Movie Review: Network

When I saw the title of the next movie on the top 100 list I have to admit I had never heard of it. Couldn’t name any of the actors in it. Seriously, I was completely clueless. I looked it up on IMDb and read the blurb:

A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor’s ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.

Okay, I was intrigued. Then I delved a little deeper and saw the cast: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall. Now I was really curious. I admire all of these actors. So I popped the DVD in and settle down with The Better Half and the boys.

Within thirty minutes, The Better Half and Miles were asleep and Atticus left the room. I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t into the movie either, but I have a rule: I have to watch the entire film. Last week when I mentioned that this was the next movie on the list, many of you warned me it was one of those films that you either love or hate. I didn’t want to be a hater. So I tried to stay positive.

Is it over yet?

Is it over yet?

Before I say what I didn’t like, let me point out the good aspects. The writing is superb. The acting is right on the money. So what didn’t I like. The story. Maybe it’s because I watched it in 2014 and not when it was released in 1976. However, I was only two when it came out.

In today’s world, we expect TV executives to do everything in their power to garner viewers. They exploit people all the time in hopes of getting a few extra advertising dollars. I mean look at some of the programming on MTV. So I wasn’t shocked by the film. And that’s probably not fair to this particular film. I should have tried to view it from the time period it came from, but I just couldn’t. I blame myself, not the film.

In fact it was wildly successful in its day. It won four academy awards for Best Actor (Peter Finch), Best Actress (Faye Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Beatrice Straight), and Best Original Screenplay (Paddy Chayefsky).

So don’t listen to me. Many others like this film. It just didn’t click for me, but that doesn’t mean it won’t for you. And like I said, the acting is fantastic.

Up next is: Cabaret. Great! I love the musical, but I’ve never seen the film.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or reading. Not necessarily in that order.
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31 Responses to Movie Review: Network

  1. AS I didn’t want to really say when you talked about Network being your next movie was that it was prophetic and now suffers the misfortune of A: having been right and B: not gone far enough. I mean what is Glenn Beck if not Howard Beale on steroids?

    • TBM says:

      Wow I haven’t thought of Glenn Beck in a couple of years. Yeah, by today’s standards it doesn’t go nearly far enough, but back then, I can see that it pushed the envelope. Such a shame that I couldn’t appreciate it for what it’s worth.

  2. I read your title blurb and thought, which actors. Peter Finch came to mind, I guess because of his Oscar. Dunaway, who I adore, I’d forgotten was even in it. Holden and Duvall – good too. But have I seen it? I have no idea, which would suggest I haven’t! I would have been in mid-late teens when it came out so I doubt I would have been interested back then, so no idea why Finch sticks in my mind.

    Cabaret must have been in a similar period as I was under 18 but it was my first X-rated film (my mum took me!). Looking forward to your review. You might want to watch it twice. But that applies to many films.

    • TBM says:

      Cabaret is x-rated? Probably not by today’s standards. It came out in ’72 and Network was released in ’76. I’m shocked I haven’t seen Cabaret yet considering I love the musical and listen to the soundtrack on a regular basis.

  3. I saw this movie in 1976 and as a communication studies and english major I was too starry eyed to enjoy it. I saw Cabaret when I was in grade 13 and absolutely loved it!

  4. Hmmm. I’d never heard of this one either, let alone seen it.

    Love your review, though, as usual.

    Sorry to have been away for a few days. I’ve been busy finishing another chapter of my mafia memoir to read at a literary event here in Cuenca Thursday night. Hard to catch up. I’ve missed your posts!

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • TBM says:

      No worries Kathy. Good luck and how exciting. Since I can’t wait to read your memoir I encourage you to miss blog posts. Can’t wait to read it!

  5. Rorybore says:

    Definitely one you either like or dislike. but the acting is great like you say.

    Cabaret!! Awesome — let’s all watch that one. 🙂

  6. The Guat says:

    Dude. I’d never heard of this film before. But I do love Duvall and it won Best Original Screenplay? Dude. I better get on that. Although I see what you mean about not wanting to hate, but in the end having to give it a thumbs down. I have to say winning Best Something at the Oscars doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy it…for instance have you seen the Seinfeld episode where Elaine watches The English Patient. Dude. That was me.

    • TBM says:

      Okay I have a confession–I love The English Patient. It brings out my history and romantic nerd. However, The Better Half is like you. We watched it recently. Well I watched it and TBH fell asleep. The next day I mentioned Elaine on Seinfeld. Seinfeld–what a great show!

  7. It’s not an easy movie to like, even if the acting and writing were great.
    I found Cabaret surprisingly dark, but love the music. Liza Minelli is perfect in it. Joel Grey too.

  8. As you know, I liked Network very much when I saw it in 1976. I thought it was compelling satire and I loved saying, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” So, you’ve only seen Cabaret on stage? It’s being revived on Broadway this season with Michelle Williams playing Sally Bowles. Milton and I will probably catch it. Is Isherwood’s Berlin Stories on your reading list? Back to the film of Cabaret, warning: I loved it when I saw it as a kid in 1972. Back then, after a screening you could sit in a theater and see it a second time. I did that with Cabaret. I think I saw it five times between 1972 and 1973. But I haven’t seen it since. I’ve lived a lot of life between then and now. Often films that meant so much to me in my youth fall flat with me now. But, I loved Funny Girl when I saw it 1968 when I was 9. I finally saw it again about two years ago, and I still thought it was excellent. Barbra Streisand’s performance was a knockout. When I saw Cabaret, I felt the same about Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles. It might be another film that would still impress me today. I also thought the Kander and Ebb score was terrific. My sister bought the soundtrack and we listened to it endlessly.

    • TBM says:

      How odd that you mentioned Funny Girl. I haven’t seen it and the Better Half recorded it for me the other day. I was so excited. But the recording didn’t work so I still haven’t seen it. Drat!

      I really hope the Cabaret revival will still by showing this August so I can catch it. I would love to see it again. I’ve only seen the touring production and not in the Big Apple. Now when we go to NY for the tennis we do our best to catch one Broadway show. It’s becoming such a fun tradition.

      I have to say the line is catchy: I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” That’s pretty much my motto but no one here listens to me.

      • TBM says:

        Totally forgot to answer your Isherwood question. I don’t think it’s on my 1001 list, however, many years ago I read his Berlin stories for one of my classes. I had a professor who let me read stories and novels for research projects. It was wonderful.

  9. Vishy says:

    Nice review, TBM. Sorry to know that you didn’t like the movie as much as you had hoped to. Sometimes because of the way the world changes across the years a movie won’t have the same impact later as it had at the time it came out. I think this seems to be true with respect to ‘Network’ as you have said. Loved Miles’ picture 🙂

  10. sarahinguangzhou says:

    You don’t believe in the adage that life,s too short to sit through a movie you don,t like or finish a book you’re just not into?

    • TBM says:

      I understand the adage, but I’m also the type that has to know how something ends once I start. At least with this film, the acting was tremendous, which makes it watchable. I just didn’t like the story.

  11. Jo Bryant says:

    I think I was a bit on the fence with this one if I remember right. Hope you guys are not being too battered by storms !!!

    • TBM says:

      The wind has died down luckily. The boys hate the wind. But it keeps raining–not too much. Just enough to keep us inside.

      I hope you and the fur babies have better weather.

  12. Caroline says:

    I think I’ve seen this but I can’t remember ny of it. So either I?m wrong, or I wasn’t too keen either. It sounds dated.
    I haven’t seen Cabaret.

  13. Lynn Kear says:

    Watch for the scene in Cabaret where Liza Minnelli says, “I feel just like Kay Francis.” She was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the early 1930s.

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