We’re not sure if it’s because we’re in the industry or because media movies are just BRILLIANT, but as a genre, we’re deeply into it. Here are ten of our top media movie picks…
All the President’s Men
Arguably the definitive movie-about-newspapers, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigating the Nixon Watergate scandal, this is based on their book by the same title. Combines the can’t-look-away appeal of a thriller, with all the satisfaction of the Seventies newsroom aesthetic.
This heartwrenching but pacy and captivating investigative journalism film stars Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber and Mark Ruffalo as Boston Globe reporters, and follows them as they work on uncovering the dark depths of the sexual abuse cover up by the Catholic Church in the US. It won the Academy Award for best picture in 2015.
This is Holly Hunter’s movie and watching her sheer talent at her job is a joy, but she is ably supported in this late eighties number by a cast that includes Joan Cusack, Jack Nicholson, Albert brooks and William Hurt.
This one stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, and is based on the real life accounts of the women at Fox News who exposed CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, further spurring on the revolt against sexual misconduct in the wider media. John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon and Allison Janney play amazing supporting characters.
Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall and the truly great Catherine O’Hara star in this day-in-the-life of a newspaper.
Absence of Malice
Directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Paul Newman, Sally Field, Wilford Brimley, Melinda Dillon and Bob Balaban, Absence of Malice has been used in journalism courses to show students the importance of having multiple reliable sources, and to show how irresponsible it is to have romantic relationships with those sources. It’s not quite as ubiquitous as All The President’s Men, but just as good.
Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks revisit the Watergate scandal, with Streep playing Kay Graham, legendary publisher of the Washington post, and Hanks as Ben Bradlee, editor of the paper.
The Devil Wears Prada
Granted, a more lighthearted affair, but we could hardly leave Meryl’s impeccable performance as Runway editor Miranda Priestly off the list. Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt star as Miranda’s put-upon assistants and while we know it’s ‘not based on any real person’ yada yada yada, the parallels with the real inner workings of big budget US women’s titles (*cough*) are definitely there.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr and Chloe Sevigny, set in San Francisco’s Bay Area, this is a thriller based around the hunt for the serial Zodiac killer.
Not quite set in a newsroom, rather on the road with a rock band, Almost Famous follows an aspiring music journalist across America, after he somehow convinces Rolling Stone magazine that he’s experienced enough to write for them. He travels with the band, led by Billy Crudup’s Russell Hammond, falling in love with Kate Hudson’s Penny Lane on the way. A total coming-of-age story that’s scraping in the genre of media movies by the skin of its teeth.