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David Berkson

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About David Berkson

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  1. David Berkson

    All the President’s Men

    I'm a huge fan of Unspooled and Paul & Amy, but I had a hard time with the dismissiveness of this episode. All The President's Men is a movie that requires patience, and I wonder if that's why the hosts found it frustrating. I've noticed that Unspooled has a sometimes less than critical enthusiasm for directors like Spielberg and Disney, brilliant artists whose seminal works are sentimental and deeply manipulative. At any given moment of Snow White and E.T., the viewer is told exactly how to feel and when to feel it. No patience is required and nothing is left to chance. The central promise of Spielberg and Disney is the escape of an eternal childhood. All The President's Men is about being a grown-up, how mundane and ordinary efforts can - with tremendous persistence - achieve extraordinary, historical results. Pakula forces us to spend a couple of hours being Woodward and Bernstein as they slog through mountains of lies and paper in a quest to get to the truth. All The President's Men is that rare mainstream Hollywood film that pulls back from conventionally obvious dramatic tropes as it asks its audience to work. That's not to say that Paul, Amy, or anyone else should pretend to like the movie if they don't. But I noticed that the cultural significance of this film - X Files, Zodiac, just about any police procedural on TV, the list goes on - got shorter shrift this time around, and received a less than fair hearing. Paul was right: Snow White is a kids' movie: it appeals to the eternal child in all of us. That's a beautiful thing, but it would be nice to see a movie like All The President's Men get credit for being brave enough to ask us to be grown-ups.
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