Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Movie Everyone Should See: "Network"

It's not often that I come across a movie that truly speaks to me, but last night I did.  A good friend of mine who comments on here occasionally recommended that I watch the movie "Network," and holy shit was that a good recommendation.

For those of you who haven't seen it, it was made in 1976 and it's about a failing TV network that finds success in a shit-on news anchor, Howard Beale, who is later dubbed the "Mad Prophet of TV."  Beale rants on his news program about how the world is going to the shitter because people are being dehumanized, devalued, and they're okay with it happening.

I wish that I could do the movie justice by giving it a more in depth analysis and what it means to me, but I can't.  The movie speaks so clearly for itself, that any attempt on my part to deconstruct it for the purpose of extracting meaning would most assuredly be woefully inadequate.

Anyone who cares about humanity, individual liberty, and common decency should watch this movie.  Here's a clip to whet your appetite.


5 comments:

Karen Howes said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Jack-- I'm always looking for good flicks!

Silverfiddle said...

I keep meaning to see that movie... Gotta update the Netflix queue.

Jersey McJones said...

You guys never saw Network before??? It was a huge hit! The whole point is about the causes and dangers of demagogy, even if for a good cause! You did get that rather direct point, right???

JMJ

KP said...

I have seen this film three times. It is just as spot on now as it was 25 years ago! Jersey McJones nails it; demagogy is alive and well. Beyond the negative conotation of lieing for power; some actually believe their pandering and fear mongering.

Jack Camwell said...

Jersey,
I only saw this film just the other day. I'm a youngster, so old movies only come to me by way of recommendation.

The thing with Howard Beale was that he was trying to bring down demogoguery. The tragedy of the story is that he didn't realize that he was engaging in it himself.

His message was true, but his audience didn't seem to really understand. The fact that he was able to accuse 98% of them of not ever reading books didn't really phase them, or insult them, speaks to the fact that he was seen as just another attraction.

Sure, they all did what he said and shouted out their windows, sent in their telegrams to the White House, but it's only because they were already robots programmed to do whatever they were told to do. That's why his final speech is so important. The last words we get to hear him say:

"Now we have to ask ourselves the question: is dehumanization such a bad thing?"

At that moment he realized that it was all hopeless, and whatever spark he had that drove him to try to get people to wake up and change the work had gone out. The network exec was right: people don't want war, famine, or to be bored. They want peace and harmony. The only way to do that is to kill the individual.