Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Intimidation Wins, Cowardice Wins, Film Loses

It feels bizarre for a post-Apatow bro comedy to suddenly become a major symbol of intellectual freedom.  The cast of "Pineapple Express" are not exactly pinnacles of American values and artistic expression.  But here we are.  Sony announced that after weeks of intimidation, hacks, and theater cancellations, that they are canning their release of "The Interview", a stoner comedy about two TV hosts traveling to North Korea to haplessly attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-Un.

Critics talk a lot about bold independent movies that are ignored by "mainstream" Hollywood.  We champion movies that are small, creative, and groundbreaking, which dare to do things that stupid comedies like "The Interview" would never attempt.  Let right now we have a movie that has been crushed by what is essentially terrorism.  I'll try to hold back my patriotic rage and instead be more incensed that any cinematic release be assaulted by such aggression by a nation state, one apparently no longer content to oppress it's own people but now must oppress the entire world out of petty pride and a complete lack of a sense of humor.  We should be just as angry that "The Interview" was censored just as we were thirty years ago when crazy home-bred fundamentalists tried to shut down "Last Temptation of Christ".  Movies are an artform, they should be protected like any other.  If North Korea has a problem with that, we shouldn't care.  This is the Western world, this is America, we've dealt with worse than you.  If North Korea finds our way of life a threat, we should be all the more proud of it.

But more I'm angry at Sony, who have shown their true colors here.  Sony shouldn't be humiliated by the hacks, they should be humiliated by their actions today.  They gave in to threats.  I'm sure Sony was more than happy to have a way out of what was soon to be a major boondoggle and a film that probably was going to be a flop anyway in the crowded Christmas season.  Despite theater chains dropping the film, there were still tens of thousands of theaters ready to play "The Interview".  Sony took the easy route.  Charlie Chaplain's "The Great Dictator" was an inspiring use of film to assault the greatest evil of the time, lampooning Hitler at the height of his power.  The studio execs of Sony seem to lack the resolve of just a few generations past.  We should all be ashamed.

Film, as a medium, has lost today. 

1 comment:

  1. While personally I don't think this film is anything near as world changing as something like "The Great Dictator". It is still sad the film is being removed.

    Lets be honest, North Korea is a horrible horrible country essentially run by a insane dynasty.

    Having a movie mock that, by showing the fat pig of a leader getting killed would make many of us happy.

    But you are right it is depressing that Sony chickened out by not releasing it, it shows they are not afraid to take risks.

    Ah well im sure another studio will pick it up or it will be leaked online in a few months. And now that its failed to be released, im tempted now to actually go and see it.
    At the time I was not seriously considering watching this, but now I might give it a chance.

    Sword Of Primus