business news in context, analysis with attitude

I haven’t been to any new movies during the past week, but I am very excited about a new trailer that’s out - for The Post, a Steven Spielberg-directed film about the decision by the Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

The film, scheduled to be released on December 22, stars Meryl Streep as publisher Katherine Graham, and Tom Hanks as legendary Post editor Ben Bradlee (memorably played by Jason Robards in All The President’s Men).

I can’t wait. This is one of my favorite kinds of movies, and it focuses on two of the most interesting personalities in modern journalism. Both Graham and Bradlee, wrote two of my favorite memoirs - “Personal History” and “A Good Life,” respectively - and I find them both to be endlessly fascinating.

I once was at the Post, interviewing for a job, in the early eighties, and saw Bradlee stride through the newsroom with a kind of magnetic authority that I’ve rarely seen. I didn’t get the job, but I’ve always treasured that momentary opportunity to see a legend first-hand.

Like I said, I can’t wait for The Post.

While I didn’t get to any movies over the past week, last weekend my wife and kids surprised me with theater tickets as a birthday present. We went to see “Meteor Shower,” a new play written by Steve Martin and starring Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, and Laura Benanti.

“Meteor Shower” resembles an Edward Albee play in that it offers us two married couples - one that is malevolent and disruptive, and one that is placid and ripe for disrupting. Martin spins a tale that shows us their encounter from a variety of angles, using his trademark sharp and absurdist wit. “Meteor Shower” is only scheduled for a limited run on Broadway, but I suspect that we’ll see additional iterations down the road … it strikes me as made for a production that could be shown on Amazon or Netflix. (I’d love to see either company make a real commitment to keeping such plays alive by recording them and making them available once their commercial runs have been completed.)

If you get a chance to see “Meteor Shower,” I’d suggest you do so.

I’ve spent a lot of time on airplanes of late, which mean I’ve also had the time to finally finish both “Stranger Things” and “Stranger Things 2,” the Netflix series that has been an enormous hit. And with good reason, too - I loved it.

I don’t want to explain too much about “Stranger Things” except that it combines elements of “Alien,” “Twilight Zone,” “Goonies,” and “Poltergeist,” mixing them into an intriguing and hard-to-resist combination of science fiction and a coming of age story set in fictional Hawkins, Indiana.

It all has to do with a mysterious government laboratory where they’re doing things they clearly shouldn’t be doing, and the young teenagers who get embroiled in a mystery of frightening proportions. All I knew about the series was that it was popular, and so I sort of went in blind …which, I think, is the best way to do it. The best thing about the series is that while it is effective with the horror aspects of the story, it is especially compelling in the quiet, intimate moments that detail with adolescence.

I will say that “Stranger Things” features some wonderful performances, especially by the young actors - especially Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Charlie Heaton, Natalia Dyer and Joe Keery, with a special shout-out to Gaten Matarazzo, who is my favorite of the group. And go figure - Winona Ryder delivers a performance over the two series that moves from wounded to ferocious, and David Harbour gets a career-making role as the police chief who finds himself way over his head and yet finds within himself unexpected reserves of heroism. And kudos to Paul Reiser and Sean Astin, who joined the show for season two and managed to surprise and satisfy.

Watch both seasons of “Stranger Things,” and I suspect that, like me, you’ll be looking forward to season three.

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.


KC's View: