Friday, September 07, 2012

Network (1976)

This is the closest I want to get to a political post on the site.

I say this, having just wrapped up the latest in two political conventions (I watch them both--a tradition for a reporter's daughter). Someone on Twitter said that nominee X was "Ned Beatty's speech made flesh," and it got me thinking about this very relevant and prescient film.

"Network", in case you're one of the few who hasn't seen it, is about a news announcer who loses it. Because he connects so well with the American people (who are also losing it), he gets his own show. Note the loving shots of Bandar bin Sultan in that clip. He's also known as "Bandar Bush". I've seen interviews with him and he's a very clever man and I respect him.

Robert Duval is really great in this. He's playing half-way between Boo Radley and THX-1138.

The most facinating thing about "Network" is it's about a medium of communication, yet no one in the film communicates with anyone else. There's very little dialog. It's one long series of monologs.

And artfully written, they are. Beatrice Straight won an Oscar for this one.

Gods, the hurt. She makes me feel it and I cry.

Meanwhile, Howard Beale rants on and rants true. Try to remember when this was written.

We were warned.

The human drama soldiers on. These aren't people talking to each other; they're talking at each other.

When we hit our inevitable (and unenviable) end, it's no less a surprise the first time than the last. So it goes. Be quiet. Don't make waves. Keep the status quo going.

Now, Tea Party or Occupy, say it with me, in your best German accent:

I vas onlee paying ze moooortgage.....


Unknown said...

I like to watch that scene with Ned Beatty while imagining it being delivered by Lotso from Toy Story 3.

Unknown said...

I'm probably most folks have poor view on Mark Wahlberg's Shooter here, but Beatty's character could essentially be Arthur Jensen, U.S. Senator, in the film. There's even a part where he slips into Jensenspeak when he describes his motivations to Wahlberg's character: "There are no sides. There's no Sunnis and Shiites. There's no Democrats and Republicans. There's only HAVES and HAVE-NOTS."