I was wandering around on Moviepilot like we all do from time to time and BAM, a call to arms!! Apparently they are giving away a PS4 for someone who can come up with a creative atl-ending. Well I hear by submit my ending today - my movie? The classic, and almost forgotten NETWORK from 1979! Enjoy.....
For those of you who do not know the classic film 'Network', it follows the story of Howard Beale (Played by the late great Peter Finch) who is fired after many years as a major Network anchorman. If you remember Keith Olbermann from MSNBC who was fired - take his anchor persona, drive up his age by 20 years, and throw him back in time to 1976 it is then you will get an idea of who Howard Beale's character feels when he is let go. The funny thing is the Network has him work out a notice out of respect because Howard has been there so long. They give him a week to wrap it up. The following Monday Beale comes in, they begin to roll the prompter, and that's where the fun begins! Howard becomes the spirit of everyone out of work and tired of people telling them what to do, because to him it didn't bring him happiness - only used up, fired and forgotten - and he at that instance reaches deep down within his Fuck Giver and rips the damn seam from the bottom of it. Not only does he give himself ZERO fucks, the fuckless old anchor announces that at the end of the week on his last broadcast he would kill himself LIVE on air, giving him a week to live. Now, this of course moves and shakes awake the people who are just going through the motions and they pull him off air as he states his distaste for the world. They pull him in, some genuinely worried about him, and they give him another chance. That night he talks to his long time friend Max Schumacher (Played by the just as awesome William Holden) who is the production manager of the new division Beale works for in the first place. Schumacher is worried about his friends sanity, but after going to bat for Howard after his "incident", he allows him to still finish if he does what the Network heads say he should do which is an on air apology for his actions. Beale agrees and is planned to go on the next night. Meanwhile a very sexy up and coming production manager Diana Christensen (played by the unforgettable Faye Dunaway) is looking to find a nitch for a late night program. The focus of her and the network heads is centered around ratings, because rating make money. She gets wind of Beale's incident, and the wheels begin to turn. Then he goes on and gets back at telling some truth anyway:
As if injecting the George Carlin gene into his temple Howard goes off and his friend leaves him on because he sees the truth behind what he is saying. After that they give Beale's show, or at least his show till the end of the week, to Diana Christensen in hopes she can wrangle Beale. The next night Howard awakens in bed to what seems like a voice inside of his head. Then we see him walking into the network building covered in water and seemingly muttering to himself - saying he is "here to make my witness". It is then that Beale gets to his desk, they roll camera, and he gives one of the greatest WAKE THE FUCK UP AMERICA speeches of all time. We are talking biblical, the kind of speech that cuts through race, creed, even individual consciousness - a speech that cut right to the core of the human condition. It was a masterful speech, and during the 70's folks the anchormen were almost more important that the president. This was a time of Howard K. Smith, Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow - god damn Men who smoked cigarettes, and drank scotch for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These guys had gravitas running right behind the ice in their veins (which kept the scotch fresh). So just imagine right now if you can, someone whom you respected your whole life saying some shit like this on live TV:
"I'm as Mad As HELL, and I AM NOT GONNA TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!" That shit has the equivalent of Kim Kardashian's ass to the internet, because it pretty much breaks the TV news industries backbone. His ratings go through the roof, and now Diana wants to put some production behind it. She was trying to create the first Bill O'REiley. This goes on for a while, Beale saying crazy anti-establishment blah blah blah, and the Network profiting off his lack of fucks given for the world - but really they are exploiting an old man who went off the deep end. The thing is though Beale begins to realize he can control mass groups of people with his position on television. He then asks the viewers to call in and send telegrams to the White House to speak out against his networks partnership with an Saudi Arabian Conglomerate - and they do, so much. This makes the establishment basically have a double take moment and pull him into their head office where he sits across from the president of the company, who has been following him very closely. Then that president Arthur Jensen (played by Ned Beatty) uses the opportunity to get under the skin of, who I am pretty sure he believes is a delusional, Howard and does one of the greatest pro-establishment speeches ever, in such a way that it overcomes the poor Beale's since of purpose and replaces the pure human truth with the "truth" that capitalism preaches. Check out how he does it, how he sets the atmosphere, and then executes:
"Because your on television dummy..." He uses Beales own poetic delusion against him and crushes his confidence and flips the script. The ending of the film is not amazing, not really great, but it fits the narrative - and if you want to see it GO SEE THE MOVIE DUMMY!
THE ENDING I WANTED
See I know that Jenson is only speaking the way he is because he wants to profoundly influence Beale by playing the part of a three piece suit wearing capitalistic God incarnate, but what if it wasn't a ruse? What if he really was some sort of opposing zealot priest of the almighty dollar and Beale was the unknowing St. Peter post the crucifixion, a figure who saw the world upside down but held just as much power, even more, than his megalomaniac instigator? But it would have been funny to see Jenson go into a musical number during his tirade... just sayin....
I for one would go back to the office scene and allow the speech to commence, ** only after he says the words "am I getting through to you Mr. Beale?" Howard then stands up and they both go at it like Neo and Smith from the last Matrix movie, fueled by the power of belief, good as well as evil, and eleven year old scotch they would go at each other head to head.
Not with the power of Kung-fu though, but of philosophical gravitas laden arguments. Howard affirming that the sort of life Jenson wants people to have is slavery, and Jenson returning it with a profound nod to capitalistic dogma. I would have liked to have seen this all illustrated in a wizard sort of willpower battle - then at the end, when the existentialism had been drained and Jenson is on his knees facing the realities about human nature and feelings, he pulls back the hammer of a small gun he keeps in his desk, puts it to his temple, and with a look of self pity and sorrow he pulls the trigger spraying a mist of blood onto the still and wrinkled face of Howard Beale. His eyes a hollow white, and a face of crushing anger with a hint of sorrow for this fallen corrupted man who lay bleeding at his feet.
Then at the very end, Beale stares at Diana until she burst into flames on live TV and Howard becomes the 'protector of truth' within News networks. Giving a final speech about how entertainment is not news and news shouldn't be entertainment.... then sort of hardened's into a bronze statue, holding 16 year old scotch in his hand, and also holding a smirk of pure satisfaction on his withered face. The scene cutting to black, rolling credits, as news casts of anchors telling truth instead of propaganda play from a future timeline, illustrating the future Howard opened for the company. A future where Fox New's like propaganda machines are looked down upon and scorned, and where real news is valued and appreciated...... oh and the scotch flows like wine!
THANKS FOR READING!!!