Just pay for “The Interview,” even if you don’t watch it

I had been wavering about seeing “The Interview.” The reviews have been mixed, but mostly negative. I don’t have a lot of expendable time, so I like sure bets in my entertainment.

But now that Sony has decided to make the film available both online and in theaters, I’ll pay and watch it.

And I think most people should cough up the $5.99 to rent it even if they never see it.

Sony’s decision to pull the movie last week in response to continued threats from hackers was depressing. I understood the public safety argument of theater owners.

But as many argued, it was a very bad precedent, “The Satanic Verses” all over again. But that was 1988. How could content be held as a virtual hostage in the digital age?

Fortunately, tech companies like Google and Microsoft have stepped up.

Microsoft’s Brad Smith said in a blog post that the company’s decision to make the film available on Xbox Video is because “we are supporting the Constitutional right of free expression, and we hope that by acting together, we will help deter other attacks.”

Given the greater cause, so what about the film’s quality?

It is a historic moment, as I wrote earlier. Tech helping out Hollywood. The White House stepping in on Sony’s behalf to talk to Apple about making it available on iTunes (Apple reportedly declined).

So buy it but don’t sit through it if this description by Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times sounds unappealing: “a sloppy farce with the look of a low-budget affair, perhaps to match its lowbrow idea.”

But Jake Coyle of the Associated Press praised the film because it “pulses with an unpredictable absurdity and can-you-believe-we’re-doing-this glee.”

That reminds me of Adam Johnson’s “Orphan Master’s Son,” by Stanford University’s Adam Johnson, also about North Korea. Some critics pooh poohed the book for its absurdity, much like “The Interview.” But it won the 2013 Pulitzer for fiction.

Now that I can stream it on YouTube or Xbox, rather than go to a theater, it’s an easy decision. I’ll give it a go.

Above: Movie posters for the premiere of the film “The Interview.” (AFP/Getty Images)




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