Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Russell Crowe plays an old-school newspaper reporter

(Credit: Watchdog)

NBC Universal was kind enough to invite me to a screening of its new movie, "State of Play," starring Russell Crowe as an intrepid newspaper reporter, Ben Affleck as his friend in politics, Rachel McAdams as a perky blogger and Helen Mirren in the obligatory, crusty Lou Grant/Ben Bradlee editor role.

I quite enjoyed it, in spite of its parade of newspaper movie cliches. Or maybe because of them.

After seeing the trailer, I said to Mrs. WatchDog: "A movie about a newspaper reporter? In 2009? Really?"

Yes, really. The film seems to be something out of the 1950s, or at least the 1980s.

In one amusingly unrealistic scene the blogger tells the old-school reporter a scoop is so big it deserves to be read by people with ink on their hands, or words to that effect.

The closing credits roll over scenes of the newspaper rolling off the presses, getting bundled and then, get this: being loaded onto a truck for delivery!

The whole thing warmed an old newspaperman's heart, and might be the last movie of its kind ever made, at least the last such movie set in the present.

Speaking of newspapermen and bloggers . . . No blogging Thursday.

I've got newspaper work to do.(One more thing: In one scene Mirren's character says of McAdams' blogger: She's hungry, she's cheap and she cranks out copy every hour . . . or words to that effect. Sounds about right.)

Tags: nbc , journalism

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