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All the President's Men (1976) 

In which porn and journalism become forever intertwined

A nearly perfect journo-political thriller that is responsible for at least three real-life phenomena: 1) the mainstreaming of porn, 2) the saturation of journalists in America and 3) the use of porn-like tactics as a means to produce award-winning journalism.

The first phenomenon is obvious: Washington Post scribe Bob Woodward's secret source, whom he meets discreetly at 2 a.m. in a parking garage whenever he hits a speed bump in his pursuit of Watergate scoop, is nicknamed "Deep Throat." (What, was "The Load Warrior" already taken?) From there on out, it was perfectly kosher to invoke the name "Deep Throat" in casual conversation, paving the way for porn's infiltration of popular culture.

Second, this movie inspired way too many people to become print journalists, thus ensuring that journalists will be paid meager salaries until the end of time. Some of these people would have made perfectly good stenographers or astronauts but instead aspired to drink bourbon in the newsroom with cagey Post editor Ben Bradlee (an expert portrayal here that earned Jason Robards an Oscar). Today many fine journalists are forced to live in Spartan accommodations and dine on frozen burritos well into their thirties, which isn't cool.

Finally, in their dogged pursuit of ever-more-salacious story lines, Woodward and Carl Bernstein (played by Dustin Hoffman) plow several questionable ethical fields, chief among them a willingness to exploit female co-workers' romantic relationships with key sources. Whenever "Woodstein" hits a dead end, they badger a pretty little cubicle mate into fucking the information out of a tight-lipped insider. Such chauvinistic behavior would never fly today, but it did back then with spectacular results, and now journalism and pornography are forever conjoined. -- Mike Seely

Each week the author treks to the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library, where a staff member blindfolds him and escorts him to the movie shelves. After selecting a film at random, Seely checks it out and reviews it.

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