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OK, since I've pretty much finished 80% of the content on #Netflix, #PrimeVideo and #DisneyPlus (4 kids), I figured I'd take a break to share my all-time favorite movies about #publicrelations and #journalism. I hope it proves a worthy #bingewatch for you ...
Top 20 in reverse order, starting with No. 20 ...
#PhoneBooth (2003). An arrogant #PR guy spends an entire movie in a phone booth. Yes, I know there's no such thing as phone booths anymore. But if you're in PR and you're feeling a little claustrophobic these days, you'll relate.
19. #TheWizardofOz (1939). This foursome trudges all the way to Oz, kills the witch on wizard's orders, then finds out the wizard is a fraud. Somehow he recovers from this potentially career-ending discovery by giving his visitors a handful of trinkets and a speech. That's #PR.
18. #KingKong (2005). PR stunt involving giant gorilla leads to lots of people getting stomped to death and even poor Kong falling to his death. "It was beauty killed the beast," the character Carl Denham famously concludes. You could argue it was actually #badPR that killed it.
17. #JerseyGirl (2004). An old-fashioned story of a high-powered New York publicist who figures out what's really important in life after becoming a single dad. We also get to see Affleck raise a glass to share this toast: "To my fellow #flacks and #spindoctors, salute!"
16. #TheDevilWearsPrada (2006). This is worth watching on repeat just for the scene where #EmilyBlunt opens and closes her hand at Anne Hathaway and snaps, "I'm hearing this (hand open), and I want to be hearing this (hand closed)." Classic.
15. #ThePaper (1994). The Paper feels dated now, but for all the wrong reasons. It's about the daily grind of a bustling local newsroom -- something, unfortunately, that we are quickly losing. The Paper is valuable as a history lesson in #journalism if nothing else.
14. #Anchorman (2004). Anchorman has spawned some of the most repeated movie lines of all time (e.g., "That escalated quickly.") It's #WillFerrell's best performance by a mile, it's funny as hell, and it has some useful insights into 1970s-era sexism in the #massmedia.
13. #TheInsider (1999). The Insider tells the true story of a chemist who comes under attack after agreeing to participate in an TV expose on Big Tobacco. Russell Crowe plays a tragic figure attempting to make up for past choices -- only to be betrayed by #journalists he trusted.
12. #ThankYouforSmoking (2005). People like Russell Crowe's whistleblower are the reason why people like Nick Naylor exist. Naylor is spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies: "Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everyone has a talent."
11. #ABeautifulDayintheNeighborhood (2019). A #journalist's fruitless quest to find Mr. Rogers' dark side becomes a life-changing therapeutic experience for the writer. It's a deeply personal story that is really the journalist's more than Rogers'.
10. #GoodNightandGoodLuck (2005). A well-crafted reminder of an earlier era of #TVjournalism, when in 1954 newsman Edward R. Murrow brought down demagogic Senator Joseph McCarthy through sheer force of integrity.
9. #BroadcastNews (1987). Holly Hunter's #TVnews producer breaks up with William Hurt's slick reporter after she discovers that Hurt faked a tear on camera in one of his news segments. That's small potatoes these days. It was a different world back then.
8. #ThePost (2017). The movie tells the story of Katharine Graham, but what it's really about is the tightrope that rich and powerful #media magnates have to walk when a scandal touches their rich and powerful friends. Another standout Meryl Streep performance.
7. #Spotlight (2015). According to #SPJ magazine #Quill, Spotlight "avoids cluttering the (story) with subplots and unnecessary background on the news team. This is a film that trusts its audience to care about what’s important and to respect the work involved in uncovering it."
6. #Network (1976). An #anchorman goes stark raving mad and sees his ratings skyrocket. Rather than get him professional help, executives at the UBS #television network exploit his newfound popularity and decide to make the rest of the network's #newsprogramming just as crazy.
5. #AlmostFamous (2000). For those of us who pursued a #journalismcareer, this saga of a teen #musicwriter is a heartfelt reminder of the passion for writing and longing for adventure that attracted us in the first place. I've never met anyone who doesn't love it.
4. #Capote (2005). #TrumanCapote deceived and betrayed his subject, killer Perry Smith, to write "In Cold Blood" -- a pioneering true-crime saga that became the most celebrated nonfiction work of the 20th century. The movie asks its audience, "Were the #lies worth it?"
3. #CitizenKane (1941). Universally recognized as one of the greatest films of all time, Citizen Kane tells the story of Charles Foster Kane, loosely based on the life of #yellowjournalism pioneer William Randolph Hearst, who put ethics aside in a sensational newspaper war.
2. #AllthePresidentsMen (1976). Like #Network, this movie was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1977. But while Network foretells the cheapening and decline of #commercialjournalism, All the President's Men portrays the profession as central to our democracy.
1. #SweetSmellofSuccess (1957). This droll film noir is the #greatestjournalismmovie of all time. It crackles with the energy of a Manhattan all-nighter while issuing a vicious takedown of both #publicists and #gossipcolumnists. It's an amazing film of timeless, cutting wit.
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