Truly, there is no greater type of entertainment industry news story than “bizarre legal proceedings.” Strange and ill-fated court cases pepper the world of showbiz, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, today brought a new development to one of the weirdest and most nonsensical in recent memory.
In 2011, one woman made viral headlines by suing the producers of the Nicolas Winding Refn drama Drive over what she perceived as misleading advertising, claiming that the trailers for the Danish filmmaker’s terse crime-romance promised her something closer to 2 Fast 2 Furious. And because not being similar to the Fast and Furious film franchise was not and has never been illegal, she officially pinned her gripes on a charge of coded anti-Semitism in the film, claiming that it promoted violence against the Jewish community. A Michigan judge threw the case out in 2012, but the plaintiff was not so easily deterred, levying new charges of anti-Semitism directly against the judge. The case then went to a second judge in October 2013, who agreed with the first judge that this was a load of hokum. The second judge moved to dismiss the case as well, but this would not be the end of the litigator’s quest for what he construed as justice.
Now representing himself, the woman’s lawyer brought a new case to federal court this past June alleging wide-ranging conspiracy between Refn, celebrated actor Albert Brooks, Sony, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Google, and AMC. (A noted Jew himself, Brooks would be the perfect mole for this massive hush-hush operation to defame the Jews. Nobody would expect it! It’s the perfect crime!) What I can only imagine to be a vast fleet of corporate lawyers has fired back with a motion for one final dismissal, citing rationales that 1. this has already been adjudicated (res judicata, in legalese) 2. this is a bunch of phooey (or ‘failure to state a claim’) and 3. even if it is anti-Semitic, it’s a free country, so tough cookies (First Amendment rights).
The parties now wait the inevitable dismissal of this case, which could either bring a long-awaited end to this farce, or usher in a new and even crazier chapter. As a lifelong fan of both movies and jurisprudence oddities, my vote is for the latter.