korean-American and an Indian-American, and they deal with the obnoxious stereotyping they encounter all over the place in refreshing ways, including paying no attention to it at all—they’ve got more important things on their minds, like trying to score pot—and exhibiting a kind of impatience with it that’s actually sort of urbane. Overcoming stupid prejudices through shared enjoyment of the basic pleasures of life, which seems to be the H & K philosophy—that seems like a good thing. Mocking the dire craziness of the current administration and its policies, that seems like an excellent thing. In short, I’d like to like this film a lot better than I do. So why don’t I, in spite of my basic approval of good clean fun for the young folks?

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
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eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
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Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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