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The Nightly News

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The Nightly News

by Jonathan Hickman

Jonathan Hickman is so new to the industry that his biography in The Nightly News cites issues of The Nightly News. But Jonathan Hickman is not a new babe, mewing and he scratching at little projects before he develops voice or style. With the Nightly News, he fires at full speed with energetic storytelling and a graphic art style that challenges and rewards on each viewing, making Hickman one of the most interesting new voices in Comics.

The Nightly News follows John Guyton, a man falsely accused and ruined by the Media, who joins an underground cult following the unseen Voice. Their mission: to attack the media head-on with the style and grace of guerilla anarchists armed with bombs, sniper-rifles and a plan. To punish the six most powerful news media conglomerates in America for destroying their lives.

The Cult of the Voice is a crazy, dangerous cult that you can’t identify with, but you’re not supposed to. They aren’t anti-heroes prone to posing with cool gadgets and absolutist philosophical beliefs about freedom and justice. They’re pissed off crazy people with guns and a plan that comes to them via cassette tape. The narrative doesn’t pass judgment on them, the same as it doesn’t pass judgment on the journalists or leaders of industry, like you don’t when you watch a high octane action thriller – when the hero is taking the law into his own hands and warps justice for the entertainment value.

It is perfect that The Nightly News vaults into the story with a first chapter titled: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” which should drag back the memories of Howard Beale of Network, screaming of the power and corruptive force of all media and the powerlessness of the individual. The Nightly News is more than a spiritual successor, using infographics (which he acknowledges you can either ignore and continue with the story or absorb some facts) to show us that we are in Howard Beale’s nightmare. Our media mainstream media is owned by six conglomerates and it is growing uniquely independent from fact checking and accountability. Lives are ruined by the news, more than a few don’t deserve it.

The Nightly News is a voice telling you how to live your life. It’s not a manual to change the world and it certainly doesn’t advocate violence or bloody coups in industry. It’s not a call to arms. It’s a story that touches on how easy it is to fall into camps with the media. Operating with the News and you sell your voice to unchecked corporations that will lie and cheat and destroy without recourse. Operate outside of the news and be careful who you follow, as one of more groups may steal your voice and replace it with their own. So the Nightly News exists, as Howard Beale once did, warning you, sincerely, to look at who you’re listening to, or have your Voice stolen.

– Timothy Legion

– Timothy Legion is not presently read, looked to or admired. He created a newspaper (pamphlet) at his University that is fondly remembered by six people. He has not won any awards or been considered for nominations. He is wrist-deep in the Third Year of his self-imposed GLORIOUS FIVE YEAR PLAN.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

March 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM

Posted in crime, political, thriller

Tagged with , ,

Network

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Network


Buried deep in the back of every movie nerd’s head is the voice of Howard Beale, howling those immortal words; “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” A phrase that has worked its way into the cultural lexicon, somewhere between “Say hello to my little friend!” and “I drink your milkshake!” in terms of memorability and loss of context. In the world of cinema, if a crazy man shouts something loud enough, it will be heard for decades.

But how many savvy movie goers remember who Mr. Beale was yelling at?

Network passes a test that so few movies that deal with social critique and cultural malignancy do. It manages to be incredibly topical of its time, yet universal of all times. It touches on subjects that were very specific to the mid-1970s, yet feel chillingly familiar for those of us living in the modern age of news on demand. Things like integrity, democracy, and the real truth. Things that no generation ever likes to see ignored or threatened.

Network is a story about a man fed up with how he sees the world and the people who abuse his charisma and rallying power for profit. In the films own words, Howard Beale is “an angry prophet denouncing the hypocrisies of our times”, and the network that carries him is more than happy to let him preach his evangel, so long as his ratings keep going up. In Networks world, the guy telling you to turn off your TV gets more ratings than the guy who doesn’t.

At Networks heart are characters so finely tuned that they are practically bulletproof. Beale (Peter Finch) is the last angry man in a world that loves to watch him testify, Monday through Friday. His producer is the heartless media shark Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway), a woman who defines her value as a human being by her nightly ratings share. Beale’s former boss and oldest friend Max Schumacher (William Holden), stands as the only competent man in a world seemingly full of overblown ego and unchecked delusions. Rounding out the pack is Frank Hacket (Robert Duvall), the chairman of a television network he would rather see run as a whorehouse than as a reputable news source. These top four are all fine and good for the first two thirds of the film, but then, we are introduced to CEO Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty), an often forgotten character who delivers perhaps one of the most jaw-dropping and beautifully worded rants on our species ever put on film.

These characters live in a world so unreal that their delusions are more reliable than the facts. People lose their humanity and accept the illusions to be the truth. This is the world Howard Beale sees. And this is the world to whom those thirteen immortal words were spoken to.

Network is bold enough to say there is something very wrong. Not with democracy, not with television, but with us. Howard Beale was mad as hell at us, and shame on those who will ever let his words fall on deaf ears.

– – J.D. Renaud

J.D. Renaud has no formal education in film, but that is more than evident upon meeting and/or seeing him. A purveyor of all things eccentric, he prides himself on being a guinea pig test subject for any new form of media he is given. He currently lives in Winnipeg Manitoba with his go-go dancer roommate.

Written by thesilentmajoritysays

February 7, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Posted in political