Combustible Celluloid
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With: Michael Keaton, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid, Jason Robards, Jason Alexander, Spalding Gray, Catherine O'Hara, Lynne Thigpen, Jack Kehoe, Roma Maffia, Clint Howard, Geoffrey Owens, Amelia Campbell
Written by: David Koepp, Stephen Koepp
Directed by: Ron Howard
MPAA Rating: R for strong language
Running Time: 112
Date: 11/12/2014

The Paper (1994)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Press Pass

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michael Keaton gets a nice role for his boundless, maniacal energy as Henry Hackett, the Metro editor for the third-rate New York newspaper The Sun. Ron Howard's movie takes place over a day on the paper, but of course it's no ordinary day. Henry's wife (Marisa Tomei) is very pregnant. Publisher Bernie White (Robert Duvall) has cancer. Managing editor Alicia Clark (Glenn Close) is on the warpath. Columnist Michael McDougal (Randy Quaid) has received death threats from a city official, and has obtained a gun. And the story the paper is running in the morning turns out to be wrong, which leads to a "stop the presses!" moment. The good news is that David Koepp and Stephen Koepp's screenplay seems to know about all the cliches here, and just keeps them moving and dancing around. Director Howard is not exactly subtle, but he seems to get into the spirit. For me, as someone who worked on an actual newspaper for a few years, the movie was somewhat intoxicating. It was the third of three movies (so far) that Howard made with Keaton; Keaton's breakthrough role was in Howard's early feature Night Shift (1982). The Paper received an Oscar nomination for one of Randy Newman's typically mewling songs.

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