All I really know about the 1960s and 1970s was that I grew up one generation later than they happened. While everyone was meeting some truly cantankerous characters in the likes of The Graduate (which perfectly embodied the conflict and attraction between two generations of Americans) and the artificial intelligence of HAL, the soulless but suffering computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, I still believe that Howard Beale and UBS were among the truly great screen villains, and not because they were particularly evil, but because they were heartless-and a definitive prophesy (written very tongue in cheek by Paddy Chayefsky) of what the modern American would become in the 2000 era, should artificial TV values continue to dominate the culture. The insane and dying Howard Beale helped to spawn the modern atheist evangelist, disillusioned with everything holy in society, while Diana Christensen foretold the emergence of the secular-opportunist. The only supposedly decent and ethical man in the film, Max Schumacher, was shown to be weak, immoral and irrational in his personal life. Yet, only the sinner was able to point at the greater evil and pronounce the tragedy of humanity. Max's final deconstruction of villainy (his mistress, whose heart he breaks) serves, not as a self-righteous condemnation of what is to come, but a final farewell and fuck-you to a world that had progressed far beyond what was sensible good taste. The offspring of Network, the Mad as Hell generation, not only permeates entertainment today-but modern society who continues to scream outside of Windows and litter Facebook walls.
Smart, funny, and well acted, Network gives a story that's rarely been captured on film.