The cancellation of next week's release of "The Interview," a Sony film shelved amid threats by hackers the U.S. government believes to have been working for the North Korean government, is an affront to American ideals about free expression. It's also a dangerous precedent of coercion and blackmail against a major corporation that could be replicated in far more meaningful ways against other companies -- or even our government. It should be taken far more seriously than the mere loss of a probably-stupid movie I and many others wouldn't have seen anyway.
Some folks looking for a way to "do something" in the face of this fiasco tried to schedule screenings of the 2004 film "Team America: World Police," which also mocks a North Korean leader -- only to have the studio, Paramount, kill those screenings as well.
So if you're still looking for a way to send some kind of a message, short of pirating "The Interview" and making it available to the whole world, you could do much worse than going to see the movie with a Dec. 25 debut you should have picked anyway: "Unbroken."
The book, by Laura Hillenbrand (who also wrote "Seabiscuit"), is one of the finest I've read in the past few years. It tells the story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympic athlete turned World War II airman who survives an amazing ordeal at sea after crash landing, only to be captured and tortured by the Japanese military. The movie is said to be very faithful to the book and Zamperini's story, and if that's true, it will make for a great way to spend a couple of hours (provided you're not squeamish about watching some brutal scenes). It's a compelling story of a great American's triumph over the oppression of his captors and of his salvation, in more than one respect.
And with that, I bid you adieu for the year. I haven't taken much vacation this year, so I'm going to take the next two weeks off to spend with my family. I appreciate all of you for sticking with the blog through a number of changes this year, and I look forward to cranking it back up on Jan. 5. In the meantime, I'll leave this thread open for a few days.
I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year's.