Six must watch movies for journos

Because real-life is nothing like these movies. Not even close. Haha, I’m (half) kidding. In Indonesia, life as a journalist could be pretty dodgy. Coupled with the edgy welfare, the challenge to survive in the newly opened information-flood third world country is no walk in the park: battling actuality with facts, combining accuracy with so-called ethics, competing with the invasion of technology and fighting truth with oblivion.

In the end of the day, being too idealist is not a good idea for today’s journalism. First thing that will happen is people will alienate you, and then hamper you with obstacles and then in a split of a second you will realize that you’re acting like a clown. I’m not saying that the idealism is vanished, it’s still there scratching its own back, but the idea of being an ignorant idealist is obviously, silly.

Thanks to gang of lecturers and five wild years of collective brainwashing (read here), I always have that myth stories about the perfect world of journalism inside my head, where everything goes exactly like what Bill Kovach and Lester Bangs said. Of course, reality is far from The Nine Elements of Journalism.

Another bad news is, despite all of those fairytale stories, my decision to become a journalist was affected big time by the presence of an investigative journo with topknot hairdo, a lost planeteer, and a mutant geek. Fortuitously, Tintin, Peter Parker and Clark Kent are all journalists.

It is funny yet uplifting, realizing the fact that comic writers put journalist as their heroes “masks”. It goes with the same perspective that both journalists and super hero are fighting the truth, for the world. The very same feeling when I watch these movies. Unmerciful and inundating rush of adrenaline. Guess I still have those silly thoughts of ideal journalism in my head. Check out my list of six must watch movies for journalists.


  • Almost Famous – Of course, the legendary movie about rock journalism of the 70s. It is, every music journalist’s wet dream. Imagine you are in high school, randomly send a piece to the mighty Rolling Stone Magazine and the next day, you’re in a bus with Stillwater, doing in-depth and involved in a complicated love story between groupies. It’s my favorite era of Rock and Roll, featuring cool bands, punishing soundtracks and the most important: Rock journalism!


  • Shattered Glass – Adopted from real story, Shattered Glass features a classic battle between consciences and professionalism in journalism. Publicly known for his colorful articles, The New Republic’s reporter Stephen Glass is caught writing fake ass articles. Things become worse when Glass is defending his article to death, even when proofs were floating to the surface.


  • The Years of living dangerously – Pretty confused choosing between this movie or The Killing Fields, and I chose this one simply because it’s about Indonesia. Exposing the September 30th movement in 1965, The Years of Living Dangerously evolving around the atmosphere of war journalists. I loath the love story. As written in the poster, “A love caught in the fire of revolution.” Pretty lame kicker for a war movie. The movie was banned in Indonesia up to 1999, right after The Smiling General’s regime has fallen. Even though it’s about Indonesia, most of the scenes were taken in Thailand.


  • Anchorman: The legend of Ron Burgundy – Ah, I just love chameleonist Will Ferrel. Whether playing as near gay baller Jackie Moon or being an awfully funny ice skater Chazz Michael Michaels, this dude is ultra funny. I totally get his jokes. In this movie, Will Ferrell is Ron Burgundy, a news anchor surviving his daily show with all the competition from another channels and other madness.


  • State of Play – What I love most about this movie is the battle between print and online journalist. Russell Crowe has to fight with his conscience, fighting a piece about his best friend’s case. He is  collaborating with Rachel McAdams, an online journo newbie, which surprisingly contribute substantial effort to the case. Interesting!


  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Johnny Depp as father of Gonzo Journalism riding a convertible with Benicio Del Toro, deliberately stoned, bumped with half bald Tobey Macguire and seeing weird things all along the trip. What could be better?

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