My movie for the weekend was Good Night, and Good Luck, a very well received move from 2005 which told the story of Edward R. Murrow's battle to expose Joseph McCarthy's "Commie Witch hunt" as nothing but Constitutionally challenged paranoia. This black and white film was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, although it did not win any.
David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow and George Clooney as his producer Fred Friendly are excellent in showing their growing resolve to butt heads against the growing paranoia of Joe McCarthy (played quite ably by himself via newsclips). They get some flak from CBS President William Paley (Frank Langella) but are ultimately allowed to expose McCarthy's hypocrisy.
This very earnest movie tells a story well worth telling, especially in today's atmosphere of spineless "me-too" journalism, but it lacks drama. My father complained that Day of the Jackal lacked suspense, because everyone knew that DeGaulle wasn't going to be assassinated, and I felt the same way while watching Good Night. We all know that finally McCarthy will be knocked over. It does have some resonance today, because the spineless media coverage of current attacks on the US Constitution and habeas corpus have allowed too much to happen already.
But the movie itself, while well told and solidly acted, didn't really resonate. The sub-plot of the "hidden" romance between two CBS co-workers seemed to be merely filler. So I can't really recommend the movie, although the story is important.
My other visual media experience for the weekend was the MHD On Demand free showing of the Gorillaz concert at the Apollo Theater. A friend recently sent along a lyric he liked:
There's a monkey in the jungle,
Watchin' a vapour trail.
Caught up in the conflict
Between his Brain and his Tail.
- Gorillaz, "19-2000"
So as I was puttering about downstairs cleaning up, I noticed there was a Gorillazconcert available, so I put it on. I honestly knew nothing about Gorillaz, so unlike my friend, I didn't find it odd that this "virtual" band was shown in concert! But I really enjoyed the show. It was a multimedia extravaganza and so I was distracted more than I wanted while I was supposed to be cleaning up. But it was some great music, with some excellent guest spots by people like Neneh Cherry and a reading by Dennis Hopper. The show at the Apollo Theater is of the Demon Days album, so that goes to the top of my want list now. I really liked how the band was shown mostly in silhouette, against a changing background of solid colors, at least until frontman Damon Albarn came forward for the last song, Hong Kong, accompanied by a beautiful woman playing the Chinese zither. Great stuff! Here's Happy Mondays/Black Graper Shaun Ryder singing DARE along with Martina Topley-Bird (I think) in a highlight for me:
I think that Demon Days would make a great title for a post-apocalyptic computer RPG too. I'll have to think more about that...