Wednesday morning review

Rant D’jour
Blog Post for Wednesday – 2/9/11 – 0 degrees – All outdoor life has ceased

When I am not writing, working (the difference between those lines have certainly become blurred lately) or sleeping I am reading or watching moves. Maybe this is a decent benchmark. A review on Wednesday.

You can depend on the idea that whatever I am watching or reading will most likely not be current or recently released. I tend towards movies and books that have been out a while. There will of course be exceptions to that rule.

I watched “Talk Radio” starring Eric Bogosian for probably the fifth time the other day. Streamed it on Netflix but you can buy a copy here:

If I was teaching a course in radio or even media I would probably show this film. There is some strong language and some sexual content but nothing you can’t see with a cable subscription.

Eric Bogosian is a writer, actor and stand-up comedian. I think his work is vastly underrated. He gets writing credit on this film along with the director, Oliver Stone but truth be told the film borrows heavily from Bogosian’s play of the same name.

The story is roughly based on talk radio host Alan Berg who was fatally shot in the driveway of his Denver town home by members of the white nationalist group, The Order in 1984.

Spoiler Alert: The film ends with Bogosian being gunned down in the parking lot of the radio station.

Bogosian plays “Barry Champlain” who rises from obscurity to almost the top of the talk radio craft in a very short time.

The film is not perfect. Some of the performances are contrived and stiff (Alec Baldwin is particularly painful) and it’s a product of 80’s film-making and sensibilities.

But Bogosian’s performance, over the top at times though it is, is riveting:

The line: “Marvelous technology is at our disposal, but instead of reaching up to new heights were gonna see how far down we can go. How deep into the muck we can immerse ourselves.” puts me away every time. Makes me cry when I think about how we don’t take advantage, truly, of this technology you are using now.

In a very unlikely cameo Michael Wincott steals a pivotal scene:

John C. McGinley gives a really good performance as Champlain’s long-suffering producer. Having done that job for some big ego’s I can vouch for his characterization.

With all the rhetoric lately about talk radio and how it may or may not have influenced the tragedy in Tuscon this movie is certainly worth a look.

A good companion piece would be Network.

Watch “Talk Radio” last.


Today’s Rant Djour is a movie review that dare not speak it’s name.

Sometimes it’s hard
to know what to say about something. This is not the case here. No, the problem here is that I can’t say the name of what I am talking about…more

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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