The movie begins and ends with images of print on paper. Typewriter keys slam a date onto a blank page: June 1, 1972. President Nixon, in the midst of his re-election campaign and returning from a trip to Moscow, arrives at the Capitol Building to address Congress and the nation. Soon after, in the pre-dawn hours of a Saturday morning, security guard Frank Wills (portraying himself in the film) summons police to the Watergate Complex after discovering evidence of intruders in an office building. In the 6th floor headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, plainclothes officers responding to the call apprehend five well-dressed men in the midst of an attempted burglary. Later that morning 29-year-old reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford), hired just months ago at the Washington Post and the lowest-paid member of its staff, is called in to cover the suspects’ arraignment. The case seems of little importance, yet puzzling details soon emerge that arouse Woodward’s suspicions. Another eager young Post reporter, Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), is assigned to join Woodward in following-up on the story. Through diligence, persistence, prodding from editors, and crucial assistance from a shadowy source, the duo uncover some startling connections. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Venezuela Season 5, Ep 11
- A Trump aide was heard to say something unkind about John McCain, regarding his dying of brain cancer, thus fulfilling everyone's dreaded expectations for the kind of people Donald Trump would employ in his office.
- Scandals swirl around the Trump administration yet yet again again, as Michael Cohen comes under allegations for selling access to Trump.
- And Now: Local News Gets Real About Mother's Day
- Main Story: Venezuela. A piece reminiscent of the pre-Trump era, about the serious problems faced by a country that isn't the United States, about the trials currently suffered by Venezuela, which are less about socialism and more about epic levels of mismanagement. Its next elections are on May 20. Its former President was Hugo Chávez, an extremely popular leader who nationalized the oil industry and allowed his citizens to reap the rewards, although his government was notoriously corrupt. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has not fared nearly as well. It's a long and very interesting piece, ending with Lin-Manuel Miranda in a bird suit pleading with Maduro to get his act together.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: 2016 Election Result Season 3, Ep 30
This week (11/13):
- The only story is the outcome of the 2016 Election and the selecting of Donald Trump as the next US President. The full consequences of this are detailed, and his staff picks are discussed, and also offered is a look into how this happened: the prevailing use of social media to isolate people into echo chambers and feed them disinformation. A list of many organizations you can donate to and volunteer for is offered. It ends with a hearty FUCK YOU to the year 2016.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Televangelists Season 2, Ep 25
This week.... Cuba allows their US embassy to reopen for the first time in decades. Historians confirm that US President Warren G. Harding had a child out of wedlock. New Zealand is considering changing their flag, and held a competition for people to suggest designs. John Oliver points out some particularly ludicrous entries. And Now: Six More Actual Flag Designs Submitted to the New Zealand Goverment, With Descriptions of What They Look Like. Main story: Televangelists, those forgotten scourges of the poor, their tax-exempt status, and the surprisingly legal things they get away with. YouTube (20m) To demonstrate the extent of the problem, LWT started their own church, "Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption." Said church has a website, www.ourladyofperpetualexemption.com. Metafilter thread about the episode. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The IRS Season 2, Ep 9
This week: Hillary Clinton announces her candidacy for President of the United States. Brits prepare for upcoming electoral fights, including a heated race for Prime Minister between current PM David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Milliband. Obama meets Raúl Castro to work towards normalizing relations with Cuba. And Now: Excruciatingly Awkward Silences Caused By Technical Difficulties. Main story: The loathed IRS (YouTube 18m), the difficulty of their thankless job, and the issues an unpopular but essential agency faces when their budged gets slashed year after year. Michael Bolton sings a song in support; the word anus is used more than once.