The story of the scandal that called a halt to ’60 Minutes’’ Dan Rather’s career as anchor, and caused his producer Mary Mapes to be fired, is told on the big screen this week, in James Vanderbilt’s TRUTH. Cate Blanchett takes on the role of Mary Mapes, the woman determined to investigate the military career of then-President George W. Bush, but whose tenacity sees her overlook some key points along the way.
Watch the TRUTH trailer below
The story behind ‘Truth’ is one that would make a grown journalist cry, so to cheer ourselves up, Movies.ie have gathered together 10 movie hacks with whom you’d happily go off the record, share your byline, give your exclusive, bury your lead (okay, that’s enough of that, thank you very much – ed).
*Woodward & Bernstein:
Or “Woodstein” as their surly editor Ben Bradlee (Jason Robards) christens them in All The President’s Men (1976). In a modern movie textbook about cracking the story of the century, young upstarts Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) doggedly “follow the money” – by way of a ‘Deep Throat’ source in a dark carpark (tee hee hee) – after the seemingly piffling Watergate building break-in to eventually claim the scalp of the US president himself. Credited with creating the infuriating trend for sticking the suffix ‘gate’ on all new scandals.
Okay, so tabloid hack Warne is a feckless drunk who’d likely sell his own mother for a story, but as played by Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (1934), he’s also dashing, smart and can sport a lacquered hair-parting like a mofo. If you’re an heiress who’s married in secret and is on the run from her rich daddy, this is the journo you want by your side.
Howard makes the list because he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. Played by Peter Finch in the prescient media satire Network (1976), newscaster Howard has something of a nervous breakdown – or is it an epiphany? – on air, railing against the hypocrisy of his industry and the general absurdity of life, galvanising viewers with his rallying cry of, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Way to keep it real Howie.
Now I’m not saying that all of us hacks like to harbour secret fantasies that we’re all – or, more importantly, that everyone else sees us as – Superman, but…erm…I don’t know how to finish that sentence. Mild-mannered news reporter by day, flying crime-fighting hero by night he may be, but Clark’s use of that X-ray vision and super-hearing is the next great journalism scandal waiting to happen (Kal-Elgate?)
Russell Crowe is suitably jowly, grumpy and dishevelled as the old-school journalist trying to crack a murder case in State of Play (2009). He drives an old banger, is gruff with his tolerant but tough editor Helen Mirren, and isn’t afraid to knock on the wrong doors to get his answers. It only gets a wee bit embarrassing when he insists on ranting and raving about “the bloggers” – epitomised by his young colleague Rachel McAdams – in the way your ageing dad does about “the pop music” today.
This being about journalism, it’s going to need a pretty girl whose image can help illustrate the piece (hey, don’t blame me. Open any newspaper and see for yourself: even an article about irritable bowel syndrome will have a picture of Angelina Jolie accompanying it, probably with the caption, ‘Angelina wouldn’t find IBS sexy, so see to it dude’). Anyway, Vickie (kim Basinger) isn’t just totty; in Batman (1989) she manages to unmask and nail the Dark Knight all at the same time. Good going girl.
Kudos to Kate Hudson’s Andie for showing us the true dangers involved in undercover reporting in How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003). When she decides to date a man and do all the wrong things women tend to do in a relationship for the purposes of an article, she ends up stepping out with and ultimately falling for pot-bellied-pig-loving, banjo-playing, albeit ripped, himbo hick Matthew McConaughey. Oh the horror! The horror!
She’s not Josie Grossie anymore! Adorable cub reporter – and inveterate nerd – Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore) agrees to pass as a high school student to learn about the kids today in Never Been Kissed (1999). Not only does she get her story, but she becomes popular, triumphs as a mathlete, and bags hunky teacher Matthew Vaughn at the same time. A good day at the office all round.
With a nose for a scoop and a talent for offing serial killers at just the right time, hardnosed tabloid harpy Gale (Courteney Cox) is the gal you want around during a major teen killing spree, like what happens in Scream 1-4. Still, you have to wonder about the mindset of a woman who could fall for David Arquette in fiction, much less in reality. Probably not the best role model after all.
*Edward R. Murrow:
Ending on a classy note – for we’re nothing but pure class with a capital ‘K’ here at movies.ie – we have real-life trailblazing radio and TV journo Murrow, as played by David Strathairn in Gorgeous Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck (2005). Murrow fearlessly faced down Commie-hunting paranoiac Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s with on-air defences of left-leaning Americans.
Rumour has it that this movie is shown to all newbie Fox News journalists in their induction meeting. If they react in any way positively to it, they’re brought outside and shot. Just a rumour for now, mind. I’m off to meet ‘Deep Throat’ in Jervis Street carpark for confirmation.