A Quickie With Lisa Marie: The Social Network (dir. by David Fincher)

Let’s keep this short.

The Social Network is not, as I originally feared, a terrible film.

At the same time, it’s not, as so many are rabidly insisting, a great film either.

It’s a good film that takes a lot of liberty with the truth and, in the process of telling the “story” about the founding of Facebook, reveals that screenwriter Aaron Sorkin doesn’t really get the whole Internet thing.

David Fincher directs like a man who still can’t believe he didn’t get an Oscar for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  In other words, he doesn’t do anything that might be too far out of the mainstream.  Face it, folks.  The man who directed Fight Club has grown up.  And, as they say, when you grow up, your heart dies.

The main problem with The Social Network is that it is essentially a very mainstream movie being made about a grindhouse topic.  Hackers, like the best grindhouse directors, do what they do because 1) they can and 2) it’s a way of telling the rest of the mainstream world to fuck off.  Unfortunately, both Sorkin and Fincher are members of that mainstream world so instead of celebrating Facebook and the Internet as a revolution, they instead try to convince us that the only reason Facebook exists is because the founder’s heart was broken by his ex-girlfriend.

That ex-girlfriend is portrayed by Rooney Mara, who will be playing Fincher’s version of the girl with the dragon tattoo.  The film presents her as being a shallow bitch but then again, the film presents every woman in the world as being a shallow bitch.  Then again, this is a mainstream movie and the mainstream hates women who actually think for themselves.  Certainly, that’s been the case with everything else that Aaron Sorkin has ever written.

Still, Mara is presented as just being insensitive and not evil or crazy.  If the movie has a villain, it’s Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) who is presented as being the evil Iago-like figure who ruined Facebook.  If anything, the film mostly seems to hate him because Parker co-founded Napster and therefore cost the mainstream media a good deal of money.

Admittedly, it’s a well-acted movie.  Both Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield are excellent as the soon to be estranged founders of Facebook.  Armie Hammer actually plays two characters — twin brothers — and he creates two unforgettable and unique characters.  Justin Timberlake is a bit less convincing as Sean Parker but then again, by the film’s logic, Parker is less a human being and more a demon sent from Hell to keep David Geffen from getting another few thousand.  Finally, Rooney Mara does what she can with a demeaning and insulting role.  I didn’t see any signs of Lisbeth Salander in her performance but then again, this isn’t a film about strong women.  It’s a movie about weak little boys.

Anyway, to return to my original point, the Social Network is a good film.  It’s well-acted, it looks pretty, the story moves quickly, and Trent Reznor’s score is excellent.  Unfortunately, the movie’s being presented to us as a great film and anyone who disagrees is running the risk of being lynched by the same obnoxious fascists who, last year, demanded that everyone bathe in their own cum while watching Avatar.  The main reason these people are so over-the-moon about this movie is that it’s the epitome of the type of film that pats the viewer on the back for being so smart without actually requiring that viewer to prove it. 

So, if you watch this movie, realize that you keep your mind open at your own risk.

Good luck.

Quickie Review: Legion (dir. by Scott Stewart)

Scott Stewart’s film about the Biblical Apocalypse was one film that I was very hyped to see in the first weeks of 2010. I had heard some very good buzz about it when a red band sizzle reel was shown in at 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. This was Stewart’s first major work (he had made a smaller film in 2000 called What We Talk About When We Talk About Love) and with his background in the special effects industry I thought that this film of his would at least be a feast for the eyes. I knew going in what to expect from something about God, Angels, the Apocalypse and uneding amounts of guns and ammo. So, it was with a profound disappointment when I finally saw Legion and, despite my low expectations, was roundly disappointed with everything about it.

Legion is about God deciding that he’s had enough of humanity’s bullshit and shenanigans (a term I would put on this film) and turned his angelic hosts loose upon the world to start things new. This was God’s version of shaking the Etch-a-Sketch that is the world. He has his two favorite Archangels in Michael and Gabriel leading the vanguard of this Apocalypse with Michael tasked with making sure a baby doesn’t get born before the divine enema has been completed. Well, Michael being the introspective sone decides that he still has faith in humanity and refuses to do God’s bidding. We see Michael go through removing his wings (which also unlocks the very BDSM God collar all the angels wear) then find a huge cache of weapons inside a toy company warehouse. Seems removing the wings makes him human and minus all the cool angelic powers. He says something about the Apocalypse having started then makes off towards Bethle…I mean the diner out in the Nevada desert to protect the prophesized baby who will save humanity.

Yeah, the premise for Legion sounds awesome on paper. Militant angels led by badass Archangels like Gabriel about to go “Terminator” on mankind. The story itself was like a mish-mash of some of the best cult fantasy/horror of the past. There’s some of the cool Christopher Walken film Prophecy in the plot and, of course, one cannot but see some parallels with Cameron’s Terminator. Plus, we have a humanized Archangel Michael with guns and guns and guns to battle his former brethren with his coterie of human sidekicks to help out. The trailer for this was very cool and full of action. A trailer which pretty much had all the cool parts in this film. One can watch the trailer and actually enjoy Legion more than when they watch the film itself.

For a filmmaker with a special effects background the film looked pretty lifeless with action sequences that lacked any sort of memorable action. The dialogue wasn’t awful, but everyone’s performance made it sound worse than it really was. Even Bettany in the lead role of Michael looked tired and bored with his role (a sign the film was going downhill and downhill fast). The possessed humans who made up the bulk of the opposing force against the good  guys were uninteresting with the exception of Doug Jones’ “Ice Cream Man” character shown in the trailer. A scene the trailer pretty much showed almost in its entirety. That character was on the screen for less than two minutes then gone.

I actually think that people should just watch the trailer for Legion then pop into their dvd player Prophecy and Terminator. Doing that will pretty much give them the whole story of Legion and have a kick-ass time doing so. This was a film that looked good to great on paper, but once they actually started writing the script and started filming went down the septic tank. It’s films like these that makes one shout “shenanigans” at all those involved in its making. I think Kyle Broflowski would agree with me.