Day 178 & Day 179 & Day 180 – E.T. the Extraterrestrial & Network & Nightcrawler (Woops!) / Pop Chart Lab Scratch #10 (Big Scratch!)

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Movie Title: E.T. the Extraterrestrial

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 55 min.

Rated: PG

Who did I watch with?: Stephie

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

E.T. the Extraterrestrial is undoubtedly a movie I saw as a child, but not one that I remember with any great level of detail. So, it is time to give it a re-watch.

The plot of E.T. is very simple. E.T.’s people are visiting Earth for some reason that is never made explicitly clear. They are forced to leave in a hurry and accidentally leave behind one of their own. E.T. takes refuge in the shed of a family’s backyard where he is discovered by Elliott. Elliott (Henry Thomas) starts to take care of him as best he knows how as E.T. reveals extraordinary abilities. Elliott gets his siblings involved in hiding E.T. including his sister Gertie played by a very young Drew Barrymore.

Elliott’s mother Mary (Dee Wallace) is one of the most inept parents ever put on cellophane. She can’t take care of herself let alone three kids and her husband has recently left her and run off to Mexico. Despite the fact that her kids are rude and get into a world of trouble she doesn’t seem to do much of anything about it. This includes when she has to pick her drunk child up from school after finding open beer cans strewn about the house. She does nothing. Which is pretty farfetched. However, he is only drunk because he has developed a physiological bond with E.T. This bond drives the plot forward.

The puppetry and special effects related to E.T. hold up incredibly well although some of the other special effects including the famous bicycle scene have not aged particularly well. These iconic moments help make the movie stand out as it follows a plot that is reminiscent of many animal movies.

Verdict:

It is an iconic children’s movie well told. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Network (1976)

 

Movie Title: Network

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. 1 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Network is a rare film that predicted the age in which we live presciently. The Howard Beale Show seems like a precursor to Fox News and the modern information age in which we live. The attitude generated in the public and the vitriol spewed forth on the airwaves as well as the degree to which people learn exclusively from television is startling yet feels like it was shot in the present day.

Howard Beale (Peter Finch) works for UBS. UBS is struggling to make a profit and has no shows on the top of the ratings chart. As a result, the company has decided to fire Beale and move in a different direction. Beale promptly loses his mind and threatens to take his own life on national television. The network decides to take him off the air before realizing that his antics created the largest network share they had seen in some time.

Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) is the entertainment producer at the network and she wants to put Beale back on the air in an entertainment capacity. She works with new show runner at the network Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) to put him back on the air. Beale has genuinely lost his mind and takes to the air wave to preach his own peculiar firebrand and speaking his version of the truth which resonates with his audience. In the midst of this Christensen takes up with Max Schumacher (William Holden) the older man whose job she took away at the network.

The problem boils down to Beale’s inability to be controlled. He simultaneously makes the network and then tries to break it. Beale’s conversation with the owner of the company after a particularly vitriolic rant against Arabs discusses the college of corporations that run the world and how they supercede the government and even individual human existence. His change of tone following the meeting alienates his own riled up audience and begins to crash the network. The roller coaster ride and the blending of news, entertainment, and reality is effective to a mind blowing degree. The ending is shocking.

Verdict:

This is a must see movie. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Nightcrawler (2014)

 

Movie Title: Nightcrawler

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Stephie

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhall as Louis Bloom a deranged yet driven man that roams the Los Angeles area doing odd jobs. The movie opens with him stealing chain link fence and then selling it to a metal scrap yard. He is desperate for work. While on his was home from the scrap yard he runs into Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) who shows up to video tape the aftermath of a violent car crash. Bloom gets the idea to try the same thing. Bloom is clearly deranged and lacks ethics. He crosses crime scene lines to get good footage, but very quickly he starts making a tremendous amount of money selling the footage to news networks and quickly outpaces his competition.

The more time he spends filming car scenes the more lines he is willing to cross. He also spends his time pursuing his main news network contact romantically. Nina Romina (Rene Russo) responds positively to his romantic interludes, but he approaches it in a way that is seriously obsessive. Bloom’s behavior continues to become more erratic, irresponsible, and odd until it becomes criminal and intrusive.

Verdict:

Nightcrawler is a decent movie and Jake Gyllenhall is great in his role. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Thoroughbreds (2018)

 

Pop Chart Lab: Tenth Scratch

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A lot of great movies here. Network is the next movie and will get scratched when I watch All the President’s Men.

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