It’s ok to spy on Americans and tap their phones. So says the BWH. Their reasoning? There may be al-Qaeda operatives in our midst. Do you know that most American people are ok with this? Even though there is no formal definition of what a terrorist is and even though there are essentially no rules or accountability for the president to follow, all is well. We really need to study our history.
As recently as 40 years ago something similar was happening in America. It was the elusive hunt for Communist party members and supporters in our midst. Let’s just forget about the fact that America is based on Freedom and following a party that is non-traditional and non-mainstream is far from illegal. It was perfectly fine for Joe McCarthy to have a witch hunt and ruin peoples lives and waste our taxpayers money on hearings that were pure insanity. Most of America was fine with it, as long as they weren’t being accused of something.
This is why “Good Night and Good Luck” is such an important movie. While it doesn’t go into great detail about the hearings, it does follow a newsman and his production staff as they try and take on Joe McCarthy while the rest of the country was too afraid. You talk of heroes today? Fucking Edward Murrow was a hero the likes we haven’t seen in a very long time (and don’t tell me 9/11 firemen and our armed forces people are heroes, sorry, but they were and are people doing their jobs). Ed Murrow went beyond his job and exposed McCarthy for what he was, a fucking loon. If we had news broadcasts like we had in the late 50s and if we had reporters that cared about the truth and not ratings today.. ahh, one can wonder…
So anyway, yea, the film tackles some really important subject matter and has a wonderful message, but is it a good film? Is it deserving of the Academy Award? That was the main reason I went to the theater to see it as opposed to waiting for it on video. And let me tell you, going out to the movies is hell for me! That was only reinforced by the fact that last night at the theater was this lunatic sitting behind us. And I really mean lunatic. Why was he so annoying and crazy to me? If this was an episode of Seinfeld I’d call him an “Inappropriate Laugher”. This guy had a crazy loud laugh, but most importantly he laughed when stuff wasn’t funny. And when I say not-funny, I don’t mean stuff that others consider funny but I don’t. I’m talking about stuff like a guy gets fired, or someone talks about being scared of being called a communist… “Ha Ha!”.. like he was doing some serious laughs and then occasionally would be that laugh of approval like “Yup! I get it man…”… just amazingly insane.. Everyone in the theater was freaked out by him and I’m not guessing that, you could see people in the dark of the theater turning around and looking for the guy after a laugh or two escaped his lips.. fucking putz. Typical..
Ok, so the film.. Sorry. First off, the acting across the board was really good. David Strathairn, George Clooney, Frank Langella, Patricia Clarkson, excellent work by all. I saved Robert Downey for last. You know what? Every time I see him on tv or a film I say to myself “how can they hire that guy? He’s an addict, he’s a mess, what are they thinking?”. You know what they are thinking? Robert Downy Jr. is a fucking great actor, that’s what they are thinking.
This is George Clooney’s second feature film (the first was “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”). I really like Clooney’s directorial style. It’s overtly stylish but not to the point of being annoying, it’s right at the edge of beautiful and that’s a good place to be. Also, he tells a story with no deference to the American viewer. I really feel like he is saying “yup, it’s difficult material and no I’m not making it any easier to understand, if you pay attention and stop asking to be spoon fed, you may just get what I’m presenting here”. This is another thing that I enjoyed.
Clooney, if he can keep this style up is going to become a very important director. While I can tell that he chose this story because it spoke to him politically (he was a co-writer as well), I think that in the future if he doesn’t get labeled as a left wing guy he’s going to be awesome.
So, will this win the award? I don’t know. So far it is the best of the 3 I’ve seen so far (Crash and Capote if you haven’t been keeping up) but I still don’t feel like it should win. I think it was an important film, but it didn’t take me on a ride of any kind, I wasn’t affected by it. With that said, I would love to see it win for 2 reasons. First, it would increase its audience and that can only be a good thing for the message. Second, I would love to see Mark Cuban get up there and accept the award. What can I say? I love that guy!