2019 Blind Spot Series: Network


What I knew going in: The basic plot, and I thought I knew the ending.

When aging anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) goes off on a tirade on air, his Network execs decide to exploit his outbursts for higher ratings. Diana Christianson (Faye Dunaway) is ruthless and will do whatever it takes to make this show a ratings winner, where as Max Schumacher (William Holden) feels a bit more bad about the situation. 

Of all the Blind Spots I had this year, I was looking forward to this one the most as I enjoy journalism/newsroom type scripts and this did not disappoint. It's aged very well and the performances are just as good as everyone said they were. Faye Dunaway was my favorite. I'll admit to only thinking of Mommie Dearest when I hear her name so seeing her give a performance like this was wonderful. 

The only thing this film does that wasn't perfect was blending in the other subplots within the network. I kept waiting for them to all come together smoothly but I feel like it didn't translate as well as it should.

The ending surprised me because I thought I knew how it went down. I had always heard this movie being inspired by what happened to Christine Chubbuck, so I was expecting a suicide to play into it. What actually happened was so cold and calculated it caught me by surprise.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore." - Howard Beale (Peter Finch)

15 comments:

  1. I love it when an ending catches you off guard! I thought the same when I finally watched Psycho, I thought I knew how it ended and I was so wrong!

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    1. I agree! Especially when it goes in a good direction.

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  2. Oh I love that movie! Dunaway was incredible in it. She looked spectacular too. I haven't seen this one in years I'm really gonna need to rewatch it sometime

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    1. She was. I was reading IMDb and in the trivia it said she was told not to find an ounce of humanity in her character or else he would edit it out because she "had none" and she really committed to that.

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  3. I've only seen bits of it but I still want to see it as I heard it has a lot to say that is more relevant about the state of news and television.

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    1. Yeah, what happens in it would not surprise me at all if it happened today. No stretch of the imagination required.

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  4. I'm going to my 10th Wiggles concert this July
    💛💜❤️💙

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  5. I respect how prescient this was when it came out, though that's terribly sad really, and I'm glad it finally won Faye the Oscar before her career imploded but I don't like the film. These are for the most part either hugely contemptible or terribly broken people and watching them go down the rabbit hole is painful. It's extremely well made and I understand its reputation and value I just can't imagine wanting to ever see it again.

    I'm also glad the great Peter Finch won posthumously but that in itself is sad since he gave multiple deserving performances when he was alive to have won before.

    About connecting Faye Dunaway to Mommie Dearest, a performance which in its way is wonderful for its fierce commitment-it's almost Kabuki level-but she can be a very fine actress otherwise.

    Outside of this if you haven't seen two of her other signature roles-Chinatown and Bonnie & Clyde-they are very worth catching up with.

    Other films worth seeking out, mostly from her earlier career since her filmography is littered with junk-she seems willing to take just about anything to keep working-are The Thomas Crown Affair, Hogan's Goat (it's a filmed version for PBS of the play that originally brought her to prominence), The Three Musketeers (she's a perfect Milady de Winter), The Towering Inferno (it doesn't make much of a demand on her acting skill-nor anyone else's-but she's ravishing in it and its one of the best of its kind), Barfly (personally I detested this and it is terribly nihilistic but there's no denying she's great in it), Cold Sassy Tree and Albino Alligator.

    There is also Three Days of the Condor which is a brilliant, brilliant espionage thriller but her role while key is small. She said she took it because she knew it would be a fine film and she wanted to work with Robert Redford who is the real reason to see the movie.

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  6. I've actually seen Chinatown and most of Bonnie and Clyde, I just didn't connect them with being amazing. Just good, maybe fine. I'll have to look out for some of the others you've mentioned.

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  7. Peter Finch is pure gold in this movie. And I love that you thought you knew the ending but really didn't. To me, the saddest part of the movie is how right you are about it aging well. It's still damn relevant.

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  8. Awesome review! I remember seeing this when I was 15 and thinking how relevant it was then, and now fourteen years later, it still is. Performances are a blast and the script is so sharp. The ending always catches me off guard too.

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    1. Yeah, I was not expecting THAT. Damn, those people were ruthless.

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  9. It's funny, this is one of those instances where a well-regarded "classic" just didn't do much for me. I liked it to a point but that's about it.

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