Tag: Network

A press conference chat with Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek of “Get Low”

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In case you haven’t been paying attention to limited release movies aimed at an older audience, “Get Low” is one of the year’s real success stories. My pretty negative review, notwithstanding, I’m surprised but not upset that the movie is doing as well as it is, both commercially and critically. These days, it’s nice to see a movie with a coherent story, at least, doing well. As for its star, Robert Duvall, being an apparent lock for an Oscar nomination, I can hardly complain. This may not be even close to being his best performance, but it’s a very good one and he’s a national treasure at this point. That’s how these things work sometimes.

“Get Low” stars Duvall as Felix Bush, an irascible and sometimes frightening hermit who contracts with the mildly rapacious local mortician (Bill Murray) to stage his funeral while he’s still alive. Though Bush says the funeral is to hear what people think of him while he’s still alive, it’s clear something in his past is disturbing him. Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek) is a former girlfriend who may hold the key to some of that.

Arriving right on time for the press conference, I saw that things weren’t quite ready and decided to grab a quick (and free) beverage. Looking over the soft drink selection in the hospitality area, however, I turned around and saw a serenely patient Sissy Spacek beaming at me and, before long, talking to me as if I were an actual human being while looking so good I was slightly stunned. As her assistant smoothly parried my lame request to turn on my digital recorder for a brief impromptu interview, she asked that I inform the public that she, at least, had showed up on time for the event. I was too charmed to do anything else but comply with the wishes of the luminous star of “Carrie” and “In the Bedroom.”

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Mr. Duvall, it turned out, was only a couple of minutes late and the event started before I could make a proper drink selection. It was immediately apparent that Spacek and Duvall get along quite well and enjoyed joshing each other in front of reporters. (They last appeared together in 2008’s “Four Christmases.”)

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One last TCA Televisionary Movie Moment

Since the TCA wraps today, I though I’d also wrap up my series of television related clips with the most obvious possible movie moment about the power of television, from the most obvious possible television related movie.

Ladies and gentlemen, with the cooperation of Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet, Peter Finch as Howard Beale is terribly irked, and he is no longer going to accept the usual state of affairs. In other words…

“You’re fired!” Another televisionary movie moment

A little cynicism for a Sunday night in line with Will Harris’s ongoing coverage of the TCA confab and pow-wow. Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, “Network” is one of the movies that really started me thinking seriously about movies and other media when I first saw as a person who was maybe a little young to be seeing it. I may show you one of the better known scenes from this now-classic film a bit later (“I’m mad as hell…”…”You are meddling with the primal forces of nature”…, etc.), but right now I’m going with this equally crucial scene because it gets to the heart of the real-life media trend Chayefsky was attacking.

As the MPAA likes to say, this scene includes “language,” so it’s NSFW for anywhere F-munitions are unappreciated. On the other hand, if you work at a television network, it probably won’t be noticed.

“…What closes on Saturday night.”

I couldn’t help remembering George Kaufman’s famous definition of satire when reading Noah Forrest‘s post on the acclaimed political comedy, “In the Loop,” which opened last Friday in limited release. I’m a fan of all kinds of satire, but with the exception of “Dr. Strangelove,” “Network,” and a Robert Altman movie here and there, it’s rarely been a commercial success — though from the sound of it, I’m certainly hoping Armando Iannucci’s new film has decent luck.

Here’s a TV commercial for one movie that had almost no luck, Norman Lear’s “Cold Turkey.”

According to Wikipedia, the film was shelved for years by United Artists due to commercial worries. On the other hand, the film’s writer/producer/director wasn’t exactly intimidated and made a TV show that that touched a far hotter button than the cigarette industry. That did a little better, and lasted many Saturday nights.

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