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The Social Network (2010)
Does "The Social Network" Define an Entire Generation?
Early reviews of The Social Network claimed that the film based upon the book, The Accidental Billionaires, about the sordid history of Facebook defined an entire generation. When one gets passed all of the hyperbolic praise and adulation I would say that The Social Network is indeed a very well made film. It does indeed sum up the 00's in a way that no other film has done so far. And much like previous films about generational conflicts, The Social Network takes a snapshot of how young people socially interact with one another in the new millennium. Still, many people have accused the film of doing a hatchet job on Facebook's CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, but I would argue that this film does no such thing. Instead this is a film where Zuckerberg is portrayed as a rather ruthless character with the drive to take Facebook as far as it could possibly go. No one else in the cast, despite their accusations of being ripped off by Zuckerberg, had this driving force behind them. Simply put, if you would have invented Facebook, then you would have invented it. It isn't original ideas that have made Zuckerberg a multi-billionaire, but being in the right place at the right time, riding the ascending cultural wave of a major fad.
It is this "moral ambiguity" that makes The Social Network a compelling movie. The characters live in a dog eat dog world. Certain individuals are propelled to the forefront, but that success doesn't come without any sacrifice. Friendships deteriorate, grudges are formed, lawsuits are filed, and the very legitimacy of Facebook itself is questioned. In the end, I would have to say that this is one of the year's best films and definitely deserving of an Oscar nod.
Total Unredeemable Garbage
I've sat through some pretty horrible films in my lifetime, but I actually had to turn this one off half way through... I couldn't bear it any longer.
This is without a doubt one of the worst films I have ever seen. It's definitely the worst film of 2007 so far... Before I sat down to watch this film I had been mislead to believe that this would be some kind of thriller... In actuality, this film takes the worst elements and clichés of every teen drama ever made and meshes them together into a nice little inoffensive package. Yeah, sure, essentially this film is about a killer who lives next door and an average teen who foils his plans and blah, blah, blah... But, there is nothing remotely interesting about this flick and it's submerged in so much putrid banality that one cannot help but to think "hey, haven't I seen all of this before in another movie starring Tom Hanks?" And yet this film is about a hundred times more watered down and it is loaded with the kind of sickening, corny sentimentality that can only be found in the likes of a made for TV Lifetime special. With that said, anyone equating this pile of cinema dung with the flawless classic Rear Window is just an idiot. I had been told that this was a modern day Rear Window but, if anything, it's just a hollow representation of that great film. While Rear Window had you at the edge of your seat this film has you rolling your eyes thinking to yourself "how come no one I knew in High School acted like the characters on screen? And why must Hollywood always stereotype teenage guys as being sex crazed idiots?" This is the type of film that represents everything that is wrong with cinema today.
A little dated, but truly a fantastic film and an overlooked masterpiece....
Suburbia is without a doubt the best movie I have ever seen dealing with young adult angst. No, there is no excessive drug abuse and there is no moral tale to tell about the dangers of leading a overly hedonistic lifestyle. In fact, Suburbia steers clear of the usual teen/young adult stereotypes found in films such as Kids and Requiem for a Dream. Unlike those films, this movie will not give you the comfort of being a spectator watching a train wreck of a life. Instead Suburbia will show you something so realistic that the characters on screen could be you and that their problems could in fact be your own problems, which is what makes this film so unbelievably powerful.
Released in 1996, this overlooked gem is about a group of friends who waste their days hanging out at the parking lot of a local convenience store. The film centers around the story of Jeff... a twenty-something guy who doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. Jeff's girlfriend, Sooze, is a zealous feminist performance artist wannabe with dreams of someday going to art school in New York. Jeff's two friends, Buff and Tim, are also drifting through life and not doing anything especially important. Buff works at a local pizzeria and does nothing but make up stories about getting laid and Tim spends his days and nights drinking alcohol. And Sooze's friend, Bee-Bee, is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict fresh out of rehab. The only person to leave and escape the suburbs was their old high school friend Pony... who left the suburbs and is now returning as a up and coming rock star. When Pony arrives onto the scene in a limousine with his nicely dressed publicist Erica the cast of characters react to his presence in variety of different ways. Buff and Sooze are both intrigued by Pony's success while Jeff and Tim are jealous of it. Bee-Bee is pretty much forgotten.... and she never let's her feelings be known to the rest of the characters.... She takes everything deep within herself and is perhaps the most self-destructive/self-loathing one out of them all.
In the end, Suburbia doesn't provide you with any clear answers or solutions, but it does raise a number of relevant social questions. As a young adult, this movie had a massive affect on me and it made me question the direction/course of my own life. I really think that this is one of the best movies I have ever seen and the script, acting, and filming was all top notch. However, there are certain things and elements in this film that make it sort of dated. This movie is obviously set during the 90's, but I really think that the messages found within this movie could still be applied to today's youth. This film really paints an ugly picture of the suburbs as a flat, plain, dull, and genuinely depressing landscape that breeds apathy in people.
Check this movie out. You will not regret it.