In case you didn’t know, yesterday Sony Pictures cancelled its release of the movie “The Interview” staring Seth Rogen and James Franco. The movie (as far as I can tell) is a comedy about two regular guys who somehow are granted an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and then the CIA enlists them to help them assassinate him. Sony’s decision to not release “The Interview” came after the five biggest theater chains in the country declined to show the film in their theaters…. A decision that came after North Korean hackers threatened to blow up any movie theaters that dared to show the film…. A decision that came after the theater chains realized that America is filled to the brim with people who are so perpetually fear-filled that even a completely uncredible and implausible threat from an inept country on the other side of the world would probably keep a whole lot of people out of the theaters on one of their busiest weekends of the year.
Now, some of you are probably thinking, “I can understand that. No one wants to get blown up at a theater” And I get it–I don’t want to pay $15 to sit in seats that are stained with a mixture of fake butter, semen, and Junior Mints either–Especially while wondering if there might be a bomb…. In addition to the movie, I mean. But please take a moment to consider what just happened: A chubby little dictator and notorious human rights abuser just managed to get a movie pulled because he didn’t like that it poked fun at him. And he did this in “The Home of the Brave” what is supposed to be the strongest country in the world. This sets a really messed up precedent where any anonymous threat can get a movie pulled. Here are some reactions from around Hollywood:
“Fear eats the soul.” How true is that…. He knows what he’s talking about. Incidentally, Steve Carell was set to star in a thriller set in North Korea, but on Wednesday New Regency cancelled plans for that movie. Even Newt Gingrich understood what a messed up thing just happened:
So really, this is about precedent. If we (the people) react in anger to the pulling of this film (which before all this hubbub I had about a zero percent chance of going to see, but now would go pay to see out of principle), the next time something like this happens, maybe things might work out differently. Some people are pointing their finger at Sony and calling them cowards, but before Sony there were the theaters, and the theaters’ decision was really just a business decision that is a reflection of our own cowardice. If they thought all this hype would actually put butts in the seats, they would have wallpapered the walls with “The Interview” advertisements….
Oh, I hate fear so much. I hate my own fears, and I hate everyone else’s fears–both rational and irrational. We are about a million times more likely to die in a car accident than die in a bombed theater because of an anonymous North Korean threat. There hasn’t been a new case of ebola in the US in months, but I’m still filling out questionnaires about travels to West Africa when I go to the doctor’s office. We are a fearful, fearful people, and human beings are at their worst when they are afraid. If you’re reading this, do me a favor: Don’t be afraid. We’re all going to die someday…. and anyway, there are worse things that can happen than dying. The goal of life is not to live as long as possible.
And the stupidest part is that now I’m definitely going to see that movie. It might not end up in the theaters, but I will see it one way or another. Kim Jong Un has successfully turned what would have probably been a critical and financial failure of a movie into an important film. Congratulations, dip shit. And in honor of that achievement, here is the scene (while it’s up, at least. It will probably get taken down very soon) from “The Interview” when the fake, movie-version of Kim Jong Un gets killed by a missile…. Merry Christmas!