Last night, Christmas night, I had the opportunity to be among the millions who watched "The Interview" thanks to the decision of Sony Pictures to release the movie on youtube pay-per-view and a few other online venues starting on Christmas Eve, the day before the movie opened in a few hundred independent theaters across the country.
So I paid $5.99 to youtube, linked my laptop screen to the TV screen, and Maria, Justin, Tommy and I settled onto the family room couch with unmuted excitement to watch the movie of the moment.
As it turned out, Maria had been spot-on in the less-than-glowing assessment she'd given the movie the day before. (See the last line of yesterday's post).
Granted, there were some funny moments in "the Interview", but they were only moments. The movie, as a whole, didn't snap, crackle, or pop.
But then the point of watching "The Interview" last night was never to enjoy a quality movie experience. It was to be part of something, an event, a moment of American solidarity, part of a counterstroke against a dictator who thought he could oppress our right free speech and artistic expression by threats and intimidation.
And regardless of the quality of the movie it was neat to be watching it and feeling in solidarity not only with the millions who, like us, were watching it online, but with those who'd stood in lines that snaked around blocks to buy up every last ticket from the sold-out theaters. We were all of us making a statement together. A hands-across-cyber-space kind of thing.
It did feel kind of surreal, though, watching this comedy about Kim Jong Un who in real life was behaving the same way as the character in the film because of the film. It kind of felt like a movie within a movie.
It would seem that someone now needs to make a movie about this movie.
One thing I will say on behalf of "the Interview" - and if you haven't yet seen it and are planning to you might want to stop here because this might be a bit of a spoiler - It had a good plot-turn at a moment when one of the characters pointed out that the CIA has been getting it wrong all these years: that the way to bring down an iron-fisted dictator isn't to assassinate him - he'll only be replaced by the next henchman in line - but to make him look really silly in front of his people.
Maybe there's some truth to this thesis.
Maybe that's why "The Interview" stirred up such hostility in Kim Jong Un. Maybe it jabbed him in his Achilles Heel.