Recently, Paul McEneny had a post in which he decried the "displaced reality" of today's marketing tools. In my comment to him, I said that he sounded like the Howard Beale character in the 1976 film Network. Beale is a wisely deranged TV newscaster who wants to wake up America. He tells his audience, "I want all of you to get out of your chairs and go to the window and yell, 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.'"
This me got to thinking, "I haven't seen "Network" in a long time. Let's see how well it holds up 30 years later." And so through the miracle of Netflix I rented it. And I can report that "Network" holds up quite well. It was nominated for 14 Oscars and won 4 -- including one for Peter Finch who played Howard Beale. The movie's got it all: New York big media, office romance, terrorist groups who become media darlings, corporate power, lots of 70s facial hair, and four buckets of cynicism. I heartily recommend it. Also with Faye Dunaway, William Holden, and Robert Duvall.
After watching Network, I thought to myself: "What things bug me?"
Well, here's something. And maybe it bugs you too. I went to the movies on Saturday. I don't mind sitting through a couple of previews before a movie, but lately it seems as though there are just too many previews. Three previews and I think, "Okay, let's watch the movie." Four previews and I think, "This is crazy -- don't they respect the audience here?" Before yesterday's movie I sat through a 2-minute Coke commercial and SIX previews for a total of 22 minutes of stuff before my movie came on (all of this AFTER the posted start time). This had clearly crossed the line.
So this is what I did after the movie. With Howard Beale's words ("I mad as hell . . . ) still fresh in my mind, I asked to see the cineplex manager. He came out and I introduced myself to him as one of his customers. I told him that, in my opinion, six previews was excessive -- you're stealing time from me." He said, "No one else complains." And I said, "Maybe they're not here. You ever wonder why film attendance is flat? People realize that they can wait three months and watch the DVD at home without having to be bombarded with 22 minutes of ads." "Good point -- I'll look into it," he said. And he gave me a free ticket for an upcoming movie.
What bugs you?