Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Night, and Good Luck

Year 2, Day 28 - 1/28/10 - Movie #393

BEFORE: I apologize for the cultural whiplash, going from Ali G. to Edward R. Murrow - but they're both reporters, even if one is fictional. Last night was the State of the Union address (which gave me a chance to catch up on some TV, though I'm still watching crime dramas that aired in October) which led me to think about politics. Do some people, like government workers, have big TV parties for the State of the Union, like most people do for the Super Bowl? Maybe not, since you can't bet on it...

THE PLOT: Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

AFTER: You can tell this represents a different era - not just because it's shot in black and white, but because everyone was allowed to smoke indoors, and cigarettes were advertised on TV.

David Strathairn plays Edward R. Murrow, facing off against stock footage of Sen. McCarthy in 1953, assisted by his producer, Fred Friendly, played by George Clooney (who also directed this film). It's an important subject, but unfortunately doesn't make for a very interesting movie - nothing blows up, nobody gets shot. How did this picture even get greenlit?

No doubt there's an allegory to be made between McCarthyism and the Patriot Act, since this was released smack dab in the middle of the Bush years. If you don't cooperate with the government, and tell them everything they want to know, then you're a godless heathen Communist, or a terrorist sympathizer.

However, the movie also highlighted to me the battle between our current President and the right-wing journalists who want to bring him down. Half the correspondents at Fox News claim that Obama is dismantling our society and destroying the social fabric, and the other half claim that he's done absolutely nothing in his first year of office. Well, which is it? Is he too active or too passive, or are you just grasping at straws?

It's funny that CBS News was once accused of being left-wing or too liberal - nowadays the average CBS viewer is about 87 years old, and instead of Kent cigarettes, their sponsors are all cholesterol-reducing drugs and incontinence medications. And the face of CBS News is Andy Rooney, who should have retired about 2 decades ago.

With Frank Langella as the great William Paley, Ray Wise, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, and Jeff Daniels, with cameos from Alex Borstein ("Family Guy"), Tate Donovan, and Robert John Burke

RATING: 4 out of 10 bottles of Scotch

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