Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Good Night, And Good Luck. Easy to admire, difficult to love. It was well-crafted, and a dead-on, if bloodless, indictment of fear-mongering that is as applicable to the current administration as anything out of Shakespeare. But there was no point of entry. Who are we supposed to identify with? Edward R. Murrow? He opens the movie standing at a podium lecturing us. He's played by the closed-off, oddball (I mean that in a good way) David Straitharn. Admirable, noble, but not sympathetic. George Clooney in his Clark Kent disguise as Fred Friendly? Robert Downey Jr. as a CBS staffer with a secret? Jeff Daniels, apparently still wearing his wardrobe from Pleasantville? McCarthy?

There weren't many thrills here. The dramatic structure was basically, "No, you DIDN'T!" "Yes, I DID," although, of course, even McCarthy was considerably more eloquent than that. Murrow's words were pointed and terse, crackling through even the stilted British drawing room style of 1950s black and white TV.

George Clooney, Movie Star, has now directed 2 of the better movies of the last 5 years, the other being Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. That one was about a man who was perhaps, in TV terms, the anti-Murrow: Chuck Barris.

In GN&GL, Clooney spiced things up a bit with some musical interludes between the acts, with a bebop jazz band playing hits of the day. I think maybe he should have gone all out and done this as a full-on musical: Murrow! The HUAC hearings could have been done as a chorus line, with Red sympathizers and suspected Commie dupes having to face the musical question, "Are you now, or have you ever been, a Communist?" set to a crushing classical overture, and their denials taking the form of free jazz or beatnik folk, man.

Meanwhile, former ESPN wise ass Keith Olbermann has been getting hosannas from Left Blogsyltunia for sampling Murrow in his commentary on Rumsfeld last week. It's the best thing to come down the Intertubes since Colbert at the WHCD:

Here's the transcript.

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