I did this so you don’t have to.
I have a few questions:
1) How do we know Sony didn’t pay someone to orchestrate this “hack” to promote this terrible movie?
2) I’m not actually serious about #1, but a few minutes into the movie it’s clear that this is such an American flick that I can’t imagine a world where anybody’s Dear leader would be threatened enough by it to agitate global warfare or even the appearance of it over the whole thing.
For starters, who the hell translated it for them? The entire thing is just a bunch of awful American jokes, a bit of racism for fun and drug fueled sophomorism to boot. I’m happy for actors to get work, I guess. So whatever. And there have surely been worse movie released this year and in past years.
But everything about this movie being greenlit is essentially why I’ve always had a huge problem with anything Seth Rogen is playing in. This whole schlubby “we got beat up as kids in school and now we’re Hollywood stars who get to sleep with people who never would’ve given us the time of day in high school and maybe college” shtick really grates on me.
Probably because I saw it for what it was pretty early, but this whole frat pack of nerd bros who have taken over Hollywood really live in a monochromatic world where they think of themselves as in-touch with the plight of everyone else, but produce the kind of stuff they want to see because it doesn’t occur to them no to. I don’t begrudge them or Hollywood any of this.
Here’s the problem.
The film industry in this country is propped up by massive tax breaks and incentives provided by communities who want to benefit from having films shot in their areas. We pay huge tax breaks for film industry across the board, as well as for television. Those tax breaks don’t pay for our schools, health care and whatever else the social safety net is supposed to provide for people who are the lesser of these.
So when we talk about Hollywood, making movies, film and this notion that underrepresented people should just “start making the movies they want to see,” as if that alone can be enough to greenlight a film.
So when I watch crap like The Interview and meanwhile, hear Chris Rock talk about his own journey in Hollywood and the fact that he’s done interviews pretty much EVERYWHERE in support of Top Five — because he’s a good interview unlike most directors — I realize that the decisionmaking process goes beyond just asking for more art. The implication that good people aren’t already out there making the stuff the want to see is a fallacy that studio execs and the stars of today want you to believe.
Anyone who has spent an hour on tumblr knows of all of the great original work people produce and give away. I’ve sat through millions of loops of Vine videos shown to me by my more hip friends and I know lots of you — as have I — tune into scripted Youtube shows from time to time.
Here’s the deal, it’s so much easier and yet, it’s a lot harder to make this deal work than it used to be. I’m fond of telling one of my good friends that “nobody gave Oprah the keys to the farm. They gave her an opportunity and she made shrewd moves and flipped it into an empire.”
This is the case with anybody who starts from nothing, but when those people are representative of classes we don’t normally see on screen except in certain roles — or not at all — it’s even more acute. Tyler Perry, whose movies I can’t stand is another person that surprised people with his insistence that there was indeed an audience out there for the art he sought to create.
So what does this all have to do with The Interview? Everything and nothing all at once. None of what I’m saying is really about the movie at all. Two dudes who are BFFs managed to get a film with an implausible script, ignorant politics and moronic behavior masquerading as satire passed through the need based on their reputations. More power to them.
But when people tell you these things are isolated. Or that representation doesn’t matter, you watch shlock like this and realize that’s just not true. It’s all connected. It all matters.
Keep producing the things, advocating for and support the art you wish to see. The people making decisions are in the money making business above all and if there is a compelling financial reason to side with what you make — or like — they will do so. Maybe not a lot at first. Maybe not much at all. Perhaps they’ll think the whole effort is doomed to fail, but give it a whirl.
So what. Don’t watch movies like this and be discouraged. Don’t believe the narrative that your voice is doomed to be this thing or that thing. Don’t let other people tell your stories or rely on them to do so, because no matter what, they can’t do it as well as you do.
Flood the scene with narratives, with complexity and with stories that challenge, inspire, make us laugh, cry and in-between.
Only then will things change. Junk like The Interview will still get made, but just maybe the future will be big enough for wider notions of humanity and storytelling can share the same multiplexes without an international event.
One can dream.