‘The Interview’ … only in America

Full disclosure, Christmas lasted about four days longer than typical: family and friends in town, playing Santa for the first time in my life, an engagement party, plus the unnecessarily stressful basketball game Saturday. As a U of L Cardinals fan, I am taking a little longer to snap back to the world of things that matter. 

Normally I would be tempted to talk about President Obama not getting credit for the economic growth (strongest quarter in over a decade), gas prices, 6.4 million enrollees in Obamacare (30 percent being new enrollees). However, every president gets more credit than they deserve for successes, and more blame than they do for mistakes, but let’s at least agree that he is going to leave the Oval Office in a lot better shape than he found it (that’s an Obama compliment, not a Bush slight). 

The point being, sofa Sunday was the perfect time to write a follow-up note to last week’s un-American defense of Sony. 

At the risk of jeopardizing the security of LEO, I watched “The Interview.” Not Lebron James on Christmas Day or the usual Sunday talk shows, but “The Interview,” between Dave Skylark (James Franco) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In case you missed it, this is “The Interview” that led to a cyber-attack of Sony, release of thousands of Sony employees’ private information, Sony pulling the movie’s release and a national outcry of American exceptionalism and values. So if LEO does not make it to print this week, you will know why — it was the North Koreans. Of course, if you are reading this, the point is moot anyway. 

While I stand by the opinions I expressed in last week’s column, there is one fact that must be corrected. When I said, “I am sure that I would have watched this movie and laughed hysterically the entire time,” I slightly overstated the extent to which I laughed. There were, in fact, moments in the movie when I could not even muster a laugh — holding my breath and head in disbelief at what I was watching. Seriously, this movie was hysterical. But please do not mistake this for a classic. It is not in the same class with “Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” or even “Blazing Saddles” (although the level of satirical offensiveness might be rivaled). 

There were a few serious messages conveyed: Love is colorblind; the North Korean regime is brutal and bloodthirsty, has enslaved its entire civilization, does not feed its people and is dangerously volatile; and freedom of speech and of the press are vital to the progress of humanity — particularly prophetic given the rocky release of the film. But this is not a classic among films about the media either. It will not be mistaken for a “Citizen Kane,” “All the President’s Men” or even “Wag the Dog.” 

That said, please do not show this movie to your kids. If you want to watch it with a date, you better know that special someone well enough to withstand some uncomfortable moments. This movie is hilarious. It is so stupid, but hilarious. If you liked “This is the End,” “Knocked Up” or “Pineapple Express,” you will want to watch this movie. 

If you are interested in seeing rapper Eminem announce that he is gay or Rob Lowe reveal he is bald, this movie is for you. If you want to learn new phrases like “honeypot,” —  where a beautiful woman seduces a man for information or other nefarious reasons — or “honeydick,” — the male equivalent to “honeypot,” you will be convulsing with laughter. If you would like to see faux Kim Jong Un at a champagne, sex-slave party or hear him sing Katy Perry’s “Firework,” oh, wow, you will love this movie. 

Add to the intentionally offensive moments, the requisite sex jokes, scenes and references, as well as the obligatory, yet comically-gory fight scenes, this is your typical laugh-out-loud, quote-for-weeks Seth Rogen and James Franco flick. 

I am personally very happy that Sony released the movie, but I still defend their initial decision to pull it out of security concerns. In the end, this ordeal reveals what has become too commonplace in America and antithetical to what JFK requested when he told us, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Sony has every right to parody North Korea, and we have every right to enjoy it. But this movie (all the while cloaked in the security of the U.S.) was made without regard for the effect it would have on America and geopolitical relations. In the future, my hope is that we will consider our country first, then enjoy the freedoms it affords us.

How American does that sound?