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.