Greetings Ghouls and Goblins! See, I haven't abandoned this site! Nor have I abandoned my pitiful attempts at alliteration (damn! there was another one!).
True, there are still a few movies left on the list that I'd like to discuss, I am also in the process of figuring out what else to do with this blog site. Because I definitely enjoyed the 100 Days of Horror challenge and I've always loved talking and writing about movies, so I figured why not use the time between the other planned challenges to talk about whatever the hell I want to talk about ... so far as it's related to the celluloid arts!
So I will start that trend today with a film I've had the opportunity to view several times over the past week. This is one of those rare movies that comes along and reminds me that filmmaking just looks like so much fun, even when you're fucking with people's lives. Go see it now while it's still in theaters. Of course, we're talking about David Fincher's incredible new film, "The Social Network." Thanks as usual for reading, and if anyone has a recommendation as ro a great film or two from 2010, please send it along!
The Social Network (2010): Directed by David Fincher. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Max Minghella, Rooney Mara and Brenda Song.
The Skinny: In 2003, a drunk and rejected Mark Zuckerberg sat down at his computer, hacked the pages of Harvard's sororities and created a Website that compared random girls and allowed the user to select the hotter one. Next thing you know, ol' Zuckerberg's a gazillionaire as "FaceMash" turns into "Facebook," and he sheds every "real" friend in his life along the path to success.
What's Good: David Fincher has hit the frigging nail on the frigging head yet once again. One of the things I find so fascinating about his films is their timeliness - the way they have of subtly seizing the Zeitgeist in both filmdom and in society: "Seven" and "The Game" broke open doors for psychological horror, the yardstick by which all other so-called "sophisticated" horror movies like "Saw" will be measured; "Fight Club" couldn't have come at a better time for the director and for Ed Norton and Brad Pitt, and for the burgeoning Mixed Martial Arts phenomenon; and "Panic Room" and "Zodiac" both grasped onto the pervasive paranoia extant in post-9/11 America. And once again, Fincher has created a mastermind of a film that couldn't be more of the moment - a film about "Facebook."
I know - at first, the idea of making a movie about a Website is as dumb as making one based on a video game ("Bloodrayne" or "House of the Dead," anyone?), but the emotional core is easy to find in this complex film that explores personal communication in the Information Age. Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin create a character who devises a social networking phenomenon, yet seemingly has zero social skills himself. Under Fincher's direction, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg becomes the uber-geek, perpetually scorned and forever apart because of his inability to connect emotionally, like some stunted Aspergers genius taking out his frustrations through program development instead of gunning down zombies in a video game.
The gem at the center of this movie's crown is the increasingly impressive Jesse Eisenberg as Zucherberg. In his hands, the character takes on a glimmer that is both harmless and sinister all at once. He delivers the dialogue at a lightning-quick pace, but with every word clear and emotive - and never once do we lose sight of the hurting and damaged manchild at the core of this complex personality. It is an absolutely amazing performance, with Eisenberg pulling off a show that is almost machinelike in its execution, somehow cold and emotionless yet with a depth unmatched by actors twice his age of 27. If he is ignored come Oscar time, then people are watching the wrong damn films, because he at least deserves the nod for Best Actor, if not the award itself.
Award nods should also be handed out to screenwriter Sorkin for brilliantly adapting the 2009 non-fiction book "The Accidental Billionaires," and to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for their mind-warping score. Wrapping the story of the tender first days of the Facebook empire in two simultaneous court cases involving Zuckerberg, Sorkin creates a non-linear storyline that wraps itself up in a neat little bow complete with an emotionally stunning conclusion. And for the score, Reznor and longtime collaborator Ross craft a creeping, almost relentless piece of orchestration that will haunt you long after you hear it, like the best of Nine Inch Nails inevitably does. It perfectly underscores the urgent pace at which the first third of the film unfolds, creating leitmotifs that recur throughout the rest of the film and expertly recall the characters' emotional states. Even when the music is supposed to be obnoxious in-your-face club garbage, it's still worth listening to.
Also worthy of recognition come this spring is Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker. Oozing the smarmy charm of a rick nerd masked with a party animal exterior, Timberlake personifies the gold rush of the early days of the Internet. When he mentions how he brought down the record industry, and is reminded that the industry won its case against him, Parker smiles and says, "Care to buy a Tower Records right now?" Timberlake is awesome here - in fact, he's never been better.
What's Bad: Nothing. This movie falls into that rare category where I wouldn't change one single aspect of the production. It's near-flawless, and I say "near" because there may be something in there that's wrong or missing or superfluous, but I have no idea what that could be. It's a masterpiece.
The Predictions: I say: Oscar noms for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Eisenberg), Best Supporting Actor (Timberlake), Best Sound Editing. Wins: Best Director (this would be Fincher's second, after "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (Sorkin), Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing.