"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dinner & a DVD: Good Night, and Good Luck

The flavors found in this delicious dish are wonderful. Packed with pasta, three kinds of meat, veggies and cheese, it makes a hearty meal.

Pizza Pasta Dinner

2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb sausage
Green pepper, chopped
Onion, chopped
1 cup sliced pepperoni
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 jar (14 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 jar sliced mushrooms
1 can chopped ripe olives
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, sausage, green pepper, and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the pepperoni, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and olives; cook and stir for 5 minutes.

Drain pasta; stir into meat mixture. Heat through. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand until cheese is melted.

Featured Attraction: Good Night, and Good Luck

In 1954, television was still a new invention. Few Americans owned one, and those who did had only three or four channels to choose from. It was the time of the Red Scare, of Joe McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee, of Edward R. Murrow.

"Good Night, and Good Luck" is not your typical biopic or docudrama. It does not delve into Murrow's childhood or marriage. Murrow (David Strathairn) and his news producer Fred Friendly (George Clooney) learn an obscure story of an Air Force Lieutenant who is discharged because his father might have been a Communist. With his commander unwilling or unable to explain his dismissal (one of the contents of a top secret envelope), Murrow and his team take on the ring leader of the Pinko witch hunt, Sen. McCarthy. (And if you don't think it can happen now, think again .)

Standing in the way is CBS news manager William Paley (Frank Langella), who has to balance his journalists' integrity and freedom with the desires of his sponsor Alcoa. Murrow convinces Paley to let him run his critique of the Senator, mostly by washing his (Paley's) hands of Murrow if it blows up. So on March 9, 1954, Murrow's show "See It Now" used McCarthy's own speeches to show inconsistencies between his words and actions.

A month later, McCarthy appeared on "See It Now," accusing Murrow of being affiliated with the Communist Party. Of course, he had no proof. "We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," Murrow says. Viewers responded overwhelmingly against McCarthy. After that, politicians of all stripes openly criticized McCarthy, and McCarthy's career spiraled downward.

Filled with jazz and cigarette smoke and filmed in black & white, "Good Night and Good Luck" brings the viewer back to 1954. Patricia Clarkson, Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr., and Ray Wise round out the supporting cast with terrific credibility. At only 93 minutes, the movie--which has no sex, no violence, and only one blasphemous swear word--is anything but boring, letting the drama of the time dictate the action.

"Good Night, and Good Luck" is less a movie about McCarthyism than it is about courage and journalistic integrity. All journalists, especially those who tripped over themselves to cover OJ Simpson's trial and Anna Nicole Smith's death, and columnists who close their minds to the opinions of others, need to see this movie so they could learn what journalism really is.

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