Two of Hollywood’s finest, most provocative young actors have teamed up once again to thrill the worldwide audiences. Seth Rogen and James Franco are a comedic duo who have provoked the minds and emotions of theatre goers everywhere with their pervasive talents.
In “Pineapple Express”, the pair play a directionless repo-man and a clueless pot dealer with a heart of gold. Together, they take down a much larger drug ring, foiling a police cover-up in the process. Franco and Rogen teamed up again for “This is the End”, an “end of the world” movie which explores such themes as friendship, acceptance, Godliness, and showing the Devil’s fully erect genitals as he forcibly rapes Jonah Hill. Truly a timeless classic.
Anyway, these guys branched out from their typical stoner bro comedies to produce, and this is by no means hyperbole, one of the most controversial motion pictures in the history of history. “The Interview” is a film about a television crew infiltrating North Korea and assassinating Kim Jung-Un, who you might recognize as the actual, for real leader of North Korea. The same North Korea that’s been testing nuclear weapons and really isn’t a fan of America or any of our pals.
I’ve never been one to actually worry about a terrorist attack from North Korea, as I think Un’s regime is more about threatening rhetoric rather than actual invasive action, but my God, when I heard about this movie I thought they were kidding.
The depiction of the murder of a sitting world leader is almost entirely without precedent. It’s simply never been done, and that’s according to film historians who actually know what they’re talking about.
I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud. I really don’t. I mean, I’ll probably end up watching the movie because I would watch Seth Rogen do anything for an hour and a half because he’s hilarious. But, I’m just not sure if this film is really in good taste.
Imagine if (for the sake of argument) Belgium produced a film about the assassination of President Obama. First of all, just me typing that sentence probably got me placed on a watch list somewhere, which goes to show how seriously governments can (and should) treat violent suggestions. Second of all, Belgium, for all intents and purposes is just..well it’s just Belgium. An unprovoked depiction of the assassination of our leader would be terrifying.
Now imagine again if North Korea produced a similar film as Belgium. It would be less terrifying. Unlike Belgium (or the United States) North Korea has a much more narrow audience, meaning less eyes will see it. More importantly, we know North Korea doesn’t like us. Odds are if they ever produced a movie where the assassination of the President was depicted, we would collectively say “mah, it’s just those crazy North Koreans and their propaganda” while we shrugged our shoulders and moved on.
Imagine one final time you are the North Korean government. Obviously, your leader has some kinks, and if your society was allowed free speech it’s possible many of them wouldn’t have many nice things to say about Kim. However, he is the acting Supreme Ruler, and even though the film is clearly a comedy, the depiction of his murder is offensive, tasteless, and infuriating.
So what am I saying? As soon as “The Interview” hits theaters we might as well start building nuclear fallout shelters? I don’t think the risk of a full-scale nuclear war is at all reasonable. But smaller, lone-wolf acts of violence? You never know.
The United States is a melting pot. Included in this cultural melting pot are people who hate the idea of the United States. I used to live in a town of 5,000 people, and there was a guy who was an al-Qaeda supporter who allegedly had blueprints to my town’s high school. That’s a scary thought. Now add in the several hundred thousand people this movie will offend. Trim that down to the ones who are both offended AND hate America. Frankly, it’s a pretty arrogant move to depict the assassination of any leader for comedy. I’m sure this fact will rub some the wrong way.
Since the 2012 Aurora Shooting, people were up in arms about needing to keep theaters safe. There was even a huge debate about how far violence in movies should go because it was suggested it desensitized viewers. At the very least many supported major studios pulling violent films from movie theaters. Then a few months later, Sandy Hook happened, and everyone forgot about Aurora.
Here we are, two years after one of the deadliest shootings in the history of this country, and we are actually making movies about killing other country’s leaders. At the very least people will protest this film. The worst possible outcome is violence, and that seems like it could be a possible scenario.
The studios have rights, too. So do the theaters. This film is going to make a TON of money, so it’s not fair to suggest the studios pull the film or theaters refuse to screen it. I do, however, feel maybe making the film in the first place was in bad taste, and I’m hoping people actually take the joke.