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Top 5 (Give or Take) Rants From “The Insider”

I totally don’t mind beating a dead horse, so I return now to a subject that’s taken up quite a bit of blogspace here: Russell Crowe and The Insider.

If you’re tired of hearing about it, that’s cool.  Check back in a few days and I’ll probably have moved on to a new mini obsession.  That’s my way.  But if you happen to enjoy watching big, blustery, red-faced southern men raise a ruckus in the court ‘a law, you’ll want to stick around til the end of this one.

You may recall I’ve been a bit ruffled by @russellcrowe lately.  I don’t like to be ignored (I’ve got a blog, don’t I?).  Snubs aside, though, I still love this film.  Could talk about it for half a day.  More if I’m avoiding doing something else I really ought to be doing instead (which is pretty much always- yes, even now).  But I won’t bore you with all that- you came here for a countdown.  I do, however, want to briefly mention how brilliantly original the score is.  Nothing else like it at the time.  And it embodies the film perfectly.  It’s almost as if the two evolved together organically, they’re that well-matched.

Now for the main event.  If you’re unfamiliar and want to know a little about the plot, stick with me.  If all you want is the countdown, skip on down to the next paragraph.  (Actually you can bypass that one, too, if you’re really eager, but you’ll miss out on a little laugh.  Just FYI.)  Still here?  Alright.  Russell plays Jeffrey Wigand, a well-paid chemist for a major tobacco company who turns whistleblower and confides in CBS 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman, after which Wigand’s life goes to crap.  That’s it in a nutshell.

Just a little bit alarming at the end of a long day…

As you might imagine, this is a ranty film.  No, not randy.  Unless you count Russell, of course.  He doesn’t do anything sexy in the movie, really, other than exude a high degree of masculine intensity at all times.  Nope, nothing at all sexy.

Moving on…

There’s a lot of excellent material here for a list of rants.  I couldn’t really boil it down to five so we’re rounding with poetic license.  Nonetheless if I were to give you any more than these clips I might as well just tell you to watch the whole movie.  Actually, that’s not a bad idea.  I won’t mind.  Just make sure you scroll down to the “Like” button and hit it before you go, and we’re good.

In lieu of that, here’s my list of the top 5 rants from The Insider:

[WARNING: They’s a whooole lotta cursin’ goin’ on in this movie.  If that sort of thing bothers you, be prepared.]

6. GET ON THE F****ING PHONE! (see, I told you…)

This one comes in two clips because that’s the only way I could find it on YouTube.  At this point in the film Wigand’s life has been in freefall and Bergman, sent “on vacation” over his dispute with CBS executives over their decision not to air Wigand’s tell-all 60 Minutes interview, calls to check in on him.  Being a tad bitter over the entire mess, Wigand refuses Bergman’s attempts to reconnect.  Bergman decides to assert himself.  (There is a somewhat lengthy hallucinatory segment where Wigand zones out for a bit in middle of this scene.  You can skip to 2:07 and not miss a moment of the ranting proper.)

In part two, after a brief shouting match, the two settle their differences.  This clip is one of my faves because Russell gets so caught up in the emotion of it that his accent slips twice, if not thrice.  Bonus points if you can peg them all.


Christopher Plummer is fantastic as Wallace in this film.  And I’m not just saying that because I grew up in love with the man from watching The Sound of Music more times than I care to admit.

In this clip, CBS execs have decided (with some corporate legal help) that it is in their best interest not to air the interview that cost Wigand everything.  Though at first on board with the decision, Wallace becomes disgruntled when CBS dares to edit him in an interview on the subject.

Wish I could have found a clip that didn’t cut him off at the end…


In one of the film’s most notable scenes, Lowell Bergman reacts to CBS producers’ decision not to air the Wigand interview, citing what he believes to be the real motives behind the move.


This bit comes relatively early in the movie and when I first saw it I knew I was going to love the film.  I also laughed my ass off.  Still do.

In this scene Wallace and Bergman are preparing to conduct an interview with a Hezbollah sheik when one of his bodyguards takes issue with the distance (or lack thereof) between Wallace and the sheik’s chairs, and Wallace then takes issue with him.

Love when Bergman says, “Don’t interpret that,” after Wallace’s “second language” comment.  Unfortunately this clip cuts off the end of the interlude.  It goes a little something like this:

Bergman calms the room down and works things out so that the interview can go forward.  He pulls Wallace aside and and says “Are you ready, or do you wanna keep f***ing around and warm up some more?”  “No,” Wallace replies.  “I’ve got my heart started.”


Bergman, in an attempt to get Wigand’s interview on the air, leaks the saga of CBS’ decision to withold it to the NY Times and is confronted by his executive producer.  Wallace provides unexpected support.


At last.  Here, my friends, is a rant of the highest caliber.  No introduction necessary.  Enjoy…

That stenographer’s face after the attorney pops off gets me every time…

So there you have it.  There are actually two other rants in the film that deserve honorable mention; for brevity’s sake I’ll just, well, mention them, and the most memorable lines associated with them:

I DON’T BURN PEOPLE: Bergman confronts Wigand when he accuses Bergman of selling him out after their first meeting: “I don’t like paranoid accusations.  I’m a journalist.  Think.  Use your head.  How do I operate as a journalist?  By screwing the people who can provide me with information before they’ve provided me with it?…Story, no story, f*** your story.  I don’t burn people.”

PISSED OFF AND CURIOUS: Bergman threatens an FBI contact after his agents, who have been sent to Wigand’s home to investigate death threats he’s received, interrogate him instead; the contact says he’ll “give it a look,” Bergman finds this answer unsatisfactory:  “You better take a good look, because I’m getting two things: pissed off, and curious.  Now, any of these guys been offered jobs in corporate security, after they retire?  Either one of those guys got ex-agent pals already in those jobs, like, for instance, their ex-supervisor, who’s already at [big tobacco company] Brown and Williamson, as we f***ing speak?”

Alright, alright, I’m done.  Though in all fairness I did tell you I could go on about this movie for the better part of a day…

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2 thoughts on “Top 5 (Give or Take) Rants From “The Insider”

  1. I think I’m going to have to watch this movie again with a whole new perspective 😉

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