Five great movies about TV
As an avid TV fan, I love it when somebody makes a movie all about the television industry. Since I'm not a movie critic, the cinema is pure entertainment for me. Unfortunately, too often the movies make the mistake of romanticizing the world of television like they do everything else. Here is my personal list of those that got it right.
My Favorite Year
From what I understand, not only is the setting for this film taken straight from Your Show of Shows but the characters are dead on representations of Sid Caesar and others who made the show happen. The movie contains what is probably Peter O'Toole's best comedic performance and an amazing supporting cast featuring Bill Macy, Lanie Kazan, and Joe Bologna.
Good Night and Good Luck
Simply put, it is a history lesson on film. The movie gives an accurate and entertaining portrayal of the McCarthy era. The acting is superb and George Clooney's directing shows a true love for the medium that made him a star. I understand that test audiences all wanted to know who played Joe McCarthy.
While Robert Redford has admitted that he took some liberties, the film beautifully tells the story of the Quiz Show scandals. The best part of the film is the overpowering attitude of cynicism summed up by the one line, "I thought we were going to get TV, but TV got us." I was heartbroken to learn that the only one who really suffered from the entire scandal was Charles Van Doren.
Anyone who has ever been "mad as hell." can identify with this movie. Before it became cool to show the cold. business side of television, Network showed us more than we ever wanted to see.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
I'm the first to admit that this movie has its flaws but ignoring the nonsense about Chuck Barris being an assassin it tells a great story of how his love for TV and innate talent to make hit shows eventually became his downfall. I never thought I would feel pity for the guy who hosted The Gong Show.