Smell of Popcorn

film reviews & musings by Max Lalanne

Weekend pick – Network, available on Netflix streaming until August 1st.

Posted by Max Lalanne on July 28, 2012

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One of the greatest speeches ever committed to cellulloid, and it’s a nice long one to boot…

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at ileast leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!” So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!” I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!” (Peter Finch, in “Network”)

Need I say more? The London Olympics kicked off last night, but if you’re wanting for a good, old-fashioned movie to satisfy you this weekend alongside Michael Phelps and beach volleyball, look no further than “Network,” available on Netflix streaming until August 1st and therefore the pick of the weekend. Startingly and shockingly relevant, even 36 years later, and brilliantly skewering cheap tabloid sensationalism (as well as plain everyday television) and our own pathetic obsession with it, Sidney Lumet’s 1976 satirical masterpiece about the completely unethical exploits of fictional television network UBS rightfully recieved ten Oscar nominations, and the total four wins included lead acting statuettes for stars Faye Dunaway and, posthumously, Peter Finch. The remarkable Paddy Chayefsky won for best original screenplay, and was cited in Aaron Sorkin’s acceptance speech when the latter himself won the same award in 2011 for “The Social Network.” Sorkin also told the New York Times that “no predictor of the future – not even Orwell – has ever been as right as Chayefsky was when he wrote “Network.”” It’s a bold claim, to be sure, but the damning (and somewhat sad) thing is it’s true.

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One Response to “Weekend pick – Network, available on Netflix streaming until August 1st.”

  1. That Sorkin quote is undeniable, it’s scary how right Chayefsky was.

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