OK. Let’s get this out-of-the-way. The Lone Ranger is not the worst movie of 2013. It had the good fortune to occur in the same calendar year as You’re Next. Short of someone shooting a three-hour nature study of horse apples, You’re Next is secure in being the worst motion picture of 2013 (and quite possibly the decade). However, if you would like to see an iconic American hero dragged through a pile of horse apples (unfortunately not a metaphor), then Gore Verbinski has delivered the definitive version of The Lone Ranger. Continue reading Movie Review: The Lone Ranger (2013)
I want to not dread this. I am looking for solid evidence that one of my favorite childhood heroes is not going to be Willy Wonka’d by Johnny Depp & Co. I am still looking for that evidence through four trailers now. This is just not my Lone Ranger. When this opens on July 3rd, I’m going to be in another theater watching minions wreak havoc in Despicable Me 2.
I grew up watching The Lone Ranger. The old TV show, mostly. I had action figures. Even though I wasn’t allowed to see the movie, I had this kids picture book edition of the bomb of a movie they tried to use to resurrect the franchise in the 1980s and I loved it. It’s a Western combined with a Super Hero! Thusly, I was initially excited to hear it was going to get a revival. Then they cast Johnny Depp as Tonto. My feelings on Johnny Depp are exceedingly mixed. For the longest time, he did nothing but small films (with the odd Edward Scissorhands thrown in). Then came the first Pirates of the Caribbean and Jack Sparrow. Glorious. Then came the following Pirates of the Carribeans. Not-s0-glorious. Horrific. Better but still not glorious. (There’s my quick reviews of 2-4). But ok, reserving judgment. Then I saw the first trailer….and the second….and I really have no expectations other than this is going to be the Tonto is Quirky Show. The bar of my expectations is so low that if the film is marginally good, I’ll be so overjoyed that I’ll ride off into the sunset with my action figures held aloft.
So that was that and here’s the international trailer for it released today. The Lone Ranger comes out Independence Day Weekend.
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.