Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Bumbler, the Dictator, and the Senator

by Catherine Giordano

Seth Rogen was a guest on Bill Maher’s season finale (episode #37 which aired on 11/21/14. See Tis the Season to be Stupid.)  He was on to publicize his new movie, The Interview. He needn’t have bothered. The film is not going to be released. 

Rogen has made a career in the movies of playing buffoonish jerks in a series of sophomoric movies high on the gross-out factor. It’s all in good fun until it isn’t. Rogen’s new movie, “The Interview” is the movie that went too far. They never should have lampooned Kim Jong Un. Anyone can see that he doesn’t have much of a sense of humor. 

I can understand why Kim Jong Un is upset. In the movie, Kim Jong Un is made out to be a fool. And to be fair, most of the world sees him as a fool. He strikes me as a great-big spoiled baby. In the movie, Kim Jong Un is assassinated. I can see why he would be unhappy. Would you like your death to be ridiculed? 

What does a spoiled baby do when he gets angry? He throws a great big tantrum. It can be loud and messy, but a baby can’t do much harm. But Kim Jong Un is the dictator of a country.  He’s a very sensitive man-child.  His feelings are hurt and he has the resources of a country at his disposal to get even. 

First, there was the hacking of Sony, the company that produced the film. The firm’s private emails and other data were hacked and exposed to the world to embarrass and damage Sony. It’s been pretty conclusively proven that North Korea is behind the hacking, although the hackers are still anonymous. 

The hacking was a big heaping slice of revenge, but evidently not enough. The hackers have upped the ante. They have threatened devastation on any theater that shows the movie. So Sony had to cancel the December 25th release of the movie.   

Now you can see this.
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Senator John McCain (R AZ) has called the cancellation of the film’s release “deeply troubling.” I agree. It is a very bad precedent to allow terrorists censor our freedom of speech.  Who will be the next terrorist group to threaten an act of terrorism because they don’t like a movie? The world just got more dangerous by several orders of magnitude. Will we allow our entertainment industry to be taken as a hostage? 

Yet, cancelling the release of the movie was the prudent thing to do. No one could take the risk that the hackers would make good on their threat. (Imagine the liability claims if the movie was shown and a theater was blown up or shot up and people were hurt and killed.  How many people would want to go to the movie or even go anywhere near a movie theater with that kind of threat hanging over them? 

Seth Rogen and everyone involved were very arrogant. They could have made the movie a roman à clef. A fictional dictator in a fictional country.  But instead they were brazen about it.
 
The Neighbors
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Rogen seemed pretty happy about the movie on Maher's show in mid November.  He said, "The premise of this movie is brilliant." Maybe the lesson in the whole The Interview mess is be careful who you mess with.

P.S.:Rogen and the big stars will survive this.They will go on to their next movie. I feel sorry for the actor with a small role, his first role in a major motion picture, who saw this movie as his big break.This is really hard for him.

How to see The Interview
You can now watch the movie in a few select theaters around the country and on YouTube. It will cost you nothing to see the trailer, but $5.99 to see the full movie.  (When the video starts, click the "X "to make the ad go away.)



Bill Maher’s Guests:  #337, November 21, 2014
 
John Cleese: Actor, comedian, film producer and author of several books. His latest book is Say Anyway… 
 
Seth Rogen: Actor, comedian. His most recent movie is The Neighbors. 
Christia Freeland: Journalist, politician, author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else 
 
Chris Mathews: Host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Mathews and author of several books.  His most recent book is Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked 
 
Roland Martin: Journalist, host of TV One News and author of Speak Brother: A Black Man’s View of America