The newsroom is a natural setting for a movie. Films are largely about momentum and conflict, and what environment presents more opportunities for both than a buzzing media center where everyone is chasing down stories, making phone calls, having loud opinionated conversations and quickly jotting things down before they forget them.The classic movie newsrooms, perhaps like the real news organizations of old, have a pulsating energy that feels a million miles away from the quiet cubicles or home offices where most actual modern journalism takes place. Having said that, as we can see in some of the below selections like the contemporary documentary "Page One", the classic vision of bright offices where angry news professionals (some of them in suspenders) bark at one another about what's getting on the front page has yet to die out completely.
- Andrew Rossi's documentary film "Page One" was granted unprecedented access behind-the-scenes in the New York Times newsroom. Rossi's film not only shows the day-to-day grind of preparing, fact-checking and writing articles on the paper's Media Desk, but also the way that new media and technology are disrupting business at usual at newspapers and presenting new challenges and opportunities to reporters. Media and culture columnist David Carr and Media Desk editor Bruce Headlam are among the film's primary subjects.
"The Daily Planet" is really a perfect hideout for Clark Kent when he's not being Superman. He gets to keep up with the day's events thanks to the constant busybody Lois Lane, he gets a plucky cohort in photographer Jimmy Olson AND there's a perfect explanation for why he's never around. (He's out chasing down a hot story!) It would all be perfect if not for the ill-tempered, ever-dismissive Perry White, embodied in the Richard Donner original by Jackie Cooper.
Cooper had originally auditioned to play Otis, the bumbling assistant to Lex Luthor who was eventually portrayed by Ned Beatty.(NOTE: There aren't really any great clips of Jackie Cooper as White on YouTube for embedding, so here's a clip of John Hamilton playing the character on the old "Adventures of Superman" TV show.)
- Any time you have Fred Willard running a movie newsroom, you know things are going to get heated and intense pretty fast. Such is the case in "Anchorman," the 2004 comedy that confirmed star Will Ferrell and writer/director Adam McKay as the comedic duo to beat at the box office. Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) opens the 1975-set film as San Diego's star news anchor, only to have his supremacy challenged by a new female anchor named Veronica Corningstone (Christine Applegate). What follows is an extremely silly but frequently hilarious take on 1970s local news, a world where the most important part of the broadcast is the anchor's hair and sign-off, and reporters from rival stations participate in organized streetfights.
- The Coen Brothers ingenious, tragically misunderstood screwball comedy homage "The Hudsucker Proxy" doesn't so much depict a real newsroom environment. Instead, Jennifer Jason Lee's "no-nonsense girl reporter" archetype inhabits an ultimate cinematic dream of what a newsroom could be, with all the chaos and fast-talking banter that was synonymous with newspaper reporting in the '30s and '40s. Really, here's all you need to know - Bruce Campbell plays a beat reporter named Smitty. Done and done.