60/60 Extra: Network.

This is going to be a different kind of review. This movie couldn't have come at a more necessary time in my life. With ridiculous hoop after ridiculous hoop that I've had to jump through over the past 6+ months at work with all the "new" stuff they want us to be doing, along with the unbelievable stress I put myself through, I've been on a borderline total meltdown for quite a while now. The last two weeks alone have been filled with such insanity, I'm just waiting for somebody to come up, punch me in the face, lean over and peer down at me and go "that's for existing."

It's all built up to a moment today where, in a classroom with no air conditioning so that it literally became more and more heated throughout the day, both my students and I became more and more uncomfortable and unsettled. So when I had to enforce a rule and take up a cell phone from a student who had it out--because I can get fired over that kind of thing--I was met with heated resistance. For a good amount of time, it was this student versus me and the rest of my class on why she should just hand it over. Eventually she did, but it left me in such a rotten mood (and her as well) that it's still affecting me all these hours later. On top of that, I was told my best option was to not only tell an assistant principal, but to call this student's parents and tell her cheerleading coach.

Why is that my best option? Because I'm worried of something that's probably not even going to happen. You see, I got in trouble earlier this year because I wasn't strict with the "no electronics" rule. So for the last couple months, I will give a warning and, if ignored, will confiscate said device, typically to give it back at the end of class. This student's main argument was that she felt I hadn't been doing said confiscations and that I was just singling her out, etc. Of course this isn't true, and the rest of my class had my back. But if she were to, say, tell her mother her "side" of the story--true or not--and her mother complained, due to my history with the matter, there is somewhat of a possibility they will believe her over me.

But they don't even need that history to take the student's side. For instance, earlier in the school year, one girl made up a lie and told her mother that a teacher pulled her chair out from under her, causing her to fall to the ground. There was an investigation with that teacher, causing a ton of stress and whatnot, because they--of course--believed the student over the teacher.

"So just do what you need to do," you say. I say: Sure, OK. But let's take a look at the matter. Besides the fact that the complaint might not even happen, and I could be causing unnecessary trouble where nothing would happen to begin with, this whole matter came from an issue over me enforcing a rule that a student can't have out a cell phone or else I could get fired.

Enter Network, a movie about a bunch of angry businessmen and women who work for a television network. Half of them are worried about or getting threatened with being fired for whatever reasons. We have a strong social satire about going with what's new and popular regardless of what the long-term results will be. The characters are so stressed that they make jokes about jumping off bridges. The acting is over-the-top, giving the feel that this is just a mad circus, a melodrama that is so ridiculous, it's actually absurdly realistic (at times).

I could hardly pay super close attention to this movie while it was playing because of how busy my mind was with other stresses, so there's going to be no rating today (just know that I consider it very well directed and written). But everything in it rang true and is still incredibly relevant all these years later. Despite being silly and satirical and not even about my personal field, it still connected with me in a serious way. People need to find their priorities. They need to stop making everything feel like a soap opera. And while I've heard it quoted before, never has the phrase "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" rung more true.

And the ironic part? Today's assignment was to read and answer questions on a humorous essay entitled "The News," about how television news is not only theatrical, but also how it is one of the most vital mediums ever created--leaving it up to the news anchor on how the mass population will react to something and live their lives accordingly.

So anytime you're ready, I'm waiting for that punch to the face.


  1. I love this film, I agree it is still so relevant even after all these years. It's got a fantastic script as well.
    It's a shame Sidney Lumet is such an underrated director. Network, Dog Day Afternoon and Serpico are three of my favourite films.

    Very interesting review, and I have to admit that I am surprised they would believe the students word over the teachers...

  2. I'm glad you really liked this one and that you were able to find relevance (though not because you can relate -- I always through teaching would be a great occupation if you only had to worry about the actual teaching part).

    I wasn't sure that today's audiences would get it because this film has so much to say about the state of "news." This film was made during a time when televised news came from the networks and their local affiliates only, and was still considered a public service where the emphasis was on such antiquated concepts as "impartiality" and "journalistic integrity." If you thought Howard Beale was over the top, check out any of the popular "news commentators" on cable with this film in mind.

  3. Nolahn: Yeah... I'm a big fan of The Daily Show, and the stuff he shows of Fox News and Glenn Beck... Network reminded me a lot of that.


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