In the new drama Kill the Messenger (out today) Jeremy Renner stars as Gary Webb, a small-time journalist (easily supporting a family of five in a realllly comfortable home, but let’s put such nitpicks aside) who stumbles upon a giant story of CIA-sanctioned drug smuggling, corruption, and cover-ups, and ends up taking on not only the government, but his bosses. It’s not the first time we’ve heard this story; Renner’s film is the latest in a long tradition of movies celebrating the journalist on a mission, so we’ve assembled the best and worst of those newsmen and women, ranked by righteousness.
Ace in the Hole
JOURNALIST: Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas)
STORY: A New Mexico man, trapped in a cave.
DANGER FACTOR: None. Tatum spends the whole movie safely on the ground, figuring out new ways to exploit his subject and use it to build his over-and-done career back up.
RIGHTEOUSNESS RATING: 1. The dictionary definition of “righteousness” is “the quality of being morally right or justifiable”; Tatum is pretty much the polar opposite of that.