Monday, November 22, 2010

Social Network Typography (and Screenplay Structuring)

Saw this at Rope of Silicon and just loved it. The mind boggles at the complex architecture / spacial relation skills? required to pull this off...

...of course it wouldn't be that special if it didn't have the platform of Aaron Sorkin's amazing dialogue and/or Zuckerberg's wit (from transcripts presumably), now would it?

Best Screenplay. Having recently rewatched both The Kids Are All Right and The Social Network the screenplays for both play even stronger than they initially did. Sturdy blueprints for potentially great movies they were. Both screenplays are so witty, well constructed and filled with engaging character-specific details. There's just very little that's generic about either film and there's so much that's generic about the bulk of movies released in any given year, you know? But maybe Kids has the more graceful structure arcing as it does from kids (son) to parents back to kids (daughter) without feeling too deterministic or purposefully symmetrical but still smartly pinpointed (one summer). Social employs the more traditional continual flashback frame structure but perhaps its more ambitious in scope and it's hard to top some of its killer lines. My point is: They'd both better be Oscar nominated. I love both of them but I like to weigh these things for a good long while before I name my nominees or medalists.

 FWIW the writer's branch used to be my favorite Oscar branch but I don't trust them at all anymore after the finger they gave Rachel Getting Married in 2008. Whatthehell?

Which screenplays are you enamored with this year?


Andrew K. said...

Two of the better screenplays of the year thus far, definitely. I still continue to praise both especially TKAA. I'm just in admiration of how Cholodenko avoids the usual pitfalls of writers crafting gay/lesbian drama. There's no male in the Jules/Nic dynamic. They're both women, it's a small thing but considering how generic this could have become it's one of the things I find most refreshing about it.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Can't believe THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT is being so embraced by the blogging community. The film takes forever to get going, it's done in such broad strokes (I'm a lesbian new-age hippie mom who says things are "counterintuitive") The movie has so much stagnant, dead air..I wish I could see the same touching, nuanced, progressive film everyone's talking about. I've seen it twice and apart from Mia Waskikowska and Mark Ruffolo sort's just, kind of legless. I did like the end scene though. But what was this film supposed to be about? In terms of Social Network's screenplay, like Best Editing always being confused with Most Editing the verbose athleticism of Social Network will secure it a win. The scripts impressive but for me that film was all about direction. Loved how it was lensed and how majestic,trendy and eerily corporate Harvard was made to look.

- Sean C.

Jake D said...

Just curious, Nate, which Original Screenplay nominee from 2008 would you replace for Rachel Getting Married?

Frozen River
In Bruges

Frozen River? Happy-Go-Lucky? The other three are very much deserving, IMO. Weird year for screenplay though, 4/5 of BP nominees were Adapted...

OtherRobert said...

My favorite screenplay of the year is for a little indie horror film called Husk. It is, unfortunately, joining the January dumping grounds because the production company doesn't have the reach to do anything better yet. It is one of the most inventive paranormal slasher films in years with fully realized characters and none of that self-referential post-Scream modernity that still plagues the industry. It's earnest, haunting, and refuses to take the easy road of jump scares and loud noises. The mythology of the killer, if you will, is grounded enough in reality to ring true when it takes the leap to the supernatural. I consider myself well-versed in this particular sub-genre of horror and found myself routinely surprised during the film. I can only take comfort in knowing a film this good will find an audience on DVD down the line.

Arkaan said...

Frozen River needs to be deep sixed, asap.

I think the film Everyone Else is my favourite has my favourite screenplay of the year. But it might just be the combination of screenplay/acting/directing that makes it the tour-de-force it is. Presuming that, I'll go with Animal Kingdom. The last half hour in particular is just so tautly written.

Ruth said...

That kinetic typography is pretty awesome :) I've seen similar stuff on Hungry Beast ( that's one about Google) but incorporating the dialogue from Social is brilliance.
I can't believe that I haven't seen The Kids Are All Right... :( I had the chance but didn't go. I hope I can get the DVD before the Oscar's....

The Pretentious Know it All said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Pretentious Know it All said...

The script for The Social Network is great. Love it to pieces. I enjoyed The Kids Are All Right well enough, but I agree with paints in very broad strokes. I actually found large portions of that film to be quite generic. It's something akin to my reaction to An Education. Great performances surrounded by what is essentially a good, not great film that smells worse with each visitation (seen it twice now).

Two scripts I'm absolutely enamored with that are Blue Valentine and Winter's Bone. To quote Joseph Gordon Levitt, who talked about finding a script he loves, "Those words just taste so good..."

The character details in Blue Valentine especially are superb. It's such an "execution movie" (if that makes any sense), and screenplays from such films rarely get kudos, but I fell in love with the dialogue from first frame.

Unknown said...

I'd say Kids and Social Network, as well as How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3.

Also question how Rachel Getting Married didn't pick up more traction for its brilliant screenplay back in 2008.

Paul Outlaw said...

A few (other) faves this year

The King's Speech
Black Swan
Winter's Bone
Toy Story 3
Fair Game
Get Low

Garen said...

It's funny to see you reference symmetry. I actually remember that being one of my first observations as I left the theater. Two moms, two kids, two problematic best friends, and biodad thrown in to disturb the balance. It's seemed very classical to me. It's not a perfect analysis, and it's been a while since I saw it (twice), but I feel there are definite symmetries among the characters, and it's interesting to see you refer to symmetry in the narrative.

adam k. said...

Yeah I have to agree that TKAA painted its characters and situations in very broad strokes, and I have to disagree that there was no "male" in the Jules/Nic dynamic. Nic was pretty clearly the breadwinner, the "dad" who the kids don't talk to as much, the more "robust" presence, as Lisa Cholodenko put it in an interview. I think anyone will come out of that film agreeing Nic is the "man". Not saying this was not a realistic portrayal of a lesbian relationship, but it was also pretty traditional in terms of assigned gender roles.

Also, in terms of "was there a man?", MARK RUFFALO is a a man! Did Jules need to sleep with Mark Ruffalo really? The lesbian I saw the film with had a big problem with how this supposedly "progressive" film needed to put a heterosexual relationship in there, just because. She found it quite lazy and offensive, actually. And I have to agree with her that the broad comedy of the sex scene was unnecessary and not particularly effective.

This is all devil's advocate of me, as I enjoyed the film a lot, but I have to concede that it was a tad problematic, at the very least. I did love the ending; I though it found a kind of quiet, absurd profundity. The last line was gold. Very funny and true, yet subject to different interpretations by different characters.

Not sure if I think the flaws are more in the writing or the direction, though. The acting, in any case, is great. I think it's a very similar situation to Little Miss Sunshine in terms of quality, with an excellent and effortlessly cohesive ensemble disguising some cracks in the foundation of the storytelling. I need to see it again, but I'm leaning toward "B".


adam -- my take on this is that people are WAY too uptight. Every time I hear people bitching about the sleeping with the man thing or the gay porn i wonder if people have ever really known other people or if they themselves paint with broad strokes because it's more comfortable for them. I've known many lesbians in my life and personally know at least 3 who watch gay male porn... so i thought that scene was hilarious (and was not surprised but annoyed when reviewers called it unrealistic)

And from limited personal experience -- admittedly i'm not a lesbian ;) -- I can say that the lesbians I have known had often slept with men. or did occassionally sleep with men inbetween girlfriends. women are (very generally speaking) much more fluid than men about these things -- notice how few women seem to have hangups about admitting when other women are attractive for example.

Ivan said...

My DREAM lineup for this year

Another Year
Black Swan
Blue Valentine
The Kids Are All Right

ALT: Animal Kingdom or The King´s Speech

127 Hours
Rabbit Hole
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
Winter´s Bone

ALT: The Town or The Way Back

Lucky said...

The year Rachel Getting Married was snubbed was a great year for Original Screenplay, best of the decade I'd say. I can name 5 scripts that weren't nominated that would be equally (if not more) deserving than the actual 5:

-Rachel Getting Married
-Vicky Cristina Barcelona
-Burn After Reading
-Synecdoche, New York
-Pineapple Express (ok, maybe this one's a stretch, but it's really funny)

adri said...

I'd like to enthuse about the screenplays for The Black Swan, The King's Speech, The Way Back, but I guess I'll have to wait until I actually see them...

Of what I have seen so far, I think The Ghost Writer was a really good adaption, making the story seem seamless and inevitable. Top quality in all aspects of that film, score, editing, cinematography, acting.

Ryan said...

ADAPTED: "The Social Network" is hands down the adaptation of the year. "The Ghost Writer" would be in my top 5 for sure. Still can't decide if "Toy Story 3" belongs here or in original...

ORIGINAL: "Dogtooth" and "The Kids Are All Right" are my current leaders. Original is looking a hellva hot more competitive then adapted... in both my personal award and the Oscars!