Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Show the damn movie

    
    UPDATE: Late Wednesday Sony Pictures cancelled the opening of "The Interview." So file the below under "Bravado, Useless Examples of." Although the point stands. Security is a real concern, but so is the ability of repressive regimes to drag us toward their worlds where security trumps all. It's a surrender on our parts.

     I've never seen "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" or "Knocked Up." I somehow missed "Superbad," and "Pineapple Express," and all the other other Seth Rogen movies. I didn't see a single one, unless you count "Kung Fu Panda" which I do recall catching on TV, though he only did a voice for that, so I'm not sure that counts.
     Still, I am planning to attend "The Interview" when it opens Christmas Day, provided that it does open, that American movie chains don't really cave in, as they seemed to do on Wednesday, bowing to one anonymous threat, announcing they will refuse to show the movie because Kim Jong Un doesn't like it. 
    The Hollywood Reporter is saying that the top five movie chains are refusing to show the comedy, whose plot revolves around a CIA attempt to assassinate the North Korean dictator. Sony Pictures, which produced the movie, told theater owners to go ahead and drop the movie, if they wish, and Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment did exactly that. 
      All due to a fractured warning that does seem translated from the Korean.  
       “Keep yourself distant from the places at that time," something called Guardians of Peace intoned, referring to screenings of "The Interview." "If your house  is nearby, you’d better leave.”
     It was like the fist-shaking monologue of a bad movie villain: 
     "Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.”
      Well, we won't be seeing it if we let ourselves be threatened, will we? And the world is already full of fear, apparently. On one level, I understand that. Nobody wants to be a victim. The news is filled with atrocities lately. Remembering the Aurora, Colorado "Dark Knight" slaughter, why volunteer to be cannon fodder for some international vengeance bloodletting masterminded by a humor-deficient Korean madman?
     I can think of a good reason. What kind of precedent is this setting? Making a threat on-line is the easiest thing in the world. If this works, won't any halfway edgy creative work that offends anyone anywhere then be fair game? Cower now, and we'll spend our lives cowering. I'd say the theater chains should lay in some extra security, show the damn movie, and patrons should show up to demonstrate that we are still America, still a free country, where satire dares to show its face. I know I'll be there.
    Oh, and I did see that James Franco movie, "127 Hours." Quite good. That gives me hope that seeing "The Interview" won't be purely an excercising in preserving free speech. 


14 comments:

  1. Here, here. Though my theory is that Sony is doing so thinking more of the potential of lawsuits than for any other reason. Pathetic.

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  2. Mr. Steinberg and others writing similar things are portraying this as a new line being crossed. I don't think it is. How many newspapers refused to run the Danish Mohammed-as-a-bomb cartoon? Do you think that was because they were deeply offended, or they didn't want to risk their employees' lives? Compare Sarah Silverman's blue portrayals of Jesus Christ with her blue portrayals of Mohammed. Oh yeah, she's fearless about every faith and ethnicity *except* Muslims/Arabs. So is this "cowering" really new, or is it just this time there is no sympathetic aspect to the offended?

    All that said, come on Sony - with all the CD's and DVD's that make it to the internet, would it be that hard to let this one get insidiously hacked and bootlegged?



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    1. (I should have added that Sarah Silverman doesn't have any blue portrayals of Mohammed - something Laura Ingrham (yeah, I know) taunts her about constantly.

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  3. I'm kind of torn. On one hand, appeasing North Korea is wrong. On the other, how can suppressing a Seth Rogen movie be wrong?

    Side note: Haven't seen JerryB around lately. Is he off in one of his trademark snits?

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  4. Yeah, he said something personal about me that I deleted, and then he denounced me for deleting it, which I also deleted, explaining: my blog, my rules, and he stalked off. Should I pop over to Zorn and give a whistle under the bridge? Or are you relieved? I somehow am able to stumble through my day without him.

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    1. I could take Jerry B's idiotic comments if he'd just make them short.

      John

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    2. I saw the first comment referred to, before it was deleted, but not the second. I realized that Jerry had shot himself in the foot with his diatribe against you, as you've stated clearly enough, on multiple occasions, that personal attacks on you will not be tolerated. I don't know why he felt compelled to go there.

      I know this is boring and pointless to you, but that's my specialty! You won't find him under Zorn's bridge, because he's not really a troll, and because enough commenters clamored for it that EZ finally put him "in moderation", with which Jerry would not put up. "Trollish", perhaps, in some of his comments, as are many of us. But he contains multitudes, to appropriate a phrase. I found, in many interactions with him, that he could be quite over the top with his generalizations when trying to goad folks into responding, but that when one addressed him reasonably, he was generally quite reasonable in a dialogue. For whatever it's worth, he's clearly very capable, intelligent and well-read and if one bothered to take him seriously, he often made good points.

      What I never quite understood, either at Change of Subject or here, is why commenters felt the need to have somebody like him banned. If this were a newspaper, and only 5 comments were to be published per day, and an individual was making all 5, that would be annoying. But, given the limitless territory of this blog comment section, who cares how many comments somebody makes, or how long they are? If one knows that he/she despises Jerry -- it seems like it's pretty easy to skip past his lengthy contributions. And, whether one appreciated his remarks, or not, there were over 40 comments on the last thread he participated in. I doubt that many threads could match that, though evidently many folks would prefer 5 one-liners to a long thread larded with Jerry's ruminations. Whatevs...

      As for you deleting specific comments, Neil, or YOU choosing to ban him for whatever reason you want, that's different. As you note, it's your blog and you can do as you please with it.

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    3. He's not banned, he just flounced off in a huff. I don't delete many comments, I don't even delete all those abusing me. I read this damn thing morning, noon and night, in various moods and attitudes, and sometimes something strikes me as excessive. There's no editor, no review board, and no pay, my pair (soon to be trio) of advertisers notwithstanding. It isn't anything beyond what it seems to be. I have enough drama in real life without entering the drama of those who comment. Vanity is a burden, as I well know, so somebody like Jerry, who really is about puffing himself, at essence, well, I can relate. I wouldn't mourn his absence too long. I'm sure he'll be back, or someone very much like him.

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  5. Based on what I'd seen/heard, I was not planning on seeing this movie, before the hacking. While what has transpired is awful, I'd be no more inclined to see it now, were it possible. And I DID see 5 of the 6 movies you mentioned here, because they were well-reviewed, generally. But, because James Franco was very good in "127 Hours", which was a Danny Boyle movie, BTW, it by no means would give me reason to hope that this, the second movie directed by Rogen, would similarly be very good. Likewise, I'd not be interested in seeing "The Green Hornet," another movie written by him, as an exercise in preserving free speech.

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  6. A goodly part of my enjoyment of this blog is reading the comments and responding to them. If the blog received thousands of comments, I wouldn't bother and if every commenter were as verbose as Jerry B, it would suck all the joy out of my day.

    John

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    1. Well, fortunately, John, it doesn't (receive thousands of comments) and they aren't (as verbose.) Joy to the World! ; )

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  7. the only seth rogan movie i've ever been able to watch was "paul." rogan's smart-assed character is much to take as a stoned, computer-animated space alien (as opposed to a stoned, real-life human).

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  8. I don'' support censorship of any movie, but i wonder how many countries would fnd it funny to make a movie joking about the assassination of their leader.

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Thanks for commenting. As soon as I vet your remarks, they'll be posted, assuming they aren't, you know, mean and crazy.