Year 2, Day 29 - 1/29/10 - Movie #394
BEFORE: Let's take another look behind the scenes of CBS News, while we're here. Maybe tonight we'll see the result from all that smoking on the set and in the newsroom in the 1950's...
THE PLOT: A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.
AFTER: Pretty much the same problem as last night's film - the production of "60 Minutes" and the court cases against the tobacco companies is just not that visually interesting. Cerebral and thought-provoking, yes, but since film is primarily a visual medium, it begs the question of "Who thought this would make a great movie?"
Sure, there is some tension, as whistleblower Jeffrey Weigand (Russell Crowe) receives threats against his family, presumably from his ex-employer and their goon squad, after he decides to talk to "60 Minutes" producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino). And Pacino is given a couple of those great shouty monologues that are his stock in trade ("Any Given Sunday", "Devil's Advocate"). But Weigand remains a big question-mark. Why exactly did he violate the confidentiality agreement he signed, since doing so would revoke his family's health insurance and leave him open for a lawsuit?
Sure, there's guilt and a desire to "do the right thing" - but I don't really feel that the movie got inside this guy's head and explored, despite the 2 hour and 40 minutes it was given to do so. I maintain that any movie over the 2 hour mark probably could benefit from some more editing - this one sure could have been tightened up.
Also starring Christopher Plummer (as Mike Wallace), Philip Baker Hall (as Don Hewitt), Lindsay Crouse, Debi Mazar, Gina Gershon, with cameos from Rip Torn, Michael Gambon, Lynne Thigpen, and character actors Bruce McGill, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Wings Hauser. Don't blink or you'll miss Roger Bart as a hotel manager and Breckin Meyer as Lowell's stepson.
And for the first time since starting this crazy project, the number of films I've watched is greater than the films on my list left to watch. This means I've turned some kind of corner, though I hesitate to say I'm at the halfway point, since I'm always adding more films to the list. But I'm determined to keep the list to a manageable number from here on.
RATING: 6 out of 10 depositions