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Dirty Books

I hadn't really thought about it before, but there probably aren't an awful lot of paper and ink school newspapers anymore. Mind you, I went to school in a town so small that the school's paper was also the town's paper, but it does seem a shame to lose the actual newsprint. Online writing is great (I'd better say that, right?), but there is also something irreplaceable about holding a book or a newspaper in your hands.

I can adapt, personally, but unfortunately David (Noah Bailey), editor of the Prichard School Gazette, can't. When the principal, Dr. Bradley (Timothy J. Cox), tells him that the paper is about to become a blog, David is horrified. He's even more horrified when the rest of the newspaper team isn't horrified and thinks that switching to a blog will be fun. Convinced that the right, really important story will save the paper -- despite Dr. Bradley having told him exactly the opposite -- David sets out on his mission.

First, though, he pauses long enough to insult and dismiss Charlotte (Ansley Berg), the sports reporter, since she isn't really a reporter. Then he's off to meet with his best (and possibly only) friend Owens (Isaiah Lapierre). He's a compulsive journal writer and a frequent source of information for David, but this time the well is dry. Finally David has an idea -- he can make himself famous and important, plus keep anything from ever improving, just by coming up with some fake news. Why does this sound so familiar?

Anyway, this idea sets off a chain of mysterious pranks around school, which do indeed get people talking and reading. But when reality inevitably intrudes, what will the real cost be? It's a deceptively simple little film that deals with some big ideas without being preachy, and without forgetting to be entertaining along the way. I'll give it four and a half out of five. Despite having a largely very young cast, the acting is solid throughout, and it raises some questions that are both timeless and timely.

Image: 
Woodward meets with Deep Throat. I mean, David meets with Owens.

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