#173: Network (1976)

When and how did I watch this?

December 11th, 2015, on Netflix.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Very little. All I read were tag lines and brief summaries as I dove into the film.

What do I know about it now?

After watching There Will Be Blood, it was hard to imagine a film so expertly constructed that could top it.  Well, Network pulled it off.  The movie did the one thing I love about good story-writing: it started with the end. “I’m going to kill myself”, the mentally unstable news anchor says.  And it goes from there, racing the viewer through the rest of the staff’s reactions and the station’s fallout, sudden resurgence, and ultimate demise.  The dialogue is super sharp, reminiscent of what Annie Hall had to offer. One might even be inspired by the “protagonist” and his near-prophetic rhetoric, who moves an entire city and makes you laugh at the same time. Dunaway is both stunning and wholly loathsome throughout.

What are some themes in the film?

Television, the American dream, show business, groupthink, psychology, and once again, pride.

Did this affect me personally?

Yes. The ever-smiling Dunaway captivated me from the start, but I turned and began to love the heart of her counterpart in Holden.  It reminded me of why I’m married and not chasing success like an addict.

Why is this ranked #173?

I’m not sure how this got on here — it doesn’t have any notoriety, from what I knew previously.  Most people my age have probably never even heard of it.  It seems like a hipster movie, but in the 70s it was a huge deal. Good job, voters.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She loved it.

Would I watch it again?

Over and over again.  The language is hard to deal with at times, though.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Yes.  This is a must-see.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

It’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen.  Perhaps that’s a subjective assessment, but I say it with a clear conscience.  There are no films like it.

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