Stop The Potatoes!

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Last week, peace in Ireland. This week? A sniveling Paula Jones and a few twisters in Nashville. Honestly, there's just not much for journalists to do when the news gods are on vacation, except tell bad jokes to each other and try to look busy.

Bravely into the breach steps Couch Potato. While CNN is mired in weather footage, CP wants to show you newshounds at their best: tenacious, principled, witty and attractive. We're all like that. Really. Don't believe it? Just watch His Girl Friday (1940). Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell are the ink-stained beauties in Howard Hawks' razor-witted screwballer about a newspaper editor who tries to bring his ex-wife back into the fold with a nutty crusade for justice-by-media (and by relentlessly belittling her new fiance). Not to be missed.

Watch one, watch the other: Unapologetic fans of old Hollywood will feel incomplete if they don't rewind at this point to 1931 for The Front Page. OK, it's the same movie -- the first screen version of the manic Hecht-MacArthur play. But it's just as good, which is more than can be said for the 1974 version with Walter Matthau or Switching Channels (1988) for that matter. Lesson: the remake game never works twice.

Need a new plot? Deadline-U.S.A. has a small case of the treacles, but it's stirring nonetheless -- and something to think about in this tabloid age. Bogart, additionally, is reason enough to watch. Spot Mr. Howell and Ed Begley Jr.'s father, and you get a gold star. Try The Paper (1994), co-penned (and cameoed in) by current TIME editor Stephen Koepp, if you've got to see something post-war, but please, please don't rent I Love Trouble, unless you really do. Because CP will find out where you live.

A little PR never hurt anybody, right? When it wants, Hollywood can make the chattering class look pretty good. We certainly need it.