Today, Sony released “The Interview” in about 300 theatres in the US.
If I were you, I wouldn’t go see it.
I rented the movie online yesterday, and wasted nearly two hours watching the movie just to see what all the fuss was about. I think I laughed twice, and both times were at the beginning when Eminem makes a cameo and comes out as gay. (He was really good by the way, very deadpan and totally aware of the gag.)
The rest of the movie stinks though. It’s poorly written, childish, and predictable. Seth Rogen and James Franco use the c-word a lot. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un poops in his pants.
But that’s not stopping people from showing up in droves to watch “The Interview” on Christmas Day. That’s not stopping members of Congress from trying to hold screenings in the Capitol. That’s not stopping the local TV stations here in Houston (where I’m visiting my parents for the holiday) from running real-time polls asking viewers if they plan to see “The Interview” on Christmas day.
It seems to come from a sense of nationalism or patriotic duty. “North Korea hacked Sony, so we’re going to show them by seeing the movie, no matter how bad it is,” the sentiment goes.
But you don’t have to see it. It’s too late to prove a point to the hackers.
That’s because Sony caved last week and canceled the premiere of “The Interview.” It also declined to explore alternative methods of distribution either online or through video on demand services. It wasn’t until President Obama told the world that Sony made a mistake that Sony began to change its tune and say it was looking into ways to release “The Interview.”
The hackers or terrorists or cyber warriors or whatever you want to call them already won this round, and it’s because Sony let them. It let them run Hollywood from the glow of their computer monitors and set a dangerous precedent: As long as you threaten to leak some embarrassing emails, you can make even the biggest corporations bend to your will.
Seeing “The Interview” this week doesn’t make you a hero. It doesn’t tally another win for America. It just means you wasted a few bucks and two hours of your life to see a bad movie.
See the “The Interview” because you want to see it. See it because you like Seth Rogen and James Franco comedies. See it because you need an excuse to get away from your family. But don’t see it because you think it sends the hackers a message.
Sony already sent the message. And the message was: “We give up.”