Why ‘The Social Network’ Should Win Best Screenplay Oscar, and Then Some

People have said a lot of things about The Social Network. That it’s sexist, that it’s not true to the real story, that it makes Mark Zuckerberg out to be someone he’s not, etc. But the one thing no one really can say is that it’s bad. It is widely accepted as a brilliant film directed by David Fincher, starting with a one-of-a-kind script by Aaron Sorkin that seems to remind us of the power a screenplay can and should have. Even the actors are in awe of it to this day, rarely ever going an interview without mentioning how great the script was to begin with.

“Dialogue” is the buzz word you hear most often when there’s talk of Sorkin’s screenplay. This praise followed shortly after we watched the film and witnessed these young actors rattling off witty conversations we all wished we could come up with in real life. (Especially the famous “9 pages of dialogue” opening scene.) Then they released the PDF of the screenplay online just before the Oscars (indeed, it’s up for “Best Adapted Screenplay”), and now all that’s left to do is sit back and marvel. Because it’s one thing to hear good dialogue; it’s another to get straight-up schooled by a master.

While reading, I was only at page 28 when I realized that it’s not Sorkin’s style alone that sets it apart as an amazing script. What struck me is that he doesn’t just write, he navigates – and flawlessly at that. It is loud and clear how the film needs to play out, how the actors need to deliver even a mere one or two words, when the camera is supposed to move, where exactly the editor is supposed to cut, but in an advanced kind of way that is more precise and frantic than most writers could envision – however, it remains a smooth ride throughout nonetheless.

Sorkin may sound self-deprecating in interviews, but the writing knows better: Within its pages, Sorkin is like an assured, knowledgeable tour guide who can talk while walking backwards without tripping once. Not even once.

If the whole Social Network package is a well-oiled machine, then the script is the machine, with everything else happening to fall into place as “the oil,” helping it work as it was meant to work. In the end, everything was delivered the way it was intended. There’s no second-guessing or doubts between the pages, and it’s as effortlessly captivating of a read as it is onscreen. Sorkin’s writing voice is as confident as his main characters, and the result? The Social Network as a complete film struts in such a way that you can’t blame it. This should not only win the Academy Award this year, it should set the standard for the rest of the film industry.

As for the best part? This did it for me:

2010 Over, On to 2011

I received an e-mail from WordPress this morning with this blog’s 2010 review. In the e-mail, it says:

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 8,400 times in 2010. That’s about 20 full 747s.

Sure, 8,400 views isn’t groundbreaking by any blogger means, but it’s still good news to me. I just want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who has visited my blog in 2010 – whether it be once or twice, monthly, daily or weekly. Your readership means a lot to me, and your encouraging and/or challenging comments and discussions inspire me to keep writing.

My Cultural Voice-Over blog is officially more than a year old, with my first post being a huge rant on Roman Polanski on October 5, 2009. While this blog has become a beneficial platform for me, I recognize that I write sporadically, sometimes with a mere 2 posts per month. Some months it’s because I only want to post when I feel especially inspired by something; other months it’s because of lack of time and energy.

I started this blog when I was recently graduated and unemployed, and my creativity was fueled and driven on a more regular basis. I am thankful that I am now employed full-time, of course, but it has definitely led to a significant decrease in the amount of writing I do. I am constantly thinking of things to share my thoughts on, and even jotting down notes and sentences, but I unfortunately do not always have the energy to put them on the blog. Or anywhere, for that matter.

While it has been discouraging (and while I am not a person to make New Year’s resolutions), I am looking forward to 2011 being a new journey, personally and creatively. We’ll have to see what it brings, but until then, I am once again very grateful for anyone still reading or just starting to read; for the friends and family who tell me in person that they enjoy my blog; for the sheer knowledge that others believe in me. While it has not been true consistently in the past, I’m hoping 2011 will be the year that I start to truly believe in myself.

Many thanks,

Colleen

Top 50 Films of the 2000s

As what’s left of 2009 runs out, I’ve been inspired by Salon.com‘s “Films of the Decade” series written by guest writers. Not to mention the numerous other movie blogs that list their personal picks for the best movies of the decade.

Being one of the most indecisive people I know, this list was very difficult to finalize. I somehow narrowed it down from 83 to 50. Don’t ask me how. It’s strange to to think back to a certain movie from, say, 2003, and realize I was sixteen when I first saw it. But I feel a sense of accomplishment and enjoyed looking through and reminiscing about all of my favorite films from the 2000s.

Though it was tough, it has to be better than coming up with a “Best of 2009″ list. (Because I feared I’d come up with too few to even make a list for this year.) You may disagree with my rankings or even have suggestions for missing films. Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and favorites on the best films of the decade!

WARNING: All Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fans, please don’t send me hate mail. I’m just a party pooper who couldn’t get into those series…I apologize in advance for being the idiot you’ve already assumed I am.

TOP 50 FILMS OF THE 2000s

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Things to Look Forward to in 2010, #4: Movie Rush before Awards Season

My list of movies to rush and see before the Golden Globes and Oscars of 2010:

  • A Serious Man
  • Up in the Air
  • Avatar
  • Precious
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Crazy Heart
  • The White Ribbon
  • An Education
  • Bright Star
  • Up
  • District 9
  • A Single Man

Am I ashamed as a recent film school grad / film blogger that I have not seen some of these films yet? Yes. Very much so. I blame the overpriced movie tickets.

Things to Look Forward to in 2010, #3: Golden Globes

 

 

Photo by: Peter Dutton, 2009 // CC BY-SA 2.0 (Wikipedia Commons)

Yesterday the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominees for the 2010 Golden Globe awards.

Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air (starring George Clooney) led the award nods with six nominations. Precious followed close behind, earning three nominations, including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Both of the films are up for Best Motion Picture, along with Avatar, The Hurt Locker, and Inglourious Basterds.

You can see the nominees for all of the categories on the HFPA Golden Globe website.

I’m looking forward to the Golden Globes in 2010 for the same reason I look forward to them every year; and that is, they’re much more fun than the Oscars. The celebrities drink, mingle, and have a good time. And of course, you get to root for your favorite television series in addition to your favorite films during the ceremony.

Ultimately, I hope 30 Rock wins Best Comedy/Musical Television series (again), that a woman wins Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker), and that Precious gets some major recognition. Other than that, I’ll just enjoy watching the celebrities relax and enjoy themselves in a way that they would not if it were the uptight Oscars.

Things to Look Forward to in 2010, #2: ‘Shutter Island’

Promo poster for the October release

Because we’ve waited long enough.

Shutter Island will be the fourth collaborative reunion of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio (also known as Scorsese’s “New DeNiro”). Set to be released in October of this year, fans saw the trailer and became ecstatic and curious. For one, this seems like a different departure for both DiCaprio and Scorsese given its supernatural thriller genre.

The release was then pushed back to February 2010, a few months too late for the Oscar race. Paramount’s reasons were reported to be “[not having] the financing in 2009 to spend the $50 to $60 million necessary to market a big awards pic like this,” as well as other reasons like DiCaprio not being able to promote the film worldwide during that time.

Hopefully, the wait will be well worth it. And it’s yet another piece of visual media for me to look forward to in the new decade.

Things to Look Forward to in 2010, #1: ‘In Treatment,’ Season Three

Promotional image for Season One

A friend recommended In Treatment to me about a year ago, and I started watching season one. I became addicted to the show pretty quickly, and luckily season two was there to keep me engaged in the story for another month.

This wait for season three, however, has been pretty dismal. For a while, In Treatment fans on message boards were speculating that there may never be another season.

The show is not like other HBO series.This one is intense with drama, but not the most popular or well-known series on the network. But critics and the dedicated fans become hooked by its stories, characters, and eerily realistic (though amped up for drama) dialogue and acting.

Irish actor Gabriel Byrne plays the enigmatic, brooding and eager-to-help therapist, Dr. Paul Weston. Most of the scenes take place in his office. When it airs on HBO, each season comes on for a half hour Monday through Friday. The audience gets to watch sessions with one of four patients Monday through Thursday, and on Friday (usually, though this changed a bit in season two), Paul goes to see his own therapist – mentor and complicated friend, Gina (played amazingly by Dianne Wiest.)

As a study of life, life’s problems, and how people interact with one another, the show doesn’t seem to play out like a TV show or a mini-film. Instead, it feels like watching a perfectly rehearsed play with highly-trained actors, whose dialogue and movements are fluid, true to life, and yet still grippingly entertaining.

But not entertaining in the way that Entourage or even The Sopranos was. In Treatment did not get ideal ratings for HBO, though it received a large amount of critical acclaim.

On October 23, Variety released a story with HBO’s announcement to renew for season three. As for the not-so-high ratings?

‘The viewership isn’t as big as we’d like but creatively the show works so well for us, if we’re true to who we say we are, we had to pick it up,’ Michael Lombardo, president of the programming group and West Coast operations for HBO, told Daily Variety. ‘We’re not just into ratings and the awards game. We’re here to deliver shows with distinct voices.’

And thank God. Though this show will not start filming until next year and will most likely be aired towards the end of 2010, I am already marking it down as one of my top things to look forward to in the new decade.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the show, I suggest you watch the first two seasons. And really, you have about a year to catch up on it anyway.