Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stale of Play

"State of play" is one of those buzz words I have always despised, all the more so because an insufferable young stuffed shirt reporter I once worked with used it all the time to ask questions of official spokesmen: "What's the state of play on (whatever)."

This was back in the '80s, and then, as now, the phrase has utterly no meaning except as a catchword, just as "optics" is today ("The optics of Wall Street executives getting bonuses are terrible.)" People in the communications industry -- newspapers, advertising, public relations people and entertainment producers--seem to exist to muddy up the language, which of course, muddies up our thinking, which leads to torture being called "enhanced interrogation."

Anyway, before I wander too far into the ozone, I would like to disrecommend a movie I just got back from seeing.

It is called, naturally, "State of Play," which among its other disattributes has a title that has nothing to do with the plot or the theme. Just three words put together to indicate Washington mumbo jumbo.

I went because it is a "Washington" movie, a thriller mixing politics and journalism, and every time there is such a movie, it sucks. Producers don't realize that you don't have to inject moronic plot twists and impossible locations and details that are utterly false on their face to have a good political/journalistic movie.

"All the President's Men" did pretty well without taking too many liberties. "State of Play" involves a journalist, a newspaper blogger, a corrupt congressman and Blackwater, Inc., all of whom involved in conflicts of interest that would never exist, even in Washington.

This movie has been done much better in 1982 when it starred Sally Field and Paul Newman in "Absence of Malice."

What I just saw was a state of movie-making garbage that is worthwhile only if you like to watch Russell Crowe and/or Ben Affleck. The best part was the visual narrative of how a newspaper is actually printed-- the rolling of the presses--and it ran during the closing credits.

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