By Jeffrey Fleishman
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jeffrey Fleishman takes a look back on the year in Hollywood. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Los Angeles Times
It was a year we couldn’t have fathomed, a year of strife and weirdness, a time of wild tweets and endless scandal, when movies gave us reflection, Ken Burns jolted us back to Vietnam, and the entertainment industry was shaken by sexual abuse accusations that raised disturbing questions about what’s behind the art, film and music that shape American culture.
The calendar began with arguments in the media over the crowd size at President Trump’s inauguration. It will end, at least by Hollywood’s rubric, with “The Post,” Steven Spielberg’s rendering of the Washington Post’s decision in 1971 to publish the classified Pentagon Papers that exposed U.S. lies around the war in Southeast Asia.
There’s symmetry to those bookends, especially these days with the press covering a combative and secretive White House.
The year spun like a prickly edged whisper through mind and soul. The sublime, Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” and Bruce Springsteen’s solo Broadway show, mixed with the eerie, Hulu’s “A Handmaid’s Tale” and Jeff Goodell’s book on global warming, “The Water Will Come”, and non-stop “Saturday Night Live” spoofs as Alec Baldwin channeled Trump and Melissa McCarthy summoned former press secretary Sean Spicer. They soothed, alarmed and enthralled, as only mirrors can do.
The masterful PBS series “The Vietnam War”, directed by Burns and Lynn Novick, reexamined an American tragedy with a freshness that spoke to a nation now torn by cultural battles, racial divisions, sexual misconduct and gender politics. The 18-hour documentary was partly a reminder that the upheavals of the 1960s and early ’70s, more lacerating even than our current turmoil, marked the advent of a media era that would saturate and reshape us and a half-century later deliver a reality TV star to the Oval Office.