Jeff Jardine

Jeff Jardine: Modesto vet wants Sony to show film

From left, Diana Bang, as Sook; Seth Rogen, as Aaron; and James Franco, as Dave, in “The Interview.” Sony pulled the movie from theaters after hackers, the government said, got into Sony’s computers and threatened harm to those who attend the film in American theaters. The movie is about two Americans going to North Korea to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
From left, Diana Bang, as Sook; Seth Rogen, as Aaron; and James Franco, as Dave, in “The Interview.” Sony pulled the movie from theaters after hackers, the government said, got into Sony’s computers and threatened harm to those who attend the film in American theaters. The movie is about two Americans going to North Korea to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Columbia Pictures-Sony

From the emails and voice mails:

CHANGE.MINDS – The decision last week to pull the Christmas Day opening of the movie “The Interview” doesn’t sit well with a military veteran who served to protect, among other things, our rights to free speech and expression.

Sony pulled the movie from theaters after hackers, the government said, got into Sony’s computers and threatened harm to those who attend the film in American theaters. The movie is about two Americans going to North Korea to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

So Joseph Rezendes, a 29-year-old Modesto resident whose time in the Army included a tour of duty in South Korea, is trying to get about 100 of his closest online friends to sign a petition on change.org telling Sony’s powers that be that they should show the movie. If he gets enough signatures, he said, it will move up in stature to be seen – and possibly signed – by a wider range of people.

The idea that the studio would cower at the threats of the hackers draws Rezendes’ ire.

“That’s not something we do in this country,” he said. “We don’t give in to terrorist threats. I served in the military, and to see someone cave in due to far-fetched threats is ridiculous.”

He certainly is aware of the tension between South Korea and North Korea, and the saber rattling of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“A 20-something dictator running a nuclear program when the people in his country are starving is ridiculous,” Rezendes said. For Sony to relent and cancel the theater showings is simply unacceptable, he said.

“A lot of it had to with the (security at) the theaters,” Rezendes said. “But they had the option to release the film to cable companies or put it out on DVD or Blu-Ray, and they aren’t doing that.”

Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Sony Pictures lawyer David Boies said that “The Interview” will be released, but offered no details as to how or when.

“Sony only delayed this,” Boies said. “Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed. It will be distributed. How it’s going to be distributed, I don’t think anybody knows quite yet. But it’s going to be distributed.”

The New York Post is reporting that Sony is planning to release “The Interview” through Crackle, its free streaming service that users can access via PlayStation, Xbox, Roku or smart TV.

Rezendes’ petition to Sony reads in part:

“By you making the decision to scrap the movie ‘The Interview,’ you basically allowed some dictator to censor your company and the American people by not releasing this movie your not supporting the United States of America and our way of life and what we stand for and fight to protect, which is our rights and freedom of speech and expression, the Constitution of the United States.

“I understand you are a Tokyo Corporation that has significant business interests in the United States, so it’s time to stand up for yourselves and the American people, don’t cave and bow down under pressure. I would rather take any risks or far-fetched threats than give up my rights any day of the year.”

ALL ABOARD! – A few years ago, Modesto resident Robert Zimmerman and his two sons went out to get donations of building materials to build a train layout for a young boy who suffered from a skin disorder that keeps him from venturing out into the sun much. The Zimmermans built a gorgeous layout. A year later, the family returned it to them. The son and brother had lost interest. So the Zimmermans repaired it and donated it to the Modesto Gospel Mission.

Since then, though, they’ve continued to build the layouts for other children, hooking up with Make-A-Wish Foundation. On Christmas Eve, they’ll deliver one to a 6-year-old boy who lives in Folsom.

PIROUETTED OUT – Emma Fairbanks, a senior at Johansen High, danced her last “Nutcracker” for Central West Ballet over the weekend. It’s the 11th consecutive year she’s performed, beginning when she was 6. After graduation, she’ll have termed out of Central West, so to speak. Multitalented, indeed: She’s performed several roles in the ballet over the years. And she also is a member of the Future Farmers of America, raising a pig for show at the county fair each year.

Bee columnist Jeff Jardine can be reached at jjardine@modbee.com or (209) 578-2383. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJardine57.

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