Daily Archives: November 18, 2015

“Spotlight” a must-see movie, as journalists expose the church abuse scandal. John Oliver rips terrorists a new one in classic rant. And Duke-Kentucky Tuesday night was an “un-classic”


A quick plea/request before I start today: I’ve written here before about the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, the largest soup kitchen in New York City and the 2nd-busiest in America. They serve more than 1,000 meals a day, I’ve been volunteering there for a few years now, and they’re in the middle of their annual fundraiser. They get some money from grants and some food from donations, but it still costs a lot to run this place. I know I have the most compassionate and generous readers on the World Wide Web; if you would consider donating a few dollars to a great cause, I’d appreciate it. Here’s the link to our fundraising page.

Thanks. On with the show….

There are certain stories that newspapers write that don’t just affect their town, or their state, or even their country.

They affect the whole world. They change history and cause ripples that extend so far beyond what could ever have been dreamed of.

The Boston Globe’s epic investigation and series of stories on the church sex abuse scandal in 2001 and 2002 was one of those stories. Literally hundreds and hundreds of cities all over the world found out, after the Globe’s investigation, that their town, too, had priests who for decades preyed up on young boys and molested them.

The Globe’s stories were an astonishing piece of journalism, and the new movie “Spotlight” shows how it all happened. It was a fantastic film, and deserves all the kudos it’s been getting (“Spotlight” has a 98 percent “Fresh” rating on Rottentomatoes.com as I write this.)

First of all, as a journalist I’m generally really disappointed with how newspapers and reporters are portrayed on screen (don’t even get me started on Drew Barrymore as a copy editor in “Never Been Kissed,”), but “Spotlight” nailed all the details. They showed the painstaking pace of these investigations, and how big breaks sometimes just happen accidentally.

Second, the acting is superb. Michael Keaton is so much better here as a newspaper editor than he was in “The Paper.” Mark Ruffalo is outstanding as always. John Slattery, who will now always be Roger Sterling to me, was fabulous, as was Rachel McAdams and the rest of a fabulous cast.

And third, the script tells you everything you need to know about how dirty and depraved these priests were, but it never feels “sensationalized.” The slow unraveling of the story, with the Globe’s reporters first believing just three priests were involved, then 13, then 70, works beautifully as the audience gets shocked just as much as the characters.

“Spotlight” feels like a thriller, but never loses sight of what the reporters’ core mission is: To expose this scandal and give these victims their day to be heard.

It’s a fantastic, fantastic movie. I predict it’ll get a slew of Oscar nominations. Go see it.

**Next up, John Oliver hasn’t had a good angry rant in awhile, and sadly last week’s terrorist attack in Paris provided him with a chance for one.

This righteous and hilarious anger is a nice antidote to all the sadness. Warning: Language is definitely NSFW, so if you’re watching this on the job, use headphones.


**Finally today, college basketball season officially arrived this week, with the usually awesome Champions Classic on Tuesday night. It’s a fantastic “tip-off” event, with Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and Kansas all playing each other every year in some combination.

Of course I has hugely psyched for Duke-Kentucky Tuesday night, because it’s Duke-Kentucky, and I hate John Calipari as much as you can hate someone who’s never actually done anything to your family, and I hate UK’s incredibly smug and obnoxious fans (yes I realize the irony of a Duke fan saying that).

But wow, that game was an “un-classic” if I ever saw one. My Blue Devils looked overmatched and lost, especially freshmen Brandon Ingram and Derryck Thornton. When Marshall Plumlee is your best offensive weapon the first 15 minutes, that’s not good (and I love MP3 and how hard he’s worked to become a decent player. But come on, he should never lead Duke in scoring at any point in a game).

Duke fans are spoiled, of course, seeing so many freshmen come in and play great right away. This year’s crop will be fine, but they looked scared and lost against a better, deeper, more experienced Wildcats team. Tyler Ulis is fantastic, this Jamal Murray kid is going to be a star, and Kentucky simply got whatever it wanted on offense. The margin could’ve been bigger but UK got sloppy and looked vulnerable at times, too.

It’s November, so I’m far from worried about Duke. K will have them ready by March. Just disappointing how sloppy the game was.