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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Paper
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
"The Paper" is one of the funniest films of the 1990s, providing an extraordinarily realistic view of the behind-the-scenes (dys)function of a newspaper office. This tabloid-styled commuter paper is just large enough to need to be seriously professional, while also being just small enough for that serious professionalism to be virtually impossible to accomplish.
Unless you are a journalist for the type of 'paper of record' which the film satirizes in the form of the stuffy, rival "Sentinal" (clearly modelled on the NY Times), "The Paper" will yield much of its humour from its high realism.
"The Paper" covers a single day in the implosively pressurized life of a reporter (Michael Keaton) who also happens to adore his job. The dynamism generated by the wise-guy supporting cast (which includes Randy Quaid, Roma Mafia, and Robert Duvall) makes it easy to understand why journalism is not a profession so much as an addiction. What would make a saner and more timid employee flee for the hills, produces a soaring high to the seasoned journalist. As Keaton's wife (Marisa Tomei), hugely pregnant and stuck on leave, exclaims after a gunshot is suddenly fired in a news office: "God I love this place".
Virtually every line spoken in the newspaper office is beautifully snide and worth catching, so keep the remote control close at hand.
The genuinely crazed encounters between Keaton and Glenn Close, playing a penny-pinching, ethically-challenged manager whose need to respect a deadline collides with Keaton's eleventh-hour attempt to produce an accurate and ennobling story, contribute strongly to an overall comedic masterpiece.
Though the journalistically-inclined will get a special kick from "The Paper", its appeal should be nearly universal, such is delerious wit of its dialogue and the thrill of its frenetic pacing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2006
Format: DVD
This is a FUN movie all around. It takes you into the life of print journalism and gets you involved into the everyday life of news writers and the stress they encounter on a day-to-day basis. Leading the way is Michael Keaton as the hot-shot news writer who's contemplating changing companies to further his status and make the extra buck. He's supported by a great cast of veteran actors who each have a distinct personality that you'll either love or hate. Now that's acting! The great thing about this movie is that it's set in real time like show's like 24 and whatnot. The whole movie is based on this one hectic day and how much of a rollercoaster it becomes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I spent my career in newspapers and over the years have collected movies related to the field. The Paper is one of my favorites. Sure, there were impossible situations, like Michael Keaton taking it down to the wire with a breaking story or a reporter firing a gun in the newsroom with no blow back from the HR department, but it's a great movie for newspaper junkies like myself who miss the drama and passion that's sadly gone from many news operations, resulting in today's newspapers with their sloppy reporting and stories that aren't compelling (and they wonder why newspapers are dying). We need more editors like Henry!
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17 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2001
Format: DVD
Odd film, this. The cast is first-rate and the individual performances good, at times excellent (Close, Duvall, Tomei); the main theme of the story is interesting, as are the sub-plots; Ron Howard's direction is of the high quality audiences would expect; and the settings are authentically New York, appropriate for a "newspaper" flick. So, why doesn't it all work any better than it does?
One reason is that the individual scenes have greater dramatic impact than the complete film does. At times, the scenes appear to have been taken from different films and pasted together into this one.
Robert Duvall's attempts to reestablish contact with his estranged daughter - an angry woman if ever there was one - are both touching and unsettling. The restaurant scene with Michael Keaton and Marisa Tomei presents a detailed, albeit quick, portrait of their complex relationship, although Keaton's out-of-body experience seemed out-of-keeping with the overall tone of the film. The newspaper editorial staff meeting provides opportunity for several of the supporting characters to distinguish themselves. Tomei's solo screen time is excellent and the Keaton/Close knock-down, drag-out fight on the catwalk by the presses is genuinely frightening.

But, the drama in these scenes does not carry over to the film as a whole. Since each of these story elements receives almost equal attention, the main thread of the story - whether or not the paper will effect the fate of the accused man - does not take center stage. With the film's focus shifted to the struggles among the people who think they hold the accused's fate in their hands, the audience does not have an opportunity to empathize with the accused himself.
In the theatre, this lack of empathy can make the whole venture fall flat. Fortunately, with the DVD format, one can re-watch his favorite scenes without investing time repeating the entire film. In this film, the individual performances are sufficiently powerful to warrant that approach.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2000
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I can never figure out why people see the movies they do. "The Paper" is an excellent example. It has a phenomenal cast: Michael Keaton Marisa Tomei Robert Duvall Glenn Close It is made by one of Hollywood's most successful directors--Ron Howard. Finally, the story is a wonderfully energetic and often very funny account of 24 hours in the life of a New York tabloid paper--sort of like His Girl Friday updated for the 1990s.
But NOBODY saw this film. Inexplicable. The Insider was similarly overlooked, and it was considerably more acclaimed. I have a theory. In the 1990s people just don't want to see movies of any type that are about journalism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2009
Format: DVD
is what The Paper is all about. It's just . . . . entertaining. Yes, it raises a couple of ethical issues but Ron Howard never lets them derail the fun factor. Terrif cast, amusing characters and generally very well managed chaos.
The 1.33:1 video format is a very strange choice but as far as I could tell it's not pan and scan. It's just unmatted, meaning you do see the whole picture from side to side but more than intended from top to bottom.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
Format: DVD
My daughter just purchased this for me from amazon. I love this movie. However in description above under product details it says full screen and wide screen yet format is 1.33/1 which is full screen! I had already unwrapped so too late to send back and that description got her because she knows I only like my movies in wide screen. Someone at Amazon should fix this error.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2015
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
A moving story about a NY City Newspaper. Realistic characterization with some funny underlying stories. Keaton is great and so is Glen Close. Maria Tomai plays Keaton's very pregnant wife who works out of the home helping with a news story. Her dedication and expected delivery keeps things hopping.
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on July 27, 2008
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
"Highly entertaining albeit thin journalism thriller" is the line from the product description ... I could not disagree more! It is, indeed, noir-less, and it does pack a ton into it's twenty-four hour time frame but this is a really good ensemble movie. The dialog carries the story along effortlessly and, for me, the mark of a good movie is the use of real characters at every level of the story ... even the air conditioner repairmen seem to be more than bodies adding to the realism of a busy newspaper office.

My favorite minor character is Robin, the extremely young photographer ("how old is Robin ... fourteen?") sent out to photograph the perp-walk pertaining to a highly volatile story that could lead to race-riots in the Williamsburg section of NYC in July. Her scenes consist of that marvelous combination of high anxiety fraught with humor (not the other way around!)

Marisa Tomei as Martha, the hugely pregnant, reporter-on-maternity-leave wife of Henry (Michael Keaton), metro editor, is just fabulous in this role. Right from the get-go ("Nice pajamas, Henry" as the alarm goes off and Marty sees her husband sacked out on top of the bed in his work clothes) she creates enormous sympathy for her character without manipulating the audience. Glenn Close is just great as Alicia, the overspending, unfaithful, minor NYC celebrity wanna-be albeit talented, pragmatic businesswoman in charge of keeping the paper from going into bankruptcy every month. Randy Quaid, as MacDougall, gets more info-gathering done dozing on the couch while half listening to the police scanner in Henry's office than the reporters are managing out on the streets. The Sandusky side story for MacDougall's character is hysterical, with a truly scary-funny fight scene involving a gun. Robert Duvall takes the stereotype of Bernie, the hard-bitten, chain-smoking, borderline alcoholic, dissipated Editor in Chief of the paper and gives it the Duvall magic. The Pablo Picasso speech to Alicia is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Last, but not least, is Michael Keaton as Henry, the manic, multitasking, "we're not getting our butts kicked today" Metro editor of The Paper. That bit of casting was just perfect. He doesn't struggle with anything until the movie reaches its climax. He just bulldozes through objections to his modus operendi as so many gnats that have to be swatted away. "I don't f***ing live in the f***ing world, I live in f***ing New York City!!!" he screams into the phone, while his long-suffering secretary (another fantastic character) looks on and utters, "Well, that went well." The two young men whose hapless "wrong place, wrong time" situation lands them in jail on murder charges are the most serious characters in the movie. Their plight is conveyed to the audience in brief, but powerful, scenes, making the viewer anxious for the paper to get it right.

I think the "thinness" criticism of The Paper and the criticism that Ron Howard's choice of film vehicles makes for a "vanilla" movie comes from the notion that ambiguity and unresolved angst are stock-in-trade atmospheric requirements for a film about a gritty NYC tabloid commuter paper. Mr. Howard has taken a lightening rod of a racial story, broken air-conditioning, lots of inter-character tension and camaraderie at all levels of office personnel, dumb luck, ergonomic chairs, illness, pregnancy, journalism, estrangement in both the short and long term, murder, shootings, birth, competition, love, ambition ... and has used it all to create a movie where the lives and reputations of two young men hang in the balance while the clock ticks and we slowly learn that truth itself turns out to be The Paper's main character.

One of my favorite movies!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This wasn't a bad film, in my view, 3 stars is still ok, just shows it is a slightly above average film. As stated in other reviews, the cast was just about top notch and contains many popular names, along with Keaton playing the main role. It's a day in the life of a New York City newspaper (not the major one however), and shows the challanges and decisions papers must face each day, and for that it creates interest and suspense for the viewer because it is done in an often times comical way.
However, perhaps my problem with this is that there are no redeeming qualities that put this film "over the edge". It's entertaining and worth watching, but, don't expect it to change your life or anything. I should point out however, the brilliant performance by often overlooked, Marisa Tomei, she shines in this film and actually makes the relationship between her and Keaton actually seem believable, when otherwise it wouldn't. For her performance, it puts it just over average and deserves 3 stars.
On a side note, perhaps I am just overlooking this film because of the age gap between me and the movie, many of the members of the cast are stars from a different generation and it is hard for me to relate, as a 21 year old, to some of them. So in all fairness, this may defend my rating from my perspective.
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