THE PAPER, 1994
In he frantic, fast-paced environment of newspaper journalism is where the big story is everything, assistant managing editor Henry Hackett seems to find just that in a recent double homicide in the streets of New York. Vying for big headline, Hackett and his team of reporters have to get everything and anything on the story to make the big break in the morning news. With a baby on the way, eccentrically hyper co-workers, and a surprising turn of events, Hackett tries to piece together the story before the ever-important deadline smacks him in the face.
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Probably the strongest point I find in this film is the way Howard portrays what the movie is about. Iíve never been exposed to the environment of newspapering or journalism, though my common sense tells me that it is indeed a fast-paced and frantic environment to be in. Movies are supposed to supplement these experiences for you. They bring you to a Middle Earth, under the sea, or to a galaxy far, far away. They can also bring you into the most successful newspaper firm that drops papers on our front doors every day, and bring it with the most amount of entertainment it can possibly provide.
The Paper takes this topic and gives it a little push in the fanatical direction. Not to spoil anything, but the things Hackett (Micheal Keaton) goes through during this hectic day can seem a little unbelievable at first, but suspension of disbelief is a respectable quality in the world of movie viewing, and I didnít need that much for this flick. I mean, his wife is a reporter on leave, eight months pregnant, and looks like sheís ready to burst (not to mention the terrific acting of Marisa Tomei). On top of that, his managing editor, played by Glenn
Thusly, this film gets rolling. Itís so crazy and wild and fun that you soon forget about the improbability or convenience of some of the situations. The frantic nature of the film doesnít stop with the newsroom, it pours into everything of Hackettís life, mainly because his news follows him everywhere. Textbook case of work-before-everything-else syndrome that we see so popularly portrayed in movies nowadays. What makes this one so loveable is not only Keatonís performance, which is as genuine as it can get, but itís also the audienceís knowledge that what he does in his work today could or could not change his life. We seem to understand the answer during the filmís events, but it never gets old watching this energy transfer from scene to scene without stopping for a moment, probably much like what it is to be in a high-energy newsroom in real life.
Joining Keaton, Close, and Tomei in the cast are a plethora of supporting members (including Robert Duvall) that really sell that feeling of a newsroom. The rush of people from desk to desk, sticky notes all over walls with people taking phone calls and moving from one side of the room to another. It all blends well and adds the energy necessary to keep this film going. The quirkiness of this newsroom is also what sells it. Each of these supporting cast members seems to emanate their own franticness, in the form of stolen chairs, struggles with vocabulary and sleeping on someoneís couch (ironically). Lots of running, lots of shouting, and lots of drama. It all adds up to an enjoyable experience.
Even if this isnít the most accurate portrayal of everyday workings in a newsroom, it can only compliment its feeling. Sure, there are a lot of problems and sometimes these characters seem a bit out of place, but itís probably worse in an actual newsroom. These are wild speculations, but maybe the newsroom is actually even crazier than this, and an average assistant managing editor could have it worse than this Hackett character. Iíve never been inclined to follow up on this thought since watching the film, but Iím happy enough to settle on Hackettís experiences and the filmís portrayal to give me a good sense of what itís like. If it is an accurate portrayal, then kudos goes to Ron Howard, all the cast members, and everyone involved in its production to make it seem that way.
All in all, great film to see if you want to take a look into the life of a journalist, or assistant managing editor of a New York newspaper, or a really hectic day of an average guy. Donít take my word for it however; you can ask any assistant managing editor if theyíve seen the film to give you an accurate comparison. And if they havenít seen the film, go out on a whim and recommend it. Iím pretty sure theyíll be pleased. I was initially surprised that Ron Howard composed such a fun film to watch, but Iím not complaining. All the fast-paced, on-your-feet, rushed and hectic comings and goings of these characters give a refreshing, if not crazy, time on your hands. Movies about journalism strive to do this, and this one doesnít disappoint.