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Good Night and Good Luck Discussion

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Terrific film. I had the feeling, and I think most of the audience shared it, that this was a film that challenged you on different levels. Appreciated the effort they made to show Murrow's own culpability and compromise. Reminded me of the grey areas Bergman treads into in The Insider.

Excellent acting - most impressive were Strathairn, of course, and Ray Wise as doomed Don Hollenbeck.

Only parts I wasn't crazy about were the interludes with the jazz singer.

Brush with greatness - David Morse was standing ahead of me in the ticket line. He is one tall fella.
post #2 of 28
You know, bewtween this, Syriana and the end of year fantasy trilogy, I'm not sure it will be so easy to write '05 off as a bad one for films. And if people get out and pay to see these films, then maybe the dirge we've been getting of late will slow down a bit and we'll get more well-wrought, thought-provoking original stuff.
post #3 of 28
I've been royally frustrated with some of my friends and colleagues who can't seem to muster any interest in seeing this. I thought the trailers made the film look really exciting. But I can't get them interested. What really gets to me is that a movie about something that happened 400 years ago can get people into a theater, but if it happened 50 years ago, and is still relevent, forget it.

I loved every inch of this film, from their decision to use real news footage to (as you said) its admission that Murrow had his own share of compromise and spin. I've always been fascinated (and terrified) with the McCarthy business. The idea that a crusade like that can still happen (and is happening) in modern America is frightening.

It reminded me of another actor-turned-director's indictment of television, Robert Redford's Quiz Show. I would have to say that this is just slightly the better film, despite an utter lack of John Turturro.
post #4 of 28
Damn fine film which, while set in a historical context, has just as much relevance in our current times. While watching it this weekend the thought that kept occuring to me, though, was simple relief that such films are still being made - that is, films that demonstrate true detailed craftsmanship in the art form. Maybe I've seen too many movies lately that are thinly disguised efforts to hawk soundtrack albums, but Good Night and Good Luck struck me like a breath of fresh air. Suddenly Clooney has joined the short list of first rate directors that actually have a voice.
post #5 of 28
Spoilers be here.

I thought I'd love this movie and ended up being pretty underwhelmed.

I realize it was trying to stick pretty close to exactly what happened, but there wasn't much tension or danger. I wasn't worried for any of the characters and I didn't feel like the story had any real flow. Obviously, it's hard to build tension whene everyone knows what happened, but I was on the edge of my seat for 13 Days, All the President's Men, etc. and just found myself bored by this one.

Murrow remained cold and enigmatic to me. I didn't get any sense of him. The death of the anchor seemed to be almost besides the point, an attempt to plug in some human drama that was otherwise lacking. Ditto the subplot with the married couple: They're hiding their marriage, then everyone tells them they know, then... nothing.

I don't think things need to be shoehorned into a Hollywood three act structure, but I want some drama in my movies. If I wanted straight history, I could just go watch the original program and see the real Murrow.
post #6 of 28
What struck me the most about the flick, and maybe I'm wrong about this, but for film with a message, GN&GL is very solidly constructed. You can't assault the messenger to condemn the message. Any of the arguments you could levy against Murrow, you can levy against the film, and vice versa.

Its much less a traditional narrative, then it is a masterfully created representation of history. I look forward to using this in class once I start teaching.
post #7 of 28
I dunno...

I really thought it was a significant, well-acted movie...

but how much of a movie is it? It's barely ninety minutes, and half is archival footage, with so much time filled with crisp expository. Take out the husband-wife subplot, and there's very little stuff there. I just wanted more... more historical context, more drama, more lines for the awesome Robert John Burke. I thought it was really invigorating, nicely paced and well shot, and David Straithairn is brilliant. But it also left me salivating more for Clooney's third directorial effort than for an appreciation for this movie.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
I wouldn't have minded it being longer, but it was fine as it was. This is quite a lean, crisp film, but that's not a bad thing.
post #9 of 28
I really liked the opening credit sequence. It did an excellent job of of drawing you in to that time and place. The soundtrack was perfect.

A very interesting and well-constructed film. Much more focused than Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I think this Clooney guy's got a future.
post #10 of 28
Great movie. I love journalist films.

Too dry for most people. They should have had Murrow take down McCarthy with a .50 caliber rifle. It could be ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN meets THE DAY OF THE JACKAL.
post #11 of 28
As I was avoiding the trick or treaters last night (don't you just hate when teenagers come to your door not even dressed up with pillow cases?), I picked a movie out of the ones I hadn't seen yet and ended up with this one.

I've got to say I loved it on many levels. I loved the wit and sarcasim that I loved. Every time he Murrow said "Junior Senator from Wisconsin", I loved it. The black and white works well. So does the non-existent soundtrack although you must see it in a theater that is well insulated from outside noise.

I liked that Clooney prefaces and ends the movie with a speech by Murrow on what is wrong with television and how it will de-evolve into just entertainment and not be used for elightenment or knowledge. The news will become entertainment. Very astute of him.

Look at this great cast: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Jeff Daniels, Tate Donovan, Ray Wise, Frank Langella. All played correctly and in perfect tune. I was surpised about Downey and Langella and pleased as they are both such good actors. But the stand out is David Strathairn who plays Edward R. Murrow and his relationship with Fred Friendly played by George Clooney. You feel the tension and yet the acerbic wit Murrow brings to play in "taking down a network". He was very nervous about what he was doing and it did cost him his show and job in the end. There were also collateral damage along the way to other people.

My only complaint would be the soundtrack had problems and that is probably directly related to budget. It sometimes shifted volume levels and sometimes crackled. Of course, we could have a bad print, but I think it's just the limited budget.

Also interesting was the cigarette smoking to such a degree that I felt I had to go outside to take a cleansing breath, but effectively and interestingly dealt with as well as visually. Everything is just so right with this movie.

The audience consisted of college kids to senior citizens. It was pretty busy for a Monday night with about 20 of us in the audience. As quiet as that movie is, no one made a sound. It's very involving. Murrow had a way with words that hooked you with wit and sarcasim that was wonderful to behold. I'm glad I saw the movie and would highly recommend it to anyone.
post #12 of 28
Apparently, this is just the beginning of the year of the Robert Downey Jr comeback. He has something like six movies currently in development. It's like Hollywood was just waiting for him to get his shit together so they could give him work again. I've never seen such a complete fuck-up generate so much goodwill. I guess being monstrously talented helps.
post #13 of 28
This is opening in Greenville tomorrow. I'll be heading to the theater to see it.
post #14 of 28
Going to see this tomorrow night.
post #15 of 28
Alright, back from last night.

Pretty great film.
post #16 of 28
I saw the film this afternoon. Certainly a real thought provoking film and a history lesson. I really enjoyed the subdued performances from all the main and character actors and loved the jazz soundtrack featuring Dianne Reeves. This film certainly goes on my list of top 10 films of the year.

8.8 out of 10
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by fabfunk
...and half is archival footage, with so much time filled with crisp expository. Take out the husband-wife subplot, and there's very little stuff there....
What did you think the film was about ?

The husband and wife Downey Jnr and Clarkson portray are not only the human element to what could have been a clinical, professional/journalistic slanted piece but also denote the price in human terms of the stringent ethics that the times imposed - ethics which affected many facets of civilian life, not just media spokespersons or military personel. Their own little charade mirrors the very principles Murrow is fighting against in the larger political arena. It's vital subtext. Not to mention the scenes of them discussing the "confessions" (for want of a better word) they had to sign at the start gives voice to the very insidious practices the CBS suits were foisting upon its employees at the very same time they were tacitly standing behind the man blasting McCarthy's crusade out of the water on live television.

And the archival footage ? To cover charges of over-egging the pudding, it was a ballsy move to have McCarthy playing McCarthy - who would have believed what came out of him mouth to be genuine otherwise. Read Dev's great interview with Clooney and Heslov for more on that. You have no qualms about stock footage being used in documentary form, why not a fictitious film about documented facts ? That's an absurd criticism.

Little stuff there ? Are you serious ? This isn't Thirteen Days. This is a small, personal story set against a greater ill. Go in thinking its a Michael Moore style expose, you're barking up the wrong tree. It's not even Peter Davis. Though it has much more of the perfunctory impact of Hearts & Minds in it's skillful editing and juxtapositions.

There wasn't one second wasted here - from jokes about Friendly and Christmas to the carefully chosen torch songs to the Liberace interview to Ray Wise's stunningly tragic turn - that wasn't steeped in care and detail and simmering subtext about the perception of things, their true meanings and the hidden agendas of us all. You won't find a richer film, minute for minute, this year.
post #18 of 28
I was shocked the theater I was in was sold out last night. Only about 125 seats at best but still packed on a Fri. night at 7:25. The Christmas joke was great and the smoking made me glad I don't, but McCarthey's unibrow was scariest.

I really liked it but I did want more. I think I wanted more of the process of how they went after McCarthy. More of the inner debate on what to use and how to use it.

Would have rather had Downey as Friendly and Clooney the married guy but I guess even in film George doesn't want to be married. Hopefully George can now do a movie in which he doesn't have to act. He's proven he can do it.
post #19 of 28
Such a good film, between this and Syriana, George Clooney seems to be the new champion on intellectually responsible filmmaking in Hollywood!
post #20 of 28
I finally saw this movie and thought it was beautiful, well-acted, and intelligent, and made its very relevant point very directly: this kind of journalism has said good night, and good luck, and gone. I didn't connect the marriage plot to the larger one until later. I went back and read this article,

http://www.slate.com/id/2127595/

with some confusion. The writer seems to protest too much. It nitpicks the facts in the film and attempts to say that because of those nitpicks, the film is a typical Hollywood bastardization of history, and an idealization of Murrow... I found it to be neither.
post #21 of 28
Saw this last night- loved it.
It's a restrained film, but with enough humanity within to make it easy to connect with.
The Husband-Wife sub plot and Laura Palmer's dad really felt quite relevant to me, acutally, and i appreaciated both things were presented without too much melodrama as is often the case in such a film.
I was most struck by how effectively it managed to comment on our Media and atmosphere now, simply by presenting the original media clips as they were and allowing us to ponder ,as opposed to bashing us over the head with it.
Particularly, the scenes showing McCarthy and Murrow trading barbs by quoting Shakespeare at each other, made me weep at the simple bullshit diatribe the comes out of today's Administration and Media surrounding it.

We were treated to a Q and A with David Strathairn afterwards who was a brilliant and gracious guest who tried to cram in as much information in what little time we had and insisted on answering questions after the MC had wrapped it up.
When he found out the sound dropped out completely in the last scene depicting Murrow's closing speach he cried "you just missed the whole film", so performed it for us live, which was completly amazing- one of the highlights of my moving going life.

He was gushing with praise about Clooney and although very cautious and diplomatic about the films intentions, made no real secret about what they actually were.

Clooney is 2 for 2 now. Who would have thought?
post #22 of 28
I read an interview the other day in which it said they did a screen test of this film and movie goers thought the McCarthy "character" was unbelievable and over the top. They hadn't realized that it was actual footage they had seen.

I saw this a few weeks ago and loved every minute of it. It is so relevant to today that I left feeling like I had to change the world immediately. I feel the marriage subplot didn't work to its utmost potential, but I liked the levity it brought to such a heavy topic.

Cloony is indeed the man. Loved Solaris. Loved Syriana. Loved this. He is doing some really great stuff.

*Edited to reflect Werbal's correction.
post #23 of 28
You mean McCarthy?
post #24 of 28
She was in the test screening.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Werbal_Kint
You mean McCarthy?
Yeah.

All work and no play make Diva's brain hurt. I defend my Master's thesis next week. Needless to say, my mind is a bit preoccupied.
post #26 of 28
The Slate article is interesting, and his facts are correct. I, too, was sad that Clooney cast the situation with Murrow more or less leading the charge.

But in the end I take Clooney's film to be as much a strong (if implcit) criticism of broadcast media as it is a lionization of Murrow. He's using the deified image of Murrow to chastize our current press corps for not acting more highly. In that respect, I'm fully willing to accept a skewed portrayal of the facts as they really occurred.
post #27 of 28
I saw this film at last the other morning and it was hands down one of the best films Ive seen in a long time. It was like a taught, lean call to arms for people of conscience everywhere.

Considering I adored Confessions ofg a Dangerous Mind, Cloonyeys gone from being a beloved charismatic actor to becoming THE guy for thought provoking and challenging american mainstream cinema today.

Now Im utterly utterly hanging out to see Syriana when its finally released onn these shores.
post #28 of 28
This is the probably the only non-blockbuster I would have died to have seen on the Big Screen because it looked cinematic with black & white, structure, the way Murrow, McCarthy, etc...look at camera and the viewer as if they`re talking to them and so forth, giving an almost one-on-one direct experience. Unfortunetly it didn`t reach my town. Fuck.
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