Tag Archives: Beatrice Straight

The Set of 400: #20 – My Favorite George Washington Bridge Joke

Today! Because the dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust –

Network (1976)

Directed by Sidney Lumet (x4)

Starring William Holden (x2), Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall (x4), Ned Beatty (x5), Beatrice Straight (x2), Darryl Hickman, Wesley Addy, Arthur Burghardt, Marlene Warfield, Jordan Charney (x2), Conchata Ferrell, Ken Kercheval, William Prince

The most prescient movie of all time, Network manages to reflect modern television far better than the handful of channels existing in its day. Sure, the writing may have been on the wall that news could someday be weaponized and rolled into general entertainment, but the likes of CNN and FOX News was still years away when Paddy Chayefsky penned his masterpiece and Lumet so brilliantly brought it to life. You may come into Network for the acting – because those are some powerful, towering performances – but it stays with you for the depiction of the rabbit hole nightmare decades before its full impact was evident.

Now, despite winning three of the four acting Oscars in ’76 (the second and most recent movie to accomplish this feat, after A Streetcar Named Desire), this is not a group of particularly well-rounded characters. They more represent ideals than actual human beings, and so no one is very relatable, and the script goes bonkers with the monologuing. Beatrice Straight won Best Supporting Actress for basically one long scene where she yells at her philandering husband. Ned Beatty was similarly nominated for his apocalyptic speech breaking down corporate America in near biblical terms. The most famous sequence of the movie is an almost uninterrupted missive to the viewing audience as Finch’s cracked newsman Howard Beale gets mad as hell. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #338 – My Favorite Remote Control Fight

Today! Because there is peace and serenity in the light –

Poltergeist (1982)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

Starring Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams (x2), Zelda Rubinstein, Beatrice Straight, Heather O’Rourke, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, James Karen, Dirk Blocker, Michael McManus

Written and produced by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist was the rare horror film we watched a lot as children. Why? I can only guess it’s because of…the main character being a toddler? I don’t know. It’s a pretty horrifying movie for little kids, but I’m gonna ballpark that I’ve seen this movie fifty times, almost all of those on VHS in the late ’80s. And even though this came out the year before, I think as a kid I was convinced that monstrous thing that develops on the bedroom wall was the Sarlacc Pit from Return of the Jedi. So maybe that?

Any which way, it’s a pretty great movie, with just nightmarish visuals. Robbie gets attacked in his bedroom by not just an entire tree outside his window but also a killer clown doll! And that’s just Robbie! I wasn’t super focused on the details of why any of this was happening when I saw it back in the day – but thankfully Craig T. Nelson’s Steve screams it in that dude’s face toward the end of the film “You left the bodies and only moved the headstones!” Solved! Creepy! Remember that swimming pool hole filled with bodies? Carol Anne sliding across the kitchen floor? That guy peeling off his face in the bathroom mirror?? I was like seven years old! Gah! Continue reading

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