Sunday, March 28, 2010

#79 Network - was a surprise

1976. dir. Sidney Lumet, starring Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall.

Seen it before? No.

I say that because I actually liked it despite thinking it moved slowly in the first few minutes. Faye Dunaway plays Diana Christensen a woman producer who comes to the network with spectacular and sometimes insane ideas of how to bring ratings up including making a cranky former anchor (Peter Finch) the prophet/vessel for how people in America really feel..."I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

William Holden was excellent as Max Schumacher, Howard Beale's best friend, Faye Dunaways' lover, and Beatrice Straights' unfaithful husband.

This movie is supposed to be a satire for how network television works but I found it to be eerily similar to what probably DOES go on in network television (ahem, FOX). The shows Diana was pitching in the movie are similar to today's Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, the psychic guy who swears he can channel the spirits of deceased family members, and any other court television program (read - junk) you can think of. They exploit their fired news anchor by putting him BACK on television not once but multiple times as a prophet for goodness sakes. He's bitter and he's tired of bullshit and he claims to be the only person in America who is willing to tell the truth on television. Too bad no one on air today is willing to tell the truth. They might end up like Howard Beale.

Watch it again? Yes
Own it? Meh

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