Zchill in his natural habitat; animation.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Finally Getting Around to The Social Network

Yeah it's the facebook movie. It will always be the facebook movie, and if you don't like that then I can't help you. I can tell you why I enjoyed the movie though.

To start off this movie is based on a true story. That is to say it's based on one side of a true story. Going even further it was based on a book based on an interview with the jilted co-founder of facebook, and then written for the screen by Aaron Sorkin. A man who signed up for facebook a hot minute before adapting the book for the movie. So the story is a filter of a filter of one side of the truth. It's also a lot more interesting than the truth could have possibly been. And that's why it's a good movie. You want the complete truth? Watch a facebook documentary. Anyway let's roll.

What I liked: From the start you can tell it's going to be a fun watch if nothing else. Zombieland's Jesse Eisenberg is speaking a mile a minute (Speaking of which any Zombieland sequel will be expensive as 3 out of the 4 leads have been nominated for oscars, but I digress) and his poor girlfriend is trying to stay with his train of thought. Really Eisenberg was great in this and really did deserve the nomination for best actor, that was the biggest surprise for me, and it wasn't so much he deserved it for how he said his lines (really fast) it was when he didn't speak and was reacting to how he had lost his friend that really impressed me. He'll get an oscar, it just might take a bit longer. This was the perfect storm of talent to be involved in a movie, David Fincher has long been a favorite director of mine, Aaron Sorkin was responsible for the West Wing's snappy dialogue (and I previously said he wrote the screenplay, keep up!), Trent Reznor NIN's frontman scored the film, and the cast were all great, and are all going on to bigger and better things.

I didn't like knowing that there was a blatantly one sided story being told, and it was a smear campaign on Zuckerberg. This guy isn't likable as it is in real life what with his views on privacy, but shoehorning his life to fit the story was a bit cruel. It works as a movie and sometimes that's all that matters. In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid the movie ended with a violent shootout, while in real life that never happened at all. Although at this point I think it's a bit insulting to the internet generation where information is at our fingertips constantly to put a story out there with the main crux of the story to be completely falsified. It belittles the story and the movie and the emotional resonance when (well I suppose if) you look up the real story after the movie. It's a good piece of fiction about an event that actually happened.

Why it didn't win the Oscar: The oscar voters are pretty old all things considered. Inspiring a nation to defeat the Nazis beats over the story of a little prick founding a successful internet company. Maybe it has something to do with another Oscar nominated movie as well: "I think positive emotion triumphs over negative emotion every time." -Inception. The King's Speech was inspiring, and that's kind of what a country in a depression needs at a time like this.

Anything else? I guess my final thoughts on the matter is don't rent this thinking that this is a true story, but don't be stopped from renting this because it's "the facebook movie."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oscar Bait: The King's Speech

You know all those movies that come out at the end of the year that have critics fawning all over them? The fact that they all come out at the end of the year isn't a coincidence. To be considered for an Oscar, films have to come out within the year prior to the ceremony. Since Americans have a short attention spans, there are about half a dozen well-made movies--all vying for the same awards--all coming out at the same time. These movies are called Oscar Bait.

The King's Speech is a feel-good movie and, out of the Oscar Bait, probably the one that is most accessible to mainstream audiences. This isn't a ballerina horror, self-amputating rock climber, gritty western, Boston-based boxing/heist, or modern website-founding story. It's just a simple movie about a stammering Prince who was never supposed to be King fighting everyone's favorite Hollywood bad-guy: Nazis.

Now, to be fair, I haven't seen any of those movies besides this one quite yet, but this one seems to be the one that the majority of people will like...except fascists, I suppose, but they don't seem to care for much anyway, do they?

I liked that I didn't know the history behind this story. I knew that the Queen of England has been a figurehead for quite some time, but I never knew the drama surrounding her father's coronation. I'm not really all that educated on the whole British monarchy thing. But to be fair, I'm an American, and we don't care for Kings over here. My favorite moment, apart from the title event, was the way that the King's daughters curtsied to their loving father after he became King. Colin Firth did a great job in that scene in particular; you could see that he hated the change that had occurred in the way his daughters saw him, but he maintained his bearing as King. Really, I could go on about the performances and how great they were, but we are entering awards season, and it's kind of a pain in the @*^ to watch these actors fall in love with themselves on stage. So I'll skip that bit of this blog and move to what I didn't like.

I didn't like some of the casting choices. Why did Colin Firth play Guy Pearce's younger brother? I don't mean to strike at a particularly sore spot for actors, but if you're going to sell the movie, maybe make less confusing casting choices. The audience isn't stupid, you know. I will say that Guy Pearce has aged since I last saw him; I guess they wanted to accentuate that he was older. He and Colin Firth were believable as royalty, so I forgave the odd casting choice. One last thing about the casting that bothered me was the Winston Churchill role. Timothy Spall essentially did a caricature of Winston Churchill instead of becoming the role and making it his own. It's really something that was only noticeable because the main cast really inhabited their roles. Small details though.

Watch this if you like behind-the-scenes moments like The Queen, or any other inspirational movies, like Remember the Titans. It has a pretty similar storyline to inspirational sports movies; there was even a montage. True story.

If you hate to be inspired, then skip this movie (I ran into such a person at the library, and I died a little on the inside). I guess an action movie like True Grit might suit you, but alas, I can not make that recommendation in good conscience, as I have yet to see it.

Colin Firth has been in a bunch of movies that I like to call "chick flicks". I wonder if it'll catch on.... He should probably win the Oscar for his spot-on and believable portrayal of King George VI. That, and he was passed over for an Oscar last year for A Single Man. There are serious politics involved in the Oscars.

Geoffrey Rush is famous for his role as Barbosa from the Pirates of the Carribean franchise.

Helen Bonham Carter wastes her talent in her husband Tim Burton's movies. She played a very sassy queen.

Guy Pearce has been in two of my favorite movies: L.A. Confidential and Memento. He isn't in enough movies.

That's all. This movie was great. I left the theater with high spirits. You should totally watch it. Or don't, whatever. I'm not your mom.