Last Friday evening, I found myself enjoying a beverage at a cafe on the river on possibly the nicest day of the year thus far, surrounded by some of the Twin Cities’ illustrious film folk — journalists, bloggers, and fanatics alike. With print media, and especially the film criticism within, struggling to stay afloat, it’s not surprising that the discussion turned a bit to newspapers, and — with the films State of Play (featuring Russell Crowe as an investigative newspaper journalist) and The Soloist (with Robert Downey Jr. taking a turn as a L.A. Times columnist) hitting multiplexes — the newspaper movie. There certainly have been some great ones — His Girl Friday, The Paper, and Sam Fuller’s Park Row are among my personal favorites. It’s no coincidence that Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times published an interesting piece on this very topic in yesterday’s paper. (Thanks to David Bordwell for the link.) Mr. Goldstein seems to postulate that the gravity once found in the greatest newspaper films, perhaps like the printed papers themselves, may not find a strong footing with the younger audiences that studios seem to depend on at the box office. It’s an interesting concept to ponder. The mainstream film industry, much like the newspaper business, has an incredible history and deep connections to the American psyche. Both have done so much to shape our culture. In many ways it’s difficult to see both of these industries — though perhaps newspapers more so — struggle to adapt and maintain their ability to define our times, and see the badges of honor that their histories and working methods have earned them become a boat anchor of sorts holding them back.