Update: In an incredibly lame but entirely predictable move, Paramount Pictures, which owns the rights to “Team America: World Police,” has canceled screenings of the movie nationwide. The Alamo Drafthouse is blaming “reasons beyond our control” and refunds are being issued. Gizmodo fittingly called Paramount’s decision “a truly staggering act of cowardice.” We couldn’t agree more.
Yet another update: Well, that was silly. “The Interview” is now available for download, and Alamo Drafthouse ended up screening it anyway. You go, Tim League.
Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse is not taking the hack attack on Sony Pictures sitting down.
After Sony announced that its theater partners were cowed by threats of violence from North Korean hackers, causing the International release of their forthcoming comedy “The Interview” to be canceled, the Drafthouse took it upon themselves to make a point. Now that point has gone viral, making international headlines. Talk about good timing!
Granted, it was a Drafthouse in Dallas that jumped at this first, but we’re still talking about an Austin-based business.
Instead of taking “The Interview” cancellation sitting down, James Wallace, creative director at the Drafthouse in Dallas, decided to host a free screening of “Team America: World Police” in its place. The film pokes fun of the deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, among others. Even though Big Il is gone like the snows of yesteryear, his son and current North Korean leader Lil’ Kim (AKA Kim Jong Un) can’t be too happy about the Drafthouse’s slight. (Then again, neither was Madonna about her “texting incident,” but she doesn’t have nukes so nobody cares.)
“We’re just trying to make the best of an unfortunate situation,” Wallace told The Hollywood Reporter.
Of course, there are other reasons for a free screening of “Team America.” The film came out in 2004, shortly after the start of the Iraq war and at the height of anti-Bush mania, which means it is now 10 years old. That’s certainly cause for celebration, right?
“The world is different in 2014 than it was in 2004,” the Drafthouse website observes. “Kim Jong Il is gone. I don’t know if Michael Moore is still around or not. But a lot of the brilliance in TEAM AMERICA is timeless. Acting is still the greatest gift any human being can possess, and it’s the only way to save America from the terrorists. Puppet f***cking is still awesome. And Matt Damon is still Matt Damon.”
“And yeah, we will have American flags, red white and blue streamers, balloons, and more for everyone,” they add. “And THAT is how true American heroes will be celebrating this year, but if you want to let the terrorists win…well, that’s your prerogative.”
This whole episode has us thinking about the time that North Korea threatened to nuke Austin. Remember that? Nothing ever came of it, obviously. Then again, hacking a movie studio and threatening to blow up theaters is a lot less crazy than telling everyone you’re going to nuke the Live Music Capital of the World. So maybe, in a small way, this is progress? Hard to say, really.
If it is, let’s reset that right here and now. Please enjoy the video below from “Team America,” featuring Kim Jong Il singing about how lonely he is. It’s got NSFW language, but we don’t care so long as Lil’ Kim gets offended. Because, seriously: Screw that guy.
The Drafthouse’s screening of “Team America” is scheduled for Saturday, December 27 at 7 p.m.