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[Film Depreciation Thread] M. Night Shyamalan sweeps the Razzies

AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whateverRegistered User regular
edited March 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
I thought it would be nice to have a thread where we could just talk about general film stuff, like upcoming films, new insight on older films, film theory and craft, likes and dislikes, et cetera et cetera.

So today I'm going to start us off with a little bit of commentary on the upcoming Peter Berg summer action flick, Battleship, (based on the popular boardgame), from none other than the king of the world himself, Mr. James "I Look Like My Own Grandmother" Cameron. From this month's Speigel magazine:
We have a story crisis. Now they want to make the Battleship game into a film. This is pure desperation. Everyone in Hollywood knows how important it is that a film is a brand before it hit theaters. If a brand has been around, Harry Potter for example, or Spider-Man, you are light years ahead. And there lies the problem. Because unfortunately these franchises are become more ridiculous. Battleship. This degrades the cinema.


Of course, James Cameron is right. Leveraging the production of an expensive major film on something so blank and flimsy as public recognition of a boardgame property is pretty much the height of intellectual bankruptcy. There's nothing about "Battleship" that demands a cinematic adaptation; after all, we have tons of naval warfare movies, isn't that what Battleship is about? Actually, the Peter Berg movie is about aliens and stars hip-hop singer Rhianna.

However, James Cameron is uniquely unqualified to harp unto others about the "degradation of cinema" due to leveraged branding. So far, Cameron has worked on 5 sequels in capacity as director or writer, with 3 of those being on properties he did not originate. And what is that other than leveraging the success of a brand created by others?

As well, Cameron has spent years developing properties that, again, are leveraged brands: Spider-Man and Battle Angel: Alita. How is this different from what he is railing against? Is it because there's already a framework for those contexts for him to work in? Surely that makes Peter Berg a more valuable asset, as he's creating worlds from whole cloth with only the barest thread of connection instead of just applying his style to something Stan Lee and Jack Kirby invented almost 50 years ago.

And let's get into that bit Cameron talks about regarding the "story crisis" and "degradation of cinema." Really, James Cameron? Really? You have the gall to call a come-to-Jesus about the stories Hollywood puts out? James Cameron, your stories are famously trite; you are now the pot, chastising all those poor kettles for their darkened hue. You are a master of spectacle, and equally inept with your pen. So let's all give Mr. Cameron a tip of the hat/wag of the finger for having the courage and clout to rightfully call out Hollywood for sins he's committed for years without impunity. You're very right, and completely oblivious.



On a connected, yet separate note, here's a tangent responding to Cameron's statement in a more positive (albeit despairing) context. It's a call to arms to stop forgiving bad films for being poorly-wrought; it didn't use to be that way. Bad films were bad film no matter the budget or hype, and good films were those who married visceral entertainment to concern for the characters.

In separating spectacle from character, we've created a class of film that eschews the most basic (and inexpensive) part of storytelling and filmcraft, and we're left with big, shiny husks that are forgotten the instant they pass from view. A film striving for verisimilitude should not have to be shackled as "high art" in the public consciousness; it wasn't always so, and there's no good logic to make it that way now.

Atomika on
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Posts

  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Is it a degradation of cinema to bring a story to the masses that they normally would never heard of or see in the first place? I am referring specifically to the case of Battle Angel: Alita, and movies like "Let the right one in", and as much as I hated them, the japanese horror american remakes (hated the japanese horror genre mainly).


    Also is it degradation to have brand abuse like he mentions, to put a movie out where the story has been done a million times before? Anyone ever show him the term/review paper about the movie Pocahontas, where every reference to a person place or thing is replaced to describe Dances with Wolves, Avatar,The last samurai, and Fern gully?

    DiannaoChong on
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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Film is an artistic medium, to be sure, but it is also a highly commercialized medium. It certainly isn't fair to lump all franchises together as being equally 'debasing to cinema'.

    Cameron's version of Battle Angel Alita would be quite different from the original animated film, which itself was different from the manga that preceded it. He has not gotten very far on making the film yet because he wants to do it as much justice as he possibly can - he is showing respect for the Battle Angel franchise. The same can be said about his work on Aliens - watch the production featurettes on the extras disc in the Alien Quadrilogy (I'm pretty sure they are included with the most recent standalone Aliens release as well) - Cameron did a ton of work to make sure the history of the franchise was respected, while still adding new things to it.

    Moving away from Cameron, it's certainly something entirely different to adapt something previous existing that has a narrative, like Harry Potter or a comic book character's origin story, as opposed to Battleship, which is a board game with a setting that can not only be summarized in less than ten words, it cannot be expanded upon past them.

    DarkPrimus on
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm not seeing what is terrible about attaching an established brand name to a new film that has little to do with it outside the general theme like with Battleship. It isn't like not having the name would make the movie better or that there was a chance that a film that gave a shit about the source material would come out.

    Couscous on
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Couscous wrote: »
    I'm not seeing what is terrible about attaching an established brand name to a new film that has little to do with it outside the general theme like with Battleship. It isn't like not having the name would make the movie better or that there was a chance that a film that gave a shit about the source material would come out.

    The was you phrase it makes it sound like someone made a movie and then an investor saw a preview screening of it and said "Hey, why don't we call this "Battleship" for name recognition!"

    DarkPrimus on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Moving away from Cameron, it's certainly something entirely different to adapt something previous existing that has a narrative, like Harry Potter or a comic book character's origin story, as opposed to Battleship, which is a board game with a setting that can not only be summarized in less than ten words, it cannot be expanded upon past them.

    I understand where you're coming from, but I see your Battleship example and raise you a Pirates of the Carribean.


    Just because a project has origins in commercialization doesn't mean it's incapable of being viable entertainment. The difference between Battleship and Spider-Man or Alita is that the latter have narratives expected to be filled, but working within those boundaries at any considerable budget is also an inherent attempt at leveraging that brand to exploit it's profit potential.

    Projects hopefully should always strive to be artful, but the practical difference in public awareness between a classic boardgame and a much-read comic book in the context of brand exploitation is fairly thin. In a very apt comparison, do we all deny the great comedy work done in Clue because of its origins as a rainy-day distraction?

    I would certainly accuse any producer who attempts to leverage a brand as cipherous as a boardgame for profit as being intellectually bankrupt, but that's who producers are in a large part. The fact that those same producers chose to hire a very talented director and arguably-talented cast means that at least in some part they're not looking for the quickest cash-in they can.

    Atomika on
  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Man you really don't like James cameron

    So It Goes on
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Couscous wrote: »
    I'm not seeing what is terrible about attaching an established brand name to a new film that has little to do with it outside the general theme like with Battleship. It isn't like not having the name would make the movie better or that there was a chance that a film that gave a shit about the source material would come out.

    The was you phrase it makes it sound like someone made a movie and then an investor saw a preview screening of it and said "Hey, why don't we call this "Battleship" for name recognition!"

    They usually just attach the name to some early script after getting the license.

    Movies based on board games are also nothing new. For example, Clue.

    Couscous on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Man you really don't like James cameron

    No, not really, but he's at least making a good point here.

    A poorly-worded, self-damning, conflicting point with plenty of counterexamples to the opposite, but at least it's an interesting thing to talk about.

    Atomika on
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Clue is an interesting example, because it is a board game, like Battleship.

    Quite unlike Battleship, however, is the fact that Clue actually has a plot and background and characters, which lends itself a lot better to a screen adaptation. That the film was a comedy didn't hurt, either.

    DarkPrimus on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Clue is an interesting example, because it is a board game, like Battleship.

    Quite unlike Battleship, however, is the fact that Clue actually has a plot and background and characters, which lends itself a lot better to a screen adaptation. That the film was a comedy didn't hurt, either.

    True, but the game wasn't inherently comedic. Someone could have just as easily looked at the board game and made Clue a dark mystery horror/thriller.


    But who is Cameron to judge? Maybe the producers and Peter Berg really feel strongly about Battleship.

    :?

    Atomika on
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Clue is an interesting example, because it is a board game, like Battleship.

    Quite unlike Battleship, however, is the fact that Clue actually has a plot and background and characters, which lends itself a lot better to a screen adaptation. That the film was a comedy didn't hurt, either.

    True, but the game wasn't inherently comedic. Someone could have just as easily looked at the board game and made Clue a dark mystery horror/thriller.

    Regardless of the tone of the film, the fact that it has actual characters, plot, etc. makes it a much better choice for a screen adaptation.

    I don't even think the term "screen adaptation" can be used for Battleship, because the only thing you have to work with from the game itself is ships shooting at things while at sea. Anything and everything beyond that is outside the source material.

    DarkPrimus on
  • Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Clue is an interesting example, because it is a board game, like Battleship.

    Quite unlike Battleship, however, is the fact that Clue actually has a plot and background and characters, which lends itself a lot better to a screen adaptation. That the film was a comedy didn't hurt, either.

    True, but the game wasn't inherently comedic. Someone could have just as easily looked at the board game and made Clue a dark mystery horror/thriller.

    Regardless of the tone of the film, the fact that it has actual characters, plot, etc. makes it a much better choice for a screen adaptation.

    I don't even think the term "screen adaptation" can be used for Battleship, because the only thing you have to work with from the game itself is ships shooting at things while at sea. Anything and everything beyond that is outside the source material.

    I think it's kind of a stretch to say that clue has characters. They have names and pictures, but that's it. And the "plot" is just that there's a murder and you need to solve it. Everything else they completely made up for that movie. There's no reason they couldn't do the same for any other board game.

    Of course, since it's hollywood, they'll probably be as lazy as possible, and just make it two hours of CGI battleship explosions.

    Pi-r8 on
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    I don't even think the term "screen adaptation" can be used for Battleship, because the only thing you have to work with from the game itself is ships shooting at things while at sea. Anything and everything beyond that is outside the source material.

    Don't be daft. There's obviously something involving sweater-vests afoot.

    battleship-sm.jpg


    And maybe some misogynistic housework stratification.

    Atomika on
  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Do we know that battleship isn't a super goofy comedy where "radar" is out and two sides are firing on each other and trying to zero in the old fashioned way? and I mean like "Airplane" style comedy? I mean we do mention how good Clue was, but refuse to think there's potential in something like Battleship.

    DiannaoChong on
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  • Uncle_BalsamicUncle_Balsamic Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Can I just say that Tarkovsky is pretty much the best dude ever. (IMO)

    Uncle_Balsamic on
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  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    James Cameron's sequels are what turned those original films INTO franchises... if not for them then you would have had one good horror movie and one mediocre one. He raised the bar on both Alien and Terminator and turned them into the juggernauts other, lesser film makers would go on to destroy.

    Sentry on
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    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • AtomikaAtomika Live fast and get fucked or whatever Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Sentry wrote: »
    James Cameron's sequels are what turned those original films INTO franchises... if not for them then you would have had one good horror movie and one mediocre one. He raised the bar on both Alien and Terminator and turned them into the juggernauts other, lesser film makers would go on to destroy.

    I'm . . . not sure what point you're making.

    Atomika on
  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Sentry wrote: »
    James Cameron's sequels are what turned those original films INTO franchises... if not for them then you would have had one good horror movie and one mediocre one. He raised the bar on both Alien and Terminator and turned them into the juggernauts other, lesser film makers would go on to destroy.

    I'm . . . not sure what point you're making.

    I... I have no idea. I thought I had one when I wrote it... but I can't figure out what it was.

    Sentry on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    You know what is a good movie? Tron: Legacy. I mean sure we all know it is pretty but I found myself really enjoying the plot and characters as well.

    Solar on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Cameron's version of Battle Angel Alita would be quite different from the original animated film, which itself was different from the manga that preceded it. He has not gotten very far on making the film yet because he wants to do it as much justice as he possibly can - he is showing respect for the Battle Angel franchise. The same can be said about his work on Aliens - watch the production featurettes on the extras disc in the Alien Quadrilogy (I'm pretty sure they are included with the most recent standalone Aliens release as well) - Cameron did a ton of work to make sure the history of the franchise was respected, while still adding new things to it.

    On the note of Alita, yeah, given the fuss people made about the OVA versus the original books, yeah, Cameron could produce something that exactly resembled one or the other, to the greatest degree possible, and people would still make a fuss. Though I suppose a deeper admiration of the original material is an encouraging sign.

    Of course, a deep admiration of Battleship, at least to me, would say two people...playing battleship. The non-electronic one. Maybe the best option is to make it a Zucker-style commedy.

    Synthesis on
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    From 1984 to 1994 James Cameron was, literally, the man. Since then, meh, let him rest on his laurels.

    matt has a problem on
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  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    From 1984 to 1994 James Cameron was, literally, the man. Since then, meh, let him rest on his laurels.

    but... but since then he's had the two highest grossing movies in cinema history!

    Sentry on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Do we know that battleship isn't a super goofy comedy where "radar" is out and two sides are firing on each other and trying to zero in the old fashioned way? and I mean like "Airplane" style comedy? I mean we do mention how good Clue was, but refuse to think there's potential in something like Battleship.
    Maybe Battleship will be a good movie. Who knows? But there's nothing in the board game that has anything to do with a plot, or characters, or a story. It's connection to the actual board game is nothing more than a branding effort (especially given the plot, which revolves around aliens or something).

    By comparison, turning Clue or Monopoly into movies makes much more sense.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with using a comic book, video game or even board game as the basis for a movie. It all depends on the source material.

    Modern Man on
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  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Sentry wrote: »
    From 1984 to 1994 James Cameron was, literally, the man. Since then, meh, let him rest on his laurels.

    but... but since then he's had the two highest grossing movies in cinema history!
    One involving blue cat people and one that insulted the memory of the Titanic survivors. Cameron kind of moved to a more technical emphasis on movies, away from focusing on the story really. And it's saying something that I'd rather spend an hour and a half watching a mute guy chase a frantic woman than see Kate Winslet's tits.

    matt has a problem on
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  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Titanic insulted the memory of the survivors of that tragedy?

    I really don't see that claim holding water.

    Arch on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Arch wrote: »
    Titanic insulted the memory of the survivors of that tragedy?

    I really don't see that claim holding water.

    There was the issue with the portrayal of the ship's first officer that upset the family (and maybe the town he was from). There was a lot of fuss about that until Fox's VP apologized personally and donated money to a school in the town in Scotland where the actual person was from (according to Wikipedia).

    That's all I ever heard. Quite possibly there would be more, but it'd be hard to imagine it being on the scale of, say, the film adaptation of Enemy at the Gates pissing off veterans of the Second World War (especially given Titanic happened a lot earlier).

    Synthesis on
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    It was more that, instead of telling the story of the Titanic, or of someone actually on the Titanic, they picked a face and a pair of tits and cliche'd up the place. Titanic is to disaster movies what Pearl Harbor is to war movies.

    matt has a problem on
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  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    It was more that, instead of telling the story of the Titanic, or of someone actually on the Titanic, they picked a face and a pair of tits and cliche'd up the place. Titanic is to disaster movies what Pearl Harbor is to war movies.

    I wasn't aware that, in order to tell a movie about a historical event that writers were mandated to tell an actual persons story. That's good information to have, I will let everyone who liked Saving Private Ryan know immediately.

    Sentry on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    wrote:
    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
  • SniperGuySniperGuy SniperGuyGaming Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Do we know that battleship isn't a super goofy comedy where "radar" is out and two sides are firing on each other and trying to zero in the old fashioned way? and I mean like "Airplane" style comedy? I mean we do mention how good Clue was, but refuse to think there's potential in something like Battleship.
    Maybe Battleship will be a good movie. Who knows? But there's nothing in the board game that has anything to do with a plot, or characters, or a story. It's connection to the actual board game is nothing more than a branding effort (especially given the plot, which revolves around aliens or something).

    By comparison, turning Clue or Monopoly into movies makes much more sense.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with using a comic book, video game or even board game as the basis for a movie. It all depends on the source material.

    It's won't be good, because someone will yell "You Sunk my battleship!" and it will have the same effect as Vader's NOOOOoooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOOOOOOO in Return of the Sith.

    SniperGuy on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SniperGuy wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Do we know that battleship isn't a super goofy comedy where "radar" is out and two sides are firing on each other and trying to zero in the old fashioned way? and I mean like "Airplane" style comedy? I mean we do mention how good Clue was, but refuse to think there's potential in something like Battleship.
    Maybe Battleship will be a good movie. Who knows? But there's nothing in the board game that has anything to do with a plot, or characters, or a story. It's connection to the actual board game is nothing more than a branding effort (especially given the plot, which revolves around aliens or something).

    By comparison, turning Clue or Monopoly into movies makes much more sense.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with using a comic book, video game or even board game as the basis for a movie. It all depends on the source material.

    It's won't be good, because someone will yell "You Sunk my battleship!" and it will have the same effect as Vader's NOOOOoooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOOOOOOO in Return of the Sith.

    Honestly, that's probably the last in a very long line of things that would keep such a movie from being good.

    Synthesis on
  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Arch wrote: »
    Titanic insulted the memory of the survivors of that tragedy?

    I really don't see that claim holding water.

    is...this a pun?

    nexuscrawler on
  • mere_immortalmere_immortal So tasty!Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Black Swan finally comes out in the UK next week.

    Gonna have a double bill of (supposedly, at least everyone says) awesome with The King's Speech.

    mere_immortal on
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  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    SniperGuy wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Do we know that battleship isn't a super goofy comedy where "radar" is out and two sides are firing on each other and trying to zero in the old fashioned way? and I mean like "Airplane" style comedy? I mean we do mention how good Clue was, but refuse to think there's potential in something like Battleship.
    Maybe Battleship will be a good movie. Who knows? But there's nothing in the board game that has anything to do with a plot, or characters, or a story. It's connection to the actual board game is nothing more than a branding effort (especially given the plot, which revolves around aliens or something).

    By comparison, turning Clue or Monopoly into movies makes much more sense.

    There's nothing inherently wrong with using a comic book, video game or even board game as the basis for a movie. It all depends on the source material.

    It's won't be good, because someone will yell "You Sunk my battleship!" and it will have the same effect as Vader's NOOOOoooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOOOOOOO in Return of the Sith.
    I'm hoping for something more subtle, a character talking while standing close to a gunner, "blah blah blah something be one." "Target grid B-1 yes sir FIRE!"

    matt has a problem on
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  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Apparently The Social Network was very good. I didn't see it because I wasn't (and aren't really) interested in the workings of Facebook.

    I should probably fix that.

    Synthesis on
  • Mr BubblesMr Bubbles David Koresh Superstar Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Black Swan finally comes out in the UK next week.

    Gonna have a double bill of (supposedly, at least everyone says) awesome with The King's Speech.

    Black Swan is brilliant. Mark Kermode put it very well..

    'The last half hour is pretty much Swan Lake goes to hell, directed by Dario Argento on crack'

    Mr Bubbles on
  • InkSplatInkSplat 100%ed Bad Rats. Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Black Swan was so so so good.

    And I just picked up The Social Network and Dances with Wolves on Blu-Ray.

    Haven't seen the Social Network yet, but really wanted to. And I am excited to see the transfer for Dances with Wolves, because there are a lot of beautiful shots in the movie.

    InkSplat on
    Origin for Dragon Age: Inquisition Shenanigans: Inksplat776
  • DramDram Old Salt Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    As I've been touting recently in several threads, The King's Speech is absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend everyone see it at their earliest convenience.

    Dram on
  • adytumadytum The Inevitable Rise And FallRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Seconded for The King's Speech being fantastic.

    Aronofsky question: I've seen (and liked) every film he's put out except The Fountain. Is it worth seeing?

    adytum on
  • joshofalltradesjoshofalltrades Class Traitor Smoke-filled roomRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm willing to give James Cameron the benefit of the doubt when it comes to sequels, since he did Aliens and Terminator 2

    joshofalltrades on
  • CommunistCowCommunistCow Abstract Metal ThingyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Apparently The Social Network was very good. I didn't see it because I wasn't (and aren't really) interested in the workings of Facebook.

    I should probably fix that.

    If you like Aaron Sorkin's stuff you'll probably like The Social Network. It is less about the inner workings of facebook and more about how fictional Mark Zuckerberg is a jackass.

    Can we discuss TV series in here too? If so, I would like to postulate that less shows these days have large story arcs to them. I like large story arcs where you need to watch every episode of a show, but this doesn't work well for large audiences. People complain that if they miss an episode they are lost and may stop watching a show. I think major networks have been moving away from this type of show because of this effect.

    CommunistCow on
    No, I am not really communist. Yes, it is weird that I use this name.
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