Random Factoid #580

5 01 2016

Given that North Korea may or may not have detonated a hydrogen bomb, I figured it was about time for this anecdote.

Back in December 2014, I was not afraid to get on my soapbox and decry what appeared to be cowardice in the face of a pernicious threat to free speech. In the wake of the Sony hack that nearly cancelled the release of “The Interview,” I even invoked Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” to express my disgust.

Trying to walk and not just talk, I immediately purchased tickets for the first Houston show once Sony rescheduled it for release. I even made the purchase confirmation my cover photo.

Longtime readers of this blog, or personal friends, are likely aware of my predilection for holding onto movie ticket stubs. I have made no secret of this collection, even making it the subject of my first random factoid back in July 2009. So surely the ticket stub for “The Interview” holds a treasured spot in the folder, right? Seeing a movie has rarely been such a political act.

Well, if that’s what you thought, you thought wrong. I left arguably the most important ticket in my collection at the theater. Since Alamo Drafthouse requires that stubs be placed on the table in front of the seat, for whatever reason, I simply walked off without it. Normally, I slide the stub into my wallet after it gets ripped. But in this case, I forgot it. Driving home, I realized what I had done. This pretty much summarized my mood:

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REVIEW: The Interview

26 12 2014

Separating the movie “The Interview” from the international event that its release has become feels futile, if not entirely impossible.  Ironically, writers and directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (as well as their screenwriter, Dan Sterling) almost seem to anticipate the ramifications.  “In ten years, Ron Howard is gonna make a movie out of this,” proclaims James Franco’s TV personality Dave Skylark after scoring a sit-down with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

He – or perhaps maybe Ben Affleck – will have quite the material for a high-stakes thriller, yet all of it comes from the story outside “The Interview” rather inside of it.  The film offers pretty much what could be expected of any Seth Rogen comedy, which is namely crude jokes about pop culture, women, and buttholes.  It just happens to reside in the same film as a satire which depicts the assassination of a sitting world leader in good fun.

This is not “Inglourious Basterds” where (SPOILER) Hitler gets riddled with bullets to rapturous cheers from the crowd.  “The Interview” is so goofily implausible and patently ridiculous that anyone who takes its execution at face value might consider taking up residence in North Korea and worshiping their Supreme Leader’s bizarre cult of personality.

Rogen and Goldberg do not hold back on highlighting some bullet points from the country’s despicable human rights record, yet they also take steps to humanize that target.  Brought to life by Randall Park (Chung from “Veep”), Kim Jong Un actually receives more agency and personality than Lizzy Caplan’s CIA agent in charge of the mission to kill him.  He has daddy issues, struggles with his sexuality, and desperately seeks approval from people he admires – such as Skylark.  Then again, he also starves his own people and plays fast and loose with nuclear weapons…

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