Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Word Review: The Social Network

Screwball sharp dialogue meets riveting bad behavior.
(A-?)


I'll get to a fuller review soon. Screened it at 9 AM this morning and I'm already desperate to see it again. The film has its big premiere tonight at the NYFF. Expect another torrent of crazed "buzz" to follow. That word is often used interchangeably with "hype" in Oscar punditry and online discourse -- I use it incorrectly myself I freely admit. But "buzz" is the real thing whereas "hype" is like buzz in vitro, carefully created. Buzz is uncontrollable and what results when something (pre-hyped or not) actually delivers. And The Social Network most definitely does.

 About the sordid topic of Oscar... Before seeing it, I had predicted The Social Network for five nominations: Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Justin Timberlake), Adapted Screenplay and Editing. I have probably underestimated it slightly since Cinematography and Sound could well be in the cards, too. The performances are quite strong across the board but I fear it's the type of work that the acting branch will be the most resistant too, since most of the characters are "unlikeable" without being showy, and showy is the key modifier in clearing the unlikeable hurdle for awards voters... generally speaking of course.

34 comments:

Scott said...

Timberlake? Oscar? are you serious?! please do explain, when you post your review, how those two words can even be in the same sentence. otherwise, i'm thrilled to hear it's as good as the hype suggests. what other films are you seeing at the festival this year?

bbats said...

Did you see me in it? Horrible dancing guy in white vest during the crane shot in the dance club.

Joe Reid said...

Oh, man, I am positively giddy at the thought of Timberlake crashing the awards race and sending Oscar snobs into a series of hilarious fainting spells. It's gonna be like Sandra Bullock times a million!

NATHANIEL R said...

Scott -- i've been predicting him since April so i want credit if it comes to past. I was the first to call it online. I'm not saying he's going to win (he's not)... but i think a nomination could easily happen because they like to be surprised by musicians in acting roles (as other nominations and wins attest) and he's got a very showy part -- everyone else's unlikeability is more naturalistic and therefore unshowy ;) --

bbats -- awww, i did not. i'll look for you next time. Totally seeing it again.

Ángel Ramos said...

What about Jesse Eissemberg and Andrew Garfield? I want them so badly to be Oscar nominees next february...

Scott said...

ah yes, the showy part. now i get the reference. thanks for the clarification! and of course, you will get credit for this if it happens though admittedly, if he's nominated, i'm pretty sure the little bastard's head would explode from his huge ego. :)

Scott said...

it occurred to me just how right you are when it comes to the academy and musicians. hell, i guess if marky mark can get an oscar nomination then anything is possible!

Anonymous said...

Andrew Garfield is the film's best chance at an acting nomination. And I didn't find his character in any way unlikeable. (On the contrary, he had most of the film's big emotional moments.) Timberlake was good, but not nomination-worthy good.

Andrew R. said...

Yay! Another really good review!

NATHANIEL R said...

anon -- i don't dispute that Andrew Garfield was terrific but i still think Justin Timberlake has a better shot at the nominations... mainly because he's already a celebrity and for reasons aforementioned (and the film's showiest role)

Dominik said...

But, Nathaniel, now that you've actually seen the movie... would JT *deserve* an Oscar nomination? Btw, I never bought that prediction for a second... but then, who knows? what do I know? But then again... was Madonna nominated for Evita? Was Mariah Carey nominated for Precious?

NATHANIEL R said...

anon -- my point being that the Oscars are never a meritocracy ;) but you are right that Andrew Garfield has a more sympathetic role than the other men so i probably should've clarified the statement more.

NATHANIEL R said...

Dominik -- i don't know about "deserve" but there's still so many movies left to see. We'll see.

and about Mariah Carey... if her role had been twice as big, she might have. and about Madonna... they definitely have issues with her. She's never even been nominated for "best song" and lord knows she's crafted some original gems for movies.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, thanks for clarifying. Your argument for Timberlake is sound — he definitely has a good shot. But I personally can't see how anyone would walk out of the movie and vote for him over Garfield. (His confrontation with Eisenberg at the end is an Oscar clip if I've ever seen one.) Regardless of what happens with Never Let Me Go awards-wise (and, from the sound of it, probably not much), maybe the good will from it and this will be enough for Garfield to make the shortlist. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Nice, Nathaniel!
But I didn't think JT came off nearly as well as the others in the film... I actually loved the Larry Summers cameo better than JT. :)

NATHANIEL R said...

the Larry Summers cameo is indeed awesome.

Ryan said...

Caught the morning screening in NYC too. Completely agree that Garfield was the standout of the cast... where Eisenberg was excellent, his acting was so excellently subtle that he'd never get a nomination. Garfield, on the other hand, had some of those moments mixed with loud, emotional, and showy scenes. FYC, for sure.

cal roth said...

This movie is SO winning Best Picture. It's zeitgeist-y, and these last years have been all about zeitgeist (Crash - like it or not, Slumdog, Hurt Locker and even No Country For Old Men...). The King's Speech? Come on, it's not the 90's.

/3rtfu11 said...

The small photo of Justin Timberlake is doing no favors with me in terms of rooting for him to earn a nomination.

Timberlake and Oscar makes as much sense as Mo’Nique Oscar winner (Sigourney Weaver not) – Cuba Gooding Jr. Oscar winner (Gary Oldman and Danny Glover never nominated) – Kim Basinger Oscar winner (Michelle Pfeiffer not) – Jennifer Hudson Oscar winner (Glenn Close not) – Helen Hunt Oscar winner (Julianne Moore not)

Timberlake and Oscar makes as much sense as Mark Wahlberg Oscar nominee, Queen Latifah Oscar nominee – Will Smith two time Oscar nominee

Ryan said...

Garfield will ride on the coattails of his Never Let Me Go praise to a nomination for The Social Network. At least that is my prediction. I don't see Timberlake getting in over Rush, Bale, Ruffalo, Rockwell, Hoffman, Garfield, Renner, and Harris.

Anonymous said...

Seems like Fincher is back. I didn't care for CCOBB at all.

Stella said...

Scott, you're being....what's that called....yeah, a snob. If you've read anything on Timberlake getting the role, you'd know that he faced probably the most hurdles out of anyone auditioning for the role and the producers and Fincher stated that he'd been the one who had impressed them the most. Timberlake has been good in all of his movie roles (not to mention consistently bringing the house down on SNL, which takes considerable skill). I must admit I was just as incredulous as everyone else when I heard he was going to be in it, but I've heard nothing but great reviews about him.

Stella said...

/3rtfu11 too. It was especially stupid putting Monique in your examples. It's really not her fault that Sigourney Weaver isn't an Oscar winner, and nobody's going to deny that she absolutely merited the accolades for Precious.

Reynolds said...

That's a really specious argument 3rtu132fal or whatever your name is. Until those people are in competition with each other in the same year, you can't pull that kind of comparison. So what if Jennifer Hudson has an Oscar while Glenn Close doesn't. Hudson found the role of a lifetime and rode that to victory, and Close hasn't been nodded since the 80s. Either way they've never been in competition together. That's just the way the OScar crumbles. If Justin Timberlake can be nominated here, then good for him. It's time for voters to start thinking outside ofthe box once in awhile.

Dylan said...

Ugh. JT was the worst part of The Social Network. He always looked like he was acting and he was responsible for the only two seconds where I actively hated the movie: "This is OUR time!"

I think both Garfield and Eisenberg are more likely to be nominated. Well, at least they're more deserving, Oscar politics aside.

/3rtfu11 said...

Children my argument isn’t about whether or not these Oscar winners deserved their wins but that their body of work doesn’t match the quality of these nominated-less and Oscar-less actors. So yeah Justin certainly could be nominated and win.

Liz said...

"Children my argument isn’t about whether or not these Oscar winners deserved their wins but that their body of work doesn’t match the quality of these nominated-less and Oscar-less actors"

That argument only makes sense if you think a body of work should be considered when deciding if a person should win an Oscar for a given performance.

To which my answer (and probably the answers of many others here) is decidedly NO. It's about that performance. Period.

Anonymous said...

"but that their body of work doesn’t match the quality of these nominated-less and Oscar-less actors."




Sure if Mo'Nique WAS A Skinny White Woman with a variety of great film offers. Unfortunately everyone doesn't get the same opportunities. If you want to do comparisons, you should compare
Weaver with someone that has those same opportunities.

NATHANIEL R said...

Liz -- while i agree that the oscar race should be about that year's performances it almost never is... EXCEPT when it's a one hit wonder situation in which case everyone freaks out because of the surprise factor and whatnot... either way it's never fair how Oscar shakes out (or how role opportunities do, you're right about that!)

Liz said...

I get that the "performance only" idea not always the way the system operates, but that doesn't mean we should just throw up our hands and go along with the "career" Oscar idea. "That's just the way it is" doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

That's like leaving Tilda Swinton's "Julia" performance out of your Film Bitch awards because it doesn't have a chance at Oscar, so what's the point?

NATHANIEL R said...

Liz -- i'm not sure i follow. Tilda won my gold medal last year.

i'm not saying we should embrace the "career" and "politics" aspects so much as I'm excusing why people get angry. If Hollywood was consistent, most people would eventually get the Oscars who deserve them -- but they'd have to be consistent by either ALWAYS choosing by career honors or always choosing by performance only. They constantly go back and forth and this is how so many great actors go Oscarless. They ignore them when they're the best of the year and then in a year where they could honor them for "career" they'll sometimes choose someone who is just great (or perceived to be great) THAT year.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity I checked out the Social Network last week at. Early screening. I don't own a facebook nor do I care much for the new age communication the world seem to be enamored with. Twitter along with all the celeb who feel the need to announce their existence i.e. Ashton Kutcher et all can hit the bucket and die for all I care.

So, I went into this movie as techno novice and I have to say Social Network is great film that deals with timeless themes of self worth, friendship, loyalty, loneliness played out in the world of the Internet obsessed generation who wouldn't know what to do with their time if they didn't have an iPhone, itouch, iPad in their hands.

As for actors in it and since that is the topic on hand, let me put my two cents in. My barometer for a great acting in a role is whether I can picture another actor playing the same role. I cannot see anyone other than Jesse Eisenberg playing Mark Z. I cannot see anyone other than Justin Timberlake playing Sean P. But, I can see a multitude of young actors playing Eduardo Other than Andrew Garfield.

By my criteria, I would nominate Jesse and Justin for Oscar.

Liz said...

Not to keep harping on this, but I think it's fair to point out that people are often as inconsistent as the Academy when it comes to the performance vs. career debate, depending on the actor.

One year, I will read about one blogger/commenter/whoever commenting that it should be just about the performance. The next, there will be cries of "It's his/her time!"

So while the Academy has certainly been inconsistent in this matter, I just can't buy that so many people are frustrated over that, because I see plenty of inconsistency coming from people who claim to hate the "career" idea but sometimes fall back on "It's time!"

NATHANIEL R said...

Liz -- good point. i'm guilty of that myself.