The Social Network
When I first saw the trailer for this, my immediate reaction (other than the fact it was a great trailer), was still "uhhhggg, the Facebook movie..." But after having seen this film over the weekend, I refuse to just refer to it as "the Facebook movie" anymore, and almost feel insulted for the film when it gets referred to it as such now. It's not "the Facebook movie", it's David Fincher's The Social Network, and it is awesome.
It's barely even a movie about the actual workings of the Facebook website, it's more of a brilliant struggle between brilliant minds, who happen to be fighting over Facebook. It is at times funny, sad, and infuriating. I was actually surprised at how funny it was really, because the main character is such a sad figure. I couldn't help but feel a little sympathetic for Mark Zuckerberg, he didn't come across as a terrible person in any way to me. Pretentious and arrogant, for sure, but terrible he was not. He was just an unpopular person who was given an immense amount of sudden popularity and power, and that was actually one of the more interesting aspects of the movie, debating whether or not I would act the same way if put in the same position at that age. Maybe the way he chose to interact with certain people was less than classy, but those were his choices, and it ultimately makes him one of the most tragically entertaining heroes I've seen in a film in a while. I guess the actual people involved are saying the film is an exaggeration, but even if that's the case, thinking of Mark Zuckerberg as a fictional cinematic character still works well. You know they did a good job with the character if they made me feel bad for guy worth 25 billion dollars.
I don't think I was bored with The Social Network for even a second. The editing was perfect, it moves at incredible pace. The cinematography was also great, casting a dark fog across the screen at all times. The acting, also fantastic. Jesse Eisenberg nailed it. I don't even like Justin Timberlake, but even he did a great job making Sean Parker of Napster look like an absolute creep. Wow, it was just such a great film all around. I know it was a special film in my mind, because about an hour after I got out of the theater, I wanted to see it again! I wouldn't say that this is the best cinematic representation of my generation like some critics have said (I would almost say Scott Pilgrim is a better representation of our generation), because I mean sure we all use Facebook, but this film is more a representation of a very small group of brilliant minds looking for acceptance, and who knows if they actually get it in the end.
I'd say this is one of the don't miss films of the year. And remember, it's not just "the Facebook movie". Nobody plays Mafia Wars or uploads pictures of their weekend or anything like that. It's a film about the creation of Facebook, not Facebook itself, if that makes sense? Plus, did I mention it's great?
Sorkin was interviewed on The Daily Show about the script and said he was going for a modern-day "Rashomon", where each character's perspective has some truth in it but maybe not all the truth, and he leaves it up to the audience to decide what the final reality is.
That's actually a really good way to describe it, Ivy League Rashomon. David Fincher also comically referred to it in NY magazine as the Citizen Kane of John Hughes movies!
Haven't seen it yet, but read the script a while ago. It comes in at a whopping 168(!) pages, but it read so well that I didn't even notice the length. Definitely on my "to view" list.
Clark Creative Group
I finally saw it at home this weekend. I missed Sorkin's rapid-fire and jam-packed dialogue, and this movie delivered that. In spades.
I found the cinematography very "dark" all the way thru, maybe oppressively so.
As I watched it Zukerberg was the least interesting of all the characters presented, actually, and the ensemble performances of this cast were what helped elevate the story.
Sorkin found one of the hoariest old cliche' frameworks for telling this story, in the "trial with flashbacks" mode of the deposition, but damned if it wasn't the perfect choice for telling this story.
What would you pay to see Mamet and Sorkin, talking fast to each other, while walking down a bunch of twisting hallways? I would pay to see that:-)
[Mark Suszko] "What would you pay to see Mamet and Sorkin, talking fast to each other, while walking down a bunch of twisting hallways?"
Except that neither would allow themselves to be seen in front of a paying audience unless it was meticulously scripted. Neither allows even an ounce of winging it.
Continuing a tiny tangent, Jeff Bridges said that every pause, every stammer, every f-word was precisely where the Coen Brothers put it. He didn't change a single thing. No improvisation or on-the-fly alteration whatsoever.
re: Social Network, tracking the awards season so far, it's pulling to the front, almost too close to call with The King's Speech...which tells me that Social Network is going to pull ahead in time to take the Best Picture award.
It dominated at the Golden Globes, but that constituency has zero overlap with the Academy. BAFTA, on the other hand, DOES, and King's Speech dominated there (surprise, surprise.)
Oscar ballots had to be mailed by last Friday, so whatever pre-voting momentum was to be built had to have built already. That said, the thing that struck me was seeing the critics association's awards lined up graphically. If critics were voters it would be Social Network in a landslide.
Yeah, I can see the BAFTA awards being biased and giving King's Speech all the glory there, and who can blame them? It's a close race and it's a good movie from their turf. (side note: I was actually thrilled to see Black Swan get over 10 BAFTA noms as well.) But I don't see King's Speech beating Social Network for Best Picture or Director at the Oscars. I do see it winning for Colin Firth and possibly Original Screenplay, though. Maybe one more technical award as well if it's lucky. I could see Geoffrey Rush beating Christian Bale for Supporting Actor, but I hope that doesn't actually happen.
Don't get me wrong, as I said in my post about it last week, I liked The King's Speech plenty. But it's not nearly as memorable as so many other films this year. If The King's Speech won Best Picture, it would be the equivalent of a forgettable film like, I don't know, Chicago winning Best Picture. Or Shakespeare in Love winning Best Picture. The Academy would never give films like those any kind of big awards. They're better than that...
If Zuckerberg is anything like the character portrayed by Eisenberg, I suspect most of the privacy debacles over the past two years has had little to do with Zuckerberg and more to do with whoever he has running the marketing arm of the business.
I thought the film, accurate to real events or not, was a very stylish version of reality. Timberlake stole the show - and he seemed almost out of place in the "real world" in which the story was set. It would be like Tom Brokaw approaching me when I ran my campus tv news show saying "Mike, I think you can get this half hour weekly newscast onto every tv set in the world." And then me and Brokaw would be seen at all the hot clubs in LA doing jello shots with Ashleigh Banfield and Campbell Brown... but I digress. I did once stand next to Tom waiting for the rental car shuttle in Florida. Although while I got on the shuttle bus, he had a Mustang delivered to him curbside...ok, still digressing.
Fincher always adds something unusual to his movies. The IKEA compositing scene in Fight Club (not to mention the rest of the movie), a similar montage in Zodiac, some unique camera work in Panic Room, most of Benjamin Button. This film had the unusual, disconcerting, incongruous tilt-shift rowing sequence. After that I really felt like the world was upside down for the characters.
Was the Social Network the best film of the year? Possibly. As we have been discussing on this board, most movies that come out in the mainstream are not very good. And many very good movies that ARE released are not big money makers. So unless you are Scott Roberts who seems to own a movie theater, the films are seen mostly on DVD. Scott, I need to go to the movies more often by the way - kudos to you!
From what I have heard of "The Fighter" it should be in the running, along with Inception and Toy Story 3.
[Mike Cohen] "I suspect most of the privacy debacles over the past two years has had little to do with Zuckerberg and more to do with whoever he has running the marketing arm of the business."
A whole 'nother conversation, but the privacy issues around Facebook aren't that different than privacy issues Google, except that Google is old news.
The thing is that the business model is exactly the same: collect as much personal data about you as possible, and sell it to advertisers to create targeted ads. I don't have a problem with that notion, but it gets hairy in practice. Google tracks everywhere you go on the web, and if you have a phone with a Google map app, can also track your location, and a few other goodies.
Facebook does that exponentially, because it also tracks your friends, your activities, the things that you're thinking via wall posts, likes, etc. - and doesn't have to guess about ANYTHING. You've told it exactly how to weight this information. Even the face recognition software, some of the most advanced on the planet, is to "help you" track people based on their images. Even if you don't know their names YET - ie, a picture of your friend with a bunch of other people in it - you can mouse over to learn their names and everything else about them. Why does Facebook care? Because now it has another vector to sell you along - your friends like this, so you will too.
Again, this isn't particularly sinister, in that Google (and Amazon and others) do the exact same thing. Just not on the same scale, and not in a venue that's so hot. Everybody is scrutinizing it.
As for the debacle part, there isn't any. Facebook is still growing, the number of cancellations is shockingly low. Zuckerberg said that people don't care about privacy, and he's right. Most people are actively throwing it aside in favor of a more personal experience on the web. Only a segment of the press and a few hyper-informed people are getting heated up about it. Otherwise, Z-berg is dead on the money.
A whole, whole lot of money: $6 billion at the current valuation, and that's before the IPO. The end of privacy isn't a marketing strategy gone wrong. It's the business strategy that the new web is built on, going very well indeed.
The movie misses this by a pretty wide mark, I think. You may disagree, but I think that the film is more interesting for the language, the dramaturgy and the performances - by no means count Jesse Eisenberg out. My money's on him, actually.
As a casual Facebook user, I don't really care at all about the privacy stuff. Plus, aren't there settings where you can pretty much prohibit basically everyone except your closest friends from accessing your information? Even if businesses are using my profile to market ads towards me on my own Facebook page, that's not that big of a deal, I wouldn't click on ads on my Facebook page anyway. Businesses are wasting their time/money/resources, at least on me, haha. (I'm sure they are groaning about the 2 cents worth of money they spent trying to get me to buy protein shakes. Or whatever they are selling, I don't even look at the ads).
I like Zuckerberg, if only for the fact that he seems to care deeply about the company he has created, and is constantly trying to improve it. And he's very successful at improving it. And it's free. That's more than you can say for something like Windows, which you have to pay money for, and they barely improve their product at all (at least for how I use it).
And Tim, that would be awesome if Jesse Eisenberg won the Oscar for playing Zuckerberg. I'm a big fan of his work. He's been great in everything I've seen him in: Social Network, Adventureland, Zombieland, Squid and the Whale, Holy Rollers (OK, Holy Rollers wasn't a great movie, but he gave a good performance in it).
[Mike Cohen] "So unless you are Scott Roberts who seems to own a movie theater"
Haha, I wish I owned a movie theater! Except I'd probably refuse to play things like The Dilemma, or Yogi Bear, or basically any new Adam Sandler comedies. Then I wouldn't make any money...
Actually, I didn't expect it to work out like it did, but where I live now is right in the middle of 3 different movie theaters, all 10 minutes away, in 3 different directions. Two of which are big multiplexes (one with an IMAX screen) and the third is a smaller theater that sometimes plays limited release / indie movies. It's a fantastic situation for someone like me who normally has nothing to do in the afternoons on weekends!
Last night I saw Adventureland in Showtime HD. I had actually seen the end once before but did not know what I was watching, nor did I realize who the actors were at the time.
Jesse Eisenberg certainly knows how to play the geek/loser/hoodie-wearing guy who eventually gets the girl. I hope someone offers him a role in the wake of Social Network in which he can branch out a bit. I will reiterate that The Education of Charlie Banks, while essentially the same role, was a more mature subject matter - sort of.
The other star of Adventureland, Kristen Stewart, is also forever typecast as a loser/geek/girl who may be prone to wearing hoodies/likes vampires and werewolves but can do more grown-up acting. Her work in Adventureland and The Runaways proves she may be able to escape from Jacob and Edward later in life.
Being married to a woman between the ages of 21 and 50, I have been asked to watch at least one Twilight movie - definitely not Stewart's best work but she should be able to choose good movies moving forward based upon her presumed $12million payday from the Twilight sequels.
But we were talking about Jesse Eisenberg. He's here to stay.
I'm in love with Adventureland. I related to that movie on many different levels, and from a film standpoint, I thought the acting and execution was perfect for what it was. It's half drama / half comedy, but the comedy side wasn't hokey, and the drama side was never that melodramatic. It felt real to me. Kristen Stewart was alright, but probably the weak link of that cast.
But Eisenberg, I think he's great. You should check out his first movie, The Squid and the Whale (2006 I believe). It was his breakout role, and also features a fantastic performance from Jeff Daniels. Also a good acting job by Eisenberg: Holy Rollers (from last year, what he did right before Social Network). But as a whole, that movie wasn't that good.
But what he's doing next immediately after Social Network? Something I'm extremely excited for but others may not be; a comedy about a pizza delivery boy who is forced to rob a bank, called 30 Minutes or Less. It's directed by the guy who directed Zombieland, and also features Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari (two of my favorite comedic talents currently working)
I guess I need to change the title of my screenplay to 20 minutes or less - totally different story but same name. Same goes for "The Way Back".