Monday, February 18, 2008

This Tube can make or break Presidents

In honor of Presidents Day and this annoying primary election season, let's look back at the wit and wisdom of the 1976 film "Network":

There's something curious about listening to the Tube rant via YouTube. Anyway, "Network" was composed of a series of Paddy Chayefsky's brilliant monologues strung together by the great director Sidney Lumet, with all dialogue merely secondary build up to the soliloquies belted out by one of the finest casts ever assembled, each syllable still resonating 30+ years later. The most memorable of all of them, however, was Peter Finch's Howard Beale. His "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore" is right up there with "I am your father" as quotable 70s cinema.

Finch had a heart attack after the movie was completed, thus going out on a high note, having just finished his best work. Finch wasn't the only one to die after "Network" was released; Faye Dunaway's career joined Finch in death. Up until then, Dunaway had been the new queen of cinema, starring in such pictures as "Bonnie and Clyde," "The Thomas Crown Affair," and the fantastic "Chinatown." After "Network," she appeared in over 50 films, and none of them matched her output from 67-76. In fact, none of them are really worth your time, period.

Although Dunaway squandered the rest of her career, she still certified herself as a memorable actress early in her work, thanks in no small part to "Network." "Network" is one of the most important films of the the 70s. It is easily in the top ten list of that decade, and if you don't think so, you're a shit and I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

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