I saw the new movie "State Of Play" Sunday night.
Ben Affleck essentially plays Congressman Gary Condit, (corrected on 4/21/09) Maria Thayer is Chandra Levy, an evil military contractor called Point Corp stands in for Blackwater, Russell Crowe is the entrepid reporter, and Helen Mirren is his editor, whose job it is to sound so British that Russell Crowe sounds like an American.
The movie is great until the last 15 minutes. Then the screenwriters become afflicted with what Roger Ebert has called Keyser Soze Syndrome, in which everything logical about the film is sacrificed for a plot twist at the end. The clue that tips off the Russell Crowe character doesn't make a lick of sense. This info doesn't even deserve a spoiler alert. It makes no sense. But then, a lot of people like the stimulus package, and I didn't understand that either.
But enough about the plot.
One of the subtexts of the movie is the competition between newspapers and the internet. Russell Crowe's character is paid to run around gathering information. Until he prints his stories, bloggers have nothing to write about, nothing to disagree with, and little or no basis for blaming the lamestream media.
This guy is vital.
Have we ever needed dedicated, objective reporters more than now?
When's the last time you can remember a TV journalist breaking a major story?
I spent a lot of time during this movie thinking about our beloved Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which has fallen on hard times since being bought out by the McClatchy organization.
Without the Star-Telegram, I wouldn't have known about the Department of Homeland Security spending a jillion dollars and seals and logos. I wouldn't have known about Jackie Chan wanting to bring back the good old days of Chairman Mao.
I have friends who believe the Star-Telegram has gotten too cozy with City Hall, and has gone too easy on Chesapeake. In all honesty, we need to thank the Startlegram for what little we do know about City Hall and Chesapeake, don't we?
Craigslist and Ebay have taken away the classifieds, Fandango has taken away the need for movie ads, bloggers have decimated the editorial page, and that's what has happened after the televised teleprompter readers did their damage.
We're going to miss the Fort Worth Star-Telegram if it goes under.