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Dictatorship and the North American movie complex

Posted on January 6, 2015 by Sunny South News

Who would have thunk it fellow Canadians? Seth Rogen (a Canadian), hailed by Rolling Stone magazine this past month as the “Stoner King of Hollywood” and his co-hort in fictional crime James Franco riled up a dictatorship in North Korea (N.K.) to the point where an act of war (or at the very least propaganda and some extremely silly rhetoric) was aimed at the United States and/or anyone who wanted to see “The Interview” — a movie.

Yes, just a movie with the premise of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un being fictionally assassinated by a bunch of no-good Hollywooders — starring the same dude (Rogen) who was involved in the  “Superbad,” “Pineapple Express,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” “This Is The End,” “Neighbours” and “Knocked Up” movies. Wow, the controversy surrounding “The Interview” was one of the top news stories nearing the end of 2014. Even the president of the United States, Barack Obama, talked about the movie and how Sony (the company behind the movie) behaved regarding the threats from N.K. It’s just a satirical movie, isn’t it? It’s been done before, hasn’t it?

The movie’s release on Christmas day was cancelled but then Sony decided to release a digital version of the movie online to be rented or purchased by eager viewers and some movie theatres in the U.S. decided to show the film afterall. Movie-goers and passive watchers at home said they didn’t want North Korea censoring what Americans/Canadians could watch by threatening terrorist acts. Oh yeah, there was a big computer hack too at Sony. News stories reported North Korea was behind the hack and recently news reports are saying it wasn’t a hack by N.K. It’s quite the “he said he said” kind of thing. So, now what?

Seth Rogen and James Franco must be flabbergasted with the shenanigans of both the U.S. and N.K. during “The Interview” crisis. Did somebody tell N.K. it was just a movie. There are many movies made both in the U.S. and across the globe. Some of them have what some might find offensive. That’s entertainment. There are so many movies that should have been cancelled before their official release — so, so many.

Will there ever be “The Interview 2: North Korea Strikes Back” to hit theatres in a few years? That is the question society should pose to Hollywood. Or, what about “The Interview 2: Russia’s Got a Brand New Bag” or “ The Interview Continues: Down with Terrorists.”

A few years back, a remake of “Red Dawn” featured a villainous North Korean regime — Chris “Thor” Hemsworth didn’t get threatened because of his involvement. Most of the old school Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal and Sly Stallone movies throughout the 1980s featured dictatorship regimes, as the infamous “bad guys.” Then, there’s just movies that shouldn’t have seen the light of day including both the Justin Bieber and One Direction movies, and “Twilight” and its sequels. Why couldn’t somebody stand up against the nauseating Edward, Bella and Jacob?

Kidding aside, it was quite an ordeal these past few weeks — media outlet-wise with news stories aplenty regarding the aforementioned movie mayhem.

It’s bad enough our own democratic governments tell us what to do and how to get there sometimes in North America, let alone a country under a dictatorship. These happenings could be considered a wakeup call for North Americans. How so, you may ask? Well, freedom of speech and freedom of most things is something we sometimes take for granted in North America. Not only that, sometimes the Canadian government and its provincial counterparts forget it too. In that, we the people, can vote. We don’t on many things but we could if we chose to. Canadians can take pride in the fact Canadians can choose whatever we want and we should head to the polls more instead of less.

Recently, the Alberta government had the Redford fiasco and a few weeks back the Wildrose merged with the PCs and many Wildrose politicians crossed the floor. Well, in a democracy, we could curb that, if we wanted. Is the Prime Minister or other Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislative Assembly getting to big for their britches or being unruly — knock ‘em down a notch — vote. The right to vote in Canada and in the U.S. is our greatest gift but we don’t use it proficiently.

Even in Canada, politicians use their power for self-gain or to push an agenda a certain way. Sometimes, it feels like a dictatorship, but that’s our own fault. Remember when the federal Conservatives shut up all those other politicians who didn’t buy into their policies and program? It was “my way or the highway” mentality and the former U.S. way of the old west — “you’re either with us or against us.” In Canada and the U.S., it’s not just one man who calls the shots. Even in North Korea, China or in Cuba — there’s most likely many who do. A group of peeps (with a supposed similar mindset) get together to decide the fate of their respective nations, in some countries one person plays judge and jury and that’s a bad scene (and not out of a movie).

Controversy sells movies. Controversy sells news. Controversy indeed dictates how something will play out or will end.

Remember the 1995 movie “Canadian Bacon” starring John Candy and directed by Michael Moore (no stranger to controversy)? The one where the U.S. president is coerced into starting a cold war with Canada for popularity purposes. Or, what about the Oscar-winning film “Argo” by Ben (soon to be Batman) Affleck? In this one, the CIA and Hollywood hooked up to rescue hostages in Iran. It sounds similar but a tad bit different to “The Interview,” as  the fictional movie pokes fun at assassinating a sitting leader of a country. But, “Team America: World Police” did the very same thing years ago. Brought to the big screen by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone — “Team America” told the puppeteered tale of battling terrorists and a North Korean leader.

Even though “The Interview” might not be everyone’s cup of tea — it’s just one other movie amongst thousands vying for our attention at any given time and in need of our collective movie dollars at the box office or in this case, mostly online.

This little movie has changed the way in which business is done in North America. This Rogen/Franco-esque opus could be a hit or could be destined for Rotten Tomatoes status. Only time will tell. Either way, “The Interview” should be available for those who want to see it. In time, maybe more will see it, once the fear one might have fades with another fear replacing it. Some are afraid to watch “The Interview” in theatres because of the threats and some are worried about their electronic devices being hacked if the movie is streamed or downloaded online. These are all valid concerns. That’s just a fact of life these days. Fear dictates our behaviours nine times out of 10.

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