Movie Journalists Are Just Like The Real Ones, Except Their Cars Are Much Cooler

We like to think professors drive odd/cool cars like Saab 900s, but it turns out they really drive dreary boxes like Toyota Camrys and Corollas, as you informed us this week.

Speaking of Boston, it was recently reported that there's going to be a movie made about the Boston Globe. Which got me thinking, naturally, what are the journos going to be driving?

I don't know what the editor of the Globe drives, but I fear it's a five-year-old Accord.
Hollywood has made lots of journalism movies over the years and I, because I'm weird, look at the cars the reporters drive. All of the real-life newspaperfolk I know drive Hondas.

Go down and look at the parking lot of your local newspaper: Civic, Accord, CR-V, Insight, maybe a Jetta, Mazda 3 or older-than-I-am Subaru thrown in there. Reporters tend to work long hours and drive a lot for work, so I think they tend to buy appliances that won't give much trouble. Because news doesn't stop just because your car won't start.

So I've decided to take a look at some classic journalism movies and examine the cars they drive. Even if movies about reporters are your equivalent of Ambien, you should agree the cars in movies should fit the character doing the driving.

Tell us — what are your favorite movie journalist cars?

Top photo credit themoviedb.org, FotoSleuth

All other photos credit IMCDb.org

Movie Journalists Are Just Like The Real Ones, Except Their Cars Are Much Cooler

All the President's Men: Bob Woodward's Volvo 122S

The Volvo works for a blond Robert Redford in this zenith of journo movies. As we know, it's an intellectual's car. It's also not flash, because that wouldn't work for stealthy guys talking to a source named "Deep Throat" in dark parking garages. A Volvo that would've been fairly new for the period this film was set in seems a little ritzy for a reporter's budget, but maybe they pay well at the Washington Post. Or at least used to.

Movie Journalists Are Just Like The Real Ones, Except Their Cars Are Much Cooler

The China Syndrome and Zodiac: Kimberly Wells and Robert Graysmith's Volkswagen Rabbit

I don't know why, but it looks like the de facto reporter's car in the late ‘70s was a VW Rabbit. Maybe it's because people who bought Beetles bought the successor, but with Hondas and Toyotas coming into the fray so quickly, this wasn't bound to last. Jane Fonda as a TV reporter running around in the Rabbit works though. It's kind of perky and cute, but the clean lines give it the seriousness someone covering a possible nuclear meltdown should.

Now, Jake Gyllenhaal – back when he was still nerdy and playing a newspaper cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle who inadvertently ends up chasing a serial killer – does it even better in his little orange hatchback. Slightly scruffy, inquisitive face, maybe a reporter's notebook and pencil to go with a German hatch. I could rock that look.

Movie Journalists Are Just Like The Real Ones, Except Their Cars Are Much Cooler

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: Ron Burgundy's Pontiac Catalina

Work with me on this one, but Anchorman is a journalism movie and a damn funny one at that. Like the mustache and hair, the gold Pontiac Will Ferrell drives in the movie is suitably ridiculous for an over-the-top news reader – who will read anything on the Teleprompter. Screw Jane Fonda's little Rabbit, this is what anchormen drive.

The Catalina is a big, lumbering symbol of excess, lined with crushed velour inside to match the crushed velour jacket Ron Burgundy wears all the time. And there's loads of room to transport the whole Channel 4 News Team, or impress Christina Applegate when you tell her the correct translation of San Diego.

Movie Journalists Are Just Like The Real Ones, Except Their Cars Are Much Cooler

State of Play: Cal McAffrey's Saab 900S

I like the look of Russell Crowe in DC and this old-shape Saab. But really, what reporter in 2009 would put up with the lofty repair bills this old car must be piling up?

These old beasts are tough though, so it can probably withstand all of the abuse a low-paid reporter's going to heap on it. And it looks good on Russell, here, an old car that's not lovingly maintained but still runs. Kind of like the unshaven, poorly dressed Cal McAffrey. I also think Rachel McAdams would look good riding shotgun.

Movie Journalists Are Just Like The Real Ones, Except Their Cars Are Much Cooler

The Soloist: Steve Lopez's Saab 9-3

Lot of journos driving Saabs in 2009. I read the real Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez drives a Volvo. And he looks nothing like Robert Downey Jr. So maybe this is Hollywood inflicting some more style into writers.

Having said that, I roll in a similar-vintage Saab that's usually filled with newspapers or notepads, though I don't tend to haul Jamie Foxx's cello around or leave it parked in Skid Row, like Lopez does in the movie. Downey does play a somewhat eccentric, brash columnist here, so a turbo Saab is fitting. But it just doesn't seem right when it's this clean.