‘The Interview’: Why did they even bother?

Having been exposed to all the hype over Sony Production Co.’s limited release of “The Interview,” I say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

I guess in what passes for mass entertainment today, it makes perfect sense for two TV people to partner with the CIA to blow up the leader of North Korea, the country with which we’re still, technically, at war.

That’ll show him.

Not to mention President Obama egging on Sony not to “back down” from the hackers’ threat of doom that would allegedly befall any theater that dared to screen this “comedy.”

I guess nobody called in the Department of Homeland Security on this one.

Oh well, that’s show biz.

Unless, of course, there are “back channel” conversations going on between Dennis Rodman and Kim Jung-un on and off the basketball court that we aren’t privy to. (Now there’s a movie plot waiting to happen…. Like, maybe the reason the Dear Leader was seen limping around recently was because he tried to box out Dennis and got put down heavy on the hardwood???) Any of the above might’ve been a better call than seeing the Leader’s head go pop, especially a guy who’s got nukes at his beck and call, and especially in a film being given a Christmas Day release.

There’s nothing like a nasty romp with no redemptive qualities to sweeten the festive season, spread good will among nations. Right on, bro.

But hold on. Maybe I’m being unfair. After all, North Korea is a dictatorship, right? (The government, not the people.) Maybe they deserve to be slammed. A lot of American soldiers were killed in that conflict.

Back in March 1942, when we were busy fighting Germany in WWII, United Artists put out an Ernst Lubitsch film, “To Be or Not to Be,” an American comedy, featuring Carole Lombard, Jack Benny and Robert Stack, about a troupe of Polish actors who outwit their Nazi occupiers, including Hitler.

Some movie critics of the period, including Bosley Crowther of The New York Times, attacked Lubitsch for, in their view, attempting to extract humor out of a grim war. Lubitsch responded that the Nazis’ bombing of Warsaw was depicted on the screen “in all seriousness.” As for making the Nazis out to be bumblers, Lubitsch said: “What I have satirized in this picture are the Nazis and their ridiculous ideology.”

I tried researching, with Google’s help, whether FDR or anyone in his administration had anything public to say about the film’s treatment of the war or Hitler or anything else but I was unsuccessful. Given how badly the war was going for the Allies at the time, I would guess that the President probably had his mind on other things – like whether the U.S. should’ve entered the war in the first place.

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino offered his take on World War II in 2009 with “Inglourious Basterds,” where, typically for Tarantino, violent killing of advocates for both sides is the name of the game. The film culminates in blowing up a movie theater with the German High Command, including Hitler, trapped inside. The movie won lots of awards but it did nothing for me except make me want to run out of the theater that was showing his movie. Look, I’m not calling for censorship of scripts that call for an assassination of any government leaders – alive or dead – but come on, why be so casual about it? It defeats the whole purpose, deflates the intended humor.

Doing the deed on “The Simpsons,” for example, where everyone gets zapped is one thing, I suppose, but to gratuitously blow up someone – even someone depicted as an obvious caricature – in a time where beheadings and suicide deaths have become the norm – makes no sense.

So would you please stop it. Please.

– Ron Leir 

The Observer Staff