Regarding “Spotlight”

After reading my first draft of “Salissay’s Laundries,” Mike Allen, who is also a journalist as well as an awesome writer and poet and editor, told me I should watch the film Spotlight (a little bit of homework, a little bit of pleasure), and I got nervous, because I get nervous of watching Serious Movies, so I talked Hernandez into watching it with me.

He was game, so after his Streetfighter Tournament ended, we ate cake and watched it.


I mean, SHEESH doesn’t even. I don’t even have the expletives.

Look, I’m so behind on movies, and I always will be, and I knew nothing about Spotlight except that it was about journalism. I looked it up on Wikipedia after the movie was over, and saw that (of course) it won two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast.

Never heard of it. Because, me and movies.


I know, I know. Everything.

I have to say, Spotlight deserved EVERY DAMNED ONE OF THOSE AWARDS. Like a Chabon novel, all that heavy material was made electric and vivid by the energy of the characters, their relationship to each other, their stake in the stories, their bulldoggedness. I was thrilled the whole way through; I was even CHEERFUL. Until I wasn’t.

And then, afterwards, I was SO FURIOUS, and I cried all the tears of fury and envy and ART.

(I’m often pissed off after good art, even if it’s a bright end, even if there’s catharsis. My catharsis comes out as BLAZING ANGER. At nothing and everything. Like after that frikkin PS 1 “Structures for Life” exhibit on Niki de Saint Phalle last week? WAH! I mean, it was SO JOYOUS, and then it became deadly serious, and then I cried, and now I’m INFECTED; I’m stained, a bright scar.)

When the movie was over, I spent twenty angry minutes RAILING AT THE CEILING (and poor Hernandez), leaking and flailing, and deciding once more that I’ll never be a writer, never, and now I want to re-watch Good Night and Good Luck again, and also I want to watch The Cradle Will Rock, and also I want to kick things.

So that was a great night. Back to work tomorrow. Another day, another draft. amirite?


How our brains work:

To lighten the mood after my tantrum, we started discussing Liev Schreiber’s character.

I mean. Carlos and I went OFF on his performance. First of all, I frikkin LOVE LIEV FRIKKIN SCHREIBER. Ever since that weird rom com with the elevators, and time travel and Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman, and he’s the inventor? Anyway, and then Everything is Illuminated happened, and I just love him.

But that CHARACTER! Marty Baron, executive editor at the Boston Globe.

“Another adjective,” he says, deadpan, removing it from the article, in the one scene/line of the movie where he’s actually comfortable in his own skin.


We were lying there, trying to imagine Henry V giving his St. Crispin’s Day speech in the style of Marty Baron telling his reporters that they can take a moment, but they have to be back to work on Monday. Or William Wallace in a business suit, telling another bunch of strung out, nervous reporters, very uncomfortably, “So. I just got a phone call from Longshanks. Says he’s going to slaughter us on Monday morning. So. Everyone get some rest this weekend. They can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom.”

1 Comment

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One response to “Regarding “Spotlight”

  1. It’s so good! And the way it’s never an action thriller, of COURSE, but plays on your expectations about those, so whenever a car drives past a window you expect something bad to happen…

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