How To Be As Mad as Hell and Not Take It Any More!

Networkby Maggie Kruger

***Warning! This post is totally NSFW.  It is R –Rated, 18 certificated, 100% not one for the office***

So I know my life sounds like a catalogue of woes at the moment (rat infestations, flatmates swanning off on holiday, don’t even get me started on the leak from the apartment upstairs and the mushrooms growing out of the carpet in my living room), and in all honestly, I have many many things to be thankful and happy about so I should really get over myself and stop complaining. HOWEVER. Yesterday I was one angry little hobbit.

I was trying to renew the cellphone contracts for our office, and for some reason it was more complicated than the plot of Lost Highway (you know, the David Lynch movie that makes less sense than waxing an owl so you can feed the feathers to your pet badger). What should have taken 10 minutes on the phone and been easier than mocking Kirsten Dunst, had turned into a week of back and forth emails, phone calls and unreturned messages.

Finally, yesterday at 8.30am, I got hold of the person who had mangled our renewal. By 11am I was speechless with rage, staring at my computer screen in disbelief as I read an email from this spotty youth based in Scotland who had not only messed up my order, but was telling me it was my fault, and on top of that charging me a small fortune for the privilege. As a rule I don’t like to lose my temper, but I managed to turn both the air around me and the timeline on my Twitter stream blue with the foul language flying out of my potty mouth.  Normally I would just shrug it off but this particular corporation and I have never enjoyed the best of relations, as they are evil. Pure, unadulterated evil, run by thousands of little Pazuzus who sit at their desks thinking up new ways to make their customers lives just that teensy bit more miserable.

But let’s not forget that I am English, so what did I do to sort out the situation? Well isn’t it obvious?  I had a cup of tea and wrote a sarcastic email, of course!

Which, let’s face it, is a bit rubbish. I should have gone postal on his ass, man! I should have torn the Spotty Scotty a new one! I should have… yeah, it’s not really me, is it? So yet again I turn to the movie world to teach myself some life skills – in this case how to have an epic movie-inspired meltdown…

My first port of call is of course Falling Down. Made by Joel Schumacher before he started destroying Batman franchises and starring Michael Douglas as D-Fens, this is throwing your toys out the pram on a biblical scale: stressed white collar worker hits rock bottom and embarks upon a city wide rampage. Do *not* tell this man he’s too late to order his breakfast, y’all.

Next up, I need some help with my F-Bombs (although you might not have known it if you’d been anywhere near me yesterday, honestly I kiss my mother with that mouth, I should be ashamed).  And there really is no better education than Steve Martin losing his shit in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. This one of the funniest scenes known to man, woman or gerbil, not only because of Steve’s unparalleled brilliance, but also due to the understated  wonderfulness of Edie McClurg.  Completely off-topic but she totally steals her scenes in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (‘Hello Jeannie, who’s bothering you now?) – I think she’s fab.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5o8DFfYHS4

Now I know full well that if I really wanted to study meltdowns I should watch Scarface… but in all honesty every time I even think about that movie I run around yelling ‘Say hhhello to ma leetle friend!’ in the dodgiest Al Pacino impression ever.  Which is less ‘meltdown’, more ‘certifiable’.

Instead, I turn to the work of an actor who has done more for the great art of Losing It than possibly any other. I’m not talking about Kevin Spacey, I’m not talking about Jack Nicholson, hell, I’m not even talking about Christopher Walken.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…

Nicholas Cage!

This is one actor who knows how to freak out. I mean, his films are getting exponentially worse, the tighter his face gets, but he’s still got the meltdown magic. Just look at this clever little compilation.

I especially like it because it includes my favourite bit from The Wicker Man (and we all know my feelings about The Wicker Man). Just watching this video could inspire you to take on the cast of 300.  And on another tangent, has anyone noticed that Nicolas Cage is turning into Gene Simmons in Runaway? Just look at them!

Nic Cage

Nic Cage

Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons

Nicolas Cage and Gene Simmons – separated at birth?

Now in the spirit of Equal Opportunities I should look at some Lady Rage. The early 90s gave us some brilliantly terrifying women: Kathy Bates in Misery, Rebecca de Mornay in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female, and of course I can’t not head back to 80s and mention Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Yes, we all knew these characters were crazy, and yes, we all knew there would be shrieking, violence, and the inevitable ‘didn’t kill them properly the first time’ resurrection, swiftly followed by a grisly impaling on a fence post, but godammit, they looked like they were having so much more fun than their victims!

‘But all I want  to do is renew my cellphone contract!’

‘But all I want to do is renew my cellphone contract!’

(Right, I fear I’m bordering on the sociopathic here, time to reel it in, Mags)

Obviously honourable mentions should go to Peter Finch in Network, to Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop (come on, what’s not to love about it?). And of course – let us not forget King Robert of De Niro in Taxi Driver.

I’m slightly ashamed of myself – 30 years of watching great movies and I still don’t know how to have a proper freak out, and I’m sure I’ve missed out on a whole slew of titles here. But a night in front of my TV and I feel well able to deal with the next Jobsworth that comes my way…by turning back into the angry little hobbit!!

 

 

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About Joel Robertson

I'm the father of three boys and married to my high school sweetheart. I'm a former public school teacher (and still recovering from PTSD), reformed filmmaker, podcaster, writer, and fan of all things movie related.

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