If you are anything like us then chances are you took a little time away from your holiday plans and meandered over to your local movie theater to take in a film. Your choices weren’t all that great this year. You could have opted for the Tim Burton film: Big Eyes or perhaps you felt the need to support a franchise like Night at the Museum or the Hobbit. Many people chose however to go out of their way to see a much-hyped film that simply wasn’t very good at even entertaining it’s audience.
The Interview is a surprisingly appropriate holiday film. Everyone wonders what all the commotion is about; why the film wasn’t really going to be released. Then as the film unravels you nod your head as you begin to understand why some people might take offense to the subject matter and maybe even at a few jokes. In the end however, you’re sitting in your seat wondering why such a spectacle was made about something that wasn’t – at least in itself – saying anything substantive or standing for anything worth standing up for. If you’re like us you probably sat back in your seat and thought: “was this all just a really clever marketing ploy to get me to see a film that I wouldn’t otherwise see?” The smart answer, at least as far as we’re concerned is: yes.
Now, putting this idea out there is giving Sony much more credit than they deserve. The studio simply isn’t competent enough to pull something that clever off. After all, have you read some of the e-mails they were sending around? There’s just no way that they could hatch such a scheme to save a movie that was bound to fail and then make everyone happy to see it. They’d be marketing gods if this were the case, but alas Hollywood just isn’t as smart as they’d like you to believe. All of this leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who had the misfortune of sitting through this film when there actually were better options that they could have seen at home. Three of our favorite films are available to watch in the privacy of your own home and they are all better than anything currently playing in theaters. Let’s start with the film none of you are going to see because it is the film that everyone should see: Calvary.
Calvary is the film that Mystic River wanted to be. It is a film about a priest who hears the confession of a man who informs him that he has been raped by a man of the cloth and that the priest who is hearing his confession is going to die as a result of it. If that doesn’t grab your attention it’s difficult to know what will. There’s a lot more to the story and you go through the film getting to know and understand the film’s protagonist. This is a film that is filled with tragedy and it’s one of the few films to come out this year that really makes you feel something. The other two films that we enjoyed were Gone Girl and Nightcrawler. Hopefully by now you’ve heard about Gone Girl, but lets’ talk about the man who isn’t going to win the best actor Oscar but really should because he delivers a performance that you have to see to believe: Jake Gyllenhaal. Nightcrawler is a film focusing around a slippery, suave cameraman who decides to take his entrepreneurial spirit to local news. The film is a character study of sorts about the people who are willing to exploit violence for money and in the end you’re left wondering how the story could have unfolded in any other way.
Our point in publishing this rather grim review of the Interview isn’t to be unpatriotic or anything even remotely close to that. Our goal is to show viewers that sometimes you really do have a choice between a superior product and an inferior product, but because of curiosity or hype you knowingly choose the product that you know is inferior. We don’t harbor any illusions that moviegoers are going to suddenly change their viewing habits because of a hiccup in the marketing process, but it should give us a moment to pause and reflect on why we see movies in the first place and whether or not our entertainment is failing us or we are failing it.