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Thu, Apr 24, 2014

News provides fertile ground for films


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As a writer, I love to see movies about the business of writing. Below are my Top 5 movies about journalism.

"Zodiac"

This incredible picture from director David Fincher unravels the true story behind one of the most terrifying serial killers, who was never caught and called himself the Zodiac.

Jake Gyllenhall plays Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist at The San Francisco Chronicle who became fascinated with the mysterious figure who killed at random yet sent cryptic messages to two different newspapers in an effort to toy with the public and the police.

Graysmith obsessed over the Zodiac enough that he created his own investigation after the police’s trail ran cold and wrote a best-selling book on the subject. With a great cast and a tricky plot, this film is definitely a must see.

"All the President’s Men"

This film is actually in my Top 10 favorites of all time.

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play, respectively, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, two reporters for the Washington Post who dug into the Watergate Scandal that plagued the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Woodward and Bernstein had to get ridiculously creative to get to the bottom of Watergate and effectively ruined the careers of many of Nixon’s top White House aides.

During the scandal that was set off due to a group of men who tried to plant bugs in the office of the Democratic National Committee, the two reporters had to use secret sources and feared for their lives to bring the story to light. It’s a fascinating story.

"Frost/Nixon"

This movie, directed by Ron Howard and starring Michael Sheen as David Frost, is actually based off of a series of television interviews and a play.

The interviews took place between Frost and Richard Nixon and while they initially started off as a “puff piece” that glorified the career of Nixon, Frost was able to turn the tables and attack Nixon for Watergate.

Eventually Nixon went so far as to say “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

It’s an interesting book-end to "All the President’s Men."

"The Pelican Brief"

Based off of John Grisham’s novel of the same name, this film stars Julia Roberts as a law student whose research about the assassinations of two U.S. Supreme Court justices leads to her fearing for her life.

Denzel Washington plays Grey Grantham, a reporter for The Washington Post who finds out about her brief and joins forces with her to find out if her theory is true.

I know this is an older film and most have seen it but it’s a great film with a great cast.

"Good Night, and Good Luck"

This film from director George Clooney follows the career of Edward R. Murrow, a television news host who decides to take on the rampant terror that U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy inflicted upon the American public in the 1950s in an effort to root out sources of communism in America.

McCarthy used his power as the head of the House Un-American Activities Committee to threaten and bully anyone he wanted even though many of his reported communists were not guilty of any form of misconduct.

The film is black and white an was nominated for a host of Oscars. It’s an amazing film.
 
 
 
Tagged under  History, Journalism, Media History, Movie



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