Movie Monday Vol. 7: The Paper


The Monday we’ve been waiting for here at The Blog has finally arrived — a review of our favorite newspaper movie of all time, “The Paper.”

We’re especially happy that the Chicago Tribune‘s Steve Cavendish, one of our favorite masters of wit, is reviewing it for us.

If you’ve been putting off doing a review for us, we can only ask, “What’s your freakin’ problem?!?” Send us an e-mail and join the fun and frivolity!

“The Paper”
As reviewed by Steve Cavendish, Graphics Editor, Chicago Tribune
Released: 1994. Length: 1:52.

Director: Ron Howard. Stars: Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Randy Quaid.

Find it here: Fortunately, you can buy it cheap ($9.99) at Amazon.com.

Awards Circuit: Tragically overlooked at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, though Randy Newman did get an Oscar nod for Original Song for “Make Up Your Mind.”

What Leonard Maltin says: “Over-the-top, far fetched, downright silly at times, but so adrenalized … that it’s fun to watch just the same.” (** 1/2) (From Leonard Maltin’s 2007 Movie Guide)

What Steve says about Leonard Maltin: “Leonard Maltin can bite me.”

Plot synopsis: The most eventful 24 hours in the life of Henry Hackett, metro editor of the tabloid New York Sun.

Reality Check: When they hold the presses for a few hours to get a story — that’s why the phrase “suspension of disbelief” was created. Other than that, it’s a pretty good look at a newsroom.

Geek Factor: Very high for journalists. The back and forth between the editors sounds like it was copied straight from a news meeting.

Steve’s Review: There is no other movie that taps into the frenetic, darkly humorous world of a newsroom like “The Paper.” It’s a movie, like many newsrooms, built around disparate personalities that all move toward a common goal — getting out the next edition of the paper.

Henry Hackett is a metro editor with three things swirling around him: his wife’s impending pregnancy, a job interview at the New York Sentinel (a barely disguised New York Times) and a slaying that threatens racial harmony in the city that, natch, they missed in that day’s edition of the paper.
Hackett, played by Michael Keaton at his smart-aleck best, tries to manage all three things with little success. His wife thinks his overworking means that he won’t be there for the baby, he finds his prestigious job offer at the Sentinel stifling and getting burned on the biggest story in town gnaws on him to the bone.
Director Ron Howard does a great job intertwining all of these threads into a movie that builds to the end.
But what he gets the most right is the interplay and personalities of a newsroom — there’s the copy editor who obsesses over wording; the designer who puts an exclamation mark on every front-page headline; the constantly whining editor who threatens people who would touch his chair; the business editor pleading for more reporting help (“But I’m telling you, I’m sitting on Watergate out there at Staten Island with the zoning commission thing. Listen — if you guys could just give me a couple of city-side reporters …”); the wire editor always looking for a local angle (“Terrorists blew up a restaurant in Paris, killing five. None from New York.”)
The humor is black and caustic (and largely unrepeatable here in a family blog). Their best source actually says the headline. And yes, they get to stop the presses.
What more do you want in a movie?
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One response to “Movie Monday Vol. 7: The Paper

  1. Would you laugh at me if I told you that movie convinced me to go into journalism? 😀

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