Here Thar Be Monsters!

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Lost A Good One

We lost Sidney Lumet.  I'm sure some of you are saying, "Who?"

He was one of the good ones.  He was a Hollywood director with a conscience.  He tried to tell us things.  In fact, his passing gives us occasion for a class assignment.

Go out and get three movies, in whatever way you, download, buy.  You must get THESE three movies, and watch them in this order:

    1. 12 Angry Men
    2. Dog Day Afternoon
    3. Network
They're all Sidney, and they are all special in their own way.

12 Angry Men is a dramatization of how the US justice system was supposed to work.  It was a character study of who we are and why we do things.  It had the deep, broading character (Henry Fonda at his best) whose conscience guides him and whose gut is the soul of Mankind.

In the course of the action, we see all of our deepest motivations laid bare: the pride, the prejudice, the anger, and the fear.  We watch ourselves as we turn other people's lives into abstractions and, in so doing, find it easy to snuff one out.  We see ourselves hating because of the way someone looks.  We see ourselves as we really are, 12 faces, one person.

Fortunately, inthe movies, the conscience wins and the boy lives, but what have we learned about ourselves?

Assignment #2 is Dog Day Afternoon.  Here is another study in inner dialog.  Al Pacino back when he was young and slim, like we all were at some point.  He takes us on an exploration of morality and what we have done to it with our entertainment.

Al's lover needs an operation, but they don't have any money (so familiar yet?).  So, he decides to rob a bank, choosing the lesser of two evils.  But the whole things goes belly up and turns into a media feeding frenzy, and the media begin to eat anyone and anyting alive for ratings.

Al's backed into a corner.  He was doing the only thing he could think of to save someone he loves, but it ends up his worst nightmare.  And outside, the crowds gather and the cameras roll and the talking heads start collecting souls.

It's a theme Sidney returns to with arguably his best known and least understood film, Network.  This movie is a piece of genius.

We watch as jaded media moguls Faye Dunaway and Bill Holden stumble onto a phenomenon they don't understand.  Peter Finch is a network anchorman gone 'round the bend.  He's lost it, or it has lost him.  He sees what his profession has done and is doing to the world.  In trying to kill the monster, he creates a more powerful one.  Suddenly, it's a shark feeding frenzy.  One of their own is bleeding and within seconds, they are all tearing each other's guts out.  As Finch's life spills onto the stage in his effort to get people to turn off the TV, he causes more to tune in, until even his horror is packaged and displayed nightly.

The lifeless, souless sex scene with Faye and Bill is priceless.

In the end, Finch tells us to go to the window, go to the door, go and tell the world, "I'M MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!"

So, why the assignment?

Because your job is to set aside six hours and watch all three movies back-to-back.  Then destroy your TV and never watch it again.  And when you're done, go to your window, go to your door, go out in the streets and yell, "I'M MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!"

It's time folks.  The game is over.  It's time to make a choice.  You're dead.  Your kids are dead.  Your folks are dead.  All your friends are dead.  What do you have to lose?

The oceans are dead, full of radiation, garbage and crude oil.  The skies are dead, full of invisible particles of Death.  The food is poisoned and has become a testing ground for gruesome cross-breeds with who-knows what long term effects on us?  Our bodies are pumped full of vaccines and emotional dampeners.  Our brains are turned to mush.  Our life savings are worthless, if there's anything left after it's all be raided to feed the Monster from Jekyll Island.

What's left?  What are you waiting for?  The next installment of the Dark Knight so you can live vicariously through a fictional character who's MAD AS HELL AND NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE?  Are you waiting for the Final Four, or the playoffs, or the next Super Bowl?  Is your life so pointless and empty that those things mean that much to you?

It's time.

It's time to lose our fear.  It's time to draw a line in the dirt...this far and no further.  It's time to cash in the only thing we have left...our power to say, "No!"  In a few hours, or days or months, it will all be gone and you'll be too hungry and sick to fight back.  This is your last chance.

How many people in Japan who didn't like the nuclear plants, but were too busy to do something about it, wish they had now.

Do you own your house?  Do you own your car?  Do you have any hope what-so-ever of getting out of debt in the next 90 days?

Then what are you waiting for?  You want to sit around and wait to watch your children, family and friends dying painful deaths?  Will that be the thing that finally motivates you?  And if you live to 90, what kind of life will you have?  Will you be sitting in YOUR house with your kids and grandkids and great-grandkids gathered around to honor you?  Do they do it now?  Or will you be sitting in a gutter begging for a copper while the cancer slowly eats away your brain and you feel your self-determination slipping away bit by bit, moment by moment?

Watch three more movies, in the order I just gave you, then destroy the evil box.  Get off your ass and do something.  Stop spending US dollars.  Start spending your time figuring out new and creative ways to kill the Beast by not using its green blood.  Break your mind free of the glowing phosphor prison that you have stuck it in since you were born.
William Wallace - Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!

You have nothing left to lose, because you have nothing left.  The little scraps that were around your feet have also be taken.  So what are your going to do?  Sit there or die like a man?

Go to your window.  Go to your door, Go out in the streets and yell, "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!"
You're already dead.  What's holding you back?

Stand back, folks...dead man walkin'...

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