If you slept through the day yesterday what you missed is that Sony pulled the Christmas day release of the comedy The Interview (starring Seth Rogen & James Franco) after major theatrical chains refused to show it after mass murder threats on movie theaters showing it. Naturally the outrage machine revved up with infinite "the terrorists have won" responses (from both liberals and hard righters), snarky tweets, and lots of 'what would happen if' warnings and truly unfortunate comparisons.
Chaplin pic.twitter.com/LE5w3f3HAs— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) December 18, 2014
I haven't seen the movie but believing that Franco & Rogen are capable of Charlie Chaplin Dictator level satire is... well, my imagination just aint that strong; I'm only human!
Among the outrage you can trust there will be a few pockets of more measured 'take a deep breath' responses. (Pajiba has a good round up of celebrity responses if you haven't kept up.)
The issue is obviously complicated from a giant corporation perspective and Sony wasn't in the kind of bind that anyone can probably imagine being in from the outside looking in (and still, not unimportantly, they're trying to come out from under the much more widespread trouble prompted by the hack in the first place). Still, it's hard to sympathisize with their press release which, like an oroborus pretending not to eat itself, moves from facts (you wanted to silence us. we are silenced) to we support our filmmaker's voices! [bold emphasis is ours - ed].
In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.
My quick non-vetted thought was that that they should release the movie immediately for free on the internet as sort of a giant fuck you to whoever didn't want it released but it's unlikely that a studio would have cajones that large and they probably hope to make some money off of the movie at some time. Either that or never release it all in any format and get some sort of giant insurance win.
I keep thinking back to Team America: World Police, a movie I found deeply deeply offensive and have been very happy to not have thought about in many years. It was willing to offend everyone on the planet -- not just North Korea -- and I don't remember this much unrest about its existence? Weird since I haven't seen Rogen & Franco do anything ever with as much blood-drawing bite as Parker & Stone often manage in their comedies.
So, in conclusion --- i should let you talk since i'm not sure what to say -- I will just say that the thing I've enjoyed least about 2014 is the ever-self-perpetuating Outrage Culture of the internet. Everyone is always so angry about everything. Slate even made a nifty interactive to chart the year's DAILY outrages. It's would be enraging if it weren't so exhausting. For the next few weeks, we'll be setting angry outrage aside and focusing on the joy of cinema as we hit the year-end lists. So let's get it all out of our systems now!