Cover photo by Sandra, used under Creative Commons license

“You had three weeks. The universe was created in a third of that time.” “Well, someday you’ll have to tell us how you did it.”

So, I’ve been sick for almost a week. Full-on flu. I had to cancel a work trip to Barcelona, which fucking sucked. I was on my back for most of the week, watching some old movies, but also a few new (to me) ones.

  • Steve Jobs (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was better than I thought it would be. The construct surprised me too — the entire movie takes places in three parts, just before Jobs goes onstage for three different product launches. In true Aaron Sorkin style it was a lot of walk-and-talks, but I think Danny Boyle added some texture by layering in flashback scenes.
  • I’m not even sure why I watched Machete (imdb | rotten tomatoes). I think I was planning on falling asleep and put on something I didn’t care about. Unfortunately I stayed awake for the whole thing.
  • The Conversation (imdb | rotten tomatoes) is a movie I really only knew because it was the lone film on John Cazale’s resume I hadn’t seen.

.:.

Cover photo by Sandra, used under Creative Commons license

 

"If liberals are so fuckin' smart, how come they lose so goddamn always?"

I like The Newsroom.

There, I said it.

I know most critics seem to dislike it, even if Dan Rather and the general public do not. I know it’s preachy and dumbed-down (though that may be a self-referential snipe). I know Aaron Sorkin’s worn a loose misogynist label ever since his interview with Sarah Nicole Prickett, and I know he radiates full-on malice (see what I did there?) against the internet, and specifically blogs.

But the show had me pretty much from this scene…which, by the way, is how the series opens. So yeah.

I shouldn’t be surprised that I like it, I suppose. I loved The West Wing (the first few seasons, anyway) and The Social Network. I liked Moneyball just fine. Sports Night is one of my all-time favourite series, and The Newsroom is a fuzzy photocopy of the character list: Will McAvoy is an amalgam of Dan and Casey; Mac is Dana; Charlie is Isaac; Leona is Luther; Maggie is Natalie; Jim is Jeremy. And I’m so sorry for that last sentence; really, only people very familiar with both shows will understand what just happened.

But let’s be clear: the show mostly appeals to the preachy liberal in me, even as Sorkin writes his disdain for preachy liberals — see title of blog post. I want to believe that someone in the American news media recognizes the morass into which their industry has sunk and wants to climb out of it, that someone really would step up and — as Sorkin writes it — speak truth to stupid. But it doesn’t really look like that’s happening.

Back to The Daily Show for me, then.

.:.

Photo (of a newsroom, not The Newsroom, obviously) by Alan Cleaver, used under Creative Commons license

"Did I adequately answer your condescending question?"

Yesterday we visited a movie theatre for the first time in three months (TIFF screenings notwithstanding) to see The Social Network (imdb | rotten tomatoes). Since I first heard about the film I’d been torn: the subject matter seemed ridiculous, but the team working on it — David Fincher directing, Aaron Sorkin adapting the screenplay, Trent Reznor scoring, Jesse Eisenberg playing Mark Zuckerberg — was an all-star lineup. So when early reviews came back extremely positive I was excited, but still a pit perplexed as to what I’d be watching.

I needn’t have worried though. The movie owned me from the first scene, with dialogue written in the same smart, rapid-fire manner that got me hooked on Sports Night and The West Wing, with the White Stripes‘ “Ball and a Biscuit” playing in the background. Fincher briefly took over with his shot of Eisenberg running through the Harvard campus, which was probably CGI but gave that feeling of supernatural realness that Fincher perfected with Zodiac, but generally just stayed out the way of the script. Reznor added some perfect color to a few scenes (the bar in New York where they meet Sean Parker) but, again, didn’t overwhelm the film.

It did drag a bit toward the end (I could have done with a little less Winklevii) but I was still liked it a lot. I don’t know if I’ll buy it when it comes out, but I could probably watch the first hour over and over again.