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A funny, fast-paced and fascinating film, THE PAPER delivers. Michael
Keaton is remarkable as Henry Hackett, a newspaper editor torn between
the two loves of his life: his exhausting job and his long-suffering
(and pregnant) wife. This juggling act plays itself out during one
particularly frenzied day in which Hackett must weigh a better job
offer while trying to outscoop his deep-pocketed competitors on a
It's a cliché to say so, but there's never a dull moment in THE PAPER. The multi-faceted storyline sucks the viewer in and doesn't let go until after the exciting, root-on-the-good-guys finale. An interesting film could have been made about any one of the angles explored here, be it the incredibly hectic behind-the-scenes workings of a major daily, the personal toll such an operation takes on its employees, or the media's tendency to oversimplify. To combine these into one film results in an infinitely mesmerizing piece of work. And let's not forget Ron Howard's direction, which is smooth and virtually flawless. The writing is equally brilliant. Whatever reaction the film tries to inflict -- laughter, excitement, surprise -- it inevitably succeeds.
The performances in THE PAPER deserve special mention. Everyone is so well cast that it's impossible to picture anyone else in these roles. Keaton has never been better in a starring role that is tailor-made to his comedic and dramatic abilities. Robert Duvall is on top of his game as the publisher whose job has cost him so much in other areas of his life. Marisa Tomei, as Mrs. Hackett, proves MY COUSIN VINNY was no fluke. (The scene where she glares at her husband in disbelief as he tells her he has to miss an important dinner with her parents is absolutely priceless). Randy Quaid is as quirky as can be as the paper's resident columnist. And although his appearances are brief, the late Spalding Gray is unforgettable as the head of a rival paper. This group of actors may very well comprise one of the most talented ensembles of the 1990s.
It's a shame THE PAPER has never received the attention it deserved. Had it been released 50 years ago, in a less cluttered era, it would most certainly be widely hailed as a classic today.
I usually find Ron Howard's work a tad self-indulgent - you only have
to watch Apollo 13 to know what I mean. However, with this, Ron really
delivers a fully watchable film.
There are classic comedy moments - the Glenn Close "I light a cigarette..." line is just brilliant - while also providing true pathos with an excellent performance from Marissa Tomei (a disappointingly under-rated actress in anything she is in - witness her performance in Mel Gibson's otherwise rubbish "Whast Women Want").
I saw this in the cinema, and own it on DVD - it features in my regular rotation, and it doesn't matter how many times I watch it, it is still good viewing. A sign of a classic film is how often one can view it without finding scope for criticism - nothing yet!
I loved this movie...a real 90s sleeper. It's hard to determine why
some films don't get the attention they deserve. The Paper is
delightfully acted by an A-list ensemble in their prime. It's
hilariously funny, with great timing and pace, and some poignant
overtones on commitment, loyalty, family, friendship, work and the
workplace, and big city journalism.
Feel-good and sardonic at the same time, I did NOT find it completely predictable. The screenplay is terrific, with thoughtful, intelligent, brisk dialog. Not a dull moment; completely entertaining. A film for "grown-ups". More kudos to Ron Howard.
Renting it just to watch the superb Glen Close's character, especially in the "stop the presses" scene, is worth the time/money alone. A charming Marisa Tomei perfectly cast. Robert Duvall, Jason Alexander, Jason Robards, and of course Michael Keaton...what's not to like? One of those films that can be watched many times by men and women alike. Highly recommended.
I have never liked Ron Howard films until now. I was shocked to learn
that this was his work. I find them rather boring and lifeless, dry and
without a personal stake in the story and its characters. The
literalness in his shots and film structure is cumbersome in his
dramatic works, but in a comedy like this, it works--it emboldens and
accentuates the humor, rather than making the film boring to watch.
This film captured the chaotic energy of the newsroom floor and got me swept up in it. The ending had me cheering and laughing along with the characters. The film felt very personal, and it was easy to tell that a lot of love went into the production. The script was amazing, and the acting, superb.
Yes, the plot is contrived. But that's not the reason for the storytelling in this film. The story is about its characters. Every character is incredibly well-drawn and each actor is very much immersed and invested in their characters. Seeing the characters react and interact brought huge involuntary smiles to my face. The characters came alive, and as a result, the story made sense! What an awesome ensemble cast. It's my favorite so far in film. They make it evident that the paper is a force in itself, an idea, that drives these characters and consumes their lives. I think the film offers a view into the lives of these people--from their point of view.
There are not too many solid Newspaper stories which ever make it to the silver Screen. Occasionally one does comes along and if it's message is important with respect towards the audience, it deserves attention. Such a movie is, " The Paper ". The star of the movie is Michael Keaton who plays Henry Hackett a city editor who's boss is Bernie White played by noted actor Robert Duvall. Jason Robards is the Publisher, Graham Keighley. Their newspaper is about to print a story about a local derailment, when a small item arrest in Williamsburg NY, inspires Hackett to risk his position and a promotion with 'The Sentinal'' a prestigious uptown Newspaper. There are a number of hurtles to following up on the Williamsburg murder of three prominent bankers who lost several million dollars of the Mafia's money, primary of which is Alicia Clark (Glenn Close) an envious supervisor who is more interested in saving money than the reputations of two black youths. She explains that without more information on the dead men, additional corroboration or a quote by the tight-lipped police, she is running the subway derailment story. Confident he is right, Hackett pulls out all the stops to beat a four hour deadline, attend his wife's (Marisa Tomei) social life, protect his top reporter (Randy Quaid) from a gun-toting parking official (Jason Alexander) and file the story by press time. The movie possess all the exciting impetus of a modern front page story including the daily problems confronting the staff and the personal lives of all concern. The film is powerful in it's direction and will in time be seen as a Journalistic Classic. Easilly recommended for all. ****
THE PAPER was a glossy but substance-challenged comedy drama that is supposed to provide an incisive look into the daily running of a large metropolitan newspaper. Michael Keaton stars as Henry Hackett, a maverick reporter trying to get the facts accurate on the biggest story of the decade while simultaneously chasing down a better job at another paper. The impressive supporting cast includes Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid, Jason Alexander, Catherine O'Hara, Spalding Gray, Lynne Thigpen, and a classy cameo by Jason Robards as the paper's publisher. No, there's not a lot going on here, but the all-star cast makes it worth a peek.
The film tells the story of a single day in the life of "The Sun", not
the British tabloid famous for its Page Three Girls, but a struggling
New York newspaper. The main character is the editor Henry Hackett. He
is a workaholic who enjoys his high-pressure, high-powered job, but has
been offered another position with the "New York Sentinel", a
prestigious broadsheet. Although he fears that he will find this
largely administrative post less fulfilling, he is being pressured to
accept it by his pregnant wife Martha because it will involve shorter
hours and higher pay. Among the other characters are Bernie, the
hard-bitten hard-drinking publisher, Alicia the bitchy, unsympathetic
managing editor and McDougal, the paper's star reporter who has been
running a campaign to discredit the city's parking supervisor.
The main drama centres on the murder of two white businessmen in a predominantly black area of the city. This is initially assumed to be a racially motivated killing, an assumption shared by most of the press, and two black youths are taken into custody by the police. Hackett, however, has a hunch that the two are innocent and that the killings are in fact linked to organised crime. When, late in the day, he finds a policeman who confirms his suspicions he is presented with a dilemma. Under pressure from Alicia he has agreed to lead the next day's edition with a picture of the two men being taken into custody and the headline "Gotcha!" (once famously used by the British "Sun" in a different context) which will imply the men's guilt. Although the edition has already gone to press, Henry wants to stop the presses and use the same photograph but with a different headline emphasising their innocence. Alicia, however, puts financial considerations before journalistic accuracy and is reluctant to stop the print run because of the extra costs involved.
The film could have been made in one of two ways, either as a satirical comedy about the press or as a serious drama about journalistic ethics. Unfortunately, it does not fall into either of these categories but rather falls somewhere between the two. The overall tone is too light for a serious drama, and some scenes verge on the farcical. I am thinking particularly of the one where Henry and Alicia have a stand-up fist fight while he tries to turn the printing press off and she tries to stop him. I have never been Michael Keaton's greatest admirer, with his rather frenetic style of acting (or overacting), but if the film had been made as a pure comedy he might have worked well as the frantically overactive Henry. He did not, however, seem convincing in his attempts to make Henry into a crusader for truth and integrity. The scriptwriter must also bear some of the blame for this; it is hard to regard as a paragon of virtue a journalist who steals a story from a rival editor's desk while being interviewed for a job. The best acting performance was probably from Glenn Close as Alicia, but even she was something of a comic villain- the Cruella de Vil of the newspaper industry- rather than a rounded character.
On the other hand, the film is insufficiently biting and cynical and too sentimental to work as satire. It has been said of this film that even when Ron Howard tries to make a semi-serious film he ends up reducing it to cotton candy. To be fair to Howard, he has made some reasonably good films since 1994 on serious themes, such as "Apollo 13" or "A Beautiful Mind", but with regard to "The Paper" this comment seems spot-on. It is neither a drama, nor a comedy, simply candy floss. 4/10.
Kudos to my fellow Canadian from Manitoba who got it dead on! This is one of those movies that can should be played during college and university recruiting presentations. Being a newspaper journalist myself, this one kept me up until 2 or 2 in the am on a Sunday night. It was that good. The end of the movie makes it all worthwhile. I am surprised I had never heard of this movie until the day I saw it. Mchael Keaton, Glenn Close and Randy Quaid were excellent and this movie gives you a very good look at what it's like to be working in the newspaper business, with deadlines, dealing with superiors and the things you have to go through sometimes in order to get the job done. I guess it's a little late to be wondering about a sequel to this one but hopefully another director can take a stab at creating what this one just did.
"The Paper" does seem slightly more serious and less sentimental than
most of Ron Howard's movies. Focusing on an overworked reporter
(Michael Keaton) getting torn between a big story and his wife (Marisa
Tomei), it's worth seeing. I wonder how many movies there can be about
someone getting between his family and his job, but combining that with
something about the media - specifically a newspaper - makes it a
little bit more interesting. In my opinion, the most interesting
character was Glenn Close's incarnation of the bitchy executive (there
always has to be one of those, doesn't there?) preferring to stick with
policy rather than investigate the story seriously; you're not sure
whether she makes your skin crawl or whether she's kinda likable.
So, this isn't the greatest movie ever - certainly not the best movie focusing on the media - but worth seeing as a look into situations slowly but surely spinning out of control. Also starring Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Jason Alexander and Clint Howard.
Ron Howard has assembled an all-star, A-list cast to dramatize a day in the life of a New York City tabloid. And they do a great job of it. Ron Howard is not a director to choose the "edgy" themes, and The Paper is no exception. The main plot focuses on the decision of whether or not to publish a sensational story that the editors and writers suspect is false, but will nonetheless sell lots of papers. This thread is supported by a variety of minor, intertwining stories that weave in and out of the main tale. It's very enjoyable stuff, part drama and part comedy. Ron Howard has made a movie that is just right for that weekend rental for the family.
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