Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Journalism with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks

I vividly recall when this story was in the national news headlines.  A lot.  The Pentagon Papers.  The Washington Post.  The Nixon Administration.  Steven Spielberg's new drama that opens in December and January is called THE POST.  Millions of us moviegoers who have loved Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep since the 1980s surely would assume that those two powerhouse stars have shared screen time.  Wrong.  They have never made a movie together.  Steven Spielberg has changed that.  Hanks and Streep star in THE POST, based on a true story.  They play real-life, historical characters.  The Academy, since the 1930s, has loved given Oscar nominations to performers who play real-life characters.  So maybe Meryl will be on her way to receiving her 21st Oscar nomination.
Tom Hanks did not get an Oscar nomination early this year for his truly moving work in SULLY.  I felt he gave one of his best performances ever as the humble, life-saving pilot of a severely crippled USAir commercial airplane, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberg.  I hoped Tom Hanks would get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for SULLY.
Hanks and Spielberg have teamed up before (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, THE TERMINAL and BRIDGE OF SPIES).  They've teamed up again.

Tom Hanks now plays Ben Bradlee, a man previously played by Jason Robards in the 1976 film, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN.  Meryl Streep plays Katharine "Kay" Graham, owner of The Washington Post.  Bradlee and Graham battle the federal government for the right to publish classified information as it relate to the highly controversial Vietnam War.  It was journalism versus The White House.  Graham was owner/publisher of The Washington Post.  She also battled sexism.  Bradlee was the newspaper's executive editor.

 Here is a trailer for Steven Spielberg's THE POST:
I attended a parochial all-boys high school in the Watts section of South Central L.A.  Watts was still famous, if you will, for the Watts Riots that made national headlines for a week just a few years earlier.  I spent a lot of time in our high school library.  I wasn't the only one.  It was usually pretty full right before homeroom and during lunch.  We read newspapers.  We had The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Spanish newspaper, Hoy.  Our student body was predominantly African American and Mexican American.

Today, I can't recall ever seeing a high school student read a newspaper.  In this age of great technology, I rarely get the vibe that high schoolers are reading major newspapers online.  I still like newspapers and magazines.  In the trailer for THE POST, I get the feeling Spielberg is sending out a plea for the life of print journalism.  The art of print has been decreasing and disappearing rapidly.  I'd hate to see it go.  To be reminded of the power of print and the exhausting, non-glamorous but vital work of serious print journalists...see ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN before you go see THE POST.  Spielberg's new film will definitely be at the top of my "must-see" movie list.  Viva, Freedom of the Press!

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