10 Facts About Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle On Its 15th Anniversary

Kal Penn, John Cho, and Malin Akerman in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004).
Kal Penn, John Cho, and Malin Akerman in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004).
Warner Bros.

If you’ve never seen it, director Danny Leiner’s Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is exactly what it sounds like: a road trip movie about a couple of dudes (John Cho and Kal Penn) just trying to get to White Castle. Of course, it’s not that easy and shenanigans ensue.

Said shenanigans include (but are not limited to) a run-in with a ferocious cheetah, cameos by Neil Patrick Harris and Ryan Reynolds, and a bizarre rescue by a boil-faced tow truck driver named Freakshow. You can clearly see why it's become a bit of a cult hit. Not to mention, since the original film’s debut on July 30, 2004, the franchise has spawned two sequels and amassed millions of additional fans.

1. Krispy Kreme turned down a part in the movie.

Krispy Kreme could have been Harold and Kumar's ultimate fast food destination, but the famous doughnut company was wary of being associated with a movie that featured drugs.

2. The movie's producers had to make veggie burgers for Kal Penn.

Because Kal Penn is vegetarian, "The producers actually went out of their way to ... make little soy burgers that looked like White Castle burgers," Penn told Spliced Wire. "So I could just focus on the moment and not have to worry about all that. I probably ate about 30 of them."

3. Kal Penn had an allergic reaction while filming one scene.

In an interview with IGN, Penn recalled an uncomfortable scene in which ground walnuts were used to create dust coming out of a ventilator shaft. The problem? The actor is deathly allergic to nuts.

"They were so finely ground that I inhaled them," Penn said. "Now the only thing worse than eating nuts, where it gets processed, is inhaling them directly or injecting them. So why somebody decided to do that, I don't know. But I had to go outside for about two hours, I had to take a bunch of Benadryl, I was drowsy the rest of the day. And luckily I caught it [early]. Within 10 seconds of being in that room I was like 'There's something in here' and I left."

4. Christopher Meloni was always the first choice to play Freakshow.

And Meloni still has no idea why. “[The writers] said, ‘You know we thought of you from the beginning when we were writing this role for Freakshow,’" Meloni told Movie Web. "I didn’t know how to take that, I was like ‘You did, huh?’ I still don’t understand the logic, but whatever.”

5. Goldstein and Rosenberg were based on William Shakespeare characters.

According to The New York Times, Harold and Kumar’s best friends—Goldstein (played by David Krumholtz) and Rosenberg (portrayed by Eddie Kaye Thomas) were partially based on Hamlet's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as well as writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. ''We just knew Harold and Kumar had to have Jewish friends,'' Hurwitz said, ''to complete the multiracial circle we had in school.''

6. At first, Kal Penn didn’t like the way the film’s marketing played on race.

Ads for the film promoted the actors as “the Asian guy from American Pie” and “the Indian guy from Van Wilder.” In response to that, Penn told Spliced Wire. “At first ... I was like, Man, the movie is so not about that! Why did they have to bring it back to that? Then we realized that most people that are watching this trailer ... recognize us as the Indian guy from Van Wilder and the Asian guy from American Pie!”

“The trailer is funny because it says exactly what people are thinking," Cho added. "It also kind of dissipates—I think there is some unspoken measure of tension, like this is so unusual seeing Asian-Americans headlining a movie. So we kind of poke fun at that right off the bat.”

7. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg simply wanted to write a movie with characters that looked like their friends.

"The story is that the writers grew up in New Jersey, and they were really sick of seeing teen movies that were one-dimensional and that had characters which didn't look like any of their friends," Penn told Spliced Wire. "They were two white guys from Jersey, but they had a pretty diverse group of friends. So they were like, You know what? Let's write a film that's both a) smart and funny, and b) cast two guys that look like our best friends.” Added Cho: "There is a real Harold Lee."

8. Neil Patrick Harris was written into the movie before the writers got his consent.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, Neil Patrick Harris recalled the moment he heard he had a part in the film. “I got a call from a friend who was auditioning for this movie and he was so excited that we were going to be working together. And I said, ‘I have no idea what you're talking about.’ And he said, ‘Neil Patrick Harris is a character in this movie.' ... [My agents] read it, and then they called my attorney to find out what was going on, and then I winded up meeting with the [writers], kind of cautiously ... Because when you're talking about an extreme version of yourself, you want to make sure you're not painted in a super shitty light ... And I agreed to do it so long as any changes they made had to go through me contractually ... And they were fine with that and they didn't make any changes.”

9. Battlesh*ts was inspired by Hurwitz’s high school football team.

Hurwitz told Aint It Cool News about the moment he first encountered the gross game. “When I was in high school I was friends with a couple of the guys on the football team. A couple of really big funny guys. I remember in gym class ... Those two guys, for some reason, always have to take a sh*t during gym class ... They started joking around about playing Battlesh*ts,” Hurwitz said. “They would joke around about it and I would always talk to them about that and started playing it up with them and saying things like, ‘You sank my Destroyer.’”

10. Jon Hurwitz’s grandparents used to send him frozen White Castle burgers.

The quest and craving for White Castle was apparently not purely made up for the film. “I lived outside of Pittsburgh for seven years," Hurtwitz said. "When I was there and my grandparents would come to visit us, they'd fly out to Pittsburgh and they would bring frozen White Castle burgers before they were in the supermarkets. They didn't have them in the supermarkets, so they would go to the White Castle, they'd buy like, 120 burgers ... frozen ... and bring them in dry ice on an airplane to Pittsburgh. So, it always kind of just had a special kind of part in my heart.”

This story has been updated for 2019.

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

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5 Popular Back to the Future Fan Theories, Examined

Marty and Doc Brown were best friends. Too bad Doc had to kill him.
Marty and Doc Brown were best friends. Too bad Doc had to kill him.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

July marks the 35th anniversary of Back to the Future, the enduring sci-fi and comedy classic starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, an amiable teen who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Emmett "Doc" Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Thanks to Doc's DeLorean time machine, Marty winds up in 1955 to save Doc’s life and to make sure his parents (Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson) fall in love, thereby ensuring his existence.

Fans of the film have spent the past several decades wrapping their minds around the movie’s time travel paradoxes and missing pieces of the plot. Take a look at some of the most popular theories, then check out Back to the Future and its sequels on Netflix to see if they carry any weight.

1. Marty McFly’s parents knew he was a time traveler.

Perhaps the biggest mystery of Back to the Future is why George and Lorraine McFly fail to notice that their grown son Marty bears a striking resemblance to the man they knew as “Calvin Klein” who dropped into their lives in 1955 to make sure their romance was intact. One theory explained by Redditor djbred18 offers that George and Lorraine did recognize him. “I mean they had 30 years to figure it out!” the user said. Crucially, George heard “Calvin” using the names of Darth Vader and the Vulcan race from Star Trek years before they materialized, a fact any science-fiction author like George would have picked up on. A scene late in the film where Marty’s parents give him a brand-new truck and offer a knowing smile could be read as a thank you for his efforts.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter in 2020, Back to the Future co-screenwriter Bob Gale explained that they didn't make the connection: It was a simple case of Marty’s parents not recognizing the man they had spent just a few days with 30 years prior. “I would ask anyone to think back to their own high school days and ask themselves how well they remember a kid who might have been at their school for even a semester,” he said. “Or someone you went out with just one time. If you had no photo reference, after 25 years, you’d probably just have a hazy recollection.”

2. Doc Brown was suicidal.

While testing his DeLorean in the Twin Pines Mall parking lot, Doc Brown steps directly in front of the car traveling at 88 mph. The only way he wouldn’t be crushed is if his experiment succeeded and the car vanishes. Yet Doc makes mention of his other experiments being disappointing. Given his lack of confidence in his own abilities, standing in front of the car appears to be a death wish.

When asked about this theory by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 2018, Christopher Lloyd wasn’t buying into it. “I don’t think so,” Lloyd said. “Because Doc had so much confidence in what he was doing, he didn’t worry about that ... maybe a little doubtful, but Doc didn’t have a grim nature.”

However, Lloyd did add that: “You’ve given me a lot to think about though.”

3. Marty McFly’s actions altered his girlfriend’s appearance.

Elisabeth Shue, Michael J. Fox, and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future Part II' (1989)
Elisabeth Shue, Michael J. Fox, and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future Part II (1989).
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

In the first Back to the Future, actress Claudia Wells portrays Jennifer Parker, Marty’s girlfriend. In 1989’s Back to the Future Part II, Elizabeth Shue took over the role because Wells was dealing with an illness in her family. For a series about time travel, it might be easy to explain why Jennifer’s appearance changes. According to Reddit user j1ggy, Marty’s presence resulted in unseen but demonstrative effects in the lives of Jennifer’s parents, possibly even resulting in Jennifer having a different mother or father. Because Marty seems slightly confused by Jennifer at the beginning of Back to the Future Part II, it’s possible he realizes he changed the past to the point that his girlfriend is now physically different.

4. Marty may have actually turned Biff Tannen’s life around.

At the beginning of Back to the Future, we see town bully Biff Tannen pushing around George McFly and demanding he perform Biff's work duties at their office. At the end of the film, Biff is in a subservient role, waxing George’s car as part of his work owning an auto detailing company. But, as Reddit user SatNav points out, that may have been best for Biff. He went from being dependent on George to assist him with his job to owning his own small business.

5. Doc Brown kills Marty.

At the conclusion of Back to the Future, time-traveling Marty returns from 1955 to witness 1985 Marty disappearing in the DeLorean. While that’s presumably Marty heading back to 1955, one theory has posited that Doc Brown is sending 1985 Marty either to his death or exiling him in time to make room for the returning 1955 Marty. Had he allowed 1985 Marty to continue living, he could have gone back to 1955 to meet the Marty already there. That, or two versions of Marty would have been running around Hill Valley in 1985.

Christopher Lloyd has dismissed this theory. “Doc would never send Marty off to his death, in any kind of scenario,” he told the CBC in 2018. “Doc couldn’t live with that.”