Last night, Jen and I watched All the President’s Men, off the Netflix. It’s the screen adaptation of the Watergate investigation starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward & Bernstein, or “Woodstein”.
Considering the whole thing went down months before I was born, my understanding of Watergate is ethereal at best. The movie is more than a retelling of one of America’s low points, it helped form the basic language of our cloak-and-dagger stereotypes; the smoking informant that will only meet the dark of night, hints just falling into your lap, and a nondescript enemy foiling you at every step. Or maybe that’s just Washington politics.
The dynamic between Hoffman and Redford was remarkable, the Washington Post’s office furniture stylish, and the intrigue kept me on the couch and away from the laptop for more than 2 hours.
As Redford was searching through a stack of big, heavy telephone books, I couldn’t help but wonder how different this same investigation would be today. With Google, weblogs, and 24 hour news, would it be easier or more difficult to uncover the conspiracy?
I vote for the same.
On the subject of enlightening historical political dramas, The Fog of War – Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. McNamara was Kennedy & Johnson’s Secretary of Defense, putting the subject of this movie just a few years ahead of All the President’s Men.
This movie gave Errol Morris an Oscar for best documentary and he deserves it. Walking into it, Jen and I had no idea who McNamara was – just that Morris is a brilliant documentary filmmaker.
By the end, I was stunned. Stunned at how little I knew about; the Cuban Missle Crisis, the Vietnam War, and how the Cold War wasn’t so much.