Id been wanting to see it since I first heard about it, so with nothing else to do on a freezing February Saturday, we went to the cinema and watched Good Night and Good Luck.
My learned friend (and best beloved) has said eminently sensible things about it, I dont suppose theres any point actually giving a review. Also, if you wanted a review, I imagine youd go and read the review of a film reviewer. Maybe in a paper or something. Im not doing myself down, I think – I just like to think of you as logical people. Call me crazy.
I will say only this – it was beautifully shot, very nicely put together, and the verbatim parts of the script – particularly the words of Ed Murrow himself, were incredibly potent, stirring even – as well as very relevant, topical in terms of modern media relationships with politics and yadda yadda dooby dooby doo etc.
Thing is, it was certainly more mission statement than movie – good for all that, and Im really intrigued to see what Clooney will go on to produce, but even a mission statement can have a little life in it, cant it? I also found myself unhappy that I probably needed a deeper understanding of the wider political and cultural context to appreciate the film properly.
Whatever. The main problem, I think, was that it needed more explosions. Or car chases. Or perhaps a large monster devouring the city in which the film was set, whichever city that was. They wouldnt have improved the plot any, or, in fact, the film in general, but God DAMN if that wasnt the worst popcorn movie Ive ever seen in my life.
I ordered a very large bucket of popcorn. I love popcorn. Actually, the buying of the popcorn was a tiny scene of dramatised idiocy in itself.
popcorn lady: thats £7.40 please. Dont you want the large drink an popcorn combo? Thats only £6.50.
me: No, I cant finish that, I just want the medium drink but the big popcorn. Can I pay for a large combo though?
popcorn lady: No, its £7.40 if you dont have the combo. You only get the combo if you have the large drink.
me: But I dont want a large drink. I want this one.
popcorn lady: Nah. They have to be the same size, otherwise its not a combo.
me: I can put it in a large cup, if you want – would it be a combo then? Because it would be a medium drink, it would just look like a large one.
popcorn lady: Um.
me: It works out better for you, I think. Because Im only having a medium drink, but Im willing to pay for a large. So Im paying for large even though its a medium, and you guys get to keep the extra drink. Is that ok?
popcorn lady: Um. Yes. Thats £6.50 please thank you enjoy your film.
The problem was that the whole film was too quiet. Eating popcorn in such a hushed environment is wrong and bad and a general mistake. It would have made me exactly the kind of nasty antisocial type I would usually wish a painful death upon. It would be like farting in the Uffizi, or going to a wedding and licking the cake. And all the bridesmaids.
So with a square acre of cinema snack-food to eat and a short, terribly quiet movie to eat it in, the whole thing became about waiting for any vague suggestion of noise – lots of people talking at once, the flash of a dozen cameras at once, the clatter of a typewriter – so I could stuff my mouth with a handful of precious poppycorn. But then suddenly the noise would stop, and Id be left with cheeks bulging, hamster-like, sucking away on the salty bumpy orbs until they were soft enough to chew.
Between those times, I was left with one piece at a time. Popcorn popped in the mouth and eaten quietly just isnt the same at all. Pop. Suck. Swallow. Pop. Suck. Swallow. Gosh, that sounds worse than I intended. Ahem.
The only worse popcorn movie Ive ever seen was Rabbit Proof Fence. I cant find the link right now, but it was in Glasgow when, as a poor student, I got to the cinema and discovered I could afford either a drink, or some popcorn. I chose the large tub of salted popcorn. Twenty minutes into a movie set entirely in the burning hot, sun-scorched Australian desert, and with a mouth like desiccated badger arse, or a Rich Tea biscuit, I realised I may have made a mistake. Some movies are bad for popcorn. I think they should have to put that on the poster.
So in summary, Good Night and Good Luck: Very good, too quiet for large popcorn, possibly a small bucket might be fine, unless a surprise post-Oscars directors cut sudddenly includes in a car chase or a couple of Godzilla scenes. But if you like to walk out of a movie saying Gosh, that was Informative, wasnt it? then this is completely, entirely, the film for you.