Hollywood on the Potomac: Wars and Hoaxes

by Editorial

Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish

Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish. Photo By Janet Donovan

The Messenger is a powerful story of two men assigned to the U.S. Army’s Casualty Notification service who conduct themselves as steely heroes while revealing their inner fragility. Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson give brilliant portraits of grief, friendship, and survival as they bear the bad news to loved ones of the fallen soldiers.

“Forget the politics. Seeing this film is a must,” said Richard Rymland, the husband of film producer Catherine Wyler (the daughter of famed director William Wyler). “It is a superb directorial debut that builds an ensemble display of acting that takes your breath away. The nine-minutes-in-the-kitchen scene is worthy of adding to your pantheon of cinema bests. Tight shots, in your face, human sadness and, best of all … reality.”

At the after-party at Posh, director Oren Moverman held court briefly with guests, then moved in to join Hunter Biden and his friends. Harrelson, a devoted peace activist, was a curious choice for the part. Asked about the role, the actor said: “I had to get into a psychological space I had never been in before. I may not agree with the war, but I have compassion for the warriors.” Amen.

“Martin Eisenstadt” is every journalist’s nightmare. In a climate where getting scoops is often more important than getting the facts right, a hoax perpetrated on the Internet by a phony McCain staffer went farther and faster than a NASCAR driver on speed. The duo of Dan Mirvish and Eitan Gorlin “punked” many of the nation’s cable outlets into thinking they had the ultimate scoop on Sarah Palin, e.g., that she thought Africa was one big country.

In reality, Mirvish was not a McCain aide. He and Gorlin, his collaborator, are both filmmakers. Also written under the name of the fictitious consultant, their recent book, I Am Martin Eisenstadt: One Man’s (Wildly Inappropriate) Adventures with the Last Republicans chronicles their deceitful adventures. Did it embarrass the news outlets? You betcha! Did it stop a good party? Heck no. Guests at the home of former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart included Matt Cooper, Marc Adelman, Karen Finney, Christina Sevilla, Mike Feldman, and Juleanna Glover.

Bob Merry is a happy camper these days, as well he should be. His latest effort, A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent, is currently ranked first in sales of 19th century history books. Merry has been a journalist and publishing executive for over 35 years, including a decade as a Wall Street Journal correspondent and a dozen years as president and editor-in-chief of Congressional Quarterly, Inc.

If the number of parties being held in one’s honor is any indication of success, Merry’s book is also a winner. The latest fete was at the home of Audrey Cramer, where former CQ colleagues joined columnist and commentator Mark Shields, and on-and-off-again presidential contender Pat Buchanan.

“I had two wonderful career segments,” Merry said, “covering Washington for one of the country’s leading newspapers and leading a fine news organization.”

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