Bullshit

One of my favourite films of all time is the Sidney Lumet Classic “Network” (1976)  – if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it – it’s more relevant today than ever, especially given the state of the news and discussions around commercial models.

It’s full of extremely memorable rants and has been sampled to death. However there is one scene that has been running through my head over the last few weeks which seemed to parallel my current state of mind and I thought i’d share – below is an excerpt from the script written by Paddy Chayefsky (full script found here: http://sfy.ru/?script=network)

btw you can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Network-Two-Disc-Special-Faye-Dunaway/dp/B000CNESU8

If you can’t deal with reading 😉 It’s on youtube here:

The show monitor, which has been showing color patterns,

now suddenly flicks on to show HOWARD BEALE as he looks

up from the sheaf of papers on his desk and says:

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

Good evening.  Today is Wednesday,

September the twenty-fourth, and

this is my last broadcast.  Yesterday,

I announced on this program that I

would commit public suicide, admittedly

an act of madness.  Well, I’ll tell

you what happened — I just ran out

of bullshit —

HARRY HUNTER

All right, cut him off.

The MONITOR SCREEN goes black.

MAX

(from the back wall)

Leave him on —

HOWARD’s image promptly flicks back on —

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

(looking O.S.)

Am I still on the air?

Everybody in the control room looks to MAX —

MAX

If this is how he wants to go out,

this is how he goes out.

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

I don’t know any other way to say

it except I just ran out of bull-

shit …

The PHONE RINGS.  HUNTER picks it up.  ANOTHER PHONE

RINGS.  HUNTER’S SECRETARY picks it up.

HUNTER

(on first phone)

Look, Mr. Schumacher’s right here,

do you want to talk to him?

(extends the phone to MAX)

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

Bullshit is all the reasons we give

for living, and, if we can’t think

up any reasons of our own, we always

have the God bullshit —

HUNTER’S SECRETARY

(awe)

Holy Mary Mother of Christ —

MAX

(on phone)

Yeah, what is it, Tom? —

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

We don’t know why the hell we’re

going through all this pointless

pain, humiliation and decay, so

there better be someone somewhere

who does know; that’s the God

bullshit —

MAX

(on phone)

He’s saying life is bullshit,

and it is, so what’re you

screaming about? —

He hangs up.  The PHONE promptly RINGS again.  HUNTER’S

SECRETARY picks it up.  (HUNTER is on the phone that

rang before.)

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

If you don’t like the God bullshit,

how about the man bullshit? Man

is a noble creature who can order

his own world, who needs God?

HUNTER’S SECRETARY

(to MAX)

Mr. Amundsen for you, Mr. Schumacher.

MAX

I’m not taking calls.

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

Well, if there’s anybody out there

who can look around this demented

slaughterhouse of a world we live

in and tell me man is a noble

creature, that man is full of

bullshit —

DIRECTOR

(staring in awe at

HOWARD on the screen)

I know he’s sober, so he’s got to

be just plain nuts —

(starts to giggle)

HARRY HUNTER

(screaming)

What’s so goddam funny?

DIRECTOR

I can’t help it, Harry, it’s funny —

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

I don’t have any kids —

A PHONE RINGS.  HUNTER’S SECRETARY picks it up.

HARRY HUNTER

Max, this is going out live to

sixty-seven affiliates —

MAX

Leave him on.

HOWARD (ON MONITOR)

— and I was married for thirty-

three years of shrill, shrieking

fraud —

A breathless and distraught YOUNG WOMAN bursts into

the control room.

YOUNG WOMAN

Mr. Hackett’s trying to get through

to you —

MAX

Tell Mr. Hackett to go fuck himself —

47.   INT. DIANA’S OFFICE

DIANA, sitting alone in her office, watching HOWARD

BEALE on her office console —

HOWARD (ON CONSOLE)

I don’t have any bullshit left.

I just ran out of it, you see —

48.   INT. CONTROL ROOM – NETWORK NEWS SHOW

—  as FRANK HACKETT and his assistant, TOM CABELL,

wrench the door open and stride in —

HACKETT

(roaring)

Get him off!  Are you people nuts?!

The TECHNICAL DIRECTOR taps a button, and the SCREEN

mercifully goes black.

Advertisements
    • scott
    • February 22nd, 2010

    king of movie dialogue has to be david mamet. ‘house of games’ is the most quotable film of all time.
    “where you from anyway?
    “i’m from the united states of kiss my ass!”

  1. “People may or may not say what they mean… but they always say something designed to get what they want. ”

    David Mamet

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: