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Author Topic: The Interview Cancelled  (Read 2865 times)

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Offline consortium11Topic starter

The Interview Cancelled
« on: December 18, 2014, 12:02:49 AM »
From the Guardian

Quote
Sony Pictures has cancelled the Christmas release of a film at the centre of a hacking scandal after terrorist threats to cinemagoers and a decision by major movie theatre groups to cancel screenings in the US.

A group calling itself Guardians of Peace (GOP) published an online message on Tuesday warning cinemagoers to stay away from screenings of The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The threats led five of biggest cinema chains in the US to drop the film. A federal investigation is also under way.

The decision to cancel the release marks the climax of a torrid month for Sony. GOP has also claimed responsibility for a huge hack on Sony’s computer systems in November, which led to the release of thousands of confidential documents revealing executive pay structure, corporate profits, unreleased films, personal email correspondence and employee social security numbers.

For those (blissfully) unaware, a trailer for the Interview is below which I imagine pretty much sums up the film:



There's a pretty vast number of angles one can consider with the story. To pick on three:

1) The obvious thing to look at is the censorship aspect of this. Due to threats from others an artistic piece (and while that's somewhat of a loose term to describe a Seth Rogan/James Franco comedy I do think we have to accept that film is art... even if frequently not good art) has been removed and its unclear whether it will ever see the light of day. Is this something that we consider acceptable?

2) One can also take the other view however. The film was about the fictional assassination of a real, living person. In Kim Jong Un's case it may be of a particularly nasty real person but still, a real person. Should we be sensitive to that? There's some controversy in England about the BBC's decision to serialize Hilary Mantel's The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher; are those who oppose that following the same path as the North Koreans who are supposedly behind the attacks on Sony and threats (albeit with less criminal acts?)

3) The hacks and leaks from Sony not only got the various torrent sites a load of new releases to share (notably Fury) but also filled the media with stories discussing the content of the leaks. In the US the first amendment protects one's right to post and discuss something that has been illegally obtained and released by others but is there a moral issue to making money off the back of illegally obtained hacked documents? Obviously there's not a one-size fits all answer here; to look at the things that leaked out of Sony I suspect there is some public interest (used in the specific sense) in publicising that the female leads of American Hustle received a less generous package then the male leads and how when two executives were discussing what film(s) to present to Obama they went exclusively with stereotypically "black" films, many about slavery. But is the fact that George Clooney didn't like the reviews for Monuments Men, that executives don't particularly like Angelina Jolie, were disappointed in Leonardo DiCaprio's decision to turn down a role or that Channing Tatum was really happy with how well 22 Jump Street performed at the box office and it beating Ted into second place? That I'm struggling more with. Should media organizations consider the source of the story (outside of checking whether its reliable or not) before deciding to publish... and if they should at what point should they consider drawing the line?

Edit: I should note that there's a little bit of a conspiracy theory that this may be a hoax/viral campaign; in essence the Sony leaks happened for unrelated reasons and then some very inventive PR guy came up with the idea of linking it to the Interview, generating a huge buzz, the film gets "cancelled" and then comes out a few months later with a lot more hype and publicity. I'm not sure how seriously to take it; a lot of it seems to be largely based on the idea "pah, as if North Korea could hack Sony!" which seems slightly odd to me as I imagine if you pay enough people enough money they could hack Sony for you. As for the threats... well, it takes one person with a gun to create another Aurora and I think even those dismissive of North Korea has to accept that they could get a person into the US. Moreover a threat doesn't have to be implementable to necessarily work; even if there was never any intention (or ability) to target screenings of the Interview the threat is still out there and people do have to take it into account (even if they then dismiss it).
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 12:13:58 AM by consortium11 »

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 05:35:09 AM »
What I find most troubling about this is the fact that the North Koreans have basically decided through their actions that we will NOT be permitted to watch this movie because it offends them. It's bad enough that they can dictate what their own people can and cannot watch, but now their authority is spilling over the border. On one hand, it makes sense to not air the movie - considering the fact that Kimmie has threatened to bomb us ( or whatever ). On the other, part of me wants to say, "screw him, we're watching this because we can."

For a country that is so heavily steeped in propaganda and persuasion/brainwashing of the masses through the use of media, it's not too surprising that he would totally freak out in response to someone bashing him in a movie. Unless I am mistaken, the North Koreans have been exposed to three generations of ridiculously exaggerated media claims to feed their personality cult.

I read this article a few months ago and thought it was rather interesting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_in_North_Korea








ps: Yes, I'm assuming that the north koreans are behind the hacks. I could be wrong about this...

« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 05:52:39 AM by TaintedAndDelish »

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 07:40:01 AM »
Actually the First Amendment does not guarantee your right to use it maliciously. You can't yell fire (ironically enough) in a crowded movie theater if there is no fire.

Also, your freedom of speech is not protected on privately run forums. Nor is it protected in someone's house. Freedom of speech means you've got the right to not be sequestered by the government for what is written, voiced, and put into a video game. We're a nation of jesters allowed to rib our king so to speak.

So is it immoral to make money out off of documents you stole. Why yes it is.


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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 08:35:02 AM »
I think there's a lot of issues with the entire situation, to be frank.

First and foremost: Even for Americans... Hell, I'd say especially for Americans... creating a movie about killing an actual living, breathing person... a leader of another country no less, is tacky and morally wrong and Sony were idiots for chosing to take on the film in the first place. I don't care how disliked Kim Jong-Un is. We have films about US presidents being killed, but I can't remember a single one where the character was a still living, breathing person. Aside from ones where the assassinations were brought up after the real life killings happened, I can't think of one. And if someone were to make one about say... George W. Bush or President Obama, there would be an uproar on either side of the isle. If we can blame Sarah Palin's site for using cross hairs on "anti-gun" legislator's locations being what prompted someone to attempt to kill a Senator, why can't we blame Sony, Seth Rogan, and anyone else involved in that film for someone nut job getting it in to his head that it's his "duty" or "mission" to kill someone? Just because we don't like the whack job that Kim is? It's one thing to make him the but of SNL skit jokes, but it's a very different thing to kill him in a major film for entertainment.

Second: I think if the documents are already out there, there is a certain amount of obligation of the news outlets to cover it. Especially with today's anti-big-business sentiment throughout the US. If they do report on it, people question how "moral" it is to report on stolen/leaked documents (though I doubt many would throw a fit over stories being written about the US Gov't doing something horrible and the source material being leaked/stolen documents). But if they don't question it? Well, obviously all news media is in bed with big businesses like Sony and there's a massive conspiracy to cover it up. Sadly, they're damned if they do and damned if they don't, so I think they went with the lesser of two evils so to speak.

The list of potential issues and discussions on the film and the things with Sony go on, but those are the two big things that come to me about this film and the surrounding controversy.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 10:29:47 AM by Bloodied Porcelain »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2014, 09:30:10 AM »
Well, I remember watching Death of a President, which was about a supposed assassination of then president George W Bush (set in, and filmed in Chicago) and the aftermath and investigation. The film was made by a British team but most of the filming was done in the USA (with some archive footage reutilized: a eulogy spoken at the state funeral had been nicked from footage and audio of Reagan's funeral). That one could have come out a hack job but it was actually a thoughtful film exploring how the police and the media tend to respond to sudden shake-ups and assassinations of this kind, and the way the media and foreign policy sometimes come out working together. It clearly wasn't made with a view to jumping on Bush personally or gloating.

I do think one is walking a thin line in depicting on film fictional murder plots and fictional serious crimes relating to real, named, living people. Doing it just for entertainment is not okay, I would say, not even with a brutal dictator like Kim Jong-un.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2014, 09:38:14 AM »
Well, I remember watching Death of a President, which was about a supposed assassination of then president George W Bush (set in, and filmed in Chicago) and the aftermath and investigation. The film was made by a British team but most of the filming was done in the USA (with some archive footage reutilized: a eulogy spoken at the state funeral had been nicked from footage and audio of Reagan's funeral). That one could have come out a hack job but it was actually a thoughtful film exploring how the police and the media tend to respond to sudden shake-ups and assassinations of this kind, and the way the media and foreign policy sometimes come out working together. It clearly wasn't made with a view to jumping on Bush personally or gloating.

I do think one is walking a thin line in depicting on film fictional murder plots and fictional serious crimes relating to real, named, living people. Doing it just for entertainment is not okay, I would say, not even with a brutal dictator like Kim Jong-un.

I'd say there was a complete difference in focus between the film you're talking about and The Interview.  From what I saw in the IMDB listing, The Interview focuses on the actual implementation of the assassination, while Death of a President is geared towards the reaction to the fait accompli.  The assassins in the first movie are portrayed as the 'good guys' (if apparently incompetent ones), while in the second, there is an investigation - suggesting that the assassins are seen as 'bad guys'.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2014, 09:53:42 AM »
I'd say there was a complete difference in focus between the film you're talking about and The Interview.  From what I saw in the IMDB listing, The Interview focuses on the actual implementation of the assassination, while Death of a President is geared towards the reaction to the fait accompli.  The assassins in the first movie are portrayed as the 'good guys' (if apparently incompetent ones), while in the second, there is an investigation - suggesting that the assassins are seen as 'bad guys'.

Yeah, in Death of a President the preparations for the murder plot aren't even shown before it happens - what we get to see is just the mounting unease around Bush's visit to Chicago where he is to speak at some closed, sponsored gathering at a hotel, people demonstrating against him in the streets over the war, heavy police presence and so on - this would all have been quite realistic around 2006 when the film was made. But from the title we already know (sort of) that Bush is going to get killed - and indeed he is suddenly gunned down by a sniper while he's speaking, but the film doesn't move to showing the conspirator/s. It's only on the final lap of the movie that the supposed real assassin enters the story, and he is not revealed through the efforts of the police.


Edit: Checked with IMDB - there isn't even an actor playing Bush in that film, and the only time the president is shown is in the very brief, sudden assassination scene. I think they used stock footage of Bush speaking in public, shaking hands with somebody or the like and fiddled with it digitally a bit to create the effect of his being hit by a shot and falling over. Definitely not an action adventure film or a standard thriller.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 04:01:35 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Lux12

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2014, 01:15:47 PM »
All I can say is this. It's a fucking comedy that no one is meant to take seriously. Sure, it's a film about people  attempting to take out the real life leader of North Korea, but it's plainly obvious the protagonists are bumbling fools who would in all likelihood fail at their task even if they did take their "mission" seriously. From what little we've seen of it, if anyone took it as a serious primer on how to do it, they would inevitably fail miserably.  I mean, for fuck's sake it has Seth Rogan in it! I find it difficult to take anything the man does seriously myself.

By the way, the reviews out there say it wasn't that great regardless.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 01:19:43 PM by Lux12 »

Offline Oniya

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2014, 01:32:26 PM »
By the way, the reviews out there say it wasn't that great regardless.

Which may mean that the threats provided an easy out.

Dictators taking umbrage at comedians is nothing new, of course. 

Offline Dringdar

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 01:54:43 PM »
I don't know too much about this issue, since I've played nearly no attention to it; the movie is stupid and I dislike the two lead actors.

But, I'm torn both ways on this issue, in favor of it being aired, and in favor of it having never been created.

On the one hand, its fiction. Its not real. Its a terrible comedy, but it's intended to be funny. In America, we have the freedom of speech, to speak our opinion. This movie is an example of the expression of freedom of speech.

On the other hand, if North Korea were to make a movie about the attempted assassination of Barrack Obama, I don't think we would be overly happy about it. Whether we would see hackings or threats of violence is uncertain, but I'm next to certain that no one would be happy about it.

The issue is they chose to make a movie about the assassination of a real person. If they had created a fictional character who does not exist, and set it in North Korea, then it might have been less aggressively attacked.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 02:15:29 PM »
A better send-up of the Kim dynasty and their ambitions here.

(the link includes some X-rated language; this fictional hiphop album by Kim Jong Il was created around the time of his first nuclear test. The photo is genuine, just given a new wash of colour)  ;)

Offline Mathim

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 02:34:11 PM »
Here's something horribly ironic:

Matt Stone and Trey Parker's film Team America: World Police (2004) very actually portrayed Kim Jong-Il as a psychotic terrorist and 'killed' him (if you don't count him revealing himself as a monstrous cockroach and escaping in a rocket as surviving). But more recently, during the 14th season of their show South Park, they were unable to air an episode in the U.S. (even the DVD releases which now have it are heavily censored) due to similar terrorist threats from Muslim fundamentalists who were outraged over the mocking of their prophet.

Is the difference in proliferation of social media between now and a decade ago the only reason Team America did not receive similar threats and face the decision to go into retreat? I think the threats are completely bogus and the only reason we haven't seen this happen many times over the last decade is that now people can make the threats on a wider scale and with more ease of anonymity, but the actual intent to follow through on their threats was never part of their plan and we once again have waved the white flag and allowed the terrorists to win. Shame on Comedy Central for setting up even more media companies to bitch out. And now the assholes doing this fake-terror crap have an even bigger hard-on to stroke because they know they can get away with it and succeed.

Offline Derwaysh

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2014, 06:17:15 PM »
1) Satire, oft considered cheesy and very cheap in more recent years has been an art form we have delved in throughout civilization. The moralistic hue of this entire debacle, personally for yours truly, is more the aspect of us giving in to a totalitarian regime rather than opposing it. It raises a particular concern; will this set a precedence for other nations or regimes to resort to and follow when a certain art form's subject matter is deemed unacceptable?

2) With that being said I do believe one should always be sensitive about despiction of an assassination particularly when it comes to world leaders. But at what point does sensitivity turn these people into absolute untouchables where one cannot take the supreme leader or the grand ayatollah's name in vain? Should the movie companies take grievances more seriously (Borat being the case in point) or simply rely on the local regulators to ban it? Of course the geopolitical implications/situation for both 'The Interview' and 'Borat' are massively different so Kazakh foreign ministry thanking Borat a few years down the line appears out of the question for Sony's release, but any major release in America would draw a sizeable amount of interest from various stakeholders. Perhaps the type of spotlight, the aristocracy doesn't want itself in when it comes to North Korea.

3) I can say there are certain moral and ethical implications in this regard when it comes to making money off of illegally hacked documents but that is purely because I am not very well versed in this issue. Hopefully somebody else would be able to shed a good bit of light on this.   

Offline consortium11Topic starter

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2014, 04:01:23 AM »
Actually the First Amendment does not guarantee your right to use it maliciously. You can't yell fire (ironically enough) in a crowded movie theater if there is no fire.

Also, your freedom of speech is not protected on privately run forums. Nor is it protected in someone's house. Freedom of speech means you've got the right to not be sequestered by the government for what is written, voiced, and put into a video game. We're a nation of jesters allowed to rib our king so to speak.

So is it immoral to make money out off of documents you stole. Why yes it is.

Couple of points here:

1) First Amendment protections pretty explicitly apply to situations like this; Bartnicki v. Vopper regarded the publication of a phone conversation illegally recorded by a third party and the court said:

Quote
“A stranger’s illegal conduct does not suffice to remove the First Amendment shield from speech about a matter of public concern,”

In addition Pearson v. Dodd dealt with journalists writing articles based on (and including quotes from) documents which had been stolen and leaked. Again, the court supported the journalists.

2) Specifically regarding the last part ("So is it immoral to make money out off of documents you stole. Why yes it is."), that somewhat mistates this situation. I'm not aware of anyone suggesting that the media groups in question stole the documents and then published them. Instead someone else hacked/stole/leaked the documents, put them in public, the media organizations got hold of them and then published them/wrote articles about them. So the question is, is it immoral to make money out of documents someone else stole? I'm not a fundamentalist on this; as I say in the OP I think that the fact women were paid less in a movie and the rather insensitive comments by two executives about what film to give to Obama probably do end up being in the public interest to disclose (although only just). But the fact that executives don't like working with Angelina Jolie and think she's a bit crazy? Or that Channing Tatum was happy his film got to No.1 in the box office? That I think is a far more murky area.

3) Somewhat off-topic but the "Fire in a crowded theatre" case doesn't involve a fire or a theatre and only slightly involves a crowd. It's also a horrible piece of law that was thankfully overturned a while back.

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2014, 02:12:43 AM »
Sony, as a Japanese corporation, has a more vested interest in threats from North Korea, being close enough to be hit by weapons, up to and including nuclear missiles that NK may or may not be able to deliver to Japanese soil.  So perhaps there was pressure from the government in Tokyo to pull the film.

That being said, I, too believe this sets a terrible precedence.  Whether it is cartoon depictions of Islam's prophet or fictional assassination attempts on a real person, in good taste or bad, people have the freedom to express themselves, and supposedly have protections to do so in the United States and many other nations.

As for North Korea actually sneaking a gunman into the United States to carry out an attack, on a theater or any other target, this would not only be an act of terrorism--it would be directed by a sovereign government, so it would also be an act of war, and a very foolish act of war on North Korea's part.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2014, 03:33:28 AM »

According to Sony, it was more that the theatres did not want to show the movie and risk being made targets. Supposedly, Sony is trying to find another way to get the movie out.



Offline Oniya

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2014, 08:27:24 AM »
According to Sony, it was more that the theatres did not want to show the movie and risk being made targets. Supposedly, Sony is trying to find another way to get the movie out.

Not according to what I've read.

http://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Interview-Movie-Being-Released-36290118

Quote from: Relevant Bit
Could there be an online release of The Interview? With the film pulled from major theaters, news outlets encouraged Sony to release The Interview online so its audience can see the film without fear and to prove that its censorship won't be forced. Unfortunately, it sounds like Sony will never release the film on VOD or DVD, seemingly at the behest of the hackers.

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2014, 08:49:39 AM »
I still bet ten bucks that it will get released, probably not until this whole things blows over in a few months.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2014, 11:07:25 AM »
"North Korea proposes a joint investigation committee with the U.S. and warns of grave consequences if the U.S. refuses." (spoken headline at the top of the hour on BBC News)

This is the joke of the week, or next to. Not even Kim Jong-un would shoot off missiles over a "no, thanks" on that one.  ;)

Offline Blaskovich

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2014, 12:50:27 AM »
"North Korea proposes a joint investigation committee with the U.S. and warns of grave consequences if the U.S. refuses." (spoken headline at the top of the hour on BBC News)

This is the joke of the week, or next to. Not even Kim Jong-un would shoot off missiles over a "no, thanks" on that one.  ;)

Agreed.  DPRK warns of grave consequences every time a migrating bird shits on a statue in Pyongyang.  They're all words, they have nothing to back it up.  The only reason North Korea does this kind of shit is because they know whatever government they're antagonizing will offer food aid to get them to shut up.  It's the most steady source of sustinence they can get because nobody wants to do business with them.  Their population is borderline starving all the time because only about 20% of their landmass can sustain farming.  It sucks - their government's threats are so laughable, but their actions cause their population's general status to be so desperate and pitiful that I can't even enjoy making fun of them.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2014, 04:33:47 PM »
Though you have to remember most of us are safely insulated by Asia and/or the Pacific Ocean, we can afford to laugh them off or ignore them. People in South Korea or Japan, though, do take NK a bit more seriously because they're the ones who will suffer the brunt of the damage if NK ever actually does go (literally) ballistic.

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2014, 10:53:09 PM »
Though you have to remember most of us are safely insulated by Asia and/or the Pacific Ocean, we can afford to laugh them off or ignore them. People in South Korea or Japan, though, do take NK a bit more seriously because they're the ones who will suffer the brunt of the damage if NK ever actually does go (literally) ballistic.
We America shouldn't feel isolated from this. Japan and South Korea would come calling on us if Elevator Shoes Jr. started dropping bombs.

There are too many nutjobs in the world today. :\

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2014, 11:00:48 PM »
We America shouldn't feel isolated from this. Japan and South Korea would come calling on us if Elevator Shoes Jr. started dropping bombs.

There are too many nutjobs in the world today. :\

Pretty much. We shouldn't, but we do. All we can really do is hope that the Kim line's greed always outweighs their megalomania.

Offline Florence

Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2014, 06:58:58 PM »
I think there's a lot of issues with the entire situation, to be frank.

First and foremost: Even for Americans... Hell, I'd say especially for Americans... creating a movie about killing an actual living, breathing person... a leader of another country no less, is tacky and morally wrong and Sony were idiots for chosing to take on the film in the first place. I don't care how disliked Kim Jong-Un is. We have films about US presidents being killed, but I can't remember a single one where the character was a still living, breathing person. Aside from ones where the assassinations were brought up after the real life killings happened, I can't think of one. And if someone were to make one about say... George W. Bush or President Obama, there would be an uproar on either side of the isle. If we can blame Sarah Palin's site for using cross hairs on "anti-gun" legislator's locations being what prompted someone to attempt to kill a Senator, why can't we blame Sony, Seth Rogan, and anyone else involved in that film for someone nut job getting it in to his head that it's his "duty" or "mission" to kill someone? Just because we don't like the whack job that Kim is? It's one thing to make him the but of SNL skit jokes, but it's a very different thing to kill him in a major film for entertainment.

Second: I think if the documents are already out there, there is a certain amount of obligation of the news outlets to cover it. Especially with today's anti-big-business sentiment throughout the US. If they do report on it, people question how "moral" it is to report on stolen/leaked documents (though I doubt many would throw a fit over stories being written about the US Gov't doing something horrible and the source material being leaked/stolen documents). But if they don't question it? Well, obviously all news media is in bed with big businesses like Sony and there's a massive conspiracy to cover it up. Sadly, they're damned if they do and damned if they don't, so I think they went with the lesser of two evils so to speak.

The list of potential issues and discussions on the film and the things with Sony go on, but those are the two big things that come to me about this film and the surrounding controversy.

I'm of the general opinion that the movie was tacky and stupid and should not have been made, yes. But I think, more important than that, is the fact that no one should have the right to tell others what movies they can and can't make.

Basically, I don't like the idea of that movie, but I'll be damned if I support the censorship of it.

And frankly, I'm disappointed we're giving in to threats from North Korea of all places. As Blaskovich said, "DPRK warns of grave consequences every time a migrating bird shits on a statue in Pyongyang."

"We will burn the white house to the ground," is practically how Kim Jong-Un says "Hello."

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Re: The Interview Cancelled
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2014, 10:04:17 AM »
Well, they're not giving in, as it turns out: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/23/372704366/some-theaters-to-show-the-interview-on-christmas-day

Basically they've given the film the equivalent of a limited release, choosing about 200 theaters to show it.  I agree that it looks silly -- I love movies, but I was planning to give this one a pass -- but the censorship angle did bother me somewhat.