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Mad Movies of the 1970s

Network
courtesy of United Artists

Greetings film nerds and nerdettes

Last night, while dreaming about Super Tuesday ... I was awakened from a fitful sleep at shortly after two o'clock in the morning by a shrill, sibilant, faceless voice that was sitting in my rocking chair. I couldn't make it out at first in the dark bedroom. I said, "I'm sorry, you'll have to talk a little louder.

And the Voice said to me, "I want you to tell the people the truth, not an easy thing to do because the people don't want to know the truth." 

I said, "You're kidding.  How the hell would I know what the truth is?" The Voice said to me, "Don't worry about the truth. I'll put the words in your mouth."And I said, "What is this, the burning bush?For God's sake, I'm not Moses." And the Voice said, "And I'm not God, what's that got to do with it? And I said, “Why me?” and the Voice said, “Because you’re (in the media) dummy!”

Network
courtesy of United Artists

I Don't Have To Tell You Things Are Bad

Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter, punks are running wild in the streets, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do. There's no end to it. We know the air's unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit and watch our TV while some local newscaster tells us today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

Worse Than Bad …

We all know things are worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything's going crazy. So we don't go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we live in gets smaller, and all we ask is please, at least leave us alone in our own living rooms. Let me have my iPhone and my TV and my hair-dryer and my steel- belted radials, and I won't say anything, just leave us alone. Well, I'm not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad. I don't want you to riot.  I don't want you to protest.  I don't want you to write your congressmen because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write.  I don't know what to do about the depression and inflation and the defense budget and the terrorists and the crime in the street. All I know is first you got to get mad

Network
courtesy of United Artists

So I Want You to Get Mad

You've got to say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!” I'm a HUMAN BEING, god dammit! My life has VALUE!" So I want you to get up now, I want you to get out of your chairs and go to the window right now. I want you to go to your (office) window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!!" Are you yelling in Atlanta, are you yelling in Baton Rouge?*

And scene … Thank you for participating in this week’s viral mass protest sponsored by moveon.org. If viral protest wasn’t enough for all of you Mad Hatters who are into meddling with the primal forces of nature, in between fits of angry protest, check out the work of the original Mad Prophet himself, Peter Finch, in Network, the movie that inspired a movement. 

Network
courtesy of United Artists

Mad Postscript

I’d like at this moment to announce that I will be retiring from this program in two weeks time because of poor ratings ... And since this show was the only thing I had going for me in my life, I have decided to kill myself. I tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to blow my brains out right on this program a week from today …  So tune in next Tuesday, That’ll give the public relations people a week to promote the show, and we ought to get a helluva rating with that, a fifty share easy ...*

Until next time, get mad, be bad and get into trouble baby …* MRF

Mad As Hell Movies of the Seventies

•    Five Easy Pieces (1970) Dir. Rafelson
•    A Clockwork Orange (1971) Dir. Kubrick
•    Badlands (1973) Dir. Malick
•    The Parallax View (1974) Dir. Pakula
•    Lenny (1974) Dir. Foss
•    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Dir. Forman
•    Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Dir. Lumet
•    Network (1976) Dir. Lumet
•    The Deer Hunter (1978) Dir. Cimino
•    And Justice For All (1979) Dir. Jewison

Volume 49 Footnotes
•    “Last night, I was awakened …  I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” – Network (1976):  Peter Finch makes an on-air biblical stand against oppression while getting a 50 share in the Sidney Lumet mad classic from the Seventies.
•    “Are they yelling in Atlanta? Are they yelling in Baton Rouge?* - Network (1976): Faye Dunaway (playing television incarnate) gauges the Mad Prophet’s national anger meter then dances down the hall to hitsville like a prancing Capricorn
•    “I’d like at this moment … a fifty share easy” – Network (1976):  No one in the control booth notices as Peter Finch casually announces his Fox-centric plan to murder himself on the air, while on the air.
•     “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.