Between the Lines (1977)
For all you folks out there who for some perverse reason are interested in what it would be like, or maybe more accurately, what it kinda was like to work at a scrappy little weekly rag such as Baltimore's own City Paper, here's Alternative Newsweekly 101, a story about the rise and fall of an independent weekly paper, the likes of which sprung up in cities all over the country in the '60s and '70s. We'll rate it as the number-one film in the subgenre Films About Alternative Newsweeklies. OK, it's the only film in this subgenre, but it's a subgenre that's near and dear to our wretched, ink-stained hearts. Overlook the naivete of the characters, the hilarious '70s clothes, the computer-free desks. While you're at it, overlook the actors too: Many of them are larval versions of recognizable if not-too-familiar faces from screens big and small. The now fully reptilian Jeff Goldblum was a mere hatchling in his standout turn as the paper's poonhound music critic, and it's hard to take Bruno Kirby seriously after . . . well, it's just hard to take Bruno Kirby seriously. Anyway, suspend some disbelief and accept the characters as newspaper-staff equals becoming increasingly unequal as an upstart Boston weekly evolves from rebellious rag to possible corporate sellout. Hmmm, maybe it's exactly what it was once like to work at Baltimore's Most Out-of-Town-Owned Alternative Weekly.