Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Links: Special "Social Network" Edition.

All Too Flat I haven't said anything about the score to The Social Network but this article says plenty. You know, I agree with pretty much everything in this article -- I also thought that gambit of playing the music so loudly in the club scene that you had to strain to hear their conversation was not annoying like it is in movies with poor sound mixing but actually interesting and important -- but I did have a moment where I wondered if the score would eventually date the movie. And then just as quickly, I realized it probably didn't matter; the song score to The Graduate instantly dates it but that's  not a hindrance and it's maybe even a help.

The Film Doctor has 12 notes about the movie. Too many for me to go into right here but I like the 10th note about the twins a lot. Speaking of...

Awards Daily Armie Hammer as "The Winklevi" in The Social Network. I guess I'll just say this right here: I don't get the fuss over his performance. Certainly capable and will justifiably lead to new opportunities but Oscar worthy? Uhhhhh. Oscar worthy is supposed to be performances that are truly special, somehow elevating their material... not performances that do the job well.

 The Winklevoss Twins

Salon and Jezebel both have articles about the sexism in The Social Network. This reminds me of the complaints about the lack of black characters on Mad Men. It's what we call intentionally "missing the point"... to a degree I must quickly add. It's not like the articles don't make a few valid point.  But I wonder. Salon cites women in high positions at Facebook and Jezebel comments on Zuckeberg's diverse inner cirlce, but neither articles delineates when these omitted people began their relationship with Facebook. It would help the arguments if they were there right from the beginning but so far I haven't read anyone stating that they were. But about the liberties taken and the type of relationships depicted. Like it or not, some men do surround themselves with women that reinforce negative stereotypes about women just like some women go for men who fit neatly into certain easily reductive male types. If what you want is a trophy girlfriend, you're not necessarily going to stumble upon the fully dimensional type. You're going to get the girls who are looking to be trophies and who themselves are not looking for three-dimensional men. You know? That said, Fincher's filmography is a guy's guy filmography... so I understand the frustration. (If what Jezebel says is true about Zuckerberg having gay men and women in his inner circle... or rather if that was true in the time frame dramatized, it is disappointing that it was written out. But one final note in defense of David Fincher in this equation. At least he's got a few classic female characters in his resume, unlike a few other guy's guy directors who aren't often called out for their completely male world view. Between Two Gigs also has a detailed response to these sexism charges.

One of the things that's most fascinating about the movie is that it's so open to interpretation, never truly taking sides. You quickly glean that the movie is not interested in anything like an absolute truth -- which is what makes articles about what's true and what's not kind of beside the point though they're interesting to read -- (and movies that worry about that too much often end up dead as dramatic entertainments). You can listen to the legal arguments and agree that all parties are correct in their own ways. What's your take on all this... we still haven't heard from very many of you about your reaction to the movie?

40 comments:

Jason H. said...

I wasn't incredibly impressed. I thought the dialogue was phenomenal, but otherwise everything just felt...off? I don't really know how to describe it; I just wasn't blown away by it. Its good, but not great.

FilmDr said...

Thanks for the link, Nathaniel.

I liked The Social Network because of the way it resisted any easy final interpretation. For instance, I still kind of like Zuckerberg in spite of his betrayals, his emotional coldness, and immaturity. I enjoyed how the movie confirmed my mixed feelings about Facebook and how it tries to manipulate us, and I liked the intense His Girl Friday delivery of the dialogue.

RJ said...

Really loved this movie. I think a lot of the controversy is much ado about nothing.

As for the twins, if Brad Pitt can get a nod for Ben Button, anyone can.

Maniacal said...

It was a good movie. Not the best I've ever seen, not even the best I've seen this year (the King's Speech was better) but still good. I think Sorkin deserves the Oscar, don't think anyone else deserves to win, not even Fincher (I think Boyle deserves it more for 127 Hours).

Caroline said...

Like not having black people in the 50s?

I didn't realize that women were still a non-entity in 2004.

Still love the movie, but you gotta admit that it could have used less drunk naked girls doing coke or guys.

SoSueMe said...

I don't get the Armie Hammer love...he was very good (not to mention gorgeous)...but Oscar-worthy...I don't think so. (Neither is Timberlake.) I don't know about anyone else, but I couldn't get past his ridiculous deep bass voice...I wish he had altered his voice somewhat to differentiate between the two twins. I kept thinking during the film, Armie has the face of an angel, but the voice of a demon!
I do think Eisenberg and Garfield are worthy nominees.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

I'm SO jealous of all of you. THE SOCIAL NETWORK arrives here only on November 4. Grr.

Meanwhile, have you seen the FULL trailer for TRUE GRIT? (the other was just a teaser) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfTSvFSdyRg

It's SO much better. And it suddenly gave me more confidence on the project.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I get an American Beauty vibe from the film. In the fact that it is so ubiquitous and overbuzzed right now, if it wins Best Pic then it will forever be dubbed "overrated" and that people just went gaga over it because its fresh script and timeliness...
That being said, I enjoyed the film. Very depressing. I think Eisenberg will fall short of the nomination though (too young & not enough obvious modulation aka emoting in the performance)and that Garfield and Timberlake will be nominated.

- Sean C.

Stella said...

It's commonly acknowledged that there wouldn't be a movie if Sorkin had chosen to follow the real-life, far more boring course of events, but isn't that still an important thing to acknowledge????

We have a 26-year-old guy, a movie made about him when he was 19 (the entire cast of TSN agreed in an interview that there would be no way in hell they'd want the same. Justin Timberlake seemed particularly frightened at the idea), and a movie that's possibly going to define the way people think of him for the rest of his LIFE, then yeah, we owe it to him to separate fact from fiction. I think people are unwilling to admit these things at the expense of "lessening" the impact of the film, but I don't get why we can't admit that the movie is fiction (like everything else in Hollywood) and still great fiction at that.

Andrew R. said...

Anon 10:01-I get your point, but I don't think American Beauty is overrated. I think it's still relevant. Forrest Gump would've been a better example.

People are already analyzing this movie to death. Now I kind of have to see it. (I really really really want to.)

But I did see clips, and if the twins (twin?) get(s) a nomination, I'll barf. They didn't impress me from what I've seen, and I consistently, no matter how likable they try and make them, hate the jocks in movies.

(Side note: For Colored Girls, Tyler Perry's new movie, has a trailer. It's a little iffy as far as Oscar bait goes-Perry is a meh director, horrible writer, but has skill with actresses.)

Danny King said...

I agree that Hammer isn't Oscar-worthy, though he does his job just fine. The real attention should be on the three other guys, which it probably is regardless of what the online buzz says.

Rick said...

Saw the movie today and really loved it... performances from the 3 leads were excellent... I have seen much worse performances not only be nominated for an Oscar, but actually winning.... I am considered a senior, and I think these young talents were exceptional.

Marsha "No Gimmick" Mason said...

Oscar loves gimmicks. That's why they love to honor singers -- one reason why. And why Linda Hunt won for playing a man, and why simply de-glamming is a qualification.

The double role thing is a gimmick -- don't think they've done that since Sellers in Strangelove.

Julian Stark said...

It's nice to see that someone else isn't completely taken away with Armie Hammer's fine and dandy but not extraordinary performance.

Dean said...

It's the second film this year (also The Kids Are Alright) that I wanted to keep on going after it ended. This almost NEVER happens to me watching a movie so it's really special when it does. I could watch another two hours after TSN ended because I was drawn in by the characters so much. That being said, it was impossible for the film to live up to the hype but I'm trying not to let that spoil it any because it is a really good film. I want a sequel!

NATHANIEL R said...

Caroline -- i get what you're saying but i guess i object to people objecting to fraternities being portrayed as sexist organizations. as long as I've been alive they've been portrayed that way. so i guess i'm confused as to why it's this film getting the flack for that?

Stella -- i think the people who do love the movie recognize that it's a fictional work about a real thing. It's the people who don't love the movie that seem to object to the liberties taken. But i guess that would suck to have your life defined by a fictional version of it. That said, I really don't think Zuckerberg needs to worry about how some movie portrays him. When you're a billionaire, you are kind of insulated from such things. And also: I'm confused by everyone saying the film was hard on him because, like I've said before, I came away feeling like i understood him and getting what he was fighting for and what his vision was (even if i thought he was obnoxious.)

the only person who i think seems like a total asshole in the movie when all is said and done is Sean Parker.

vatz said...

I loved it. And the sexism charges are annoying. And this is coming from an actressexual.

vatz said...

I loved it. And the sexism charges are annoying. And this is coming from an actressexual.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel,

Haven't seen TSN, but I disagree about Mad Men/black characters. The show's gaze and that of it's male/white characters is not one and the same. It actively and consistently looks down on its characters' prejudices. It doesn't mimic but rather condemn their worldview. Thus (coupled with the fact that it *does* explore the life of women even though they were living on the fringes too), it's quick asides re: the marginal lives of black people come off as disingenuous and trite.

-Jason

Mike B. said...

I think Armie Hammer's performance is great only because you have to think of how difficult it really is. You have to come up with two different, distinct characters but who are identical twins. That as well as filming your scenes as the other twin on a soundstage, surrounded by green scenes trying to act without other actors could easily have been a disaster.

I actually think it's more than a good performance--a great one, that's also better than Timberlake's--and is more difficult than it seems. He nails the two characters without any obvious tricks.

Timothy Marshall said...

I'm resisting seeing The Social Network because of this trap I'm falling into with hype movies where I have to see them because resounding public opinion dictates their quality. I also am resisting seeing this because of the ethical implications behind the concept of this movie.

It goes like this: I saw the trailer for The Social Network. It doesn't really look all that interesting to me. Particularly, I have a lot of resentment over the timing, message, and advertising campaign for this movie. In NYC I'm surrounded by posters with Eisenberg/Zuckerberg's face that make him look like some gothic painting of an emaciated martyr. Over the top of his face are Futura Bold (chosen font of Wes Anderson, hipsters, and Vampire Weekend) messages like "You don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies" or worse, "Punk. Billionaire. Genius". Zuckerberg is most certainly not a "Punk" and no dramatized Hollywood protagonist alter-ego of him is going to change that.

This would sum up my resistance to this movie. It's one thing to acknowledge the effect that social media has on our lives through art. It's another to create a Hollywood protagonist out of a young CEO with a very successful fledgling company and expect me not to see it as free advertising. I'm wholly resistant to the social implications the making of a movie like this has, the message it conveys. I have particular resentment towards the concept of Facebook in the first place, which also alienates me from appreciating the concept of a "Facebook Movie". It's just too timely, too perfect, too now. Facebook itself is such a shitty time-waster; How could I not perceive the movie as being also a shitty time waster? (Granted, I know it's supposed to be an "exposé" of sorts, but you know what they say about publicity...) Social media sites like facebook and twitter reduce privacy, increase peoples expectations of your 24/7 availability as a human being, and turn what was formerly intellectual discourse into 1,000 character disorganized ramblings on movies and music you like/don't like. It's no substitute for actual human interaction and its certainly not any kind of coterie that's going to achieve an intellectual means. It's reductive and diversional. (see next post)

Timothy Marshall said...

I'm willing to accept that I'm, perhaps, a caveman, a New York Times (paper copy) reading, Kindle hating, nature loving, intellectual elitist. I'm also willing to accept the possibility that this is a very well made movie and it's probably worth my time to see.

Therein lies the trap. I'm unwilling to accept my own disinterest and pre-viewing dislike of the concept of this movie. I need to see it for myself. The same thing happened to me with Avatar and Slumdog Millionaire - there were these overwhelming hype machines and reviews and they wouldn't allow me to just decide I didn't want to go see it. No, apparently I don't work that way. Once something becomes unanimously "good", I need to check it out to make sure I'm not missing something.

But, how do I compromise my personal ethics regarding art's social implications and ultimately buy a ticket to this movie when I hate everything about it?

Then there's my more logistical issues: Aaron Sorkin has written some of the cheesiest, godawful shit I've ever seen. The American President is only good as a time capsule of what liberal politics used to be like in people's minds and as a movie it makes too many political presumptions about its audience. Then the West Wing is just The American President on TV with more political intricacy, inasmuch as it it's slightly more realistic than the political world portrayed in the American President. And as far as the "screwball, quick paced, quick witted" dialogue goes? Gag. This isn't like Juno, is it? Please tell me it's not like Juno. I will bring my earplugs to the theater and if I have to hear smarmy quips all evening I will jam those motherfuckers in.

This all being said, I haven't seen it.

You should consider that the resounding rimshot that caps my joke of a post.

NATHANIEL R said...

well Timothy, i understand objections to something in concept. But some of the more specific complaints I don't get. It's one thing to think that Facebook is a timewaster (it is) but to blame it for this? I see Twitter and Facebook and the like as merely more perfect vehicles to what people actually want i.e. soundbytes instead of actual thought and discourse than the cause of it.

and i also think new technologies and new ways of communicating generally only seem dangerous. In reality, the human race will adapt. There's nothing wrong with brevity and I myself have been amazed that the smartest people i know in real life (who can be verbose as hell) are just as smart when they're suddenly zeroing in on an idea in truncated form.

as for "gag" following "screwball" and mentioning "Juno"... color me confused. How do any of those three words go together? I like Juno more than most but I definitely don't think it's a screwball comedy.

but i do think Social Network has screwball "like" dialogue in that it's fast and often funny/smart.

Rebecca said...

I think one reason why The Social Network is being called out for the sexism, even though it's not exactly rare, and possibly (I don't know when these women became part of Zuckerberg or Facebook's lives either) accurate, is the fact that the movie's been called a defining film of the generation and other hyperbole. As a 20-something woman, I'd rather my part in this generation be a little more than being a drunken trophy. When a film's given a label like that, even if no one involved was looking for it, it ends up under more scrutiny to actually represent people than it probably should.

Volvagia said...

No, they've nominated multiple character gimmick performances twice. First, it was Sellers in Dr. Strangelove and then it was Nicholas Cage in Adaptation. (And there's only 3 more uses of this gimmick deserving of nominations: 1. S Actor, Alec Guiness, Kind Hearts and Coronets. 2. L Actress Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive. 3. L Actress, Laura Dern, Inland Empire.)

Volvagia said...

Definition: Screwball comedy: Extremely fast paced (90-120 words a minute at the fastest, rarely dipping below 70 words once it gets going), realistic sounding, extroverted comedies that deal with madcap scenarios. Mostly associated with the 30s and 40s.

Definition: Juno: A normally paced (40-50 words a minute), narrated (and thus, inherently introverted) festival of quirky dialogue draping a scenario that probably happens to a fair amount of people in real life.

In essence: Juno is the polar opposite of screwball comedy.

Samson said...

Wasn't one of Zuckerberg's roommates/site founders gay? The one played by Joseph Mazzello? Or am I making that up? It did seem like the women in this film were either showpieces that guys were either fixating on (hello, all of this over a girl rejecting you?) or snorting coke off of. But that's the world that they wanted to create, so I went along with it. Fincher is getting one of the most multi-dimensional heroines he's had to date with Lisbeth though, so hopefully he won't screw the remake up. Loved "The Social Network" BTW and want to see it win loads of Oscars. And Armie Hammer was awesome as the "Winklevi."

Volvagia said...

Also, Timothy: Punk doesn't just mean "I dress like The Clash." In the context of this movie, it's meant to be a more eye-catching, and MPAA approved, synonym of "a-hole."

okinawaassault said...

The Salon article (and Jezebel) already hinted at the two women in Zuckerberg's life. Priscilla Chan, who he's dated since 2003, the starting time line of the film. Sheryl Sandberg, his COO. The latter was profiled on Vogue last May. With the disclaimer that they're both nerds, this guy who in the movie can't properly talk to women talked a woman out of leaving Google. Google!

I know this movie, like many biographies, is a rendition of characters that do exist. But radically changing the portrayal of character based on a person so recently ubiquitous. Besides Aaron Sorkin already implied that he doesn't like people who have Facebook, much less those who own and run Facebook.

Anyway, I started on my actual review of The Social Network. I agree with Jason's 'off' thing. It will be up later this week if not next week because I have a backlog and I'm soo lazy.

Michael said...

Samson, you're right, one of the FB founders is indeed gay (Chris Hughes, played by Patrick Mapel).

NATHANIEL R said...

samson -- i keep hearing this about Lisbeth but from my admittedly limited reading of the novel and from the film clips and reviews and plot descriptions and parodies, i fail to see anything multi-dimensional about the sullen sociopath. admittedly i'm not one to talk on this topic but i am weirded out by why people are so devoted to her given all the descriptions.

Volvagia said...

If "The Winklevi" catch on, could this be tieing The Godfather Part II's supporting record? (Timberlake, Garfield and Arnie Hammer. I know from what people are saying that the last one sounds like a disaster of Michael V. Gazzo over John Cazale proportions. Garfield would be the DeNiro, "I'm really a co-lead", nomination.)

/3rtfu11 said...

Oscar worthy is supposed to be performances that are truly special, somehow elevating their material... not performances that do the job well.

Oscar and supposed to: should stop now. I thought the performance was impressive because I never this actor before. At the time of seeing the film I had no idea the twins in the film were played by a single actor. That says so much about the actor, Fincher and his grasp of digital filmmaking, and the artist responsible for the Visual Effects work. I consider Armie Hammer’s performance more fully realized and lived in than the PR hyped Justin Timberlake.

If what Jezebel says is true about Zuckerberg having gay men and women in his inner circle... or rather if that was true in the time frame dramatized, it is disappointing that it was written out. But one final note in defense of David Fincher in this equation. At least he's got a few classic female characters in his resume, unlike a few other guy's guy directors who aren't often called out for their completely male world view.

In Fincher’s defense he has directed some of Madonna’s most iconic videos and Fight Club --- although, its alpha hetero male standing as their Showgirls if you will (both cult movies) --- but like Showgirls there’s a lot of queer subtext going on.

Volvagia said...

Except, not many deny that Fight Club isn't at least a GOOD movie after having seen it, even if it's not one they're comfortable with. To compare it to Showgirls is like comparing The Room to Citizen Kane. A more accurate comparison would be: The Boondock Saints is the alpha male Showgirls.

Timothy Marshall said...

Also, Timothy: Punk doesn't just mean "I dress like The Clash." In the context of this movie, it's meant to be a more eye-catching, and MPAA approved, synonym of "a-hole."

12:53 PM

Wow, thanks for clearing that up for me. I live in such a culture trench that I had no idea the word "punk" had any pluralism to its meaning. I was all like, "Mark Zuckerberg don't got no spiky hair! Ridiculous!"

My sarcasm aside, I don't think you and I get along when it comes to discussing film. You really like to closely rely on textbook definitions to make your points (probably you're in film school) whereas I rely on language to make my points (because I study linguistics) so when I use a term like "screwball", know that I'm ripping it from its film-school context in an unjustifiable way. Hey, sorry... a couple reviews said it was, like, quick witted and screwball and to me that immediately implies the kind of dialogue in my mind that I hate, like Juno for instance (which is so whiny and full of itself and whose central turning point revolves around an epiphany by a high schooler while she's lying... Okay I have to stop... Make-a-me-crazy...).

Nat -- as far as my blaming Facebook/Twitter... Eh, you have an interesting point, but keep in mind that the parameters are built in to make it reductive from the start and concision doesn't suit all forms of writing (you can probably see from my long paragraphs that I strongly believe in that). Then, of course, I'd have a very obvious objection to free publicity for something I hate or glossy Hollywood framing of the subject matter - it really does carry consequences as a movie, I give it that (insofar as it will boost people's interest in social media sites, which I of course am not convinced is good).

Facebook isn't sustained writing or sustained discourse and it doesn't really have the capacity to be that, but it's also becoming a dangerous culture elephant that threatens to swallow up everything else as an umbrella.

As far as the Juno thing goes, it's obvious that fast, quippy, dialogue is just not my thing, stylistically.

Caroline said...

I don't think the movie is sexist per se, but I would argue that it's awfully gratuitous at times. You could reduce the naked partying chicks by 1/2 and it'd still be sufficient.....

Jason said...

Nate, I'm so glad you posted something about the Salon and Jezebel articles. I'm sympathetic to arguments about the marginalization of women in American films, but Jezebel in particular is sometimes shrill and intellectually dishonest about it (and they are in the article you included).

Here's another terrific response to both articles (they even quote you!)

http://popconfidential.com/2010/10/06/is-the-social-network-sexist

Aaron said...

I loved the movie. I really hope Rooney Mara receives some love in the supporting actress category. She's only in it for two scenes, but she's killer in both of them. I liked Armie Hammer quite a lot, but Oscar-worthy? I don't think so.

And I thought Justin Timberlake was fine until the last 20 minutes or so. The scene in the office where he taunts Eduardo after his shares have dropped was laughably cartoonish. I know Sean Parker is a douche throughout the whole film, but during that last scene Timberlake took it to a whole new, over-the-top level. Maybe that was the point, idk...

...Eisenberg WAS FANTASTIC! and LOOOOVED Andrew Garfield!!! I feel that Garfield has a MUCH stronger chance of a nomination in the supporting field than Eisenberg in the lead category...E's character reminds me (somewhat) of Emile Hirsche's in Into the Wild...it's a really provocative, yet ambivalent character that many just do not understand. I think the Academy is wary of performances that are that polarizing where the actions of the character are not clearly defined. It will be up an uphill battle for Eisenberg to land a nomination, regardless if the Academy rewards the film with other nominations such as picture, writing, and directing.

NATHANIEL R said...

Aaron -- well, he's also REALLY young for Oscar love. They like their leading men to be over 30. Jesse just turned 27 (same age as matt Damon and tom cruise on their first nominations) but they rarely go that young.

i wrote an article on this way back in the Brokeback days. Here it is.

I should probably republish with a discussion of this.

Lama Bashour said...

My take touches on the facts and accuracies but is more about the genre. Here's my blog: http://lamathinks.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-take-on-social-network.html