In case you’ve missed it, the internet was shut down in North Korea today, which is the second time in two days, and there is speculation that the U.S. government was responsible.  This is being reported on Fox News, CNN, the BBC, the Guardian, and sites like Wired and Slate.  Along with the speculation is the report that Putin has invited the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un. 1 James Rogers. North Korea suffers second internet outage. Fox News. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/12/23/north-korea-suffers-second-internet-outage/
2 Nathaniel Beach-Westmoreland. If North Korea Did Hack Sony, It’s a Whole New Kind of Cyberterrorism.
Wired. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.wired.com/2014/12/why-america-must-answer-north-korea/
3 Greg Botelho. With Internet still spotty, how might North Korea respond? CNN. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-
2014. http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/23/world/asia/north-korea-internet/index.html
4 Natalie Nougayrede. Has North Korea found a friend in President Putin? The Guardian. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/23/north-korea-putin-sony-kim-jong-un-russia-cyber-warfare
5 Lily Hay Newman. North Korea’s Internet Is Down and It’s Probably Not a Coincidence. Slate.com. 22-12-
2014. Accessed 22-12-2014.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/12/22/north_korea_has_lost_internet_connectivity.html
6 The Interview: Sony’s North Korea film to be screened in US. BBC News. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30589472
7 Lora Moftah. North Korea Nuclear Weapons: Why the Communist State Remains a Threat. International
Business Times. 19-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.ibtimes.com/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-
why-communist-state-remains-threat-1763664

And what is the uproar over?  Is it because of North Korea’s nuclear program?  Oh no, not that. 8 Lora Moftah. North Korea Nuclear Weapons: Why the Communist State Remains a Threat. International
Business Times. 19-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.ibtimes.com/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-
why-communist-state-remains-threat-1763664

Is it because of the brutal treatment of their citizens that are starving?  No, it’s not about that either. 9 Joshua Stanton. Pyongyang’s Hunger Games. New York Times. 7-3-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/opinion/pyongyangs-hunger-games.html?_r=0
10 Ruth Styles. The images Kim Jong Un doesn’t want you to see: Haunting pictures inside North Korea . . .
taken by a photographer who has been banned from the rogue state for life. 9-5-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2624164/North-Korea-Starving-people-child-labourers-dilapidated-homes-
appear-harrowing-new-images-taken-inside-rogue-state.html
11 Life in North Korea: executions, starvation and fear. Channel 4 News. 17-2-2014. 23-12-2014.
http://www.channel4.com/news/north-korea-united-nations-report-crimes-against-humanity

All this is over a stupid movie with Seth Rogen called “The Interview.”  Not just a movie, a dumb movie, imbecilic, catering to the sophomoric.  How do I know this when it hasn’t even been released yet?  Well, look at his track record.  Other than the plum roles as a voice in family films and ensemble pieces, everything he’s been featured in has catered to those who haven’t matured emotionally or intellectually past the age of 18.

I also know this from an excerpt of one of the emails leaked in November regarding the film.

“According to emails that span from August through October and were obtained by Reuters, Hirai asked Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, to change a key shot in the film. It depicts Kim struck by a tank shell, causing his head to explode.”

Sony leadership thought parts of the film were in poor taste and asked Rogen to remove them; this is before any outside pressures came.  Rogen refused with this response:

“Rogen responded by promising to remove three of four burn marks on Kim’s face, and reduce the “flaming hair” by 50 percent. But he said he could not meet all the demands.

The head explosion can’t be more obscured than it is because we honestly feel that if it’s any more obscured, you won’t be able to tell it’s exploding and the joke won’t work,” he said.’

. . . ??? !!! ??? . . .

Yes, ALL this is because he thinks someone’s head exploding is “funny.”

Who are we and what kind of world do we live in that THAT is a joke, and not only a “joke,” but something to risk an international incident over? Something that the President of the United States feels the need to comment on.  Is that not the very definition of insanity?

Followed by the uproar over it and the self-righteousness

Yes, Hollywood used to have courage.  It also used to know what a plot line, characterization and dialogue was.  It used to be able to TELL a story instead of relying on sensationalism and blowing things up.

If the depiction of blowing up someone’s head is what makes or breaks the film, the film probably wasn’t worth making to begin with.

All the commentary, opinions, and angst over this.  The insistence that THIS is “creative expression” and Americans have RIGHT to it.  It’s a point of FREEDOM now.

There are local kids who have gotten in trouble over blowing up turtles on the greenbelts.  Is that going to be “protected speech” now too?

Seriously?  Do you think THIS is what the founding fathers had in mind?

I don’t.  I think they would be ashamed and embarrassed.  I think they had a level of maturity and an innate courtesy that the “humor” in that would not appeal to them.

And then “victory!”  “Freedom” prevails!  The people have spoken.  They want to see their exploding heads . . . because that is just SO humorous. 12 The Interview: Sony’s North Korea film to be screened in US. BBC News. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30589472

“Breaking news,” tweeted Tim League, founder of the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin.

“Sony has authorized screenings of THE INTERVIEW on Christmas Day. We are making shows available within the hour.”

“‘Freedom prevailed’

The White House welcomed the development, with a spokesman saying that President Barack Obama applauded Sony’s decision and that the US was a country that “believes in free speech”.

Seth Rogen, who directed and starred in the film, tweeted: “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up!”

If I were a conspiracy theorist, which I’m not, I would say that this whole scenario was contrived by Sony.  You can’t buy publicity like this.  But I believe this because I know that there are people who are just this clueless.

Update 12/25/2014: Security experts now doubt that the hacking of Sony’s computers that leaked the information initially had anything to do with North Korea. The opinion is that it looks like an inside job.

They also point out that whoever attacked Sony had a keen understanding of its computer systems — the names of company servers and passwords were all hard-coded into the malware — suggesting the hackers were inside Sony before they launched their attack. Or it could even have been an inside job.

The simpler explanation is that it was an angry “insider,” Rogers wrote. “Combine that with the details of several layoffs that Sony was planning, and you don’t have to stretch the imagination too far to consider that a disgruntled Sony employee might be at the heart of it all.”

And I’m offended.

It’s bad enough that this soon-to-be-forgotten film is given all this exposure, but they are going to release it on CHRISTMAS?

It’s just one more sign of disrespect towards Christ from an industry that has made a mockery of every single thing related to Christianity it has touched in the past year.

First we have the Son of God movie.  I know people liked it, but they messed with every single miracle Jesus did, portrayed Jesus as a wuss, completely distorted his comment regarding the Temple (so much for Jewish-Christian relations,) and to top it all off they end with the statement, “but there was darkness in the light.”

No there is not darkness in the light.  That is a gnostic teaching.  The Bible says the complete opposite in 1 John 1:5

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”

Then there was Noah.  The fact that there was a huge hoopla over this horrific movie is just evidence that this stuff is just put out to spit in the eye of Christians.  Setting aside the fact that a story that is supposed to be Biblically based has absolutely NO relation to the Bible, it was just a BAD movie.

It was horrible.

The scene where they are walking through I’m guessing was supposed to be a volcanic field (?) to see Methuselah looked like it was straight out of something that would be shown on Mystery Science Theatre.  It’s even insulting to say that about Mystery Science Theatre.

A huge chunk of the movie was just blood and guts and gore for no other reason than to show blood and guts and gore, because of course, a movie can’t be a “blockbuster” these days without that.  Then Noah had a psychotic break for no explainable reason.

Even without any attachment to the original account, I’m baffled that anyone could recommend it.  But 77% of reviewers do according to Rotten Tomatoes. 13 Noah. Rotten Tomatoes.  Accessed 23-12-2014.  http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/noah_2014/

The latest addition to this list is Exodus: God’s and Kings, where one of the lead actors, Christian Bale, has no problem taking a paycheck for portraying a central Biblical figure, but can’t refrain from showing his contempt by labeling Moses “barbaric” and “schizophrenic.” 14 Catherine Shoard. Christian Bale: Moses was ‘barbaric’ and ‘schizophrenic.’ The Guardian. 27-10-2014.
Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/oct/27/christian-bale-moses-was-barbaric-and-
schizophrenic

Lest you think this is just a Christian being oversensitive, this is a quote from a writer on GQ. 15 Tom Carson. In Exodus: God’s and Kings, Moses Looks Like He’d Rather Drown. GQ. 10-12-2014. 23-12-
2014. http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-feed/2014/12/exodus-gods-and-monsters-ridley-scott.html

“From there on in, I don’t think there’s ever been a major-league biblical movie so tone-deaf to the whole concept of religion. Maybe that sounds like an unlikely complaint from a nonbeliever, but what on earth is the point of retelling this story without even a pretense of interest in the reason a couple of billion people feel invested in it? Forthright hostility to faith would be far preferable to Scott’s chichi take on the embarrassing Yahweh business, epitomized by the movie’s big “daring” touch—having him appear to Moses as an 11-year-old boy who seems to be playing hooky from one of the snottier dorms at Hogwarts.”

Going back a couple of years, Machine Gun Preacher is another illustration of this.  I hadn’t even heard of the movie until Kony 2012 went viral.  Not that this is a huge surprise, I don’t pay a lot of attention to the fanfare around movies.  But when I researched Kony 2012, I came across MGP, and it was amazing to me that with the production it had the movie received such little exposure when just a few months later everyone is talking about a YouTube video on the same subject.  Look at the box office for Relativity Media, the distributor, and just try to tell me there wasn’t something odd going on. 16 Relativity Media. Box Office Mojo. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://boxofficemojo.com/studio/chart/?
studio=relativity.htm

Yes, there were things that bugged me about the movie, for example, when they have Sam go “Rambo” towards the end.  It’s like they just cannot handle making a movie without destruction.

The other thing I noticed is that the person editing it really didn’t understand a life transformed.  They don’t understand Jesus at all. 17 Michelle Vu. Machine Gun Preacher: Real Life Sam Childers More Unbelievable. 18-9-2011. Accessed 23-
12-2014. http://www.christianpost.com/news/machine-gun-preacher-real-life-sam-childers-more-unbelievable-
55857/

It is very obvious that Hollywood has no use for Christianity other than to mock it.

Call me crazy, but didn’t they use to release family movies on Christmas?  Who wants to see a movie where the punch line is someone’s head exploding on Christmas?

The studios produce garbage and reviewers lie.

I’ve actually been watching more movies than I normally do over the Christmas break.  Roku is awesome.  But it’s really a crapshoot finding movies that are worth watching.

I found “Snowpiercer” on Netflix.  It had 7 out of 10 stars on IMDB and a great write up. 18 Snowpiercer.  2013.  IMDB.  Accessed 23-12-2014.  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706620/?ref_=nv_sr_1

I could only handle watching 10 minutes of it before I got my phone out and looked up the synopsis on Wikipedia.  I don’t think it is possible to come up with a more nihilistic and hopeless storyline.  This was another movie that 95% of reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes liked.  They thought it was “ground breaking.”  Pushing the limits of the rating system for brutality is not “ground breaking.” 19 Snowpiercer. 2014. Rotten Tomatoes Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/snowpiercer/

Reviewers are either complete liars or they have horrible taste and don’t know what a good story looks like.

I think it’s both.

Another movie I did watch was “Not Another Happy Ending.”  I loved it.  It was panned on Rotten Tomatoes. 20 Not Another Happy Ending. Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/not_another_happy_ending/

Another one I found which was a Christmas movie and that I absolutely loved was “Love at the Christmas Table.”  It kind of reminded me of Holiday Inn.

Louis Zamperini and Unbroken

There is actually another movie that is being released on Christmas Day that a foreign nation is pushing to boycott: “Unbroken,” the story of Louis Zamperini produced by Angelina Jolie. 21 Kirk Spitzer.  Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ stirs resentment in Japan.  23-12-2014  Accessed 23-12-2014.

Zamperini, who just died this year, was an Olympian who competed in the 1936 Olympics and was noted by Hitler.  A bombardier in the U.S. Air Force in World War II, he was a prisoner of war in Japan for two years after surviving a plane crash.

It is the account of the torture he endured while a prisoner of war certain elements in Japan are protesting.

After returning home, Zamperini struggled at returning to normal life resorting to alcohol to still the nightmares.  He found redemption and restoration in Christ at a Billy Graham crusade in 1949. 22 Louis Zamperini. Wikipedia.  Accessed 23-12-2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Zamperini

In one article I read, the movie is about what Zamperini came through rather than his faith. 23 Benge Nsenduluka. Angelina Jolie Dropped to Her Knees and ‘Prayed for a Miracle’ on ‘Unbroken Film Set
After Taking Inspiration from Christian War Hero. Christian Post. 8-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.christianpost.com/news/angelina-jolie-dropped-to-her-knees-and-prayed-for-a-miracle-on-unbroken-
film-set-after-taking-inspiration-from-christian-war-hero-130840/

Jolie recently spoke about her decision not to delve deeply into Zamperini’s Christian faith walk in the film. She explained that it was the war hero himself who requested that the faith theme be “universal” in a bid to appeal to a broad audience.

“We made it universal, not specific to one faith, and that was something that was agreed upon with Louie,” Jolie said. “He said he wanted the message to reach everyone. He said to make faith and forgiveness universal … he said this is about reaching everyone and this should speak to everyone … If you were looking for symbolism and miracles in the film you will see them.”

I think this is unfortunate because the deliverance that Zamperini experienced is not “universal” to all beliefs.  Every other belief system out there will tell you to work towards it yourself.  Jesus took on our burdens for us. 24 Cal Thomas. ‘Unbroken: Where’s the Rest of Louis Zamperini’s Story? Fox News. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-
12-2014. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/12/23/unbroken-where-rest-louis-zamperini-story/

Even avoiding the centrality of Christ in Zamperini’s life, it is still too Christian for Hollywood obviously.  Jolie got snubbed in the awards nominations.

The recommendations by reviewers (which I think I’ve illustrated above are next to worthless) are going out against the film.  This article recommends not seeing ‘Unbroken,’ but to “search out” ‘The Interview’ . . . because of course, exploding heads are far superior to a story of endurance and overcoming. 25 Kirsten Acuna. 9 Movies Are Coming Out Christmas Day – The Ones You Should See. Business Insider. 23-
12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/christmas-day-movies-2014-12

References   [ + ]

1. James Rogers. North Korea suffers second internet outage. Fox News. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/12/23/north-korea-suffers-second-internet-outage/
2. Nathaniel Beach-Westmoreland. If North Korea Did Hack Sony, It’s a Whole New Kind of Cyberterrorism.
Wired. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.wired.com/2014/12/why-america-must-answer-north-korea/
3. Greg Botelho. With Internet still spotty, how might North Korea respond? CNN. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-
2014. http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/23/world/asia/north-korea-internet/index.html
4. Natalie Nougayrede. Has North Korea found a friend in President Putin? The Guardian. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/23/north-korea-putin-sony-kim-jong-un-russia-cyber-warfare
5. Lily Hay Newman. North Korea’s Internet Is Down and It’s Probably Not a Coincidence. Slate.com. 22-12-
2014. Accessed 22-12-2014.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/12/22/north_korea_has_lost_internet_connectivity.html
6, 12. The Interview: Sony’s North Korea film to be screened in US. BBC News. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-30589472
7, 8. Lora Moftah. North Korea Nuclear Weapons: Why the Communist State Remains a Threat. International
Business Times. 19-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.ibtimes.com/north-korea-nuclear-weapons-
why-communist-state-remains-threat-1763664
9. Joshua Stanton. Pyongyang’s Hunger Games. New York Times. 7-3-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/opinion/pyongyangs-hunger-games.html?_r=0
10. Ruth Styles. The images Kim Jong Un doesn’t want you to see: Haunting pictures inside North Korea . . .
taken by a photographer who has been banned from the rogue state for life. 9-5-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2624164/North-Korea-Starving-people-child-labourers-dilapidated-homes-
appear-harrowing-new-images-taken-inside-rogue-state.html
11. Life in North Korea: executions, starvation and fear. Channel 4 News. 17-2-2014. 23-12-2014.
http://www.channel4.com/news/north-korea-united-nations-report-crimes-against-humanity
13. Noah. Rotten Tomatoes.  Accessed 23-12-2014.  http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/noah_2014/
14. Catherine Shoard. Christian Bale: Moses was ‘barbaric’ and ‘schizophrenic.’ The Guardian. 27-10-2014.
Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/oct/27/christian-bale-moses-was-barbaric-and-
schizophrenic
15. Tom Carson. In Exodus: God’s and Kings, Moses Looks Like He’d Rather Drown. GQ. 10-12-2014. 23-12-
2014. http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-feed/2014/12/exodus-gods-and-monsters-ridley-scott.html
16. Relativity Media. Box Office Mojo. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://boxofficemojo.com/studio/chart/?
studio=relativity.htm
17. Michelle Vu. Machine Gun Preacher: Real Life Sam Childers More Unbelievable. 18-9-2011. Accessed 23-
12-2014. http://www.christianpost.com/news/machine-gun-preacher-real-life-sam-childers-more-unbelievable-
55857/
18. Snowpiercer.  2013.  IMDB.  Accessed 23-12-2014.  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706620/?ref_=nv_sr_1
19. Snowpiercer. 2014. Rotten Tomatoes Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/snowpiercer/
20. Not Another Happy Ending. Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/not_another_happy_ending/
21. Kirk Spitzer.  Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ stirs resentment in Japan.  23-12-2014  Accessed 23-12-2014.
22. Louis Zamperini. Wikipedia.  Accessed 23-12-2014.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Zamperini
23. Benge Nsenduluka. Angelina Jolie Dropped to Her Knees and ‘Prayed for a Miracle’ on ‘Unbroken Film Set
After Taking Inspiration from Christian War Hero. Christian Post. 8-12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014.
http://www.christianpost.com/news/angelina-jolie-dropped-to-her-knees-and-prayed-for-a-miracle-on-unbroken-
film-set-after-taking-inspiration-from-christian-war-hero-130840/
24. Cal Thomas. ‘Unbroken: Where’s the Rest of Louis Zamperini’s Story? Fox News. 23-12-2014. Accessed 23-
12-2014. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/12/23/unbroken-where-rest-louis-zamperini-story/
25. Kirsten Acuna. 9 Movies Are Coming Out Christmas Day – The Ones You Should See. Business Insider. 23-
12-2014. Accessed 23-12-2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/christmas-day-movies-2014-12