I am torn.
The journalist in me is outraged at the new movie, "Boys Don't Cry." The film fanatic in me is blown away by some truly wonderful performances.
I guess I should just hook up with Mike Wallace.
In 1999, Wallace made a stink about the movie, "The Insider." There is no arguing that Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer and Russell Crowe played their parts well in the film. But Wallace couldn't help pointing out the factual inaccuracies of the film.
Crowe plays Jeffrey Wigand, a real-life executive who blew the whistle on the tobacco industry by sharing the knowledge that the public's health was put in jeopardy in exchange for billions in profits. Pacino and Plummer star as the producer and journalist (Wallace) who were told to drop the story.
The script of "The Insider" is based on a Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner. But since everyone is still alive and kicking, why couldn't the facts be correctly portrayed? Wallace says he was shown to be a "soulless and cowardly laggard who has lost his moral compass." Wallace was there. He knows the truth. And if the film's goal is to show the truth about the tobacco industry, why weren't the people involved consulted?
Now Wallace's experience has now been overshadowed by the movie, "Boys Don't Cry."
Based on the real life experiences of Teena Brandon, a woman with a gender identity crisis, "Boys Don't Cry" shows how Brandon attempted to portray herself as a man in order to find happiness. Instead she was raped and murdered.
I know more about this story than most. In fact, I spent a year helping best-selling author Aphrodite Jones chronicle Brandon's life. Every night, I would transcribe dozens of taped interviews. Inside my headphones, I heard the true story of Brandon from her friends, her family and her killers. Those transcripts were later used to create the book, "All S/he Wanted."
Even though I knew every plot twist and turn, the movie was outstanding. But because of my experience in working on this book, I know that the ending was full of lies.
People were placed at the murder site who were never there. It was insinuated that one character slept with a dead body, which didn't happen. Some names were changed, others weren't. And one young man, who was brutally killed in a Nebraska farmhouse was completely forgotten.
I have not forgotten Philip Devine. He was 22, and staying at a friend's house. Without a doubt, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When two men entered the farm house with murder in their hearts, Devine simply got in the way. He tried to run, but a broken leg kept him from moving quickly. They shot him for no reason at all.
All those nights of transcribing included listening to interviews with Devine's family. They lost someone important, and Hollywood basically ignored his very existence.
As I left the theater, I was stunned at the tremendous performances of Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny, but I was also blind with anger at the way the story was twisted at the end for "added drama."
Should the entertainment industry make it a standard to alter history? Hollywood has often taken events and added it to celloid for informational and entertaining purposes.
I'm torn. But I'm leaning toward Wallace in wanting the truth. Believe it or not, it's often more dramatic.