This awful, horrible, wretched Penn State scandal has left a lot of people wanting—survivors wanting their lives back, Penn State fans wanting a sense of due process, the Paterno family wanting a restoration of Joe Paterno's name and legacy, and everyone wanting to believe that this will never happen again.
All those involved are unlikely to get what they're wanting.
What nobody was wanting at this point, however, was an uptick in unwanted attention. And yet, per Deadine.com, here we go with a movie based off the Paterno book by Joe Posnanski. Here's more:
ICM Partners next week will be taking a package for a movie about fallen legend Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno, with Al Pacino attached to play the man called Papa Joe by most student at Happy Valley. The package will be built around Joe Posnanski's biography Paterno, which is now atop The New York Times Bestseller List in its second week. Pacino's manager, Rick Nicita, will produce.
As Deadspin notes, this movie is just getting shopped around. They're not exactly filming it yet. So this may be nothing. Also, let's put aside the question of "is Al Pacino right for the role?" for now, anyway.
There's a deeper question here: Is a movie appropriate at all? These emotional wounds are still fresh and raw for a lot of people, including those directly involved in the abuse, scandal, trial and fallout.
And so to basically use that scandal, that emotional pain, as a way for uninvolved parties to at the very least try to make lots of money is borderline profane.
Would you go see a Joe Paterno movie?
Heck, you could spend four hours on it and still elide major points and details for the sake of just squeezing things in. And sure, that'd just cause more controversy and an incentive for people to go see the movie and "decide for themselves," as the saying often goes.
That said, even if it does start that great national debate—and by "that" one I mean the one we already had over the last nine months—it's still exploiting a long-burning scandal to put more money going into the wrong people's pockets. No offense to Al Pacino or anything, of course—we're sure he'll do an admirable job in the role if given the opportunity.
But if box office receipts from this movie are (let's say) 40 times greater than the amount of money raised for charity in the wake of the Penn State scandal, what does that say about the way we've chosen to respond to what happened?
There's one thing for sure: it's nothing to be proud of.