extractAbout ten minutes into the new Mike Judge comedy Extract, I realized how long it’s been since I’ve seen a really bad movie. I’m just not used to that feeling of “Oh my god… I have to spend another hour and a half forcing myself to laugh at something that isn’t funny.”

At one point I contemplated walking out, imagining that if I came across something this dull on TV, I would certainly change the channel. Even a DVD rental would likely get ejected before the halfway point. But when I pay my $20 and take my seat before the lights go down, it feels like I’ve entered into a contract. And my end of the bargain is staying until the lights come back up again. I might be forgetting something, but I don’t think I’ve ever left a theater mid-movie in my life.

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State of Play

state_of_playIt’s always strange to watch a film set in a place or milieu with which you have intimate familiarity. I remember seeing the Kevin Costner thriller No Way Out when I lived outside of Washington D.C. and the whole crowd murmuring when he hopped on a non-existent Georgetown Metro stop.

State of Play gave me that feeling in spades, as it’s set in a newsroom and deals with the struggling newspaper industry and the locking of horns between print and digital media — all things I deal with on a daily basis. So it’s full of scenes that ring true (the sloppy desk of Russell Crowe’s seasoned reporter character, the cartoony redesigns being forced on the paper by a corporation focused only on the bottom line) as well as scenes that are laughably false (a blockbuster story appears to go from the reporter’s typewriter to the front page without intervention by an editor or a lawyer, the Web department in a modern newsroom is confined to a handful of people in a side room marked with a sheet of typewriter paper).

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