Filed under: Cinematical
There doesn’t seem to be much contention or wiggle-room when arguing about Michael Douglas’ best role. ‘Wall Street’s‘ Gordon Gekko was greedier than Scarface and did more cocaine than, um, Scarface, and the character remains so enmeshed in the fabric of our culture that this weekend’s sequel feels relevant despite the 23 years that have passed since Oliver Stone’s original was first released (the recent financial meltdown also helps). Sure, Douglas has been reliably memorable in almost everything he’s ever done (this is the part where you list your favorite Douglas performances and then make a lame but essential Catherine Zeta-Jones sex joke), and even his dreck tends to be kind of remarkable in its own right (‘Don’t Say A Word’), but to most people he’ll always be considered Gordon Gekko. Which is a bit of a bummer, because his best role was actually President Andrew Shepherd in ‘The American President‘ (but to spare lots of people yelling at me, let’s just pretend I meant that comment subjectively).
‘The American President’ is what Rob Reiner does with an Aaron Sorkin script, so you can imagine my excitement to see what David Fincher did with one of those things in ‘The Social Network.’ It’s up there with ‘Jerry Maguire’ as one of the very finest romantic comedies of the 1990s (a decade in which the genre received an overdue resurgence of wit and imagination), it’s the prototype for the blissful television series ‘The West Wing,’ and it features Michael Douglas as the most impossibly charming fictional President in the history of American cinema (take that, Gene Hackman in ‘Welcome to Mooseport’). ‘The American President’ is the simple love story of a widowed commander-in-chief who falls in love with a whip-smart lobbyist (Annette Bening, never more winning than she is here as Sydney Ellen Wade) during an election year. The man’s got a young daughter and a boatload of anxiously amusing staffers – including Martin Sheen and Michael J. Fox, who delivers a wonderful performance despite clearly suffering from symptoms of his then-announced Parkinson’s – but Sorkin’s script wisely avoids turning Shepherd into a Disney Dad, and instead mines the presidency for its sweetly comic situations and the strains it can put on a good man who simply wants to love someone without all the world’s bullshit getting in the way. The role called for Douglas to channel the natural gravitas inherent to his (father’s) voice into a character who is sweet, debonair, and vulnerable despite being the most powerful man on the planet. Andrew Shepherd (Andy, to me) didn’t require Douglas to do anything he hadn’t done before, it simply required him to do it all at once, and make it sing. And Douglas just nails it.
They’ll call it a film that defines a generation, and it’s hard to tell whether or not that’s a good thing. With The Social Network, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin turn some fairly dry, nerdy content about fairly dry, nerdy characters into one of the must-see films of the year, and they don’t waste any time getting right to it. The film opens with what will go down as one of the great break-up scenes of all time, and from there Fincher rides Sorkin’s hilariously addictive script like a wild bull at a rodeo. It moves fast like a manic internet surfer, and it never really lets you catch your breath. It’s a film about connecting, except you won’t really connect with anyone. After all, this is a generation that has more virtual friends than real-life friends. You know … on Facebook.
This is an emotionless generation; one taught that it’s much better to sue than get your cry on. It’s a generation that wants to make more money than its neighbor; to think with numbers rather than emotion. A generation that needs it all right now at their fingertips, and anything less just isn’t good enough. They’re spoiled and they’re hard to sympathize with, but they’re changing the world one megabyte at a time and it’s kinda fun to watch. So is The Social Network.
With a lot of help from Sorkin’s (potentially Oscar-worthy) script, David Fincher has crafted his most humorous film since Fight Club. It’s a lot more accessible and relatable than his 1999 wickedly dark dramedy, though, and during an awards season that may be packed with bizarre psychological head-trips and horrific, stomach-churning set pieces, The Social Network — with its built-in audience of 500 million-plus — may creep to the top of the pack as a certifiable fan favorite.
Looks like the good people of the internet are already hard at work spoofing The Social Network, the upcoming David Fincher/Aaron Sorkin collaboration about Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and the legal battles over who originally created Facebook. It’s a strange and very amusing thing to see people so creatively (not sarcasm; these trailer parodies are pretty fun) send up something that hasn’t even come out. It signals that now that the Inception meme has created a demand for new DIY movie parodies. And lo, the internet provides what the internet seeks.
After the break, take a look at some parodies of The Social Network‘s gorgeous trailer, y’know, the one where the Children of the Corn sing Radiohead? Each one is themed around a different popular website, like eBay or Twitter. Each one is funny in their one way. But which one is the best send-up? Find out after the break.
Filed under: Fan Made
The New York Film Festival has fallen into a pattern of opening with a trendy American offering, closing with Clint Eastwood’s latest, and in between being contentedly stuffed with the finest offerings from Cannes and other bold obscurities. This year is absolutely no exception, and that’s just the way I like it – it’s nice when Cannes comes to me, and at Lincoln Center there’s less chance of accidentally stepping on Lars von Trier.
As was previously announced, the fest will be opening with David Fincher’s The Social Network, finally bridging the gap between the world’s most challenging auteurs and N*Sync (at this rate NYFF 2011 will feature Justin Timberlake as a bisexual, ennui-ridden sailor in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s next period epic). Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter will close the program, with Julie Taymor’s The Tempestbeing selected to serve as the fest’s arbitrarily more expensive centerpiece. I’m not sure if any tempest could be as difficult to endure as Across the Universe (because of how it was one of the decade’s very worst films, and all), but fond memories of Titus have me hoping for a Shakespearean return to form.
It’s a strong line-up (New de Oliveira! New Hong Sang-soo! New Reichardt! New Puiu!), but also one that reinforces how NYFF needs to rely a bit less on Cannes if it hopes to carve a unique identity of its own. You can take a look at the entire roster over at filmlinc.com, but here are the 5 selections I’m most excited to see (not counting the aforementioned special events):
Filed under: Lists
The Zac Efron fans took over the Trailer Park again as last week’s poll results have Charlie St. Cloud garnering the most votes, significantly more than second placer Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Will the voters be as enthusiastic about this week’s boating-themed movie, Jack Goes Boating? I doubt the Efron fans will be as into it, but it’s my number one pick for the week, if only because Amy Ryan is amazing. She appears to upstage Philip Seymour Hoffman, which can’t be all that easy, even when he does have a silly hairdo, while somewhat reminding me of a slightly more dramatic version of her character from The Office. The plot of the film does run more hokey-sappy and feel-goodish than either actor is worth. But with Hoffman at the helm, this his first time as director, I’m at least curious. Also, if the current IMDb user ratings are any indication, viewers at Sundance were really into it.
Other trailers this week are similar to Jack Goes Boating‘s in the way they don’t look very strong story-wise but they at least have some appealing acting talents. Welcome to the Rileys looks good primarily because of Melissa Leo (for me, anyway; Twilight fans will obviously be more interested in Kristen Stewart), the latest from Woody Allen, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, looks good solely because of its ensemble, and the comedic cast of the straight-to-DVD Operation: Endgame also interests me. But this is honestly another bad week for trailers, as I’m not completely sold on any of the ten films on my chart based on their latest ads alone.
Check out this week’s rankings and vote in the poll after the jump.
In the coming weeks and months, you’re going to hear a lot more about “The Social Network,” director David Fincher’s examination of the development of Facebook. But you won’t be hearing about it on Facebook.
According to All Things Digital (via Slash Film), Sony executives reached out to Facebook to advertise “The Social Network” on the social networking site but ultimately decided not to pursue that form of promotion — which is hardly unsurprising, given the fact that “The Social Network” doesn’t exactly paint the most flattering portrait of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, played in the film by Jesse Eisenberg.
“Facebook’s advertising guidelines don’t allow ads to reference the company unless Facebook has cooperated with the object of the ad,” Sony’s senior vice president of Media Relations Steve Elzer told All Things Digital. “So, we won’t be advertising there given these parameters.”
A Facebook representative confirms that “The Social Network” won’t be advertised on the site, saying: “My understanding is that they asked us for our ad guidelines and decided not to advertise on us after receiving them … I don’t think they ever submitted ad copy for us to review.”
It seems bizarre that “The Social Network,” a film about Facebook, won’t be advertised on Facebook — bizarre, but not surprising, given the film’s unflattering portrayal of the social networking site’s founding. Still, as Slash Film astutely points out, “The Social Network” is likely to make the Facebook rounds regardless of official advertising thanks to the legions of Facebook users likely to link around the film’s trailers, posters and other promotional efforts.
Personally, I don’t expect that the lack of Facebook advertising for “The Social Network” will damage the film’s prospects in the end. If anything, it could generate some interesting buzz around the movie. We’ll see how big an impact it has once Fincher’s latest arrives in theaters in October.
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