Friday, October 19

Moving pictures

When I stepped off the elevator at work today, I entered into a magical land of grips and extras and cameras and God knows what else. The newsroom is quite packed with people I've never seen before and will never see again, including Noah Wyle (who is very handsome), Angela Bassett, and Kate Beckinsale.

You know, you try to be aloof and above the commotion, but when you're a total dork movie fan, the whole thing just gets to be too much and you find yourself scrutinizing every stray piece of paper left on the set after the crew has gone home for the night.

The fake conference room they've constructed is now furnished with some seriously nice furniture that is so laughably better than what we have in our real conference room it cracks me up. I spent some time in there tonight, watching the fake TV news looping on the product-placed flat-screen television, and reading the portion of a script someone left behind. It's a lot of "Rach, we're pushing your story hard for the front!" / "Really?! But I —" / "No buts, we're going to bring down the White House, but remain objective!" -type banter that doesn't actually ever happen in a real newsroom.

And while we're on the subject of stuff Hollywood routinely mucks up, can I just mention my pet peeve (which is shared by many, I'm sure) of dismal movie newspaper design? It's always some spinning depiction of a lead story stripped wide and deep, with awful art and mismatched, unprofessional typography.

Movie newspapers usually look like second-rate college papers. And this movie's newspaper looks no different. The Capital City Sun-Times is theoretically modeled on the Washington Post (they mimicked their nameplate something fierce), but the design is less Washington Post and more Tiger Tracks. No offense to whoever designed it. But seriously, would it kill the producers to spend a little time either consulting some actual news designers or just copying some obvious design conventions (like, don't cake-layer the page, and pick a lead typeface that won't make Jesus' eyes bleed)?

I don't know shit about film, obviously, and looks aren't everything, but it seems to me that verisimilitude is at stake when you expect your audience to believe that a hard-hitting, influential newspaper that can "take down the White House" can look like roasted ass on a stick and expect to survive.

It's enough to make me wonder if there's not some kind of Hollywood in-joke about how awful on-screen newspapers must look.

Anyway, look forward to Kate Beckinsale in a silly-looking ponytail, Noah Wyle with short hair and a smashingly tailored suit, and Angela Bassett with the fiercest flipped-out hair you've ever seen.

If you read this blog for nothing else, I at least hope you'll come back for more Nothing But the Truth hair updates. Coming soon: Matt Dillon and Alan Alda!

Update: The CA story is here.

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Anonymous Lesley said...

Certainly, one of my favorite things to do is to find ANYTHING wrong with a movie or TV show. I can hardly enjoy a movie set in the 70s or 80s since I'm constantly looking for the detail they missed (and they always miss the pop tops on cans--I believe because most of the prop people don't remember a time when you pulled the teardrop-shaped top off a can and disposed of it). So I can only imagine how much that drives you nuts. Though I suppose there might be a reason for it. Like, maybe a real newspaper design doesn't show up well on screen. Kind of like how stage actors have to wear crazy makeup. Just a thought.

Fri Oct 19, 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger nashgirl said...

I must have more snarky details about the actors, like does Noah fart in the bathroom? You need to become a correspondent for Prez Hilton.

Fri Oct 19, 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

I can't believe I'm actually going to suggest this, but if you want to see cool, albeit impractical, newspaper design in a movie, go see the newest Harry Potter movie.

Ignoring the impossibility of moving photos on paper, they actually managed to get a decent "yellow journalism" style of design that's quite appealing.

Fri Oct 19, 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger TVonthefritz said...

Do they have good catering services? I want to know what Kate Beckinsale stuffs in her piehole.

Fri Oct 19, 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Lesley, your nitpicking addiction/affliction makes you a prime candidate for the Nitpickers community!

Nashgirl, no Noah farts to speak of, but I'll have to dispatch a male minion to follow him around all day just to make sure.

Brandon, you're right! Harry Potter movies do actually have good-looking newspapers, with traditional fonts and everything. I totally forgot about the papers in those movies.

Fritz, I'll make it my mission to check out craft services today. I know they cleaned out our breakroom fridge in anticipation of movie people who are not immune to the horrible stink.

Fri Oct 19, 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Jerm said...

Its funny how movies so frequently manage to get things so wrong. I do the same as everyone else - I watch for weird inexplicable divergences from the way it really works, to the way it works in the movie. I'm a computer guy, so watching movies like Swordfish is tough. My nurse friend alternates between laughter and indignant anger at the silliness of medicine in the movies. Don't they pay consultants to tell them how it really works?

Fri Oct 19, 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm biting my nails in anticipation of Alan Alda dirt.

Fri Oct 19, 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger phallicpen said...

Yesterday I heard Alec Baldwin yelling into his cell phone across the street from the bookstore. The Hamptons International Film Festival is going on, but so far I've only seen him and Bob Balaban.

Fri Oct 19, 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger The BassettHound Simo said...

I'll keep reading just to hear more about Angela's flipped out hair! Shes always fierce. Thanks for the updates!

Sat Oct 20, 05:32:00 AM  
Anonymous grandefille said...

"Rach, we're pushing your story hard for the front!" / "Really?! But I —" / "No buts, we're going to bring down the White House, but remain objective!"

Anybody who's ever REALLY been in a newsroom knows the budget-meeting discussions are more along the lines of "Anybody got anything for the front? Anyone? Bueller?"


Tell Mr. Alda that I have a very very very big crush on him. And then run away. It'll be just like I was there.

Sun Oct 21, 12:31:00 AM  

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