Home Video Picks & Passes 02.28.21

Christopher Plummer portrays Mike Wallace in ‘The Insider.’

Christopher Plummer gives one of his best non-antagonist performances in his supporting role.
Christopher Plummer gives one of his best non-antagonist performances in his supporting role. (photo: Amy Smith / Touchstone via IMDB)

 The Insider (1999) — PICK

One of Christopher Plummer’s best non-antagonist performances was in his supporting role as 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace in Michael Mann’s The Insider, a brilliant fact-based drama starring a conflicted, introverted Russell Crowe as Jeffrey Wigand, a scientist-turned-whistleblower in the tobacco industry.

 Plummer’s air of aristocratic privilege and his formidable-but-not-invincible demeanor are ideally suited to the complex portrait of the TV news icon. Plummer’s Wallace is a crusty figure capable of out-blustering an angry Hezbollah bodyguard on the other man’s home turf, yet ultimately unable to stand up to pressure from CBS (under threat of lawsuit from Brown & Williamson) to spike an explosive interview with Wigand.

What initially looks like a celebration of investigative journalism in the tradition of All the President’s Men or The Post becomes a more complex account of the crushing power of all large corporations, including those that bring us the news. Only Al Pacino’s Lowell Bergman, a CBS producer who persuades Wigand to tell his story, comes off relatively unscathed. It’s a sobering examination of courage, cowardice, corruption and the potentially catastrophic costs of telling the truth. 

CAVEAT SPECTATOR: Heavy use of strong language. Older teens and up.

 

a young parishioner prays inside St. Thomas Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Church Membership Falls Below 50% (April 17)

America’s political divide grew a little wider this week with the announcement by leading Democrats in the House and Senate that they were introducing a bill to pack the Supreme Court by adding four more Justices. This week on Register Radio we talk to Register legal analyst Andrea Picciotti-Bayer about the implications for the high court and American culture. And then, church membership in the U.S. fell below 50% for the first time ever. What are the factors in play, and what does it mean for the Church going forward? We are joined by Register writer Jonathan Liedl.

Aleksander Augustynowicz, “Alleluia,” 1906

Erika Ahern on Safeguarding Your Family From Relativism and Secularism (April 10)

The Easter Season is here, and Catholic families are trying to get the most out of the season, especially as we emerge slowly out of the pandemic. This week on Register Radio, we are joined by Catholic vlogger and Catholic family expert Erika Ahern on her Easter Octave Guide for Catholic Families and her advice for safeguarding families from relativism and secularism. And then, we talk to Register editor Alyssa Murphy who gives a round-up of not-to-miss stories at ncregister.com.