20. The Illusionist (B)
21. The French Connection (B+)
22. Network (A+)
Blistering 1976 network news satire that seems much less outlandish given the rise of Glenn Beck and his cohorts (though Beck's ratings are cratering now). I've often heard the screenplay ranked alongside All About Eve
as one of the best ever written, and in terms of dialogue, one can certainly believe that. Ned Beatty and Beatrice Straight both earned Oscar nominations, and in Straight's case, the win, for what amounts in each case to a single scene. Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch won for more substantive roles; in Finch's case, he has the most iconic scenes, but I kind of think his costar William Holden would probably have been more worthy. He's the only quiet man in the room (and, incidentally, looks about 75 years old when Holden wasn't even 60 yet), while everybody else is frequently screaming at the top of their lungs, and thus he's really the only person who always feels like a real character and not an avatar for Paddy Chayefsky's dialogue. I confess I thought the final stretch where Beatty converts Finch into an apostle of corporatism was kind of random compared to everything that came before.