Movie Review – The Interview (2014)

Bookshelf Battler, here with another movie review.  So many movie reviews lately I should probably rename this site “Movie Shelf Battle” except that would not make sense, since movies aren’t put on shelves anymore.

But I digress.

So after all the hoopla, after the big hacking scandal, after the international hullabaloo, I finally had the chance to watch The Interview starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

How do I say this?  I think the hackers might have accidentally done the boys a big favor.

I don’t mean they did them a favor in getting the movie pulled from – well, I’ve lost track, first it was every theater, then it was some theaters.  How did you see it?  I paid to rent it and Rogen and Franco now have 6 bucks I’ll never get back.  Lousy Hollywood types.

My thoughts?  Overall, the film is so-so and ultimately, kind of forgettable.  All of the free publicity caused by the hacking scandal will probably get this movie more views and downloads than it ever would have on its own, from people who will tune in just to see what all the fuss is about.

I love comedy.  Comedy is the most honest form of entertainment there is.  With drama, you can say you like it, that you even get it, but secretly you didn’t like it.  You’re just saying you like it to fit in and be cool.  But comedy?  If something tickles your funny bone, you will involuntarily laugh.  You might try to hold back, but if something is funny enough, you would be able to hold back.  And to its credit, The Interview did have a few moments where it did make me do just that.

But in my opinion, Hollywood has been on kind of a losing streak when it comes to comedy, and I mean laugh out loud, slap your knees all the way through the film comedy.  I haven’t seen a comedy that made me laugh from beginning to end since the original The Hangover in 2009.  So that’s, what?  Five, coming on six years since Hollywood has provided me with a genuine laugh all the way through the movie knee-slapper.

Do you mind if I give you SPOILERS?  Hell, the spoilers are pretty much out there already, aren’t they?

So, basic premise of the movie – Franco is Dave Skylark and Rogen is Aaron Rappaort.  Together, they are a duo that hosts and produces a celebrity gossip interview show – Skylark Tonight.  Rappaport feels the need to engage in more serious journalism.  The duo learn that Kim Jong Un is a fan of the show, so they arrange for, dun dun dun – an Interview.

The CIA learns of this and convinces the pair to try and assassinate Kim Jong Un, and I actually thought the film, rather than provide a caricature, actually provided an actor that is a bit tougher looking than the Dear Leader, but that’s just my two cents.

The funnier parts of the movie come from Rogen and Franco training on how to use a special Ricin poison strip on their hand, which they plan to deploy to Un with a poisoned handshake.  Naturally, the bumblers put the Ricin everywhere but Un’s hand.

At the end of the movie, Skylark and Rappaport, aided by North Korea’s turncoat propaganda minister, who secretly wants a free NK, decide not to kill Un but instead, to ambush him on air with hard hitting questions that will humiliate him and public and convince the North Koreans to reject him.

Skylark rattles off a lot of important questions about concentration camps, how the country spent 800 million on nukes when it has 16 million people starving, and so on.  Arguably, the film actually does provide a lot of important info to the American people, things a lot of inattentive Americans never thought about, namely that North Korea is a nuclear nation capable of launching a nuclear attack on the West Coast.  Yeah…yeah…sorry if you’re on the West Coast and you just read that, but try to get some sleep tonight anyway.  Probably not gonna happen.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

So toward the end of the movie, I think, “Wow, Rogen and Franco, how smart – they’ve used the assassination plot story line as just a pretext to reach an actual interview in which a lot of important political questions are asked, and important info is provided in a funny way.  But then, of course, they go ahead and have a final confrontation scene where Franco and Rogen, in a tank, go head to head with Un, in a helicopter, in a final battle royale to the finish.  So much for closing out the movie with a little dignity.

Like I said, it is not without its funny moments, moments that will make you laugh, but I doubt it will join the ranks of films I will ever bother watching again, so I think had the hackers just left this one alone, it probably would have easily faded into obscurity on its own.  Now with all the hype – I mean, Hell, my Grandkids one day will probably come up to me and be all like, “Hey Grandpa, what was that movie by those two doofuses that almost started World War III?”

I’m glad Sony did distribute the film, because to allow bullies to tell us what we can and can’t watch is just plain wrong – but sheesh, this was kind of a stinker of a film to get into such a major international argument about.

On a final note – this was a major event in direct to download movie distribution.  That topic was discussed earlier this year with the announcement that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 would be released directly to Netflix.  Personally, I’m against direct to download first time movie releases, and I hope that all three of my regular readers, including my Aunt Gertrude, will feel the same way.

Why?  Go ahead ask me why.

Because I feel like that would just totally destroy the movie theater industry.  And sure, you might think back to the time you got ripped off at the theaters and had to spend a ridiculous sum on candy and popcorn but honestly – let me repeat, honestly – do you really want to see a day where going out to the movies on a Friday night becomes a thing of the past?  I certainly don’t.

Thanks for reading, Happy New Year!

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