Tag Archives: The Social Network

10 “Incorrect” Best Picture Winners

The Oscars aren’t always right (to put it mildly). The best, most innovative movie does not always win Best Picture. So in light of last night’s events, here are ten classic examples (and one soon-to-be classic example) of Best Picture winners which, in hindsight, might not have been as deserving of the victory as certain other nominees. This is not to say that one film is better than the other, but that the non-winner is now generally viewed as the more enduring, influential film.

2010 – The King’s Speech vs. The Social Network

2005 – Crash vs. Brokeback Mountain

1998 – Shakespeare in Love vs. Saving Private Ryan

1994 – Forrest Gump vs. Pulp Fiction

1990 – Dances With Wolves vs. Goodfellas

1980 – Ordinary People vs. Raging Bull

1976 – Rocky vs. Taxi Driver

1971 – The French Connection vs. A Clockwork Orange

1951 – An American in Paris vs. A Streetcar Named Desire

1946 – The Best Years of Our Lives vs. It’s a Wonderful Life

1941 – How Green Was My Valley vs. Citizen Kane

And a few bonus “Sophie’s Choice” picks (in other words, both films are beloved, but only one could win)

2007 – No Country for Old Men vs. There Will Be Blood

1979 – Kramer vs. Kramer vs. Apocalypse Now

1977 – Annie Hall vs. Star Wars

1967 – In the Heat of the Night vs. The Graduate

1965 – The Sound of Music vs. Doctor Zhivago

1962 – Lawrence of Arabia vs. To Kill a Mockingbird

1939 – Gone With the Wind vs. The Wizard of Oz

Best Movie Trailers of 2010

I really have no excuse to putting it off until now, but here are my favourite trailers from 2010. This is based solely on the trailers themselves, and not with the context of the film.

1. The Social Network

This is what happens when you combine the perfect song with an impeccably edited selection of the perfect moments from a film. It’s taught, exciting, and racked with emotional fervency. Even after watching it a dozen times, I find myself holding my breath by the end.

2. Somewhere

It plays out more like an abstract short film than a conventional trailer, but from what I’ve heard, the movie itself is just as unrushed and poetic. It’s full of striking images, and Phoenix provides a lovely backdrop. It’s very Sofia Coppola, and that’s probably why I like it so much.

3. Black Swan
This definitely wins the award for mindfuck trailer of the year. And while it does grab your attention with freaky imagery, it’s the ambiguity that really makes it intriguing. We don’t know what’s real and what’s in Natalie Portman’s head. And we also don’t know why Barbara Hershey is so god damn creepy.

4. 127 Hours

I didn’t care for the teaser, but the first full-length trailer for Danny Boyle’s film conveyed the vivacious spirit that the teaser suggested. James Franco oozed charisma here, the use of Band of Horses “The Funeral” is superb, and I found the whole thing incredibly moving. (I haven’t even seen the movie, but since I’ve cried at the trailer, and at this interview with the real Aron Ralston [even Leno’s douchiness can’t ruin Ralston’s amazing story], I’m guessing I might be a bit of wreck when I finally watch it.)

5. True Grit (Teaser)

The full-length trailer is good, too, but I slightly prefer this more sombre approach to the film, rather than the guns-a-blazing action of the full trailer (though the latter is a better representation of the film). The hymn playing behind the teaser is beautiful, and Roger Deakins’ cinematography truly shines.

Honorable Mention: Blue Valentine

I really like the idea of picking one scene as the constant, and interspersing clips on top of it. That does mean that we don’t get to hear much dialogue, which would have given it all a bit more context (but nonetheless, it gets the point across). Ryan Gosling singing always make me happy, and it’s a very well-edited trailer.

Top 10 Movies of 2010

What would this blog be without a few year-end lists? My laptop is getting repaired right now, so some of the lists that I’d been working on are M.I.A., but I figured that I’d at least post a couple of basic ones, which I might elaborate on later. Here are my 10 favourite movies of the past year, keeping in mind that there are a LOT that I still haven’t seen.

Honorable Mention: True Grit

10. The Runaways

It may be a by-the-numbers rock biopic, but Floria Sigismondi’s story of Joan Jett’s teenage band has enough style, spirit, and heart to make it an unusually enjoyable watch. Though Dakota Fanning (playing petulant jailbait Cherie Currie) and Michael Shannon (as the band’s abusive manager) give the flashier performances, it is Kristen Stewart’s slow-boil performance as Jett that provides the most compelling human drama. She conveys the many facets of the introverted but driven Jett with sincerity, and sceptics of her work in the Twilight movies may be pleasantly surprised.

9. Cyrus

Directing team Jay and Mark Duplass have earned a reputation for creating high-concept films on a shoestring budget (their 2008 riff on horror movies, Baghead, is a prime example). So when they teamed up with a studio and hired big-name actors (John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Marisa Tomei), some fans were understandably wary. But while the star-studded cast does distract a bit from the stark realism that they’re known for, there is still plenty of their documentary-style camera work and heavily improvised dialogue in Cyrus. Funny, and with more than a hint of melancholy, Cyrus is  a low-key, fun ride.

8. The Ghost Writer

With help from a solid cast, Roman Polanski created a moody, subtly stylish noir drama with The Ghost Writer. The film is slow, but that patience earns the film its whirlwind of an ending (no pun intended). Thanks to Polanski’s steady eye, even the film’s low-key action (for example, a low-speed car “chase” home) feels utterly exhilerating.

7. Toy Story 3

Viewers who grew up with the franchise (such as myself) may get swept up in the nostalgia, but the fact remains that Toy Story 3 is an incredibly well-constructed film for all ages. As cliche as it sounds, it is a film that will probably make you laugh and cry. And even if it may not be the best of the trilogy, Toy Story 3 has the biggest laughs, and a very, very well-deserved heartwrencher of an ending.

6. Inception

The long-brewing hype around Inception reached a fever pitch just before its release. And though it failed to meet some people’s unrealistic expectations, it also became something of a pop culture touchstone, which has to count for something. It was one of the few highlights in a grim summer movie season, and Inception brought whimsy and creativity to a genre that often seems catatonic. The cast is top notch (Cillian Murphy is the unsung MVP, if you ask me), and director Christopher Nolan brought his vision to life in a way that would only be possible with a summer blockbuster budget.

5. The Kids Are All Right

The “quirky indie comedy”  has been an annual staple of cinema for a while now (thanks, Little Miss Sunshine!), and this year was no exception. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore give bouyant performances as a middle-aged lesbian couple whose two children contact their charming but highly flawed sperm donor dad (played by the always fantastic Mark Ruffalo). It gets surprisingly dramatic as the film goes on, but The Kids Are All Right works because it avoids maudlin Important Moments and instead opts for realistic human drama.

4. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I will never understand how films like this can tank at the box office. It has a great cast, a sharp script, some of the funniest moments I’ve seen all year, and a lightening-quick pace that would suit the ADD mentality of today. And those who did see Scott Pilgrim were treated to Edgar Wright’s inventive direction (chocked full of video game sights and sounds), delightfully bizarre pop culture references (including a Seinfeld-inspired segment), endlessly quotable dialogue (“Bread makes you fat?”), and a tour-de-force comedic performance from Kieran Culkin, of all people.

3. Fish Tank

I could probably write a thousand words about how much I love Michael Fassbender’s performance in Fish Tank. The physicality alone is remarkable; even the smallest gesture seems loaded with ambiguity and menace. Yet the great charm that Fassbender brings to the role makes the viewer want to have the same optimism towards him that the young protagonist, Mia, has. However, that risky, unspecified relationship between Mia and Fassbender’s Connor (her mom’s boyfriend) inevitably begins to unspool. And even though you kind of know where the film is going, that doesn’t stop the ride from being utterly compelling, in a vaguely horrifying way. Fish Tank blurs the line between ugly and beautiful (exemplified by director Andrea Arnold’s breathtaking ability to create stunning images out of England’s housing projects), good and bad, and optimism and hopelessness. I can’t get this film out of my mind.

2. The Town

And now, my award for the most enjoyable movie-going experience of the year (yes, even more so than Scott Pilgrim!). Considering that The Town is a film about bank robbers, there is surprisingly little action (though what is there is done impeccably). But everything in between is so equally compelling and exciting that is hardly matters. Between this and 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck is proving to be a tremendous directing talent. Here, he accomplished the difficult task of creating an edge-of-you-seat thriller that pleased crowds but also satisfied moviegoers with a desire for quality and depth. The Town is what movies are all about.

1. The Social Network

It may be at the top of everyone’s list this year, but that is for good reason. The Social Network is a smart, timely, fresh take on themes that have been explored since the dawn of story-telling (pride, friendship, betrayal, jelousy, etc.). This is to the credit of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, whose witty, twisty dialogue set against a Harvard backdrop somehow comes across as perfectly relatable and grounded. David Fincher also does an amazing job of taking a very contained story (which mostly consists of people talking in a room) and making it utterly cinematic. And let’s not forget Jesse Eisenberg, who is amazing as the seemingly inpenetrable but ultimately sympathetic Mark Zuckerberg. Throw in an unorthodox, rumbling score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and great supporting turns by Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer (and even Justin Timberlake is pretty good), and you’ve got a film that is both timely and timeless.

The more that I think about it, the more I like it.

This blog has more love for Jesse Eisenberg love than a seventeen-year-old’s Tumblr page (…zing?), but I have to say that I’m pretty thrilled that he won Best Actor from the National Board of Review. I know that everyone gets angry about NBR no matter who wins (people are just mad that they can’t predict the winners because the whole thing is just so…well, unpredictable), but I think Eisenberg totally deserves it.

And as I think about his performance in The Social Network, I just feel more in awe of it. A lesser actor would sound ridiculous and forced trying to spew out Aaron Sorkin’s verbal venom. And anyone who says that he’s a cold or unsympathetic character missed the point of the movie, if you ask me. Zuckerberg’s not LIKEABLE, but he’s startlingly relatable. And in the scenes where Zuckerberg lets his guard down – even just the slightest crack – Eisenberg has the perfect gesture or look in his eye to let the audience in on whatever his character is feeling.

So bring on the awards season love, if that’s where this whole thing is headed. It’s an emotionally restrained performance, and I’m not sure if Oscar voters go for that, but in my eyes, he’s 100% deserving.

Throw in Franco, Firth, and Gosling, and you’ve got one sexy Best Actor line-up (oh, uh, and I guess Robert Duvall would be there, too). Can it happen? Can it PLEASE happen?

Well, Folks, I Saw It…

…and it was pretty fucking awesome. Not quite the masterpiece that some have been calling it (but virtually no movie is), but still a total ride. Going to a film opening day is almost unheard of for me (something about my extreme cheapness and distaste of crowds puts me off), but I’m so glad that I went.

I just wrote an 800-word review for my school’s paper, so I don’t feel like elaborating too much, but I will say that I love Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield even more now, if that were possible. Still not convinced about their award season prospects, but they’re both quite deserving. Jesse Eisenberg was actually kind of scary in it, in the best way possible. And yay for Andrew Garfield’s little black boxers!

David Fincher’s the man, and he’s done it again. Maybe it’s not quite on Zodiac level, but it’s pretty close.

The final shots of the film were so perfect (though I was kind of not expecting it to end right then). Very sad, in a way, but it seemed like the only way it could have ended.

GO SEE IT. RIGHT NOW.

9/10