#1: Network & Apocalypse Now
During the last few snow days, I took the opportunity to watch a couple of the movies from the AFI list. Warning: Spoilers below.
Network I just randomly picked because it was available on Netflix Instant. I had never even heard of it before. In Network, a news anchor (Peter Finch) learns he is being laid off because of poor ratings, and on what is supposed to be his last night on the air, he loses it and rants that life is “bullshit.” Because of this, the ratings go off the charts and he gets his job back — as long as he keeps telling the “truth” that the American people love so much. Meanwhile, there is a new producer in the entertainment programming division (Faye Dunaway) who is desperate for a hit show. She comes across footage of a terrorist organization filming themselves robbing banks and decides it has the makings for a series. She thinks that audiences are bored with the same old shows and that real life drama is where entertainment is headed. (Did this movie, in 1976, predict the American peoples’ insatiable hunger for reality television? Amazingly prescient.) When she discovers what’s going on with Finch’s character, she decides this could be her hit show and convinces the head of the network to move it to entertainment. The show does amazingly well until the audiences starts to find Finch’s views depressing — ratings drop, and in a twist I didn’t see coming, the network decides the best way to get him off the air and boost ratings at the same time is to have him assassinated on the air. Which they do. Shocking! Thank goodness television hasn’t (to my knowledge) gone quite that far…yet.
I had a better idea of what to expect from Apocalypse Now. I’m sure the majority of people have seen this one, so I’ll spare you the recap. The one thing I didn’t know was that it was based on Heart of Darkness. I’ll just say I watched it, it was heavy, and I think one viewing is probably good enough for me. Sorry male readers!