I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

The Green Hornet

tn_greenhornetIn the video store recently I overheard two college kids talking nerd shit. As they walked by me mid-conversation I heard one of them grumble, “And now he’s playing Green Lantern. Fuck you, Seth Green!”

And then a second later, “Er, Seth Rogen, I mean.” He realized that he said the wrong actor, but not that he said the wrong super hero.

Personally I think Rogen is a likable enough guy, most of his movies are funny, he’s a talented young pothead. But that little snippet brings up some issues with the world’s readiness for this movie. 1. there is kind of a super hero burnout where we even have more than one super hero movie in a year that has “Green” in his name, and B), people are sick of Seth Rogen and/or jealous that a regular dude like him gets to dress up as a super hero, even if he has been working out.

To me the second one seems like it could theoretically cancel out the first one. This is a weird casting for this character, he wrote it with his SUPERBAD writing partner, and the director is crazy Frenchman Michel Gondry, who’s never done a movie anything like this or this mainstream. So they oughta have a pretty interesting take on this type of movie, right?

mp_greenhornetWell, partly true I guess. This is an okay movie with some funny lines and good moments, but not enough to overcome the been-there-ness of many generic super hero plot elements. Although I liked it better it kind of reminded me of KICK ASS: a half-assed “real world” where “real” criminals face nerds who want to dress up in costumes for fun. If it was really well executed it might not matter how many times we’ve seen it before. But, you know, that’s a theory, it’s hard to know for sure without a movie to demonstrate it.

Not that it’s all bad. There’s some inspiration there, little touches that at least are different. Since the Green Hornet TV show is primarily remembered for Bruce Lee as the sidekick Kato, this version is based around Green Hornet Britt Reid coasting off the awesomeness of his partner, played by Jay Chou (the Taiwanese pop star who played “the God of Wushu” in TRUE LEGEND). This way it’s able to still be a Seth Rogen comedy – he’s a rich dumbass who becomes a masked vigilante as a way of making something of his lazy, entitled life. And he convinces Kato that using his great inventions and asskicking skills to fight criminals is a better use of his time than fixing rich people’s cars and coffee.

The tone is unusual. It’s not a parody, wants you to take it somewhat seriously, but is definitely a comedy. Maybe a little more serious than PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, but it still has a scene where they’re driving around and he starts rapping “Gangsta’s Paradise.” I guess Gondry was against that scene but Rogen convinced him it should be in there and would be a big laugh. Gotta side with Gondry on that one, but it’s funny when Kato sings the chorus.

The whole useless heir thing has already been done better in IRON MAN, but at least they make an effort to tweak it a little bit. I like that his super hero thing is not done to avenge his father’s death, it’s just what he decides to do instead of taking on the responsibility of running dad’s newspaper. He actually doesn’t realize that there was any foul play in his father’s death, and mostly remembers him as an asshole.

There’s not much noticeable Gondry here. I’m sure he wanted to try his hand at a more normal movie for once. The fight scenes are pretty cool though, with slo-mo Kato-POV shots that diagram just how he figures out which weapons and attackers to go after and in what order. There’s a nice friendship moment with the heroes floating over the city on a parachute listening to classical music on vinyl, and some enjoyably ridiculous mayhem (a whole scene with Kato driving only the front half of Black Beauty [the car not the horse. This would be a more positive review if it was a bisected horse] through a building shooting and running over people). But somehow they still made the characters feel down-to-earth enough that when Cameron Diaz was gonna do the ol’ bullet-removal-with-kitchen-utensils routine we’ve seen in so many movies it really made me think “Oh jesus, don’t do that! That’s a terrible idea!”

On the other hand the characters are also set up well enough that when Green Hornet decides he has to fight Kato it doesn’t make any sense that he’s able to get any shots in. I didn’t get that part.

Christoph Waltz plays the mafia leader, and he’s as good as you’d expect, but he goes from that all time classic villain in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS to a pretty limp one here. He’s got a couple funny lines and a cool gun, but mostly just works with a weak concept where he wants to have a nickname and gimmick like his nemesis. That shit again.

I like how this poster follows the old tradition of emphasizing Kato over Green Hornet
I like how this poster follows the old tradition of emphasizing Kato over Green Hornet

I think Jay Chou is pretty good, he has a good presence, not like Bruce Lee but more like some James Dean-esque guy who drives a motorcycle and wins over women without even saying anything. And I like the surprise and delight Britt shows every time Kato casually reveals a new skill or weapon. Also it’s a funny idea that the Green Hornet’s trademark non-lethal gas gun was actually made because Kato doesn’t trust him with a real gun.

Also (small-to-medium-sized SPOILER) I gotta give it partial credit for attempting to subvert that “secretly record the crooked politician saying bad things” cliche I hate so much. They make you believe that’s what’s going on, but Green Hornet later realizes that he incompetently failed to record anything.

Oh yeah, and for giving Edward “John Connor” Furlong a cameo as a meth dealer.

So it’s a likable enough movie, but not a radical enough re-invention or a good enough retread to be very memorable. I’m afraid its place in history will be as the final proof that “post-conversion 3-D” (rejiggered in a computer instead of shot with 2-lensed 3-D cameras) is a waste of everybody’s time. I didn’t see CLASH OF THE TITANS – everybody said the 3-D was terrible, but they had an excuse that it was rushed to meet a release date. Here’s a case where they said it was planned for 3-D and they delayed its release to give it enough time, but still it just doesn’t have enough depth to add anything. I’m not one of these 3-D complainers, I’m an old timey 3-D buff and “yes it’s a gimmick and that’s the way I want it” true believer, and I’m against this. It’s jarring when the end credits come on and the words are flying around and you think “hey, why wasn’t the rest of the movie 3-D like that?” Only a few shots really look bad, but nothing looks impressive. If Gondry can’t figure out a way to do it then the technology ain’t there.

But that won’t stop them from releasing THOR in crappy half-3-D.

* * *

I know some people say that the comic book movie is such a big genre now it’s like what westerns used to be in the old days. I might’ve even said that before, although I also said it about DTV underground fight tournament movies. Anyway, the difference between a western and a comic book movie is that in a western you don’t gotta spend half the movie explaining why anybody would want to become a cowboy. They’re just a cowboy at the beginning, they already got the hat and the horse, and nobody’s surprised when they start shooting people. In the comic book movies almost always the guy starts out regular, you gotta see all the lead up to why he becomes super, how he decides on what to wear and what to call himself and all that shit. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like I’ve seen that story at least three times, probly more.

Fortunately GREEN HORNET is not based on a comic book, it’s an old radio show, so none of that is relevant here.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 2:08 am and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

114 Responses to “The Green Hornet”

  1. Also mixed, leaning towards the negative. Some additional problems I had, maybe Vern could weigh in?

    1) Britt talks too much – Isn’t it weird that he’s babbling througout all the action scenes? Seth Rogen watches action movies, why did he think that was a good idea? And the scene where he’s interviewing Cameron Diaz is just uncomfortable.

    2) The hero vs. sidekick issue – I get that Rogen wanted to explore how Kato is way cooler than The Green Hornet, but isn’t it really forcest when they start bickering, let alone actually fight.

    3) Dumb slapstick – Seth Rogen comedies are known for their witty improv, or at least smart humor. Why was this all pratfalls and hamming?

    That said, I thought all the action was great and if they’d just made a generic action movie they would have had something. Some other Gondry touches I noticed were those sped up romps through the Reid mansion, and those tricks with flowers blooming and stuff.

  2. “credit for attempting to subvert that “secretly record the crooked politician saying bad things” cliche I hate so much”

    Vern – you hate a central plot mechanism of HARD TO KILL?!

  3. That’s different, that’s Senator Trent.

  4. But seriously, that’s recording him in a stakeout at the beginning of the movie. I’m talking about the climactic scene where the hero talks to or confronts the corrupt person and coaxes them to say incriminating things, then reveals a hidden recording device and usually plays it back to them or broadcasts it, and then the guy usually freaks out, etc. Examples include 16 BLOCKS, BATMAN RETURNS, UHF, and twelve other movies that other people will list below.

  5. “(the car not the horse. This would be a more positive review if it was a bisected horse)”

    Made me snort into my tea, thanks.

  6. I haven’t seen this, but the trailers gave off kind of a THE SHADOW vibe, which I would consider a compliment personally. Of course they covered the origin story in about five minutes. I wish at least _one_ new superhero film would have the guts to do that. Is it true that the SPIDER-MAN reboot is going to extensively cover his origin *again*?

    I think the world is crying out for THIS AINT BE KIND REWIND. Think about it; a porn movie which pretends to be a movie about people making cheap reconstructions of movies by making even cheaper reconstructions of movies, including BE KIND REWIND itself as part of the main “plot”. How meta can you get?

  7. Another example – ROBOCOP: “I had to kill Bob Morton because he made a mistake. Now it’s time to erase that mistake!”

    And does HARD TO KILL count? “You can take THAT to the BANK!”

    It sounds like this movie played on that cliche the same way they did in DIRTY WORK where Norm MacDonald tried to broadcast the incriminating Chris MacDonald recording over a loudspeaker and instead it was him saying “Note to self: Remember to get ass wart cream for giant wart on my ass!”

  8. Here are a couple of things:
    1. UHF doesn’t count. The Hero had nothing to do with the broadcasting of RJ Fletcher badmouthing the town. Philo got that recording when Teri came to talk to Fletcher without without George knowing about it.

    2. Can we stop calling everybody that’s associated with comics superheroes? The Green Hornet is a crime fighter. Batman is a crime fighter. Superman is a superhero. Spiderman is a superhero. I think it definitely changes things. If people realized that Green Hornet was just a crime fighter they would have accepted Seth Rogen much easier because he’s just a regular dude that fights crime in a mask. It’s more believable then Seth Rogen as s superhero.

  9. That of course raises the question, if a superhero is someone with superpowers, or already someone who has futuristic equipment and is more skilled than a normal hero.

  10. I tend to think of superhero movies as kind of like American equivalents of kaiju films, personally.

    About the stories all being the same, Hollywood could fix this problem right away if they stopped insisting on making every single movie about the hero and/or about the villain. For some characters, sure, Spider-Man’s guilt is an interesting angle, but I really don’t need to see Green Lantern go through the “cocky young bastard learns the meaning of responsibility” formula.

    The way superhero comic books usually work is that they’re just stories that happen to have superheroes and villains in them, which does put them more like your average western or action movie – you don’t need to spend two hours delving into the psychology of Arnold or Seagal because you’re more interested in the situation they’re handling. But Hollywood keeps doing that with superheroes because, I don’t know, they think it’ll make the movies deeper or more realistic or some crap like that.

  11. Hey, Batman Returns made the recorded politican thing work. The recording said “You gotta admit I played this stinkin’ city like a harp from hell. ” – the would be mayor is not even admitting to any crimes just to being an evil sewer monster. That move is gold.

  12. Andy – I kinda enjoyed GREEN HORNET, not for the superhero shit but for the few moments of DIABOLIK, Adam West BATMAN-esque moments of spoof wit. I wouldn’t see this again, I don’t plan on it, but I must admit I laughed and laughed. So at the visceral experience at the time I thought it was enjyoable, but that’s it.

    We must give Rogen credit for his willingness here and the much superior OBSERVE & REPORT (I recommend that fucker, Vern) to play real self-absorbed pricks that isn’t exactly easy (if even possible) to be embraced by the audience.

    I wonder if this is the year when people get tired of the SOS (Same Old Shit) with these superhero movies because either Hollywood has found “the formula” whether established by DARK KNIGHT or IRON MAN or SPIDER-MAN or whatever the fuck and won’t deviate one page from it. And the said movies produced are less than stellar.

    Is anyone here really excited to see THOR or GREEN LANTERN? And man Vern, GREEN LANTERN will basically be another IRON MAN. I can’t decide if THOR could be good or will suck because I couldn’t get a decisive vibe from that trailer.

    Maybe I’ll see them when the time comes, but for now I just can’t give a fart about either. Dammit bring me BATMAN 3!

    Galatt – yeah I liked RETURNS, and this from somebody who doesn’t like Burton’s first BATMAN.

  13. You’re too kind, Vern. Seth Rogen does not strive for excellence. Hell, isn’t his whole shtick based on not striving at all? Basically being a slightly-dim lump who’s kinda at a bemused distance from all the stuff happening around him? Judging by his performances and writing, the screen persona ain’t a stretch.

  14. {{Fortunately GREEN HORNET is not based on a comic book, it’s an old radio show, so none of that is relevant here.}}

    An old radio show about a descendant of a cowboy. Who wore a mask, and used special guns, and had a non-white super-competent sidekick, and rode a pimped up horse.

    Which reminds me: have you reviewed any of the Lone Ranger movies, especially the most recent one? (Or should you save that for a series when Depp’s version comes out?)

    Also: has anyone seen any nods in the new Hornet film to the Lone Ranger (or even being descended from him)?

  15. I don’t know, being that the last two movies Seth Rogen cowrote managed to snare Michel Gondry and David Gordon Green as directors, I think maybe that’s a sign that the guy has ambitions. I mean, if he and the Apatow company weren’t striving for excellence, they could have hired someone like a Robert Luketic or Mark Waters. But, you know, they’ve chosen to go for unique, idiosyncratic directors, as opposed to the safe bet of hiring competent, bland directors of mainstream comedy.

  16. Speaking of Lone Ranger, Disney is making a new one w/ Johnny Depp as Tonto. Which makes sense considering Depp has Native American blood (allegedly) in him, so why not?

  17. Just a heads up everyone:

    At some point in the future, 4-5 years from now, you will watch a flick with a guy riding the front half of a bisected horse. That screenwriter is reading this article now. He will laugh, forget the reference, and when his subconscious hands him the memory, he will falsely but innocently think it is an original idea.

    But we know better.

    Carry on.

  18. Inspector Li – While in his early 20s he wrote for the Ali G show, starred in a good Judd Apatow movie, wrote two other good movies, lost weight to play a super hero for Michel Gondry… either he’s striving for excellence or I’m doing something wrong.

    Sabreman – on the credits there is something about the Lone Ranger, so I guess they had a picture of him somewhere, but they didn’t explain the connection unless I fell asleep or something.

    RRA – yeah, that’s what Sabreman said in the same comment where he was speaking of Lone Ranger.

  19. I’m sorry…what good movies did Seth Rogen write? He must not have taken a credit on those because the one’s I saw with his name on them have been painful to sit through.

    Superbad would have been cool if it had the integrity to actually be about two high school losers who go out looking for roofies instead of being about two high school losers who go out looking for alcohol for the specific purpose of mentally incapacitating women so that they will be incapable of rejecting their sexual advances. Disagree with me? Wasn’t this line in every single commerical for the film? “You know how girls say, ‘oh I was so drunk that night, I shouldn’t have slept with that guy?’ we can be that mistake!” I mean, it’s a movie where it’s a third act plot twist that women have a sex drive.

    Pineapple Express at least isn’t morally reprehensible, but it is stupid, overlong, and kinda boring. I just can’t take the action sequences of the second hour seriously because the entire plot is predicated upon a dude being able to hunt Seth Rogen down because he could identify the strain of weed from a spent blunt on the ground. It’s just too cartoony to take any of the violent stuff seriously, so it gets old, really fast.

    And, having seen some of their actual screenplays, I can attest that neither Rogen nor Goldberg is a very good writer on a technical level. Lots of sloppy writing, inefficient use of space on the page, passive voice, and the same armature for 3 films in a row now. 4 if you count their co-writing work on one shitty Owen Wilson kids movie.

  20. RRA- Personally I think Green Lantern looks like shit, unless they clean up some of that CGI mess they call a trailer they are in for trouble.

    Thor, I don’t know. He was never really that interesting of a character to me, and I’m a giant comic book nerd, so if he has that little appeal to me I don’t see mainstream America throwing Iron Man or Batman money on getting to see it in the theater.The trailer looks good, and I like Anthony Hopkins and all(although his hit and miss record is starting to skew in favor of miss as far as what projects he chooses) but it’s just such a different kind of protagonist for a story. I hope I’m wrong and it blows my mind while setting us up for Whedons Avengers film.

    Cowboys Vs. Aliens though, FUCK YES. That trailer is insanely good, and it looks like Harrison will be channeling some of his inner Indy for us.

    And although the trailer hasn’t been released yet the Captain America set pics have got me very hopeful for that. Plus Chris Evans is great casting, if you don’t like him as an actor check out Sunshine where Danny Boyle proved(to me at least) that with the right director he could be amazing. And Hugo Weaving as Red Skull? DING-DONG, I’m there!

  21. Hunter D.- I see where you are coming from, to a certain extent, but at the same time you can’t tell me that high school kids don’t get girls drunk in hopes of getting laid. They never tried to slip them illegal drugs or rape them so “morally reprehensible” is pretty extreme

  22. Hunter D — If characters doing morally questionable things makes for a bad movie, you must fuckin hate Tarantino.

  23. Superbad and Pineapple Express are great.

    “Examples include 16 BLOCKS, BATMAN RETURNS, UHF, and twelve other movies that other people will list below.”

    Well dammit Vern, now you got me hankering for a UHF write up.

  24. No, but it’s illegal for 17-year olds to drink for a reason. The characters say, in no uncertain terms, that they are getting the alcohol SPECIFICALLY to lower the girls inhibitions. They’re not bringing the alcohol so that they can seem cool. They’re not bringing the alcohol so that they are good house guests. They soberly plan to go to a party and find the drunkest girl they can. That’s rape.

    It’s one thing if you go out drinking with your buddies and meet a girl. It’s something entirely different if you, while sober, plan on going out to find a drunk girl whom you know full well would never sleep with you were she not incapacitated. If the film ever owned up to the fact that what the two lovably awkward heroes are planning is a rape, then I might respect it. The idea of a wild sex comedy about two nerds trying to find some roofies sounds like the kind of transgressive humor I go for, but there is no moral distance here and no element of satire because Rogen doesn’t know what rape is.

    I’m not even kidding. I literally don’t think the man knows what rape is. Consider this little gem from the promotion of the similarly rape-themed Observe and Report. It was in a video interview where Rogen describes the sex scene between himself and Anna Farris. The video is gone from youtube, but I have the quote because I used it in a term paper I wrote.

    “When we’re having sex and she’s unconscious like you can literally feel the audience thinking, like, how the fuck are they going to make this okay? Like, what can possibly be said or done that I’m not going to walk out of the movie theater in the next thirty seconds? . . . And then she says, like, the one thing that makes it all okay”

    And that last line is delivered as a punchline. Because, you know, if a girl can speak in any way, it’s totally consensual.

  25. And keep in mind that the protagonists of the film are literally supposed to be Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg at 17-years old.

    I mean, I fuckin’ love a lot of movies that have reprehensible content. I road public transit for 2 hours each way to see a Todd Solondz double feature this summer. The difference is, whereas Solondz doesn’t judge his characters, Rogen et al. embrace these characters openly. It’s one thing to have characters doing awful things in a movie, it’s another to have the narrative endorse these things.

    American History X documents racism. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen engages in it.

    See the difference?

  26. Hunter D – Actually I thought the most morally objectionable thing about SUPERBAD was the way the female characters are presented. They’re total non-character objects and yet they present them as if they’re supposed to be real people. That sort of bugged me. Two horny teens with half-formed ideas about how to convince a couple gals to overlook their obvious shortcomings seems pretty tame.

    Both PINAPPLE and SUPERBAD have some clunky moments but I think they’re overall pretty unique and winning, with memorable characters, performances, and a pretty distinct and well-formed vibe (although it sounds like the goofy comedy meets ugly world thing they’re shooting is what you dislike most).

  27. Observe and Report is amazing.

    And the main character is a sociopath, so I don’t think the “rape scene” is supposed to endear us to the character. And there is plently of build up about how Anna Farris’ character rolls, which is lots of drinking and sex with various men. If she was supposed to be a victim, her character never says anything to him the following scene. She only treats him like the weirdo he is, and then *spoiler* bones Liotta. I’m pretty sure she was okay.

    Regarding Superbad, aren’t the characters doing what they always do in sex comedies? Porkys, ect? Do you consider these morally bankrupt as well?

    Vern, you mentioned how tired you are of the origin story in movies. Amen, brother. I watched Masters of the Universe yesterday and was excited to see how the movie just drops you into a world that has been battling for years. Do you guys think the origin story is hollywood’s way of saying we’re too stupid to just jump in, and have to get everything explained to us? Looks like the Spidey reboot is going that route, which is regoddamndiculous.

  28. anthony4545 – They do the orgin because

    (1) Its the formula
    (2) “properties” are seen as trilogies, and the origin is numero uno. That sorta shit.

  29. Yeah, among the many reasons why I at this point don’t care for the Spidey reboot, #1 is “It’s been just 10 years since we saw the origin story the last time”.

  30. Mr. Subtlety,

    There’s no doubt that Apatow & Co’s portrayal of woman is problematic. An overwhelming majority of the funny material is given to the male characters, so even if the women aren’t portrayed negatively, they really have nothing to do (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL is basically 2 hours of Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis sitting around watching a bunch of guys goof around). The worst is probably KNOCKED UP, which I think is a funny movie, but just seems so insistent on making all the woman into nagging killjoys. Leslie Mann gets some laughs, but only because of how mean spirited and shrewish her character is. The best is probably 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, because Jane Lynch is allowed to be funny, and Catherine Keener is given an actual character to play.

    Still, I think even though SUPERBAD marginalizes its female characters, it comes off much better than most of these movies. The girls are presented as likable (and in Emma Stone’s case, funny), but it’s a movie about male bonding, so they just aren’t a focal point. Which is fine, not every movie needs a major role for a female character. It take more issue with SARAH MARSHALL, GET HIM TO THE GREEK, KNOCKED UP and FUNNY PEOPLE for having major female characters that aren’t allowed to be funny, or are even really given much interesting to do.

  31. RRA- his facial structure is not that of a native american, in my opinion. But whatever.

  32. Not bad, not great. Gotta love that multi-screen tracking shot though. That was full-on Gondry magic for a solid minute. It needed way more of that sort of thing and more muscularity. I am not opposed to a sequel if Gondry gets more say in things.

  33. Dirk,

    Yeah, that shot where the little split screens kept splitting off from each other was pretty awesome. Maybe I just wasn’t looking close enough, but I could not tell how they did it. It really looked like one shot would magically split up into two.

    The half-car action scene and the fantasy sequence where Cameron Diaz’s hair turns into fire where also nice Gondry-esque touches. I’m not a huge fan of his, but I’m not going to deny his delightful visual wit.

  34. Dan — I mean, we can expand this further and point out that good comedic roles for women are probably even rarer than good dramatic ones; they’re always stuck as the object of desire for the interesting male characters or the girlfriend/wife who exists to provide a) evidence that the male bonding is strictly heterosexual and b) confict over some minor detail to give the males something to overcome. Until Tina Fey came along and started writing 30 Rock, I can hardly think of a single memorable female comedic performance in the last decade (and it’s even worse for pretty women).

    It’s nice that Jane Lynch gets some jokes in 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, and Catherine Keener definitely adds some depth to her character, but even she doesn’t really get any jokes. I guess once a character become the “object” the comedic possibilities diminish somewhat because the dramatic focus shifts to the character trying to overcome the obstacles and obtain the object. Possibly its partly a result of the structure of that kind of story, and would be the same if the gender roles were switched (but then again, what does the fuckup loveable female character even look or act like? Not really a trope which has been cultivated to my knowledge). I considered going on a long feminist screed but suffice to say that you’re right, its pretty bleak for female comedians for all the usual reasons.

    The reason it kind of got to me in SUPERBAD is because the film weirdly seem to be attempting to present the female characters as discreet, distinct individuals (they even get a few scenes of their own!) but it sort of backfires by reminding us how bizarrely written and ill-concieved they are. In a movie which doesn’t try to do this it’s par for the course, but since SUPERBAD seems to bring up the topic it was hard for me to really just let it go. I like Rogen and Goldberg’s scripts by and large, but the way they write all women seems artificial and weird to the point where I have to wonder if they’ve ever actually met a women in person, which in a movie like SUPERBAD really highlights how little interest the film has in who women are, what they want, and why they’re like that.

    Hunter D — I appreciate your concern bro, but I just don’t see that bringing alchohol to a party in the hope of lowering people’s inhibitions counts as rape. If I buy flowers for a girl, I’m attempting to influence her decision and lesson the reasons she has to not want to sleep with me. I don’t think that counts as rape. It also unfairly minimizes the girls’ own agency and control over their actions and desires. Yes, the two guys are skeezy horndogs, but who isn’t in high school? That rings true, and seems like a pretty harmless desire and plan. The movie still reads as kind of insensetive to me, but more for its portrayal of the girls than the guys (see above).

  35. I think everyone can agree that the superhero film has run its course. I wonder if there is any chance of reviving it. The problem is that the origin story of each superhero isn’t terrible different. There was a script out there called Supermax, which would have put another “Green” superhero, Green Arrow, into a prison for supervillains, some of whom he put in there. He would have to not only escape the prison but avoid reprisals from his former enemies. It sounded like a great mash up of a superhero film and a prison film. If Hollywood could start doing more of this, combining superheroes with other genres, then maybe audiences wouldn’t be so goddamn sick of them.

  36. Mr S.

    My big problem with SUPERBAD (and it’s a minor “big” problem, because it’s actually one of my favorite comedies ever) in terms of its portrayal of women is just that at that end, Jules is somehow still willing to go out with Seth. Not only is Seth a fat, physically unattractive malcontent with an obnoxious personality, but he has also admitted to trying to get her drunk to lower her inhibitions and sleep with him, AND accidentally gives her a black eye. I think Emma Stone mostly makes her character funny, likable and relatable for the whole movie, right up until that final scene. Who would forgive this asshole? Why? It’s a weird, unearned moment of wish-fulfillment on the part of Rogen and Goldberg.

    Another thing about KNOCKED UP that irks me (even though, as I said, I think it’s a pretty funny movie) is the way it tacitly forgives the men their sins because they are funny. I honestly believe the movie tries to level the playing field in the male/female relationships by acknowledging that the way Rogen and Rudd crassly/flippantly joke about everything is kinda assholish, that it pisses off their significant others. They’d probably be a little insufferable in real life, especially if you had to live with them, and I think the movie is trying to show how both men and women have these obnoxious quirks that cause tension in relationships (i.e the women are too serious, the men too laid back).

    Problem is, Rogen and Rudd’s flippancy makes for, like, 80% of the comedy in the movie. If it weren’t for them being jerks, the audience wouldn’t be laughing, so hence we like them (even if in real life we might find them a little annoying). So, basically, their flaws are hilarious and lovable, and the women’s flaws are obnoxious and fun-killing. Ugh. You can see Apatow trying to spread the blame out somewhat evenly, but he keeps undercutting himself by giving the men the vast, overwhelming majority of the funny moments.

  37. Super hero movie or western? Well thank god they didn’t do ten years of cowboy origin movies.

  38. And just so Vern doesn’t think we’re getting too off topic here, THE GREEN HORNET more or less fits into the Apatow/Rogen-Goldberg/all-modern-comedy-really template by have a major role for Cameron Diaz, and then giving her little to nothing to do except look pretty. I liked this movie a lot more than Roger Ebert, but he put it very well: “She functions primarily to allow the camera to cut to her from time to time, which is pleasant but unsatisfying. “

  39. BTW, in terms of upcoming superhero and comic book movies: I’m really excited for GREEN LANTERN. For the simple reason, that it’s apparently not ashamed of having purple skinned aliens and a villain with a giant head. That’s awesome in my book!

    On the other hand, I recently realized that 2012 has new Spider-, Bat- and Superman movies coming out, and I don’t care for any of them. It’s a sad world, we’re living in.

  40. If woman wanna be treated equally they can make their own goddamn movies.

    Seriously though, I don’t see how what you guys are talking about is any different from the way men are treated in Sex And(in?) The City ect. Woman don’t need us to keep a watchful eye over the films of cinema for them to make sure everyone gets a fair shake – if they hate Apatow movies i’m pretty sure we’d all know about it by now, and even if they did I wouldn’t give a fuck because Superbad is funny.

  41. If you want comedies with strong female characters that get to do funny things, watch NBC comedies. They’re all over the place.

    Also, Observe and Report is great until that bullshit “happy” ending you just know was tacked on at the end due to test audiences.

  42. Mode7

    “Seriously though, I don’t see how what you guys are talking about is any different from the way men are treated in Sex And(in?) The City ect.”

    Yes, I also object to the depiction of men in some female oriented films/TV shows as well. You’re equivocating; two wrongs don’t make a right.

    That’s not to say I’m seriously angry or upset about it, just that these elements don’t always sit well with me when I watch these movies.

  43. I suppose my point is that as long as we live in a culture where both Sex And The City and Superbad can exist, their really isn’t anything to worry about. So yeah, I suppose I’m saying that two wrongs do make a right. It’s fine for a movie to have a skewed viewpoint as long as a counterpoint can exist, in my opinion.

  44. It’s like in Yogi Bear when Booboo catches the evil mayor’s plan on a button cam and broadcasts it at the Jellystone rally. Come on sentient talking bears, dig a little deeper.

  45. does anyone else ever get the feeling they’re subconsciously channelling Vern when they post here?

    Imitation’s the sincerest form of flattery I suppose…

  46. Mode7

    Good ol’ marketplace of ideas, eh? That works all well and good, but you can point out exactly ONE Sex and the City franchise, versus how many frat boy indulgence franchises? Clearly there is a market for stuff like Sex and the City but the films aren’t made because of a massive institutionalized bias. Hell, I’d even argue that S&tC isn’t even really a show about women so much as it is a show created by and for a certain subset of gay men using women as female transvestites.

    NBC does have a few shows about funny (and attractive!) women. And that’s good. But it’s silly to pretend that just because you have Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and two Sex and the City features that somehow the overt misogyny of 95% of films released is negated.

    As for Superbad, can anyone explain how “You know how girls say, ‘oh I was so hammered last night, I shouldn’t have slept with that guy?” We can be that mistake!” is not a clear indication of intent to sexually assault a girl?

    As for Brandi in Observe and Report, it’s doubly troubling that the film seems to think, “Well, she’s easy, so it doesn’t matter.” The idea of a character who is so naive that he date rapes a girl and then thinks he has fallen in love could be funny. But that’s not the joke. The joke, as explained by Rogen above is that “she’s such a stupid slut that she actually LIKES getting raped.” And actually, Brandi is sexually assaulted TWICE during the movie. First by the flasher, then by Rogen. Here is Rogen’s explaination of the former —

    “Brandi is exposed to [SIC] by the mall pervert and It’s the most traumatic event that’s ever happened to her, which is funny because I always imagined that she’s seen a bit of male anatomy and it wouldn’t normally scare her. But I think she likes to use any opportunity that she can to draw attention to herself.”

    Are you guys beginning to see what I’m talking about? Women who sleep around can’t be sexually assaulted because they’re just dumb sluts, amirite? I mean, if she’s had more than like three sexual partners she’s totally worthless.

    Consider that there are exactly two eligible women in the entire movie: one is Brandi, the superslut who likes to get raped, the other is the ice cream shop girl with a leg in a cast and a purity ring on her finger. Have you ever seen a more pronounced Madonna/whore complex? I mean, if the movie were smarter, I would assume that the dichotomy of these two women was satirical and related to the protagonist’s psychosis. But since that never becomes textual or plays out in the narrative we’re left to assume that the filmmakers really are that myopic.

  47. Another thing with the characters in SUPERBAD… Not only are they trying to lower the girls’ inhibitions but their own as well. There are even explicit points made in this regard. Typical behavior for those who feel inadequate.
    Alcohol as an equalizer. Lowering the inhibitions of not just others, but themselves and also hopefully making themselves more gregarious and loose.
    This is precisely why men AND women go to bars to meet and hook up. Is everyone who has ever gone to a bar in the hopes of getting laid a rapist?
    Plus, you cannot diminish the responsibility of the females. Hill’s line is in regards to a girl making an admitted error in judgement brought on by alcohol, while still taking responsibility and blame for her own actions in choosing to get drunk and lower her own inhibitions.
    Hell, Cera’s character’s “love interest” gets totally wasted of her own accord long before Hill and Cera even make it to the party. And Cera gets loaded himself for not wanting to be the sober one taking advantage of her decision.

  48. Hunter D—

    “You know how girls say, ‘oh I was so hammered last night, I shouldn’t have slept with that guy?” We can be that mistake!”

    Flip that line around, say it was some guy that sleeps with a girl he wouldn’t have if he wasn’t drunk. You’re saying that you think he was molested? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you probably wouldn’t. What you’d probably think is “well, buddy maybe you shouldn’t have drank so much”. The reason being that people are generally accountable for their own actions, even when drunk. What you’re saying is that women are somehow not COMPLETELY aware of what might happen if they drink too much at a party – a party full of dudes that want to have sex with them. I don’t think you’re giving women enough credit.

  49. Well I don’t really want to become the mighty defender of SUPERBAD. I just brought it up because I don’t think it’s fair to call the kid a lazy stoner when he was writing a screenplay in high school, ended up getting it made and it turned out really fucking funny. Not only that but it’s well made, has a great soundtrack and they even got Bootsy Collins to do the score. It’s not just some throw away shit, despite it being a teen sex comedy that includes a long montage of drawings of penises wearing clothes.

    In fact it’s exactly the type of movie some of you guys were just defending Kevin Smith’s movies as, except (to my tastes) way more effective and made by people who want it to look nice and everything. Actually, this makes me feel old, but I’m sure Rogen and Goldberg grew up on Smith’s movies and were influenced by them.

    Obviously it pushed your buttons Hunter, but I think your reading of the movie is off. I mean, we could get into whether Seth is talking about date raping somebody or benefiting from “beer goggles,” but it’s not really relevant because the movie isn’t endorsing his plan anyway. He’s obviously the obnoxious John Belushi friend and he says things like that that make the nicer Evan horribly uncomfortable. The reason the line is supposed to be funny is not “hey, that’s a great idea!” but because it’s pathetic and out of line.

    Anyway the whole point of the story is that their understanding of getting laid and being cool are naive. They don’t try to do most of the shit they talk about. There is no point where they’re trying to feed drinks to a girl, they just impress them by being able to obtain the alcohol. They’re posers. The girls also are naive and trying to be more adult than they’re ready for, which leads to the hilarious awkwardness of the girl getting drunk and talking about giving “a blow j” and complimenting his dick for being “smooth.” And in the end, whether it rings true or not, the happy ending is that they didn’t just get drunk and get laid. Both sides put up a front but become vulnerable to each other and have a more meaningful connection as human beings. (also a great obscure Curtis Mayfield song plays.)

    I agree that their movies so far are about dudes and don’t have very strong female characters, especially GREEN HORNET. But I don’t agree with your reading of SUPERBAD’s insidious intentions and even if I did it wouldn’t change my initial point that he’s a hardworking young pothead.

    Also they came up with this idea and it makes me laugh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhP0tOm6yt0

  50. Sorry Grim Grinning Chris, I didn’t refresh the page so I was unaware you’d pretty covered everything contained in my post.

  51. No sweat, Mode… Then Vern showed up and explained similar points better than either of us. All hail.

  52. Do you think you would have liked the movie more Vern if Nic Cage had stayed on as the villain and got his wish(according to Gondry) of playing it with a jamaican accent?

  53. Senor Reaper – Dude, no offense, but what you said reminds of people back in ’08 who criticized our current President for not “being black enough” or “refusing to accept his white half”. I’m sure you didn’t mean to, but c’mon do Native Americans have a particular “look”?

  54. CJ Holden-Tom Hardy as BANE doesn’t have you the least bit interested in Nolans 3rd Batman?

  55. Westerns don’t have origin stories because the old west is something most people have a gist of or understand a bit. Superheroes as a bit less accessible to the mainstream, so I think a lot of the audience DO need an in. And that’s before you throw in extra genre elements like the character being a Norse God or a Space Cop, or The Defender Of An Ancient Mystical City In Tibet Who Gets His Powers From Sticking His Fists Into The Heart Of An Immortal Dragon He Has To Fight After A Decade Of Martial Arts Training. As a comics fan I’d personally love to see some movies without origins, but I think a lot of people would be alienated by some. Also, despite all the movies there have been, the genre’s formulas and tropes are generally taken more from the movies than the comics, and rarely dig any deeper than the surface. Like, whenever there’s an original comedic take on Superheroes, it’s typically riffing off what people know from Superman (Megamind seems to have an exaggerated goody goody Superman stand in from what I’ve seen of it) or outright parodies of other well known superheroes. But think of all the things that comics do, like:
    -heroes dying and resurrecting
    -heroes passing on the mantle to another bearer
    -supervillains who keep getting out of prison
    -teams made up of originally solo characters, not conceived as teams from the beginning like X-Men
    The first two haven’t been covered yet, and I doubt will any time soon. The third doesn’t happen due to the villains dying most of the time, sometimes in really contrived ways so as not have the hero get his hands dirty, and the last one we’re only just getting with Avengers. There’s lots of other stuff, but despite the possibilities for serious or even comedic story exploitation, these more esoteric elements are largely unfamiliar to most audiences and are omitted or played down. Though sometimes this goes the opposite direction a bad way, like doing the Jonah Hex movie with the supernatural elements and wacky wild wild west type things rather than just like the current comic, which is just a badass, gritty, well told collection of Western stories, that when it DOES do the more far out things, can actually make them WORK.
    I mean, shit, would something more with THIS tone have been so bad:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qQHjlItfDU

  56. Subtlety: I’d submit Jessica Walter from Arrested Development, but she’s not center stage or anything and your general point stands.

    How far back does the “record the bad guy surreptitiously” cliche go? The earliest one I can think of is TOUCH OF EVIL, but there had to have been stuff earlier.

  57. Speaking strictly for myself, Jessica Walter was centre stage in ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT even when she wasn’t talking, even when she wasn’t in the scene and other people were talking about her, or whenever Buster exhibited a nervous tic (ie. whenever Buster was visible). She was so great on that show.

    Mr. Subtlety: I don’t know if you saw EASY A, but there is a point in the film where it’s as if the entire production abruptly abandons any attempt at developing the premise of the film, which up to that point was pregnant with potential meaning. It’s like watching people jump from a sinking ship.

    Emma Stone seems cursed with these promising roles that never follow through on their potential. ZOMBIELAND had the same problem.

  58. Dieselboy: No, not a little bit. And I like Tom Hardy and I’m happy to see that he came such a long way since STAR TREK: NEMESIS.

  59. I respect that Tom Hardy is one of the few male actors brave enough to show his dingus, why are so many actors afraid to whip it out?

  60. Dave Foley did it at least twice! And almost the whole cast of SPARTACUS: BLOOD & SAND did it in more than one episode.

  61. Some of the “actors” in CALIGULA weren’t exactly shy…

  62. I actually remember reading an interview with Rogen where he mentioned that after they hired Gondry, he and Goldberg offered to rewrite the script to make it more in line with something like SCIENCE OF SLEEP, but Gondry insisted that he wanted to just make a normal movie.

  63. Not only do we have the damn superhero origin stories, we are forced to have villian origin stories.
    What the hell? Why couldn’t the Spidy sequels have opened like a Bond movie with Spidy swinging around and
    suddenly having to fight the Rhino or someone for 10 awesome minutes?
    Now another total origin story-no thanks.

  64. Darth-
    amen! There was a rumour that Spidey 3 was going to open with a fight against a reworked Sinister Six! How sweet woul that have been?

    I think some properties need an “in” for the audience, especially those that haven’t been on the silver screen before. But a bombastic opening that just throws the veiwer’s ass into the movie is sweet. Batman Forever& Daredevil have a long list of problems (especially DD, and don’t get me started on the directors cut), but I liked how Gordon and Bats are in league, and they don’t bother giving a lame backstory as to how it happened, and DD is in costume (sigh) watching/murdering a crook by subway. Murdering aside, that bit was a nice relief.

  65. Mode7, I have to struggle not to channel Vern in my professional writing these days. Always tempted to give spoiler alerts AFTER I give something away, usually something totally obvious to begin with. I try not to talk about Avid farts and mega acting because those are Vern’s. Of course, it speaks to how Vern is channeling the subconscious desires I never knew I had until I read him, but I’m trying to be fair.

    re: Hornet, I personally would love EVERYTHING more if Nic Cage were the villain with a weird voice. Although I saw the gunfight sex scene from Drive Angry and it makes me sad. Not only is it a poor rip off of Shoot ‘Em Up and I’m sure Lussier doesn’t even know that another movie did gunfight sex, but it doesn’t even look like a real movie. Those 3D elements look like bad DTV effects and the production value looks below DTV. I hope Nic can prove me wrong.

  66. It looks funny on the trailer and I could use a good laugh. I think I’ll watch it.

  67. By the way, sometimes you just have to stop talking the movies to death and enjoy.

    Maybe there have been 865 superhero movies made in the last ten minutes but there is always room for more gratuitous violence. Everyone enjoys watching a good ass whooping.

    And I agree with you vern, Bronson was unique. And a total badass to boot. One of my first memories was watching deathwish from behind my grandpa’s chair. He was such a bad good guy.

  68. I like Seth Rogen, but he is completely wrong for this type of movie. In fact, my main issue with the movie was his constant babbling about nothing. Seth just played Seth in this movie. The best joke had nothing to do with him as far as I’m concerned. That would be James Franco’s cameo. That scene had my hopes up that the Green Hornet would be a fun ride. Instead it was a disjointed movie in ever way. I didn’t mind the comedy at all, but why did Britt Reid stay the same person from begging to end? The reason for that would be that Seth was just being Seth. He put no effort into this movie at all, and losing weight doesn’t count.

    What the hell was the point of having Michael Gondry direct if he was just going to make a movie any hack could have made. The only thing that partially seemed like Gondry were the Kato fight scenes. Even those were lazy. The first fight scene seemed like something out of an old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, complete with generic gang bangers. The problem is I could see seeds of a good comedy/action movie but they never grew into anything worthwhile.

  69. FREAKS & GEEKS and (especially) UNDECLARED (where he was a story editor as well as actor) are good examples of Rogen’s writing. And both shows wrote some strong material for the female characters.

  70. no faster review? shameful.

  71. Finally saw this and was pretty disappointed that it just devolved into a Blues-Brothers-esque orgy of explosions and broken glass at the end. Plus crushed and mangled bodies. I had no idea Rogen wrote this thing until the end credits, but it makes sense, since both this and Pineapple Express just turn into (not very good) gory action movies in the last 20 minutes.

    Speaking of which, I thought it was weird that (like most superhero movies) they seemed to not want to kill the bad guys – shooting them with gas and bean bags and whatnot, and the fact that alot of the villains died accidentally. But then in only the second action scene, Kato shoots a gang-banger in the head and then later they’re blatantly snapping necks and throwing-star guys in the throat. It’s tonally bizarre for a movie that’s pretty light-hearted in most of the scenes.

    And *SPOILER* – let’s talk about Waltz’s death for a minute – I heard it was brutal and out of place, but I figured it was just him falling into a wood chipper or something. But DEAR LORD, it was like they watched Tommy Lee Jones’ death in Under Siege and were intent on one-upping it in the “horrible ways for an Oscar Winner to get his eyes gouged out and die” category.

  72. Finally watched it and was surprised how much I liked it. It definitely had a unique tone, with at one hand being a flat out comedy, but then not turning into a parody, having lots of grisly deaths (seriously, thanks internet for NOT spoiling how Christoph Waltz died. I’m serious. Usually you spoil everything, but for any reason you kept it all for yourself this time) and even going so far to pull an if-we-can’t-imprison-him-we-have-to-murder-him-in-cold-blood-although-we-are-the-likeable-heroes at the end.
    It’s not a GREAT movie, but I really enjoyed it. I probably would have loved it, with someone other than Seth Rogen in the main role. Y’know, someone who is not as wooden and even knows how to make the banter between him and Kato really funny, but well, you can’t have everything.

  73. So how about that movie THE INTERVIEW? Can you believe Sony has canceled it’s release entirely and will probably bury it forever?

  74. I am actually really sad to be an American today. I mean, I know we piss on our ideals every single minute of every single day, but at least we didn’t let anyone tell us what movies we could watch.

  75. Yeah, this sets a really bad precedent, one that might have far bigger implications than a silly comedy, we might be looking at a blueprint for how anyone with some computer skills can get a company to censor itself, imagine how that be abused, we may literally have just witnessed history in the making today.

  76. This could also be a good thing. Perhaps next time they decide to make up shit about a living person without any knowledge about…well, anything, they’ll think twice.

  77. I think it’s a disgrace. Sony better wise up and release the movie because otherwise they’re setting a precedent for every nut with any ax to grind to make threats against movie releases. This will not only include dictators but religious nuts, who actually would have some potential of pulling off an attack, unlike North Korea. Imagine if this had happened before the release of THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, for example.

    I’m not always a total hardcore on these issues, for example I didn’t blame Comedy Central when they decided to pull a South Park episode to protect their employees from threats by religious fanatics. But to allow the dictator from another country to ban a movie in our country, because it makes fun of him, with no credibility in his threat, is ridiculous.

    But even before today’s embarrassing cancellation debacle (which we have to blame the theater chains at least partly for, since they’re the pussies who backed out) it was shameful how the movie news people all jumped on the stupid Spider-man and Angeline Jolie email stories and shit, playing into the hackers’ hands and supporting the new environment where studios will be even more risk averse than before in case they offend some crazy some person somewhere who might be able to hire hackers. Yesterday Fox dropped out of distributing a green-lit and funded Gore Verbinski suspense thriller starring Steve Carrell because it was gonna take place in North Korea, so it got cancelled.

    Also, I wanted to see the movie and I loved seeing THIS IS THE END with a big theater full of people laughing. Now people are talking like they might not even release it *at all* to try to get some insurance money out of it.

    (Ha ha, an ad for THE INTERVIEW is on cable while I’m typing this. It still looks funny.)

  78. Yeah, I thought it looked like a decent movie as well and I hate the idea of never being able to watch it if I choose to.

    It also reminds me of THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST and makes me think of the potential for people in America to abuse this new standard, just imagine some right-winger deciding he’s had enough of liberal Hollywood and follows suit the next time Michael Moore releases a movie or whatever, or beyond movies imagine how this sort of tactic could be used to censor the press, some news outlet or journalist gonna release a story you don’t want? hack them and threaten them and it’s gone.

    And it only serves to me to confirm how movies are slowly dying in American culture, they’re not even worth fighting for anymore, I’m sure this is sending a message to Hollywood and that message is “note to self: do not make another politically charged movie ever again”.

  79. By the way, isn’t this whole story just in general very, very surreal? The world has gotten very strange this year.

  80. Here is the thing. I think the “terrorists” are just some 4Chan kiddies, who try to take their “joke” as far as possible, once they got suspected of being North Koreans. And while I seriously do not care for the movie at all, I also think it’s a shame that Sony pulled it, BUT would YOU like to be the guy who has to explain to everybody why you still released it after some nut bombed or gunned down a full theatre, doesn’t matter if his act was related to the hackers or not?

    Not to mention I’m sure that for now Sony is just calculating how big their financial loss will be in a worst case scenario and announce a VOD release before christmas.

  81. It’s true that 4chan types have had it out for Sony ever since “RIIIIIIIIDGE RACEEEEEEEER”, remember when they hacked PSN?

  82. My guess is that Sony is under a lot of pressure from the Japanese government who is negotiating with North Korea for the release of prisoners. For Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this deal is certainly more important than any movie.

  83. I read on Twitter Sony is pulling it completely because of insurance, and may even go as far as destroying all film and digital elements for said reason, but the producers might have the final say as far as that goes. People should keep in mind that Sony is a Japanese, not an American company, so I’m sure whatever decision to pull every trace of it came from Tokyo, not Culver City. On the other hand the theater chains are, but I don’t blame them for the reasons CJ stated. So I’m not totally giving in to this hype that it’s destroyed the First Amendment, especially since there has been a very strong opposition to this in social media already from Hollywood types.

  84. They can delete every single frame of Seth Rogan captured on film for all I care.

  85. I really like the films Rogen writes and/or directs so I am pretty bummed that some entitled tinpot fuckstick who thinks he’s God can pretend he’s a big man and tell me what I can watch. I understand that Sony is a corporation and it gives exactly zero fucks about free expression and liberty and honor and all that shit, but this motherfucker threatened american citizens with death and destruction and he still got everything he wanted. The thought of that fat murdering little shitstain gloating over his victory while his people starve makes me sick.

  86. As crazy as all this is Vern, I don’t know if I agree the theater chains are pussies just yet – we have a pretty incredibly litigious society, where everyone sues everyone for everything. If I owned a theatre chain I wouldn’t play it either. Sure, there’s a 99.9% chance the threats aren’t real, but let’s say they weren’t bluffing (or more likely, some sicko not related to the hacking scandal uses it as a place to massacre people/get famous), the theater chain would have been sued immediately for not protecting the filmgoer.

    The theater chain where the Dark Knight Rises shooting happened got sued for not providing a safe environment, for instance, and in that case, unlike here, there was no heads up or advance warning. I’m not really sure what else they were supposed to do or how they were at fault, but I do know if they had set up metal detectors and frisked everyone beforehand, everyone would be screaming bloody murder about rights and MURICA and whined the same way people whine when they have to take their shoes off for 30 seconds at the airport.

  87. None of that makes me any less pissed off. Sure, terrorists, go ahead and kill as many people as you want. We will not negotiate. But put us in a situation where somebody might sue, and we’ll roll over like a dog trying to get its belly rubbed. It just a shows where our priorities lie as a society.

  88. You guys don’t seriously think Kim Jong-un’s behind this?

  89. Mr. Majestyk I must disagree with “this is how society works.” This has nothing to do with “society” values. It’s purely private capitalism. Nobody put this to a vote. No governments got involved. This was private corporations fucking around with private corporations. The big money guys don’t have allegiance to free speech or freedom of expression or any of that shit. It’s about making money, and if they feel that they can’t make it because audiences are scared, they yank the film. This is a Japanese company getting torpedoed by America’s ogipolistic movie theater system, where 3 corporations control 19,000 of America’s movie screens.

  90. pegs: I didn’t until the FBI confirmed it. It’s not like I believe everything the feds tell me but casting false aspersions at a foreign government with nuclear capabilities over a James Franco movie seems like a bridge too far for even the staunchest conspiracy nut. I think at this point we have to assume that, yeah, that little ratfucker is behind this.

    Crushinator: Who do you think is running our society? The voters? Don’t make me laugh. Corporations have the money, so corporations set the rules.

  91. neal2zod, America is an “incredibly litigious society” that has less judges per capita than France, about the same number of lawyers per capita as Australia, and files litigation at lower cost than almost anyone else at a rate about 25% higher than the UK.

    Also, the phrase “(so and so) was sued over XYZ” as though it’s a bad thing is ridiculous. You can be sued for anything by anyone. I can bang my knee on a counter somewhere and sue whoever owns. I can drop a can of tomato soup on my foot at the grocery aisle and sue the store. It doesn’t mean I will win and it doesn’t mean there’s some kind of defect in the American legal system because people are allowed to, you know, actually have their complaints heard by the government and maybe get some redress for it regardless of how big or small it is.

    Anyway the Aurora lawsuit is not resolved, the judge has specifically said that the defense attorneys have not convinced him to summarily dismiss beyond a reasonable doubt, and that he thinks that theaters in 2012 should have hired contingents of off-duty cops and security guards whenever big movies opened and packed theaters full of people. Which I would disagree with, EXCEPT there’s the simple fact that the Aurora theater did not hire extra security but other theaters in the same chain did, in fact, bring extra security in to protect the large crowds of people. So there may be some merit in the claim that Aurora’s policy of “just do whatever you feel like doing re: security” was in fact damaging in some way and lead to additional mayhem.

  92. Mr. Majestyk, no I’ll unequivocally say that the rich are ruining our society, and corporations are their tools for exerting control. But I’m also saying that this particular situation – of The Interview being squashed from theatrical release – is basically a handful of rich Japanese guys getting fucked by handful of rich American guys because of a very touchy nation-state engaging in some pretty baller cyber-warfare due to the content of the movie and doesn’t reflect the values of society at large.

    Of course, society at large’s values are all really fucked up and bad right now, too, so I’m not sure if that distinction really matters.

  93. That movie was a very stupid idea to begin with. I wish more idiotic looking movies will get shut down like the latest Rogen and Franco Fiasco did.

  94. I, too, hope movies with a premise that I personally don’t like are shut down by criminal acts backed by foreign dictatorships.

  95. Ticket-takers better not start doing more thorough searches of my man-purse when I go to the cinema. That’s where I sneak in sushi from local restaurants so as to avoid the temptation to spend $18 on concessions.

    All movies are better with secret sushi on the dee ell in my opinion.

    The hackers & North Koreans dont’t want to kill us; they want to inconvenience us with heightened security measures at our theatres.

    They hate us for our illicit food freedom.

  96. Oh crushinator with all due respect please shut the fuck up. Look man I’m all for freedom of expression I really am. At the same time I don’t believe freedom of expression allows for freedom of stupidity. Making a movie where the CIA who is hated by pretty much the entire world is responsible for the murder of a sitting world leader is fucking stupid.

    Whether its Obama or the Pope or even another hated leader akin to North Korean Cunt like Putin same principle still stands. Especially if it’s being done in poor taste by some clueless stoner. Before anybody brings up DEATH OF A PRESIDENT that movie wasn’t a heavily marketed endeavor with ambitions of a worldwide audience, a budget in the millions and starring two A list actors. The context is pretty different.

    Again freedom of expression does not give the right to freedom of stupidity without expecting to be called out on it. Honestly that is actually one freedom people tend to abuse because of lack of maturity. A more mature screenwriter could’ve made the same premise work with a fictional dictator from a fictional nation and still be able to deliver the same message.

    But no of course they didn’t do that because it wouldn’t have any shock value. So fucking transparent. Does that mean that I agree with the premise of pulling a movie in this manner just because I also think it’s a stupid idea? No.

    I think they should have just released it and allowed it to fail on its own. With that said its no sweat off my back either that it did get pulled. The less idiotic shit out there for the masses to consume the more some people start getting a clue that they should probably be a little bit more sensitive and responsible when coming up with future screen plays.

    Besides as idle as the threats may seem we also do know that there are people sick enough in the head to act on those threats be it for 15 minutes of fame or what have you in this country. So I kind of see why those theater chains didn’t want to take a chance especially after the Dark Knight Rises Fiasco.

  97. Mouth – “they hate us for our illicit food freedom”

    I’ve heard that buttered popcorn really grinds their gears.

  98. Well, many good points have been made here. It is true that Sony’s decisions may have to do with Japanese priorities or other things that we aren’t considering. It’s true that maybe the theater chains didn’t have much of a choice because in the not-remotely-believable scenario that something happened they would get blamed. But whatever, in the end the results suck. This will not be the last time that they have to decide whether or not to give in to crazy anonymous online demands. Although they’ll do their best to not make movies that offend anybody.

    The best optimistic view of it I’ve seen was someone I didn’t know on Twitter saying that maybe now that North Korea is fucking with corporations there will finally be regime change.

    Geeze, these Freaks and Geeks couldn’t get a second season, now they accidentally made The Satanic Verses. Tough break.

    And man Broddie, it seems like you hate everything now. THIS IS THE END really didn’t make you laugh?

  99. I never got a chance to see it Vern. But if it’s any consolation I still think that SUPERBAD is really funny and that KNOCKED UP was the best thing that Rogen and Apatow did together since FREAKS AND GEEKS.

  100. Mr. M: all I heard that it is a “government official” that confirmed it was NK to the press, nothing indicating it was the FBI or not. I kind of don’t think it is and wouldn’t be surprised if it was just a former employee of Sony with the capability to do this. Especially as it came out recently that Sony’s system was a lot easier to hack than one might think.

    http://www.wired.com/2014/12/evidence-of-north-korea-hack-is-thin/

    http://marcrogers.org/2014/12/18/why-the-sony-hack-is-unlikely-to-be-the-work-of-north-korea/

    Meanwhile it’s looking like Michael Mann’s next film BLACKHAT might get quite the boost from all this news, similar to THE CHINA SYNDROME being released after the Five Mile Island incident.

  101. Crushinator Jones

    December 18th, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    “Oh crushinator with all due respect please shut the fuck up” is my Phrase That Pays, thank you Brodie. Your check is in the mail.

    What’s interesting to me is that this didn’t start as cyberterrorism. They didn’t pull any Die Hard 3 shit, hack traffic lights, try to scare civilians, etc. It started as cyberextortion. They got their hands on embarrassing info and tried to blackmail Sony. And that didn’t work, so THEN they started threatening actual real terrorism – i.e. killing people who went to see the movie. And that does work, and it will continue to work until America undergoes a systemic cultural change that I’m not likely to see in my lifetime.

    As for this setting a “precedent”, well it does show people that threatening others and actually being capable of following through on your threat gets results, but you know what? That does actually work pretty much every time. I mean come on. Give me an example where somebody made a credible threat, followed through on it, and it didn’t change behaviors. NK said, “Don’t release this film or there will be consequences” and Sony laughed it off (we all did). They inflicted some pretty scary cyber consequences and said “don’t release this film or there will be further bad consequences” and guess what? That threat is suddenly a lot more credible. So yeah, if you detonate one bomb and say “I’ll detonate 20 more unless you stop XYZ” you’ll change behavior. Nobody is going to ignore that.

  102. I also do think that it’s possible that it was still a reaction to cyber extortion and not cyber terrorism on the studio’s part. Chances are the hackers had some extremely incriminating dirt on Sony still up their sleeves. Like even worse than a lot of the stuff that’s already been leaked and probably threatend to release that stuff next so Sony finally budged.

    Using the terrorist threat and the parent company’s politics was just another scapegoat. But just like how many licks it may take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop the world may never know.

  103. Broddie— Three licks. It’s axiomatic.

  104. Some good can come of this.
    (And I don’t mean Franco legitimizing his shit career by accidentally stumbling into historically significant geopolitical controversy.)

    For example, I now sort of have an excuse to post a link to my favorite moment of television of the past year,
    a quickie set piece of action that I’m sure this crowd will enjoy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv95znPL_W8

    The Last Ship is legit. Ideally, you watch all of episode 1 and 2 leading up to this scene to get its full impact, but I know that’s a heavy ask, so there’s a rad sub-2-minute clip for you. It’s kinda downhill from there for season 1, with some spikes in entertainment & ‘makes-you-think’ value. The show passes the military jargon tests, and it’s super-fun for Michael Bay fan/haters (one and the same!!!) as an exercise in identifying the auteuristic Bayian flourishes (by this I mean flags, so many flags).

    I’ll be watching season 2 from the jump.

  105. I agree. THE LAST SHIP is fun and Michael Bay’s use of flags is past creepy. Dude, just go have sex with the flag and get it over with so we don’t have to keep watching them snapping majestically in the wind.

  106. Crushinator – Where I disagree with you is about the threat being credible. The hacking-related leaks were a credible threat, but attacking movie theaters is not. If it was Kim Jong-un behind this I do not for a second believe that he has sleeper agents ready and willing to attack a movie theater in the United States. Homeland Security said it was not credible and common sense agrees. North Korea couldn’t do it, and we don’t even know for sure that North Korea is really behind the hack, or that the anonymous posting came from the same people behind the hack. And hacking from far away is a very different crime from putting your body on the line to kill people in a movie theater (though Detective John Blackhat would obviously do it judging from that trailer, that is one ass kicking hacker.) Anyway, if it had been released I would’ve been there and not looking over my shoulder.

    Either way, there have been many controversial and protested movies in the past, but never one that was cancelled due to threats. So that is the precedent we’re talking about.

    I hadn’t really been skeptical about North Korea being responsible until a buddy pointed out that while the messages are in broken English the hackers had to’ve known English to find which emails were sensitive and embarrassing. But I don’t know, our government seems to believe it so far and they have looked into it more than I have.

  107. I thought the broken English was a little TOO perfect, so I was sort of leaning toward disgruntled ex-employees until the feds said it was North Korea. I still figure they had an inside man. Isn’t there always an inside man?

  108. I’m an old man and I’ve seen a lot of weird and strange propaganda in my life. But this one’s just too stupid. We offend countries that ARE capable of invading us with ground forces on a daily basis. And now we’re supposed to be scared of North Korea? Remember the photo of Kim and his generals looking at the controls for their latest missile? The damn thing was made of cardboard! But it’s certainly one helluva PR campaign from Sony.

  109. As much as I love movie theaters and hope they never die, I do hope that Video-on-Demand strikes a huge blow against the major theater chains because of this.

    This whole situation has set a horrible precedent. I can’t believe that terrorist groups now have the power to tell American (and probably global) audiences what they are allowed to watch in theaters.

  110. For any reason I now expect FOX News to criticize Obama for “telling the movie industry what to do”.

  111. Crushinator Jones

    December 19th, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Vern, I don’t think that there’s been a gigantic cyber-extortion in the past. You’re of course 100% correct that all kinds of movies have been protested but leaking embarrassing info, cybercrime (crashing & deleting data on company computers) and terror threats from a dictatorship are new, I think?

    One thing I want to make clear: I am 100% against the theaters’ and Sony’s actions.

  112. FBI says it WAS North Korea.

  113. I wish there was some way we could have the North Koreans extort Hollywood to never release TERMINATOR GENYSIS. I´m not sure how that would work though.

  114. That actually makes me wonder if the public’s reaction would be different, if a studio had to pull a movie that has TURKEY written all over it, for the same reasons as THE INTERVIEW was pulled.

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