Revenge of 'The Insider': 1999 Film Was Ahead of Its Time

Russell Crowe in ‘The Insider’/Image © Spyglass Entertainment
Russell Crowe in ‘The Insider’/Image © Spyglass Entertainment

Adaptations turn up in the damnedest places, don't they? I'd all but forgotten that 1999's "The Insider" (new this week on Blu-ray) is based on a Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner. Despite being nominated for seven Oscars -- including Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay -- the film walked away with no trophies. In the pristine Blu-ray transfer there's nothing except a few dated political references to betray the fact that it was released a decade ago instead of a month ago. It certainly fits in better with 2013's pack of political-themed nominees; in 2000, the leading contenders were surreal, spooky films like "American Beauty," "The Green Mile," and "The Sixth Sense."

There's a new wrinkle in Supermangate, the continuing saga of DC Comics' controversial choice of Orson Scott Card as their newest author. Openly gay TV writer and sci-fi novelist David Gerrold (if you're wondering about his cred, he wrote the famous "Star Trek" script "The Trouble With Tribbles") has nominated himself as an upcoming Superman writer, as a potential counterbalance to Card's influence! If this story gets any weirder, they're going to have to hire someone to adapt it into its own comic.

Character actors always have the best stories. Eric Roberts was a recent participant in the AV Club's "Random Roles" feature, and is entertainingly candid about his roles in everything from "The Dark Knight" to "The Young and the Restless." (For example, when asked why he was fired from the latter, he responds: "I, uh, think I sucked.")

Having lukewarm-to-negative feelings about Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" is no longer an option. Devin Faraci has written a persuasive blog post in defense of the 2005 film that may inspire you to revisit and reconsider it. According to Faraci, the first half of the movie is "some of the best cinema of the 2000's," which shouldn't be invalidated on the basis of a slightly less-good (though still totally capable) second half.

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