Thursday, December 03, 2015

SPOTLIGHT -- My review

I haven’t seen PAN, but so far SPOTLIGHT is the movie of the year in my humble but correct opinion. Imagine, a thoroughly engrossing film without a single explosion. Even more astonishing, a film that lives up to the hype.

Michael Keaton was way better in this than the FRASIER we wrote. Mark Ruffalo is incredible without being the Hulk. Liev Schreiber was very convincing playing Jewish. Stanley Tucci had a great part and excellent hairpiece. John Slattery is now and forever “Roger Sterling.” And Rachel McAdams is hot even when she’s researching.

The ‘70s brought us ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN and now we have ALL THE CARDINAL'S MEN. Writer/director Tom McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer artfully tell the true story of the Boston Globe’s uncovering of the major scandal involving child molestation and the Catholic Church. I don’t think they’ll be selling SPOTLIGHT T-shirts and coffee mugs at the Vatican gift shop.

It has always been a comfort that we had investigative journalists courageously fighting bureaucracy to uncover scandals like this or Watergate. The Washington Post essentially brought down the President of the United States (and once again, THANK YOU). The Fourth Estate has served as our national watchdogs.

But what about the future?

With newspapers going belly up and TV news an utter joke, who is going to uncover the next insidious cover up? The Boston Globe was able to employ four staffers who just investigated stories. Compare that to Los Angeles Times that last week swept out thirty of their top reporters and editors. Can the LA Times even cover horoscopes now?

It’s strange to think that SPOTLIGHT felt like a period piece even though it was set in 2001 and 2002. I found myself nostalgic for the days when newsrooms weren’t deserted.

SPOTLIGHT delivers on all fronts. For my money, it’s the best movie of the year. Check your local paper for showtimes… assuming you still get a local paper.

24 comments:

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

The Watergate Scandal, and the Church pedophilia scandals prove something. The continued COVERUP is always much worse than the actual crime (as bad as those were). I think Rahm Emanuel may discover this soon.

The Media Press unfortunately has taken sides politically or socially. They won't investigate or hold accountable those they agree with.
And that leaves the rest of us at the mercy of those in power.

Some may not like it, but web-'citizen journalists', such as (though there are many more) Project Veritas, have brought to light the problems at Airports, Borders, Universities, places that get gov't funding like ACORN). Mark Ruffalo is even in one of these (He was caught on tape saying he would like to help Middle Eastern oil sheikhs destroy American fracking companies)

These citizen journalists don't have the same resources but they have moxie that the regular media doesn't have.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

One more thing...Watergate and the Church scandals also made turned many Americans into complete skeptics about Government and Religion.
Watershed events indeed.

normadesmond said...

you're right. it certainly felt like a "best picture" to me too.

i never thought about the direction of reportage and now it's making me nauseous.

Peter said...

I'll always be there opening day for my boy Michael Keaton. He's the man.

But as for best movie of the year, surely you need to wait until you've seen a little movie coming out in 2 weeks directed by a certain Mr Abrams?

Stephen Marks said...

Boston 4 Cardinals 0. I loved that episode with Keaton, "You are indeed a holy roller". Side note, I watched Merchant of Korea last night, excellent Ken, had it all, a nice BJ story, a pompous Wincester getting his comeuppance, a poker game and a nice ending with BJ talking to Peg on the phone. Its great now when I watch these shows and I see Ken's name (and David's) and I get to say "Hey, Ken wrote this one"

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Ironically, one of Josh Singer's first writing assignments in his career was being part of the writing staff that had to replace Aaron Sorkin on THE WEST WING, back in 2003. In fact, he co-wrote the fifth season finale set in Gaza, involving the Israel/Palestine conflict, which culminated with a strained relationship between the President and Leo McGarry.

Talk about a trial by fire, having to live up to the expectations of what was once a Sorkin show.

Jason said...

" The continued COVERUP is always much worse than the actual crime"

Well.. no. The coverup was not as bad as all the rapes. But if you mean to say that the coverup did more damage to their reputation than the crime would have if there had been no coverup, okay, I can go with that.

Since I'm certain you weren't comparing lying to the press to molesting children.

Richard John Marcej said...

I'll be seeing "Spotlight" this weekend so I can't agree yet if it's the best of the year or not, but of the 54 movies I've seen so far this year, the best film I've seen is "Phoenix". An amazing story with an ending that will stay with you for a long time. (BTW, "Room" is also a great 2015 film)

Mark Fearing said...

I grew up in a 'newspaper' household. My father worked for a newspaper for 40 some years. The truth is newsrooms have been in trouble since the late 70's. And for those in 'the business' it was a long slow decline. Started by corporate ownership that looked at the 'cost' of news and an unwillingness to investigate any business that was aligned with the convoluted corporate ownerships and even local businesses that advertised heavily. At one time a newspaper could afford to pi**-off a local business because really, where else could they advertise? And finally newspapers were dealt a death blow when they ignored technology because of arrogance and a lack of young people working in the industry. I worked at a newspaper for a short while. But even then it seemed a damaged business with too many people scoffing at The Internet and what it meant. Perhaps if newspapers had been faster on the tech changes they wouldn't have suffered to the degree they did as advertising dried up and went to Google and Craigslist. Change sucks sometimes.

Jon B. said...

I was fortunate to see Spotlight at an early screening. Ever since, I've been telling all of my friends and relatives to RUN, DON'T WALK to see it. For anyone who complains about movies having too much gratuitous sex or violence, being too loud or overstuffed with CGI, this is the movie for you. If you think you cannot find a movie that is "about something", you need to see this movie. If you cannot believe that an ensemble cast can uniformly avoid overacting or otherwise chewing up the scenery, you are in for a treat. Trust me. Or Ken.

Cap'n Bob said...

The newspapers (and TV) have had 30 years to hammer the Clintons for their lies and scandals but never did more than cursory coverage. They deserve to die.

Chris said...

Liked it, didn't love it. I think the main problem with the film is that I never felt really invested in the reporters. "All the President's Men" proved that this IS possible. Pakula, Goldman et.al. made us fear for two guys we know lived through the investigation. Had the film done this, I think it would be one for the ages--as the Watergate film certainly is. It'll win awards, Keaton has certainly jumped to the head of the line (and may be rewarded for not winning the Oscar last year), but Ruffalo really needs to expand on his befuddled just-got-out-of-bed schtick. He's the new Peter Falk, only Falk had more skill (e.g. "Murder Inc.", "A Woman Under the Influence").

Patti Morfeld RN BSN said...

It was superbly done in every way. My sons and I saw it and I told them the fact that they got all the little things right is what made the difference for me. THe clip files in the newspaper morgue, the hairpiece on Tucci was a work of art. The scuffed up cheapo briefcase Ruffalo carries. Best movie of the year for sure.

Greg said...

Cap'n Bob, does any scandal match the last president lying about the weapons of mass destruction, inventing a war and causing the deaths of over 4,000 Americans?

Roseann said...

I totally agree, Ken, without a doubt the BEST movie of the year. Maybe the last 5 years. Were they acting? I couldn't tell it was all so subtle and right on the money. Best Actor Oscars all around....Imagine someone getting an Oscar without a physical disability to bounce their role off of. (Is that correct English?)

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Bumble Bee: besides citizen journalists, a lot of the kind of investigative journalism that newspapers do is now being done inside NGOs using the same sorts of techniques. There's a lot of very good journalism going on in non-traditional places and ways.

Also worth seeing along newspaper journalism lines is THE PROGRAM, about David Walsh's many years of work exposing Lance Armstrong's doping.

wg

Pat Reeder said...

To Greg: I try not to get into politics, but I have been writing topical humor for radio for over 25 years, which requires me to do an enormous amount of news reading and fact-checking. The idea that "BUSH LIED!" about WMDs is practically an article of religious faith on the left, but it isn't true. It's been widely investigated and debunked, including by Bob Woodward, one of the very guys behind the Watergate expose. According to Woodward, not only did Bush not alter the intelligence, he was skeptical of it and instructed CIA Director George Tenet not to exaggerate anything in the reports. The intelligence might have turned out to be wrong, but it wasn't because Bush lied about it. That Saddam had WMDs was accepted as a given by Clinton, Gore and most of the Democrats in Congress, as well.

Here's more if you're interested in keeping an open mind: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2015/05/26/bob-woodward-bush-didnt-lie-to-start-iraq-war

Tom said...

The moment that the likes of NBC, ABC, and CNN become as genuinely enthusiastic about investigating the likes of HRC as they do about the likes of W, the "Faux News" that is so bemoaned by the Left will shrivel away. If one is to accept the premise that a free press is essential to a healthy and free society, one must also accept the notion that said press can't play favorites.

McAlvie said...

Great cast! I should think it would be hard to make a bad movie with such top flight actors.

And yes, even the media is playing to their audience. Sometimes it's to a political base, but more often they are simply disrespecting viewers. Today anchors are all young and smile constantly. I rarely watch broadcast news except in the morning to get the headlines, weather and traffic. I recently changed stations because the morning anchor team were so jokey it felt more like a variety show. But when we all quit watching, the corporate suits will tell each other that people just don't want news anymore; they certainly won't admit that they failed.

Judith said...

I left a comment earlier - it had a link in it, which may have caused it to get caught in the spam filter?

At any rate, I have a Friday Question. There's an article at io9 dot com - the headline is "Mork and Mindy was One of the Most Unlikely Miracles in the History of Television." It's from Wed., Dec. 2. I'd be interested in your reaction to the article, Ken. You seem to have quite a bit of behind the scenes knowledge of Mork & Mindy so none of the article may be news to you. But, it encompasses some big sitcom problems: problematic premise, dumb network decisions, star problems - just thought it would be interesting to hear your thoughts.

Diane D. said...

To Judith
Actually your previous comment with the link is in the thread for today's post.

MikeN said...

Even if they were fully staffed, the media would only be interested in being a watchdog of the government if a Republican were in power.

Even in Watergate, the Post mostly just took dictation from a source angling to become head of the FBI. Though they did do enough that a federal judge would have thrown them in jail if Ben Bradlee had told him the truth about violating a grand jury.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Jason....you are right. I misspoke about the rape of children comparing it to a coverup.
I will add that had the Church not cover up, a lot less children would have been molested. It is hard to forgive them.

Ima Wondering said...

Too bad some investigative reporter hasn't uncovered the scandal of what's going on in the White House under our noses right now.