Print journalism is a struggling profession. Newspapers are finding it increasingly difficult to remain financially solvent and, in an era that seems to celebrate “alternative facts” and outright bullshit, journalists are bombarded with criticism even when–um, especially when–they report the truth.
So as a tribute to this honorable profession, this is my belated contribution to Mario‘s Mount Rushmore of Movies blogathon. If you don’t read his blog, you probably should–it’s one of the best things on the internet.
All The President’s Men (1976) — I first saw this classic film when I was a university student, and I was blown away. As you probably know, it’s a dramatization of the work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post, whose investigative journalism brought down a US president. Even if history and politics don’t excite you, how could you resist an opportunity to see young Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in action?
Zodiac (2007) — Only a director of David Fincher’s caliber could pull off such a complex movie, spanning several decades and interweaving myriad characters. It explores the case of the Zodiac Killer, a serial murderer who eluded law enforcement in the San Francisco Bay Area for years while taunting them with cryptic messages. Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) was a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle when he became obsessed with solving the case. For years, this investigation became the focus of his life, and this monomania cost him his marriage. Nevertheless, the real-life Robert Graysmith never gave up his fascination with true crime, and he went on to write multiple books on the subject.
Spotlight (2015) — One of the most heartbreaking high-profile cases we’ve seen was the revelation of a staggering number of children who had been sexually molested by Catholic priests. This film spotlights the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the case, revealing not only widespread sexual abuse by priests but consistent efforts, at various levels of the church hierarchy, to cover it up. My review of Spotlight.
Almost Famous (2000) — On a lighter note, Almost Famous is a relentlessly entertaining coming-of-age film about a fifteen-year-old writer who lands the opportunity to work for Rolling Stone magazine, a coup for any aspiring music journalist. His assignment is to go on tour with an up-and-coming rock band, a wild and unforgettable adventure.