In case you’re not an EW subscriber, I couldn’t let you miss out on the first look at Chris Evans in the Captain America suit. I’m thrilled with the design and cannot wait for Thor and Cap next summer. Yes, the RN is late, but I think we all anticipated there would be a built-in Rock Band 3 delay.
You may not be aware of it, but today is International Plastic Guitar Day. Yes, I made that up, but honestly what DON’T I make up on this site? It’s the point of it. Today is the release of Rock Band 3, a game I have been eagerly anticipating since the release of (wait for it) Rock Band 2. If I had a job (which note I do not for anyone looking for a pale, fuzzy office wit) I would surely have abandonned it today to sit by the door and wait for Amazon to deliver my copy so I might immediately begin rocking. The music game genre has been a Godsend to me. I have struggled to learn to play an actual instrument my entire life. Unfortunately I have some sort of note dyslexia and a tremendous lack of physical coordination. These things seem to be key in the instrument playing biz. However, what I can do is play video games! So pretending to play songs with an instrument of the plastic persuasion is perfect for me. Rock Band is by far my music franchise of sort (though I will descend to the more plebian Guitar Hero for a fix) and Rock Band 3 promises to keep my fake band (Weaselphetus) busy for months if not years to come. Are you a closet rocker? If so we meet in the basement of the Methodist church every week. We talk about how our fingers twitch in sync to music when driving and listening to the radio. We compare arm injuries. There’s cookies and punch and PLASTIC INSTRUMENTS CUZ WE DON’T WANNA GET BETTER! Now I have to get back to my watching position by the front door (5 minute break while I answer the doorbell). It just came. It’s time to rock. I’ll try to come up for air.
2. The West Wing “Two Cathedrals”
3. The Twilight Zone “Time Enough at Last”
4. Lost “Walkabout”
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer “The Body”
The Social Network tells the incredibly complex and weirdly compelling story behind the founding of Facebook. It’s interesting for me to watch because the period during which Facebook was developed and went live was the exact time that I was in graduate school. I remember when it hit our campus and how it completely mainstream it went in just a matter of a month or two. Since then, of course, Facebook has wormed its way into nearly everything. The iconic white and blue F logo appears at the bottom of nearly every ad. Obama used the site to great effect during his presidential campaign. It’s become the most transformative social platform on the Internet. And it started because Mark Zuckerberg got drunk and angry after his girlfriend dumped him.
That’s overly simplistic. The founding of Facebook already spawned a bestseller by Ben Mezrich, which is the jumping-off point for Aaron Sorkin’s script. As he did in Charlie Wilson’s War, Sorkin masterfully weaves a decade’s worth of information into a seamless script that should finally earn him an Oscar. The story is told on three levels. Two depositions from two separate parties wronged by Zuckerberg during the website’s evolution and the flashbacks to the actual events in the past. It would be easy for the mass of characters and information to overwhelm the viewer, but at no point did Sorkin lose his audience. His trademark back and forth dialogue is present, but it’s by far the most restrained work of his career. The script is the star of the film and director David Finch, who is also long due an Oscar, wisely gets out of the way of the words and let them be the movie’s true star.
This is not to say that the cast isn’t worthy of their own kudos. Jesse Eisenberg, who I had previously dismissed as a Michael Cera clone, takes the thankless job of playing this closed-off, semi-sociopathic loner in Zuckerberg and gives an outstanding performance. He does more with his eyes in showing the dammed up, walled off sea of confusion and rage in Zuckerberg than most actors could ever do with words. The movie wouldn’t have worked though without a sympathetic figure, because Zuckerberg sure isn’t one. As Zuckerberg’s partner, Eduardo Saeverin, Andrew Garfield nearly steals the movie. I was highly critical of Garfield’s casting as the new Spider-Man, but after this movie I can’t wait to see what he does with the character. And I have to eat a massive amount of crow and say that Justin Timberlake can act. He can act extremely well. So well, in fact, that I wish he’d just host SNL and act from now on and save the world from his godawful music.
The Social Network is a must-see film. It’s an amazing story, a stunning character piece, and a reflection on how fast and how integrated Facebook has become in our lives. The next time you post a status update or see the F in the bottom of an article, ad, restaurant menu, or website, you’ll stop for a second and remember how this came to be. The downside being, you may not feel so good about it once you know how this particular sausage was made. This is one of the best films of the year and a force to be reckoned with come awards time.