Hacking Hollywood

Hollywood holds little interest for us these days, to the point that we hardly know whose sex lives we’re ignoring, but we can’t resist reading about the information that was recently stolen from the Sony Corporation’s computers. None of it is at all surprising, and so far as we can tell there aren’t any of the nude “selfies” of movie starlets that the last big Hollywood computer heist revealed, but it is entertainingly embarrassing.
There’s really nothing embarrassing about being “hacked” these days, as all the big industries and even the White House have been victims of the newfangled crime, but one might have expected more of Hollywood. We had thought that all the top-notch computer talent was currently employed generating images for the latest “Star Wars” installment or Marvel Comics adaptation, and that surely such a tech-savvy company as Sony would be able to stave off the best efforts of the cyber-criminals, so it does prompt a satisfied chuckle that they’re not any better at keeping their memos out of sight than any other sorts of office workers. They haven’t yet programmed a computer that can come up with an original idea, either, and we are relieved to note that there are still some limits to all this technological progress.
The most gleefully reported of the purloined e-mails are those that show studio executives as every bit as the studio executive characters in the movies. Time Magazine was particularly outrage by an exchange between two backlot big-wigs, shortly after the president had delivered a lavishly complimentary speech to the movie on the occasion of yet another big-money fundraiser, jokingly speculating about Obama’s favorite movies. The gag was they mentioned only releases marketed to black audiences, and although they didn’t mention “Superfly” or “Sweet Sweetback’s Badass Song” or any of the “Dolemite” flicks of the blaxploitation era, which we think would have been funnier, Time found it all distastefully racist. Another e-mail revealed some executive’s opinion that Leonardo DiCaprio is “despicable” for backing out of a role in an upcoming movie, which does not offend us. DiCaprio is so famous that we’ve heard of him, and a we’ve even seen him in a few movies that we kind of liked but not well enough to remember the title, and his acting wasn’t horrible even if it did leave us wondering whatever happened to the days when there were real movie stars, but we also know him as a jet-setting “global warming” activist and a celebrity guest at the Occupy sit-ins and other fashionable events, so we figure the executive is entitled to his opinion. Yet another e-mail has an executive gossiping that George Clooney has his feelings hurt by negative reviews, but we would likely be untroubled by that even if we cared much about George Clooney. Clooney was very good in “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and “Intolerable Cruelty,” both of which we enjoyed, and it gives us a hopeful feeling that a gray-haired man of a certain age can be still regarded as a sex symbol, but he’s enough of a Hollywood know-it-all liberal that we’re pleased to learn of his insecurities.
Creative properties were apparently stolen, as well, including the script for the next James Bond movie. This horrified the Fleet Stteet fellows at The Telegraph, who noted that the publicity had already revealed the title as well as the latest Bond girl and Bond car, but we figure that once you know the title and girl and car of the latest Bond the plot is hardly worth hacking. One wonders why the hackers, who go by the peculiar nom de cyber of Guardians of Peace, went after such stale material when they could have gone after a more scandalous industry such as journalism.
Largely ignored by the mainstream, but duly noted by the keen eyes over at Powerline, were the memos that revealed the publicity department’s eagerness to downplay any patriotic sentiment that might have seeped into a couple of new releases. One was “Captain Phillips,” a Tom Hanks vehicle about the U.S. Navy’s fight against Somali pirates, and another was “White House Down,” a thriller set in the titular residence, so one can well understand the department’s stated goal to “avoid American themes.” There’s a lot to dislike about Hollywood, and the fact that everyone there seems to dislike everyone doesn’t make our top ten list.

— Bud Norman

One response

  1. Any tech-savvy company is drawing on the same pool of programmers as those who would discover its secrets or hijack its services.

    But so far, it seems the hackers are North Korean. Their stated motivation is Sony’s upcoming film The Interview, in which Kim Jung Un is assassinated. I find that kind of plot off-color, but North Korea’s reaction gives me a similar sentiment to that expressed in the post, except directed at North Korea.

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