Monthly Archives: April 2016

Simon and Garfunkel

One of the most iconic elements of The Graduate is the use of the Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack.  It’s almost hard to ignore the ballads that play throughout the background of the film and the certain moods that they set.  Director Mike Nichols claims that while showering every morning he would listen to Simon and Garfunkel’s album before going to work, and one morning it hit him that this is the album he would use for the film.  How amazing that one of the most iconic movie soundtracks came about from singing in the shower!

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The impact of using Simon and Garfunkel was far-reaching for both the band, the film, and the film industry.  After The Graduate, Simon and Garfunkel were able to reach a much larger audience and opened them up to an older audience.  The only song wrote by the duo solely for the film was Mrs. Robinson which turned out to be one of their most popular songs.  In the case of the film, the soundtrack allowed deeper connection to be drawn to the emotions in the film.  The themes of the music complemented the film’s themes of post-college dissatisfaction and rebellion.  With the successful use of the soundtrack, the film was able to reach the status that it did and improved both Nichols and Hoffman’s careers.

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The iconic use of Simon and Garfunkel’s music as the films soundtrack has been replicated throughout the film industry following the release of The Graduate.  Perhaps even more successful than The Graduate, was Purple Rain‘s use of Prince’s music.  The film is not renowned for its plot, but rather Prince’s creative expression of music that carries the film.  Other examples of using a singular artist on a soundtrack is Daft Punk in Legacy, Kevin Shields in Lost in Translation, and Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly.  Thus simply by listening to an album in the shower led Mike Nichols to make a decision that would have a lasting impact on film to this day.

Sources:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6327146/rip-mike-nichols-the-graduate-soundtrack

Stories We Tell: The Importance of Family

As the end credits of Stories We Tell flashed on the Carnegie screen, I proceeded to walk out of class as a mixed bag of emotions: amazement, happiness, tearful and confusion being the major four. I felt amazed by the sheer genius behind this film- Polley did not have a direct narration, allowing her story to be told through the lens of the people she was closest to: her family. I was happy because despite this earth-shattering news that Polley and her family (particularly Michael) processed and endured, they were all still apart of each other’s lives and agreed to do the film and show their support for Sarah. I was tearful mainly because of the emotional journey the film takes the viewer on- I’m usually not the one who cries during movies but this film did cause my eyes to slightly fill with tears. Finally, I was confused mainly of why I was so emotionally invested in this film. Though I cannot go back to that Monday’s class, I believe I was invested because it was a real story, with real people who were sharing their real emotions and experiences. I’m not a huge documentary fan, but this film was truly brilliant.

Though I’ve already stated a few reasons of why I loved this film, the main reason would have to be the film’s subject matter involving family relationships. For me, my family is a huge part of my life, with a large extended family on both my mother’s and father’s side. So naturally, I am pulled to films that document a family’s struggles and triumphs, especially when the struggles are caused by the actions of other family members. To me, what is most interesting about families is no matter how much they fight among each other, they still remain a strong (though probably a  little dysfunctional) support system. Keeping the family theme in mind, I decided to make this list the top 5 films to watch if you enjoy a dysfunctional, but loving family.

  1. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
    • People you may know: Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin, Steve Carrell
    • General plot: A black comedy road film where a family travels from New Mexico to California in a Volkswagon Microbus so Olive, the cute-but-awkward daughter, can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine’s beauty pageant.
    • Best quote: “It’s okay to be skinny and it’s okay to be fat, if that’s what you want to be. Whatever you want, it’s okay.
  2. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
    • People you may know: Gene Hackman, Gwenyth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson
    • General plot: A Wes Anderson comedy-drama film that follows three siblings from a wealthy family. Though they were extremely talented and successful when they were younger, but now as adults are disappointments and struggling with their lives.
    • Best quote: “Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin’ the cemetery?”
  3. Ordinary People (1980)
    • People you may know: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore
    • General plot: A drama film that follows the lives of the Jarrett’s, a middle class family that is struggling with the recent death of the oldest son and the attempted suicide of the surviving son. As the surviving son tries to cope with his loss, he has many conflicts with his mother.
    • Best quote: “So I was crying because I don’tknow if I love you anymore and I don’t know what I am going to do without that.”
  4. 51 Birch Street (2010)
    • General plot: A documentary film that is the first person account of Doug, an adult whose father has announced that he is selling Doug’s childhood home and moving to Florida to begin a relationship with his secretary. Through cleaning the house, Doug discovers secrets of his late mother’s unhappiness.
  5. August: Osage County (2013)
    • People you may know: Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Abigail Breslin
    • General plot: A drama film that follows the story of a dysfunctional family that reunites to search for Beverly, the respected patriarch who has gone missing. The majority of the family has seen or spoken to one another for many years, with the reason why becoming very evident after they are all under the same roof.
    • Best quote: “Thank God we can’t tell the future, we’d never get out of bed.”

I apologize that I only listed one documentary but like I said, I am feature-length film person. Seriously though if you only check out one of these films, please make it August: Osage County– it is definitely in my top 10 films of all-time (do not listen to Rotten Tomatoes).

The News Van Flipping: A Tragedy?

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about in the title of this blog, here’s a video to remind you. During the Penn State protests over JoePa being fired, there was a WTAJ news van on what appeared to be College Avenue. After protesters messed up its windshield and destroyed most of the exterior, it was time to flip the van! Also, if you watch that video, look at the phones people are taking the videos with. 2011 throwback!

Look at how messed up that thing is. kind of crazy how rioters would just go after a news van like that. Thank god it wasn’t reporting any news and was just kind of hanging out downtown.

Wait what?

Okay so WTAJ is my local TV News station. It’s about a four minute drive and I had to go past it every day on my way to school. That van had been replaced about three years earlier, so it was just sitting in the parking lot of the WTAJ station. So, they clearly put it downtown expecting something to happen. Now, maybe they just knew riots would break out in Beaver Canyon and wanted to be on the scene, but everyone knew that riots would happen. Realistically, they knew what was gonna happen and decided to put a van there to get flipped and they could get national coverage (they did).

Which is pretty shitty. People got in a lot of trouble for flipping this van. Which kind of shows you that in today’s “everyone has a phone environment” it’s hard to riot. Wear a bandanna over your face. I understand that the van was flipped and it’s vandalism, but come on. College students drink, riot, and study in that order of importance.

So if you, like me, are kind of pissed at WTAJ, tweet at them. I’d recommend @JoeMurgo, the weather man, because it’s an Altoona tradition to get blocked from his Twitter.

Penn State Response to Happy Valley

When I was researching Happy Valley online after watching the film in class, I came upon an OnwardState article reviewing the faults in the film.  The article was titled “Five Reasons Why the ‘Happy Valley’ Documentary Sucks” clearly expressing the opinion of the author, as if the bias wasn’t already apparent enough due to it being written by a Penn State student.  After reading through the article, I found on some points the author had made a somewhat valid point but others were either completely false or the clear bias the author had interfered with the message the film was trying to send.

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The authors first point is that: The film fails to explore, or even mention, any of the ambiguity surrounding the key facts of the case.  He then goes on to explain how the film doesn’t spend enough time addressing the events that happened in 2001, failed to accurately depict the Penn State environment, and the belief in the Penn State community that there was no institutional coverup.  In this section, I can see a lot of what the author is saying, as in a lot of the scenes (especially in the riot and crowd scene) Penn Staters are shown as cult-like and senseless.  I disagree though, that the events of 2001 were not covered enough.  In my opinion, the film was more about the reaction of the community and impact on the community than solely covering the events in the Jerry Sandusky case.

Secondly, the author states:The film only included interview clips from one student, who came off as crazy and isn’t at all representative of what most (or really, any other) students were feeling.  As discussed in class, the director deliberately chose this student as to show the extreme view point for most people who were more uncertain or in the middle with their viewpoints would be less expressive.  I also thought that the use of extreme characters in the film, allowed for no one viewpoint to be portrayed as more strong than the other; thus allowing the audience to decide for themselves what they thought.

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Next, he claimed: The film fails to disclose its subjects’ biases, and the interviewees most critical of the “Penn State culture” are presented without any sort of critical eye.  In this section he refers to Andrew Shubin who was the attorney for many of Sandusky’s victims and believes that the film failed to show that this bias impacted his statements in the film.  I’m pretty sure that in the film it was stated that he was representing some of the victims, but nevertheless some of his statements I did find false such as that everyone was aware of the situation with Sandusky.  As a student not very interested in sports, I don’t even know any of the players names so I can’t imagine that many people knew who the assistant couch was off the top of their head.  In this section, the author also critiqued Matt Sandusky’s point.  After the film, Matt received a settlement from the University and some believe that his timeline doesn’t add up.  I don’t think it is right to accuse a victim of sexual assault and say that their story is false and they are using it for money.  As shown in the film, Matt lost both his biological and adopted family and its hard to believe that he would do this all simply for money.

The next point is:What is presented as a cross-section of the Penn State community isn’t really a cross-section at all.  In this section he again points out how the film uses extreme viewpoints, which I have already expressed was used because these are the people that actually have opinions on the issue and would want to share.  Similar to Stories We Tell, Happy Valley didn’t intend to portray one side of a story but rather get a wide variety of versions of the same story.

His final point is that: the Story isn’t Over.  I believe that this is simply a result of time, either the filmmaker could have waited 10 more years and still not have potentially had all the facts or presented the film when he felt it was in its entirety.

A separate complaint I have of the film is that though it slightly addressed the idea that this wasn’t just a Penn State problem and that child sexual abusers can be anywhere, I don’t think it did enough to emphasize this idea.  It constantly questioned how this could happen in a place like Penn State, but didn’t acknowledge that this abuse, sadly, happens everyday all over the country and goes largely unnoticed.  Perhaps at the end of the film when Sue Paterno was trying to raise awareness more emphasis could have been placed on this fact.  I believe this would have allowed the film to offer a greater social impact and not just a reflection on the situation at Penn State.

Source: http://onwardstate.com/2015/06/16/five-reasons-why-the-happy-valley-documentary-sucks/

Memory in East Asian Film

If I heard correctly, Sarah Polley mentioned that she was partially inspired by the film Rashomon when she was making her documentary. In fact, Rashomon is one of several movies I had to watch in my comp lit class, for which I am writing a paper on memory in Asian literature. I think the sense of memory that we get from the documentary (that is that it’s not absolute and can change with time and whose perspective we’re getting), is very similar to the idea of memory that’s present in several East Asian films that I’ve seen.

To begin with Rashomon, this is a Japanese black and white film that received impressive international recognition at the time it was released. The basic story is that a man goes under a rashomon gate for shelter from the rain. Under the gate, he sees a bamboo cutter and a monk looking sad. The man asks what’s the matter and they tell him that they have just witnessed a trial which really tested their faith in humanity. Basically what happened is that a bandit named Tajomaru raped the wife of another man (who I think was a samurai). Later the samurai was found dead by the bamboo cutter, who was asked to testify. Tajomaru, the raped widow, and (through the help of a necromancer) the murdered samurai were all asked to give their version of the events. Each person’s version was different, and they were clearly trying to make themselves look in the right. In the end, the bamboo cutter gives his version of the events, which we can assume to be the “true” version.

Another film with a rather similar structure (and a more modern look, if you’re interested in checking these out) is Zhang Yimou’s Hero. This is set in China, when the Qin Emperor wanted to unify the country under one ruler. In the process, he destroyed many rival kingdoms and obviously made many enemies. Three of these enemies team up to try and take the Qin Emperor out. The basic plan was that one of them (who was a known enemy of the emperor) would pretend to be killed by another so the “killer” could get an audience with the emperor as a reward. Then the “killer” (who is also the titular hero) would murder the emperor. The plan works up to the point of getting an audience, but then they start to chat. The emperor asks the hero how he assassinated the enemy of Qin. The hero gives his version of the story, but the emperor sees through it. He gives his own version of what he thinks happened. Then the hero counters with a final version of the story, which we can assume to be the truth. In the process of seeing all these versions of what happened, the audience, the hero, and the emperor all learn more about the involved characters. Motivations change, and the film ends in a rather dramatic and unexpected way.

From both of these narratives, there’s clearly a theme about how absolute truth can be hard to grasp just from the memories of people. After all, everyone has a different perspective of what happened and different motives for remembering things the way they do. I thought it was interesting that, even in such different contexts, this theme from Sarah Polley’s documentary could still apply.

F for Fake

While watching Stories We Tell I thought a lot of its themes, ideas, and execution were pretty similar to Orson Welles’ famous documentary F for Fake. Sarah Polley even cited it as an influence in one of the interviews we watched.

Stories We Tell explored the idea of truth as it relates to memories and stories, while F for Fake explored truth as it relates to art. Orson Welles explores the story of a famous art forger to bring up the ideas of truth. With art forgery, you never know if the piece you are looking at was actually created by the artist you think. Elmyr, the art forger in the documentary, was apparently able to convince the best experts that his paintings were actually Picassos or other famous artists. F for Fake really makes you question whether most of the paintings you’ve seen are real or fake, and it makes you ask whether it even matters in the end. Stories We Tell makes you ask the same questions about memories and stories.

F for Fake is an especially interesting documentary because it makes you question the authorship of itself. Orson Welles edited the documentary, but he did not create most of the footage contained within it. He just took another documentary about Elmyr and recut it to explore the themes he wanted more deeply. He also added a few of his own segments. So Welles makes you further question authorship of art through the idea that new art is just inspired by old art and manipulates old art to be something new.

There is also a segment in F for Fake where Welles begins telling a completely made up story that sounds plausibly true and then reveals it was fake. This is similar to the way Polley made fake footage of her mother and family members when they were younger. It turns out none of it was real, but aren’t the ideas behind them still important?

So Polley’s ideas aren’t new, but as F for Fake asks us, are any ideas really new and does it matter in the end?

The Cacophony Society — the Real-World Project Mayhem

I was reading through a interview with Chuck Palahniuk (Author of Fight Club), and was very intrigued by a group in Portland, Oregon known as The Cacophony Society, which inspired Project Mayhem in Fight Club. The group consists of ordinary people who want to break free from the conventions of society by pulling pranks and stunts. The society has no rules/regulations, and its mission is to “make life more interesting” through “unusual experiences.” The members thrive on risk, collaborating with others, and “creating” rather than “consuming” culture. The society has chapters in major cities across the U.S.

Some of the society’s past pranks/events have included:

  • Burning a 40 ft. wooden man in the dessert on the summer equinox
  • Dressing in formal attire and having parties in underground sewage drains
  • Midnight bridge climbing
  • Painting billboards in neon colors
  • Joining PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals)

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Palahniuk deemed Cacophony an integral part of his past. In another interview, he explains the friendships he formed with the members of the organization due to a shared passion for challenging identity and risking safety. He had a thirst to build rich experiences with genuine companions, as he often found himself referring to experiences with what he calls “air friends.” “Air friends” are acquaintances that you meet at work, school, etc., and your relationship with them is solely based on the fact that you occupy the same space or “air” as them for extended durations of time.

This concept mirrors the single-serving nature of society that the narrator brings up in Fight Club. The lack of meaningful relationships or compassion towards others was very prevalent in the film, shown through dry conversations between the narrator and his boss and the corrupt practices of his insurance company. The narrator obviously yearns for deeper connections with others, so he initially joins different support groups for people who share common problems. Aside from making an effort to avoid Marla, perhaps the narrator decided to leave the support groups and create Fight Club and Project Mayhem because he longed for relationships beyond his newfound “air friends.” Even though he met with the different support groups each week and interacted with the same people, he did not share anything in common with these people other than the air they were breathing. Fight Club and Project Mayhem allowed him to bond with people who shared his same passion for rebelling against society and challenging cultural norms.

Furthermore, the foundation of Cacophony was built upon “creating culture” through “unique experiences,” which reflects Fight Club’s mission of opposing the consumer-driven lifestyle that encompassed society. It is very appropriate that the fictional organization in the movie was based off of Cacophony, because there is no better way to rebel against society than to create a new society with opposing values and practices. Additionally, the materialism depicted in the film left many of the characters numb, and incorporating extreme actions in the movie similar to Cacophony’s outrageous and dangerous ceremonies allowed the characters to “challenge their identities” and truly feel raw fear and adrenaline.

I would recommend checking out the clips below for more information about The Cacophony Society and Chuck Palahniuk. (Skip to 19:50 of the second clip to see the interview with Palahniuk).

**Skip to 19:50 in the clip below**

Sources:

  • http://www.dvdtalk.com/interviews/chuck_palahniuk.html
  • The clips above

Dear Zachary

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While watching Stories We Tell I began to notice similarities in the film to another documentary that I had previously seen, Dear Zachary.  Similar to Stories We Tell, Dear Zachary focuses on someone close to the subject of the film making a movie about that person’s life.  It utilizes a similar setup in which the director allows the friends and family members of the subject of the film to talk about their experiences and memories of the subject.  This allows for the different perspectives of the subject to come through, in the case of Dear Zachary the film focuses on Andrew Bagby.

 

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Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father was made by Kurt Kuene, a childhood friend of Andrew Bagby.  It was made after Andrew was murdered in Latrobe, Pennsylvania with the apparent culprit being Shirley Turner, a woman that Andrew had previously been seeing.  It is best not to go into the film knowing a lot, but rather to go in blind and experience it fully.  However, be advised that the film is terribly sad and you will definitely walk away feeling sickened and sad.

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The similarities between the two films revolve around the way in which they were shot.  Both allow for the friends and family members to build up the subject of the film and to show the different view points that each person has of them.  I also thought it was interesting how in Stories We Tell it seemed that Sarah was using the film to discover who her mother was, and in Dear Zachary the film is used to tell Zachary who is father was.  Overall, I think both films are interesting insights into how we describe people and tell their stories, but the production and direction in Stories We Tell was definitely better than that in Dear Zachary.  I think some of the subtleness that was in Stories We Tell could have been utilized in Dear Zachary, but all in all I still highly recommend the film.

Sources:

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/a-true-crime-story-that-puts-the-victims-first

The “Agonizing” Process of Creating “Stories we Tell”

After viewing Sarah Polley’s care-free, easy-going attitude during Stories we Tell. I was very much taken aback when I stumbled across an article outlining how strenuous the filming process was for Sarah. While her situation is unique — creating a film of others essentially piecing her past together without interference — the relaxed and confident demeanor portrayed as she directed her family members and occasionally laughed along with their side remarks seemed genuine. In reality, her persona was masking some deep-rooted anxiety.

Sarah was filming Stories we Tell during the period between her first and second marriage — a troubling transition between two different chapters of her life. Even though the documentary is raw and without a script, it took five years to finish filming, primarily due to Sarah’s anxiety. She took a break from filming Stories we Tell when she became too overwhelmed (most likely from simultaneously dealing with an elusive past, troubling present, and ambiguous future) to create Take This Waltz, a comedy about a couple ending their relationship. Perhaps Sarah was looking for some comedic relief, especially by adding an element of humor to a situation very similar to her own. The article quoted Sarah explaining:

“I asked the NFB if I could take a hiatus and in the hiatus I made Take This Waltz, and it was literally to do something I loved and clear my head. To be actually excited and interested in something as opposed to dreading every day. Stories We Tell was a really agonizing difficult process and Take this Waltz was just joy. The NFB allowed me to take a year and make another film and then I came back to it with fresh eyes.”

Furthermore, Sarah explains the debilitating nature of hearing an “outpouring of raw emotions” from her friends and family, and having to endure listening to each interviewee’s account of her mother’s death time and time again.

“Even though I wasn’t going through it emotionally when I was sitting there — I was very objective and distant about it — I think it got under my skin and made me quite depressed. . . . I just really needed to get away from it.”

Perhaps the style of her documentary underscored her traumatic past even more; while it was her mission to convey the importance of listening to multiple accounts when learning about the past, I can imagine the lack of a single truth to be relatively unsettling, especially in the context of such a personal issue.

Lastly, Sarah mentions her controlling personality, and that she was so focused on planning out the details of the film that she was often “not in the moment.” This leads me to question if her lack of interjections during the interrogation process was entirely an intentional strategy to avoid bias, or a product of her mental distance throughout the filming process. This sensation is ironically very similar to the quote from Alias Grace that is used to set the stage for the documentary:

“When you’re in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all but only a confusion, a dark roaring, a blindness … it’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all, when you’re telling it to yourself or to someone else.”

In the midst of her depression and whirlwind of emotions and creative thought while making the documentary, Sarah was not only stitching together the stories of her friends and family, but also creating a new story of her own. Despite the “agony” she suffered while creating Stories we Tell, and the physical sickness she experienced as she awaited the first reviews of the film, Sarah expresses that creating the documentary forced her to constantly reevaluate what she was doing, and was therefore a very rewarding experience.

Sources:

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/2012/10/05/sarah_polley_doc_stories_we_tell_when_blood_is_thicker_than_gossip.html

 

The Howard Beale Show as the Framework of Modern Advertising

After analyzing the format of the Howard Beale Show in Network, I came to the conclusion that the various segments relate to the basic framework of a typical advertisement. This theory does seem valid, because just like advertisements, the Howard Beale Show was designed to appeal to the masses. Below, I have outlined how each segment mirrors the components of a conventional advertisement.

“Sybil: The Soothsayer” and the Promise of a Better Reality

The “Sybil: The Soothsayer” segment on the Howard Beale Show is meant to portray the notion that society yearns for a glimpse into the future, perhaps to eliminate the anxiety of uncertainty and to keep aspirations alive for an idealized reality that lies ahead. Advertisement are similar in convincing the consumer that a certain product or service has the ability to provide this aspirational state. Advertisements are meant to highlight a need, whether existing or fabricated, and how a specific product or service can fulfill that need. Similar to “Sybil: The Soothsayer,” advertisements provide a sense of comfort that a current dissatisfaction will be overcome, and an idealized reality lies ahead. A more obvious example of this type of marketing can be seen in weight loss ads, which ensure that your “idealized state” can be achieved in the very near future.

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“Skeletons in the Closet” and the Life of the Elite

“Skeletons in the Closet” was meant to represent audience members’ desires to escape the detriments of their current lives by listening to the misfortunes of others, namely celebrities. Modern advertisements with celebrity endorsers somewhat portray this concept. Aside from providing more credibility behind advertisements, utilizing celebrity endorses shows the audience that celebrities have mutual misfortunes and needs, whether it be a remedy for acne, weight loss, etc. When people view these testimonials, recognize the struggles of public figures, and associate the success of celebrities with the product/service solving these setbacks, they are enticed to make a purchase in the hopes of escaping their struggles and experiencing the reality of celebrities’ lives.

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“Vox Populi” and Conforming to the Majority

The “Vox Populi,” or popular opinion segment of the Howard Beale Show represents peoples’ desire to not only listen to perspectives that resemble their own, but also the yearning to remain in synch with a larger community. This strategy is very similar to the methods many advertisers employ. Ads are obviously designed in a way that appeal to the needs and beliefs of the majority of a specific target audience, but also underscore the necessity of a specific product or service in fitting in among society. For example, the commercial for Bumpits (a plastic piece inserted into the hair to give the illusion of more volume) emphasizes the belief that all women allegedly desire and look better with more voluminous hair. Whether this notion is true or not, the commercial is meant to persuade women to believe that in order to fit in and obtain approval from others in society, they must purchase this product. Both the “Vox Populi” and commercials for products similar to Bumpit manipulate individuals to conform their individual desires and needs to what is portrayed as popular opinion.

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“It’s the Emmes Truth Department” and Deceitfulness

The “Emmes Truth Department” most likely depicts news stories in a fictional light in order to appeal to audiences. Such practices allows the audience members to hear only what they would like to hear and protects them from any type of news that would upset them. This deceitful nature is very present in the advertising industry as well. The benefits and quality of many products and services are often fabricated and exaggerated. Commercials and advertisements are designed to reflect what people would want to hear (e.g. “Loose weight easily and fast,” “xyz product is the #1 choice as voted by doctors,” etc.). By solely conveying what consumers want to hear, consumers are at risk of potentially wasting their time and money buying sub-par products, and even putting themselves in danger if the side effects of certain products are unclear. These ramifications are similar to sugar-coating news stories — the audience remains uneducated and potentially vulnerable to the harsh realities of the world.

McDonalds

“Mad Prophet of the Airways” and Masking Individual Thinking

Howard Beale provided an outlet for audience members to express their anger, but he also essentially dictated what the audience should believe in. The audience enjoys his segment because they can outwardly express emotions, but these emotions do not involve any type of personal thinking or formation of unique perspectives. Similarly, advertisements are created to influence consumers’ opinions on a product or service. The ultimate goal of advertising is to induce sales by showing a product/service in a positive light and ensuring it is easy for the consumers to choose a specific product/service over those of competitors. Because advertisements dictate how consumers should view a product and aim to trump any existing perceptions, they are very similar to the underlying goal of Howard Beale’s segment.

Although some of my explanations may have been a bit of a stretch, I do think the Howard Beale Show adequately reflects consumers’ dangerous relationship with advertising.