The Interview

I mean they ARE kind of ignorant.
"Please do not believe these ignorant dishonorable Americans!"

Hi folks, welcome back to The Tagline. Today I want to close out the year by reviewing the Interview, which as you may or may not know is a dire threat to North Korea. Despite all the wacky hemming and hawing, Sony eventually gave us all the chance to watch this no doubt silly and inconsequential movie, despite the threats of vague entities on the internet. I mean, the president said we should keep going to the movies, so I guess that makes it essential right? DO YOUR AMERICAN DUTY AND WATCH THIS GOOFY SETH ROGEN/JAMES FRANCO MOVIE. The Interview if you somehow don't know, is a movie co-directed and written by Seth Rogen, and starring him and James Franco (this is the same full team responsible for This is the End) as a TV host, David Skylark (Franco) and his producer, Aaron Rapaport (Rogen). Skylark's show is a garbage program that does stupid things, like most "entertainment news" programs on real television. After some douche Aaron graduated with takes a cheap shot at his show, He urges Dave to do something more serious. This is when he gets the idea to interview Kim Jong-Un (the supreme leader of North Korea), who is a big fan of his show according to his Wikipedia page. This request to conduct an interview is approved, after Aaron takes a trip into the mountains of China and gets accosted by men who jump out of a helicopter. Around this time, Dave and Aaron are approached by Agent Lacey (Lizzie Caplan) who wants them to help the CIA assassinate Kim, in order to facilitate a coup d'etat. They agree, mainly because they have no choice, but also because Dave makes decisions with his penis.

Nice tie, very classy.
What follows is a plan that predictably does not run to course. Expecting a dimwit, and his only marginally less dimwitted assistant to pull off a delicate operation seems to be asking for a lot, but I guess you use the tools you work with, and these guys are a pair of tools if ever there were. This movie was more or less as I expected it to be, having seen This is the End. I imagined that it would be relatively funny, if not hilarious, kind of dumb, and gross. It managed to be all three of those things, so at the very least I was not disappointing. Certain parts were several of those things at once. Every now and then the movie managed to do something quasi-clever. I can at least admit that it makes some decent (if already obvious) points about foreign and domestic agencies. If this movie is satirizing a brutal throwback totalitarian state, it is also giving the same treatment to the absurd sensationalist media that we ourselves are absorbed in. Like any movie of this sort worth the disk it was recorded on, The Interview doesn't really play favorites as it makes fun of things, it just makes everyone look absurd, and frankly we more or less have earned that, by caring as a nation about celebrity bullshit.

Don't let Lizzy Caplan honeypot you.
I think it's awkward and unfortunate that this film has ultimately been overshadowed by controversy surrounding it. I haven't decided yet whether it benefits or is hurt by that amount of exposure. For better or for worse though, everyone's expectations of the movie were probably affected in some way by Sony retracting, and the un-retracting their distribution of the movie. I'm not sure how much was changed from the original cut, but I can say that the glorious leader is killed in a fairly spectacular, slow motion fashion. Katy Perry may be tangentially involved, I just think if you're curious you should watch for yourself. The truth of the matter though is that in a lot of ways, we've actually already seen this movie, just about something different. The Interview shares a lot in common with This is the End in terms of tone and style, and while one movie may be about surviving the apocalypse, and another might be about assassinating Kim Jong-Un, they are both really about Seth Rogen and James Franco being in intense, powerfully sexual man-love with each other. All the other stuff that happens is just window dressing, there to act as a medium to convey their fiery passion for one another. So be ready to be on-board with that.

Yeah this is real threatening man.
Ultimately the real consequence of this movie might be that it served as an interesting test-bed for Hollywood movies being digitally distributed upon release. Despite considerable volumes of pirating, in four days this movie netted Sony 15 million dollars in rentals and viewings, which is only slightly less than what they projected for opening weekend in theaters. For movies projected to gross lower, this could in the future prove to be an enticing alternative distribution model. Only time will tell what sort of lasting influence, if any, this little circus will have on film. In the meantime Seth Rogen crams a relatively large metal object up his butt. As always, you know best if that's for you or not.

That's all for today! Join me in a brand new year, hopefully filled with new opportunities for entertainment, and as always, thanks for coming to the movies. 

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