Movie Views: Time to Meet the Press at Oscar Run Stop Five, THE POST

Movie Views: Time to Meet the Press at Oscar Run Stop Five, THE POST

Before I tick off (potentially) many of my former Tampa Tribune colleagues who may have loved THE POST, one of the nine films up for Best Picture, and Stop 5 on the 2018 Oscar Run, I will tell you what I did like about the movie. As always, Meryl Streep impresses the hell out of me by diving into a new character and delivering in all of her complexities and insecurities Kay Graham, the first American female newspaper publisher of THE WASHINGTON POST. There is a reason this actor continues to be nominated for many of her film roles. She is unlike any of her contemporaries, truly an extraordinary storyteller using every facial expression, mannerism, gait and intonation to become that character onscreen.


I am a huge Tom Hanks fan, but I don’t believe one of my longtime favorites stands out in this picture as Ben Bradlee, the late charismatic editor for THE WASHINGTON POST, not in the way his leading lady does. Still, there are plenty of talented cast members on board and some arrive with unexpected changes in appearance. I almost didn’t spot the gifted Bruce Greenwood as former Secretary of Defense under Nixon, Robert McNamara. My particular favorite cast AHA! moment was realizing that the minds behind MR. SHOW were together onscreen with a hardly recognizable David Cross just feet away from the always reliable Bob Odenkirk as part of Hanks’ Free Speech “Justice League” determined to share The Pentagon Papers with the public, despite initial resistance from the powers that be.




I don’t make a habit of spoiling movies (that’s not my style) but this is based on a historical event so you only need to look up “The Pentagon Papers” online or Kay Graham to know what happens. But if I were to give you some idea of the film’s plot in a very sneaky way, it might go something like this:  journalists sitting in a room reading confidential White House pages, board members sitting in a room looking over newspaper financials, more journalists sitting in another room sifting through stacks and stacks of confidential pages, higher-ups meeting in a room sometimes sitting and sometimes standing and debating the release of said sifted-through, scanned and drooled over confidential White House pages —-  are you getting where I am going with this? The sad truth about this film is that there is very little plot for me to spoil beyond what I just described. I found it so…very…slow. And that’s after having just returned from PHANTOM THREAD, which if you read my recent Movie View blog about that Oscar Run stop, you’ll recall that I wasn’t a big fan of the motion picture.


For me, THE POST is lacking — in pace, in plot, in character development. Its inherent story is fascinating. Frankly, I would have preferred a really good documentary about this topic instead. And though Steven Spielberg may be at the helm of this picture, and is someone who I believe is one of the greatest directors of all time, I do know from past experience (LINCOLN, for starters), that it does not ensure a captivating film.


I am not an action film fanatic and do not require lots of loud noise and special effects to keep me intrigued by a movie. Quite the opposite. I am frequently drawn to what I would call quiet and quirky pictures, some that may use music and visuals more than dialogue to convey plot and emotion. But for me, THE POST was just boring to watch. And I am one of the fiercest champions of Free Speech you will find and love historical films that celebrate the good guys protecting our rights from the big baddies trying to pull a fast one on their constituents. There are so many great examples that I can think of which celebrate journalism at its finest, getting to the root of investigating and fighting for the rights of a source or the victims.




In fact, much like my last blog, I would rather suggest to you seeing one of these other incredible movies that are far superior to THE POST. Films like SPOTLIGHT (2015 winner for Best Picture), THE INSIDER and of course, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN.


Any of these films offers a sometimes gritty look at what it takes to get to the root of a story, not always fast-paced either but a window into the lives of these people as much as their mission itself.  What do these people sacrifice to do what they do? How does each story change their lives? THE POST only hints and teases at these aspects of the people embroiled in this historical moment in journalism. It is an opportunity missed, in my opinion.


I wanted to looooooove THE POST and was disappointed that it didn’t offer more than a lesson in history which could have been told in a far more compelling fashion as a feature length film or a documentary. But…the Oscar Run continues and I remain hopeful more deserving films will be viewed. Thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.


On a scale of 0-100, I give THE POST a 73. 

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