Nerd Alert! - "The Interview" disaster and "The Imitation Game"

By Rev. Adam McKinney on December 23, 2014

Ed. note: Sony Pictures Entertainment said today it will release The Interview in select theaters on Christmas Day.

It would be disingenuous for me to start off this column with anything other than the biggest bit of news in the entertainment industry, right now, even though I might literally be the last person in the world to give my opinion on the matter. With that said, here's my patented TakeTM on the catastrophe surrounding Sony pulling the release (seemingly indefinitely, in all formats) of The Interview: in the simplest terms - it's awful and we should all be very afraid.

That good enough? OK, in more complicated terms, this is clearly setting a dangerous precedent for the state of creativity in mainstream entertainment. Whether or not North Korea was ultimately behind the hacking of Sony and the subsequent threats of terrorist activity (as the US government is now alleging), what we do know is that Sony decided to bury a movie because of some vague threats and the very real possibility of more internal documents being released to the public. While I acknowledge that Sony was between a rock and a hard place (releasing the film to actual terrorist attacks would have made them seem like ghoulish profiteers), what they've actually done is confirm that anonymous threats are enough to inspire an awe-inspiring act of censorship over what was likely a movie mostly about James Franco and Seth Rogen making dick jokes.

Comparisons to The Great Dictator have already been made and, yes, while it's true that that film did not feature Chaplin assassinating a reigning dictator, it did infamously end with Chaplin posing as the dictator and giving a rousing speech decrying everything that Hitler stood for, which would arguably have been just as offensive to Hitler had so many countries not then shunned Chaplin (which, including the United States, was unfortunately the case).

I realize that this is a silly nerd column, so I'll end my rant here: If we're not vocal, this disaster with The Interview will go on to dictate what entertainment the public is privy to watch, which should sound absolutely terrifying to you.

Opening Christmas Day: The Imitation Game

In other, less troubling movie news, the film in competition with The Theory of Everything for the coveted award of Best Prestige Movie About a Great Scientist is coming to theaters. Instead of exploring the life of Stephen Hawking, The Imitation Game follows the life of Alan Turing, who helped the United States to break the Germans' supposedly unbreakable codes during World War II. As if that isn't enough, he also came up with the Turing test, which has challenged scientists ever since to come up with a machine that can believably converse with humans to the point that a human cannot tell if he or she is speaking with a machine. This, Turing thought, would be the barrier we would need to pass before we could actually access artificial intelligence.

Plus, The Imitation Game has Benedict Cumberbatch in it, which is always nice. Just try not to think about The Interview, and you should enjoy your time at the movies just fine.

LINK: Previous Nerd Alerts issued