The next time someone makes a movie that’s specifically about my life, almost line for goddamn line, it would be great if one of you told me ahead of time. Just a quick email or something, maybe a phone call. I’m sick of learning about these things midfilm, ass into the couch with nachos in the oven. So please, I need a trigger warning for flicks about middle-aged Caucasian dudes who struggle with the financial reality of working on the benevolent side of media (as opposed to as a Fox News pundit, or for that savage Michael Bloomberg).
Can someone help me out with this? If a guardian had safeguarded me last week, they would have warned me about Brad’s Status. In which Ben Stiller plays Brad Sloan, a goofy 47-year-old former journalist who runs a nonprofit that—brace yourself—helps other nonprofits use social media effectively. I mean… c’mon! The organization that my partners and I started, the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, serves several functions, but one of them is literally helping nonprofits communicate in the digital age.
The similarities don’t end with Sloan’s dying profession. Like me, the protagonist is also an insanely privileged brat who should be happy in the working class but instead likes to whine about his friends from college, most of whom are millionaires who dodge my calls because I’m probably going to ask them for a donation. We also share this thing where all those throwback pals consider us to be naive progressive losers, while the younger people who we work with on the left see little use for straight white males, and understandably don’t want to hear about the Gen X struggle. These are the things that midlife crises are made of. Woe is us.
I’m afraid to Google and find out who wrote and produced Brad’s Status, out of fear that it may be someone I know from high school who is a successful screenwriter who follows my career on Facebook and is using me for fodder. I felt the same way earlier this year after watching Long Shot, in which Seth Rogen plays a bearded and frustrated reporter at an alternative newspaper. When his outlet sells out to a major media conglomerate for millions, he takes a job with and starts dating Charlize Theron, whose character’s an internationally admired influencer who’s running for the White House.
With biopics like these in circulation, I’ll never need to write a memoir.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF