#1  
Old 01-17-2011, 04:44 PM
The Social Network

The Social Network is the fictional telling of an elitist, arrogant nerd that betrays his friends (What few he has) and the people around him by stealing their idea's and becoming a billionaire by creating the website that we all know as Facebook.

The reception to this film is that it's one of the great movies of the last 10 years... Some even said it approaches the level of All The President's Men or even The Godfather. I can't quite give it that level of praise. Even though it's a solidly written movie and Fincher gives the film solid direction, I'm not sure long term wise this film will be relevant enough to look back on like we do the Watergate Scandal even today.

Yes, it sums up a lot of the young people of the 2000-present, but is that enough to award it a great film? Not in my opinion. Very few of the scenes actually standout to me as scenes of great cinematic impact. I think the characters largely are so annoying and unlikeable that it robs the film of any emotional content. Not that I'm asking for a sentimental film, but even the best friend is annoying and largely is to blame for what happens to him in the film.


I have to wonder if David Fincher was a director for hire on this one. He has made it clear that he is not happy about all the acclaim this movie has got in comparison to Zodiac (which he seems as the better film) and maybe he is upset because this wasn't *HIS* movie while Zodiac feels like a personal film. Just the same, it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's well directed, the acting is good enough for what it is, and it is meaningful to the younger generation and it is watchable enough for everyone else. It's a good achievement, but it's not a GREAT film.

7/10
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:32 AM
The Social Network wins the Golden Glob awards.... ohhhhh....
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  #3  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocknblues81 View Post
I have to wonder if David Fincher was a director for hire on this one. He has made it clear that he is not happy about all the acclaim this movie has got in comparison to Zodiac (which he seems as the better film) and maybe he is upset because this wasn't *HIS* movie while Zodiac feels like a personal film. Just the same, it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's well directed, the acting is good enough for what it is, and it is meaningful to the younger generation and it is watchable enough for everyone else. It's a good achievement, but it's not a GREAT film.

I feel the same way about Fincher in general. He's a competent director, but I seldom feel like he brings anything to the table. His soundtracks, for instance, are always very cool (perhaps a little inside help from having a music industry past) but don't ever add much to the film, aside from just having good music - most of the songs used in The Social Network could have been interchangible with any semi-underground to mainstream hit of the early-to-mid 2000s. With the exception of the Beatles track at the end, there was little there.

His actors are always very charismatic, and could carry the films on their own - often, it's just them showing up being who they always are. I've never felt that any of them were directed to give a performance beyond anything I've seen before.

My take is that most of Fincher's films success derives from the source material he uses. He always manages to get really great stories, but even there, I feel he doesn't connect with them beyond just having the sense to know they are good stories (much like music choices)

Basically, my feeling is that films directed by Fincher are good examples of times when the director is not the auteur. This point is only clear to me from the seemingly accepted idea (no doubt a post-fallout from the Tarantino "director is the god" mentality that went full fledged pop in the mid-90s) that Fincher makes the movies great, because, you know, he directed it, and the director is responsible for everything that makes the movie great.

Not quite.
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postmaster General View Post
I feel the same way about Fincher in general. He's a competent director, but I seldom feel like he brings anything to the table. His soundtracks, for instance, are always very cool (perhaps a little inside help from having a music industry past) but don't ever add much to the film, aside from just having good music - most of the songs used in The Social Network could have been interchangible with any semi-underground to mainstream hit of the early-to-mid 2000s. With the exception of the Beatles track at the end, there was little there.

His actors are always very charismatic, and could carry the films on their own - often, it's just them showing up being who they always are. I've never felt that any of them were directed to give a performance beyond anything I've seen before.

My take is that most of Fincher's films success derives from the source material he uses. He always manages to get really great stories, but even there, I feel he doesn't connect with them beyond just having the sense to know they are good stories (much like music choices)

Basically, my feeling is that films directed by Fincher are good examples of times when the director is not the auteur. This point is only clear to me from the seemingly accepted idea (no doubt a post-fallout from the Tarantino "director is the god" mentality that went full fledged pop in the mid-90s) that Fincher makes the movies great, because, you know, he directed it, and the director is responsible for everything that makes the movie great.

Not quite.
I have these same thoughts when I see Seven. I think it's his most overrated movie. It has atmosphere, but both Freeman and Pitt play boring predictable characters and their characters never really help the story movie along. They show up murder scenes and blah blah blah. It's kind of repetitive and redundant. It's just the wise old detective/hot shot young cop act.

One film that I think people are too hard on is Alien 3. The director's cut is a pretty good film and Fincher does a solid job despite all the problems they had in production.
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2011, 03:58 PM
I never want to see this movie, but as one of my friends said when this movie came out, "the movie would mean more if facebook is dead, like MySpace is now."

The Social Network is this decade's You've Got Mail, except the characters are likeable in the latter film.
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2011, 10:27 AM
Not Alone

Glad to hear not everyone thinks the sun rises and sets on The Social Network. I was beginning to think I was the only person on the planet that wasn't knocked out by this flick. To be honest, I thought it was pretentious and boring and my whole thought process while watching it was "who cares?". Jesse Eisenberg plays just an amped up more obnoxious version of the same guy he plays in every movie he's in and yet he is getting award nominations? There wasn't one likeable character in the whole movie for that matter and none of the acting when beyond competent. Each year we get a movie like this that gets all sorts of praise and awards and when you finally see it your like "really?" This is the "really?" film of 2010 for me.
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  #7  
Old 02-17-2011, 03:17 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonsterZeroNJ View Post
Glad to hear not everyone thinks the sun rises and sets on The Social Network. I was beginning to think I was the only person on the planet that wasn't knocked out by this flick. To be honest, I thought it was pretentious and boring and my whole thought process while watching it was "who cares?". Jesse Eisenberg plays just an amped up more obnoxious version of the same guy he plays in every movie he's in and yet he is getting award nominations? There wasn't one likeable character in the whole movie for that matter and none of the acting when beyond competent. Each year we get a movie like this that gets all sorts of praise and awards and when you finally see it your like "really?" This is the "really?" film of 2010 for me.
The funny thing is that Fincher has reacted the same way. He is PO'ed that this movie has got more notice than Zodiac.
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2011, 01:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonsterZeroNJ View Post
Glad to hear not everyone thinks the sun rises and sets on The Social Network. I was beginning to think I was the only person on the planet that wasn't knocked out by this flick. To be honest, I thought it was pretentious and boring and my whole thought process while watching it was "who cares?". Jesse Eisenberg plays just an amped up more obnoxious version of the same guy he plays in every movie he's in and yet he is getting award nominations? There wasn't one likeable character in the whole movie for that matter and none of the acting when beyond competent. Each year we get a movie like this that gets all sorts of praise and awards and when you finally see it your like "really?" This is the "really?" film of 2010 for me.
I feel the same way. Way over rated. The story is interesting enough, but like you said, not one character was likable. Everyone came off as pompous asses and it just gets annoying to watch people like that for 2hrs. I just kept waiting for it to be over. Saw it once, that's enough.

Hell, in "Reversal of Fortune" Jeremy Irons plays a completely pompous ass, but ya know what, he added some likability to him and you enjoyed every moment he was on screen. The "kids" in this film, no way. I just wanted to slap them.
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2011, 05:01 PM
I mean, I disagree COMPLETELY with pretty much everything said in this post - David Fincher not an auteur (of course he is, all of his films have the same feel, look, atmosphere and touch that is distinctly his), unlikeable characters (a character doesn't have to be LIKABLE for us to empathize with them - is Michael Corleone a LIKABLE character? Is Jake LaMotta?), relevance of this movie to Facebook at ALL except for incidental relevance (Facebook is a McGuffin, it could have been ANYTHING else and the script would still have been just as good), Fincher's "disappointment" in the film (I still think this conclusion was taken out of context; sure, he was frustrated that Zodiac didn't get any attention, but I don't think he thinks any less of THIS film because of that), etc.

But, to each his own. If you didn't enjoy the film, there's nothing I can do to convince you otherwise, only hope that you'll give it another chance later on down the road and realize what a brilliant piece of narrative storytelling it is!
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2011, 06:07 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotreme View Post
I mean, I disagree COMPLETELY with pretty much everything said in this post - David Fincher not an auteur (of course he is, all of his films have the same feel, look, atmosphere and touch that is distinctly his),
This is where I would disagree. Fincher may have a visual style, but he really has no voice as a filmmaker. There's nothing at the heart of his films which are distinctly his besides the visual style. I used to believe that he was an auteur, until I realized his best works (which for me are his 90's trio Seven, The Game, and Fight Club) are all great because of the writer's voices. Say what you will about Fight Club, but what draws people back to that film isn't the visual style. It's Chuck Palahniuk's voice and wit. Same with Seven. People often forget that Fincher literally went back 11 drafts to Andrew Kevin Walker's first draft, which he filmed verbatim.

That "dark" macabre style people often love to attribute to Fincher in his early work is really Andrew's voice if you think about it. It was his voice, his point of view that made Seven better than an average detective story. Even the Game, was given the Andrew Kevin Walker touch. He changed the mood from the original script, which had Douglas' character being more likeable and offered a more depressing, grim tone to the story.

I would agree with Bubba that many people gave Fincher an auteur-status because they didn't get that they were really talking about Andrew's voice. You'll see more of a voice and a connecting thread in Andrew's scripts than you'll find in Fincher's films. I remember when 8MM came out, I thought it had a Seven-ish quality to it, and sure enough, Andrew Kevin Walker was the writer. It was the subject matter, not the way it was filmed, that tipped me off to that Seven vibe I got from it. He has a very distinct voice that I think was wrongly given to Fincher. I think there's a reason why his trio of films from the 90's fit better side-by-side than his films from the past decade. It's because he started working with other writers and never really conformed the scripts to fit his voice.

Fincher is the kind of director who gets hired or chooses a script and slavishly follows what's on the page. He never has huge input in his films besides the "visual style" that he's known for. But having a visual style doesn't make you an auteur. If that were a case, you could say Roger Deakins is an auteur because he has a distinct style, but then that would be silly to say that his work with the Coen Bros or Andrew Dominik are really "his voice." To be an auteur, there needs to be more than a visual style. There needs to be a voice that shines through that belongs solely to the filmmaker. And I never got that with Fincher. Not when I look at how disjointed his output was this decade. I think he's a solid Director-for-Hire, but I'll never get the "auteur" label he has acquired over the years. I don't see a voice from him. I don't see how Panic Room or Benjamin Button fits with Fight Club or Seven the way the Shining and Full Metal Jacket fit with Eyes Wide Shut, or how Pulp Fiction fits with Jackie Brown or even True Romance.

Last edited by Cop No. 633; 02-18-2011 at 08:19 PM..
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  #11  
Old 02-18-2011, 07:50 PM
If Fincher should be pissed off at any of his films success, I can think of two places he should be fixing his gaze upon before this one. I would be livid if a film as intelligent as Fight Club was basically desecrated by thousands of morons creating their own and quoting the dialogue while the entire point of the movie so astonishingly flies over their heads and the fact that his biggest hit to date is that piece of shit Benjamin Button, which I should probably watch again. Too bad I can't really take five hours out of my life these days.

The Social Network is a film that cannot truly be fully watch in one go. I watched the film in theatres and while I enjoyed it enough when I rented it a couple weeks back I was floored at the entire thing, it was like seeing it again for the first time. Yeah, it has Fincher's fingerprints all over it (its probably his best work since Seven) but The Social Network is a true ensemble effort from the entire crew. From the performances by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer and yeah even JT himself to Sorkin's script to the combination of picture and sound- flawless editing, breathtaking cinematography, jaw dropping sound design, brilliant score that I have not seen a better made film this year.

To criticize the movie because its about Facebook is to put it simply, fucking retarded. Like it or not, social networking [and Facebook as the trailblazer) has become a part of everyday life for a good chunk of the people on this planet. It is the exemplification of a truly American idea: you have to fight and claw your way to the top and that determination and hard work and sometimes a little bit of luck can make you a millionaire in no time.

I implore all of you to follow American Beauty's tagline and...

...look closer. I did.
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  #12  
Old 02-18-2011, 08:24 PM
Briare, I think next time you should single out the post you're referring to. It seems like you're fire bombing the entire thread when I get the feeling you're mostly talking to one or two people specifically. Other than that, you're right. People shouldn't dismiss something simply because of its connection to a site like Facebook. I believe the film could have been about anything else, and I still would have found it to be a decent film with decent performances without requiring a second viewing. That's just me though.
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  #13  
Old 02-18-2011, 09:43 PM
Eh, mostly directing my comments at anyone who isn't you TPG and mainly to back up Mono.

As for Fincher, I think his films require budgets that would only be feasable within the studio system, I also think that the cohesive whole that is a Fincher film proves he has mastery over his craft that few of his peers can match. I think with adapting a script, interpretation is a lot more difficult than you're giving Fincher credit for. A good director is merely a cyper for the screenwriter; Scorsese has never written for himself, he too draws great performances and his films also have a tendency to focus on masculinity and all sides of it, I see tinges of Raging Bull in Fight Club and similar comparisons can be made between, as far as I can see, between Travis Bickle and John Doe and actually, Taxi Driver and Seven in general. I might be getting off topic here.
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2011, 02:15 AM
...oops

Last edited by The Postmaster General; 02-19-2011 at 02:22 AM..
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2011, 02:21 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotreme View Post
I mean, I disagree COMPLETELY with pretty much everything said in this post - David Fincher not an auteur (of course he is, all of his films have the same feel, look, atmosphere and touch that is distinctly his), unlikeable characters (a character doesn't have to be LIKABLE for us to empathize with them - is Michael Corleone a LIKABLE character? Is Jake LaMotta?), relevance of this movie to Facebook at ALL except for incidental relevance (Facebook is a McGuffin, it could have been ANYTHING else and the script would still have been just as good), Fincher's "disappointment" in the film (I still think this conclusion was taken out of context; sure, he was frustrated that Zodiac didn't get any attention, but I don't think he thinks any less of THIS film because of that), etc.

But, to each his own. If you didn't enjoy the film, there's nothing I can do to convince you otherwise, only hope that you'll give it another chance later on down the road and realize what a brilliant piece of narrative storytelling it is!

Regarding your personal definition of auteur, Cosmic pretty much touched on what I would have, but I'd also add that Fincher is probably one of the most skilled directors; that doesn't make him an auteur. He does have a set style of direction, but that doesn't make him an auteur. He has unlikable characters? Really? Panic Room, Ben Button, Seven, and I don't even know how you can say people didn't like Tyler Durden.

Thematically, the films Fincher directs are all over the place.

Something else to look at is how the films are known. For instance, Kubrick films are distinct as being Kubrick films -- I mean, when people mention 2001, they mention Kubrick. They mention Clockwork Orange, they mention Kubrick. They mention The Shining, and King gets pissed off because Kubrick owned that film.

The same could be said for any film auteur. And I don't mean people who study directors and impress their nonfilm fan friends by knowing who directed everything. I'm talking about the people who see these movies. If it doesn't take a film scholar to know who directed a film, and not just around awards time, then the film is one of an auteur.

Know, I'm sure Fincher will win the Oscar, and that is deserved because it was well shot by one of the most competent directors.

But, aside from direct accolades concerning Fincher, what do you hear most people refer to The Social Network as? The new David Fincher film?

No, that's not the case. So be real here, it's so much to the point that it inspired you to rant. Now, no I don't agree with avoiding the movie because you think a Facebook movie is silly, but I also don't agree that Fincher is the author of his films. There is though, more substantial reasoning to show why Fincher isn't an auteur than there is to show why you shouldn't see a movie because you think the subject matter is silly. I just tend to focus on the former, because despite all the evidence in everyone's face, that's the one fewer seem to get.
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  #16  
Old 02-19-2011, 05:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Briare Rabbit View Post
As for Fincher, I think his films require budgets that would only be feasable within the studio system, I also think that the cohesive whole that is a Fincher film proves he has mastery over his craft that few of his peers can match. I think with adapting a script, interpretation is a lot more difficult than you're giving Fincher credit for. A good director is merely a cyper for the screenwriter; Scorsese has never written for himself, he too draws great performances and his films also have a tendency to focus on masculinity and all sides of it, I see tinges of Raging Bull in Fight Club and similar comparisons can be made between, as far as I can see, between Travis Bickle and John Doe and actually, Taxi Driver and Seven in general. I might be getting off topic here.
Nobody's denying Fincher's mastery of craft, it's the auteur aspect that's in debate. If mastery of craft is all that is needed to be called an auteur, you could say that about any director, but we both know that not every director fits the category of auteur.

Scorsese may not write the scripts, but he certainly has a heavy hand in shaping the material before he films it. You put a film like Bringing Out the Dead side by side to Taxi Driver, and you're going to find parallels beyond the visual style. You'll see it in the characters he keeps coming back to. Social outcasts, borderline crazy individuals. The subjects of his films tend to have a varying degree of familiarity. The stories have connecting themes and ideas that carry on through his work from Catholic guilt, pariahs who become martyrs of suffering, or a nice tale of self-destruction. People really get dragged through the mud in all of his films both literally and figuratively. Aside from his signature touches, you can feel the passion in all of his films. I've never seen a film by Scorsese and never once thought that he felt indifferent about his subject.

I just don't see that at all from Fincher. He's a great craftsman, but he isn't a great artist. His films are literally found as is and made as is without that crucial process of shaping the material for his own voice. Look at the script for the Social Network or Panic Room (which he had no involvement with before directing them) and the end results are pretty close to the page, with a couple of visual flourishes that he's known for. He's an expert at making a film as close to the page as possible. And that's why he's one of the best directors for hire in the business.

Last edited by Cop No. 633; 02-19-2011 at 10:50 PM..
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  #17  
Old 02-19-2011, 11:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Briare Rabbit View Post
If Fincher should be pissed off at any of his films success, I can think of two places he should be fixing his gaze upon before this one. I would be livid if a film as intelligent as Fight Club was basically desecrated by thousands of morons creating their own and quoting the dialogue while the entire point of the movie so astonishingly flies over their heads and the fact that his biggest hit to date is that piece of shit Benjamin Button, which I should probably watch again. Too bad I can't really take five hours out of my life these days.

The Social Network is a film that cannot truly be fully watch in one go. I watched the film in theatres and while I enjoyed it enough when I rented it a couple weeks back I was floored at the entire thing, it was like seeing it again for the first time. Yeah, it has Fincher's fingerprints all over it (its probably his best work since Seven) but The Social Network is a true ensemble effort from the entire crew. From the performances by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer and yeah even JT himself to Sorkin's script to the combination of picture and sound- flawless editing, breathtaking cinematography, jaw dropping sound design, brilliant score that I have not seen a better made film this year.

To criticize the movie because its about Facebook is to put it simply, fucking retarded. Like it or not, social networking [and Facebook as the trailblazer) has become a part of everyday life for a good chunk of the people on this planet. It is the exemplification of a truly American idea: you have to fight and claw your way to the top and that determination and hard work and sometimes a little bit of luck can make you a millionaire in no time.

I implore all of you to follow American Beauty's tagline and...

...look closer. I did.
The script is is mostly good, but it didn't translate to a meaningful film experience for me. Were supposed to believe that Zuckerberg yearns in some way to fit in and care about people, but it never comes off to me CONVINCINGLY that he does. Were supposed to believe that he actually cares about his GF in some way, but I'm never sold on it. From the limited screen time they share together, it's hard to see why he wants her back. This is the type of guy to be self-aware enough to know they don't have much a relationship.

It's hard to sympathize with him. And that's not because he is unlikeable, but there doesn't seem to be any substance to his motives other than making it to the top. That's the only part of his character that I found convincing. The film wallows in the self-serving and uncaring part of his personality just a bit too much.

*SPOILER*

At the end of the movie, all he is left with his basically his success. He has no GF or friends any longer, and I think there is supposed to be regret there. But based on what I saw before that scene, I'm not able to sympathize with his position. At some point, most of us do things to the people were care about, but nothing is developed enough with his character other than as I said, the self-serving part of his personality for me to convinced of the grief he is supposed to be feeling at the end of the movie.

Last edited by rocknblues81; 02-19-2011 at 11:54 AM..
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  #18  
Old 02-20-2011, 10:20 PM
I think you're focusing too much on the characters. The film doesn't seem all that concerned with them as individuals, why should you? This isn't exactly a film driven by its great characters and as good as the ensemble is it just uses them as vessels to ponder about young people in America today- the film's thesis is essentially plainly said in the movie and I'm paraphrasing here: if you can't find a job and you're smart enough you can make one up and make it work.

And all that about the fact that the movie, at least technically is perfect as far as I can see.
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  #19  
Old 02-20-2011, 11:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Briare Rabbit View Post
I think you're focusing too much on the characters. The film doesn't seem all that concerned with them as individuals, why should you? This isn't exactly a film driven by its great characters and as good as the ensemble is it just uses them as vessels to ponder about young people in America today- the film's thesis is essentially plainly said in the movie and I'm paraphrasing here: if you can't find a job and you're smart enough you can make one up and make it work.

And all that about the fact that the movie, at least technically is perfect as far as I can see.
I gave the film a 7/10 rating and I realize the film has some positives. Heck, I even said the script is fairly good. It just doesn't offer enough for me to consider it a great movie. Characters make a big difference with me.
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  #20  
Old 02-20-2011, 11:16 PM
The Myspace Movie

Good parody of the Social Network Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMe9tt-TN1o
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  #21  
Old 02-21-2011, 12:31 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicPuppet View Post
I just don't see that at all from Fincher. He's a great craftsman, but he isn't a great artist. His films are literally found as is and made as is without that crucial process of shaping the material for his own voice. Look at the script for the Social Network or Panic Room (which he had no involvement with before directing them) and the end results are pretty close to the page, with a couple of visual flourishes that he's known for. He's an expert at making a film as close to the page as possible. And that's why he's one of the best directors for hire in the business.
No, his editing style, use of sound, lighting, framing, use of music and chilly/blackly comic outlook also touches all of his work. Well, less Benjamin Button on the last one.

The film-to-page detachment in The Social Network is very subtle, but you can see the undercurrents. The class rivalry is there in the visuals in the subtleties of the Winklevii and Zuckerberg and their interactions. There's always a sly creepiness to even Fincher's least freaky material, even in Benjamin Button. The atmospheric rowing scene in the beginning. The hellishly thumping club music. The evocatively frightening looks on Zuckerberg's face (quick, but there). The floating camera in the beginning as he exited for his dorm room. The gleeful amorality and paranoia that lurks behind the surface of Sean Fanning, and what the internet does to bind and break human ties, can do.

Last edited by Jon Lyrik; 02-21-2011 at 12:38 AM..
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  #22  
Old 02-21-2011, 08:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Lyrik View Post
No, his editing style, use of sound, lighting, framing, use of music and chilly/blackly comic outlook also touches all of his work. Well, less Benjamin Button on the last one.
Most of what you're talking about there is visual style. That's only one aspect of being an auteur. The blackly comic outlook is also pretty thin without any real evidence. Like you said, it's not there in Benjamin Button. But it's also not there in Zodiac. The film was a very by-the-book rendering of a murder spree that took place over several years. I don't see how there was anything remotely comic about that movie. Or Alien 3. Or even Panic Room besides seeing Jared Leto in corn rows, which was funny just in and of itself.

A huge part of being an auteur is being the creator, having a singular voice as a storyteller, and having that show in your work. I can name three films that distinctly break that notion in Fincher's work.

Fight Club
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Social Network


You look at those three films and you can clearly see the stamp of the writer all over those films. Fight Club is completely and utterly Chuck Palahniuk's voice. The voice over is what makes that film great, and that's all from the brain of a talented writer. Fincher did a solid job adapting the book, but aside from the visual, most of what resonates from that film belongs to Chuck. The theme, the dialogue, the characters... You'll find more similarities with Fight Club in Chuck's other books than with Fincher's films. Again, you can go on about the visual style he's developed, but where's the singular vision behind Fight Club? There isn't any. It was an amalgamation of various collaborators, which goes against the idea that Fincher's the auteur of his films.

Benjamin Button is an easy case because you can pretty much call that film the lost sequel to Forrest Gump. The structure from that film to this is nearly identical and it's clearly not because of Fincher. That's the work of Eric Roth. His big influence on the film that discredits the notion that Fincher was the auteur behind the film. He directed it, yes, but so many other directors could have made this film with technical proficiency.

Now, I don't have to point out the Social Network to great detail. Just look at the film and reviews, it becomes very obvious that much of the film was the brain child of Aaron Sorkin. He deserves all the credit he got because the style of the story and characters mirror Sorkin's work more closely than it does to Fincher's. When has Fincher ever been known as a master of dialogue? Before he even signed onto direct the movie, the script got huge buzz simply because Sorkin wrote it. And his name is right up there with Fincher's in terms of being an "author" of the film.

Quote:
The film-to-page detachment in The Social Network is very subtle, but you can see the undercurrents. The class rivalry is there in the visuals in the subtleties of the Winklevii and Zuckerberg and their interactions. There's always a sly creepiness to even Fincher's least freaky material, even in Benjamin Button. The atmospheric rowing scene in the beginning. The hellishly thumping club music. The evocatively frightening looks on Zuckerberg's face (quick, but there). The floating camera in the beginning as he exited for his dorm room. The gleeful amorality and paranoia that lurks behind the surface of Sean Fanning, and what the internet does to bind and break human ties, can do.
You're dissecting one of his movies, but you're not really saying how it makes Fincher an auteur. Craftsmanship is only one part of being an auteur. There's many fine craftsman directors who also aren't auteurs. They're great directors because they know how to put a movie together, but they would work on any good script that came their way. This is pretty much what Fincher does. He doesn't originate any of his projects. They are always offered to him at some point after the script has been bought and sold. He puts his stamp through craftsmanship, but he has no real vision or voice that connects his films to a bigger picture and that separates a great director-for-hire from an auteur director. Again, the important thing is going back to the idea of having that singular vision... how does Panic Room connect to Benjamin Button? Forget the visual style. Put them side by side and tell me what those two say about Fincher's point of view that make them HIS films and not films written by David Koepp and Eric Roth that he directed very closely to the script. The most creative decision he made with Panic Room was having the camera go through a CGI bannister or key hole.

Also, one thing I have to mention is the tilt shift miniature effect in the Social Network. I've seen people absurdly credit Fincher with this as if he pioneered something, but that effect has been done to death these past couple of years. It was the opening credits sequence in Dollhouse even long before the Social Network ever used it. I don't see how Fincher could claim any kind of authorship on a shot like that. If anything, it shows how he pretty much is following a trend with that technique.

Last edited by Cop No. 633; 02-21-2011 at 05:45 PM..
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  #23  
Old 02-21-2011, 08:15 PM
You make some really strong arguments Cosmic. However, I also think he adds more to his films than you are giving him credit for. The Social Network has a terrific script. I read it when it first hit the internet. However, the tone of the screenplay is quite a bit different than the film and in the film there is an extra layer there that is not evident in the script. It's not just Fincher's visual style that gives it the ominous tone that I love, but also his method of directing. The numerous takes he does are extremely beneficial. As seen in the making-of featurette, at one point there was a cut of the film that was around 115 minutes long (as opposed to the 120 minute final cut). Apparently this cut lacked the emotional edge and ominous tone that Fincher intended, so he went back to the cutting room, reworked some things and used his abundance of footage to ensure that the final cut packed a punch. His perfectionist style not only makes his films visually stunning, but it ensures that he is left with numerous takes to choose from to piece together in order to make the optimal final cut. People may also credit Reznor and Ross for the ominous tone, but you must remember that it was Fincher who selected them to score the film and it was him who let them know exactly what style he wanted. This is all part of the directorial process. If Sorkin had directed the film, as originally intended, I don't think it would be half the film it is.

As for his films connecting, I certainly agree with most of what you are saying. However, I think there are specific themes and areas of interest that he has explored in more than one film. Male bonding (Fight Club, The Social Network), obsession (Se7en, Zodiac, The Social Network), loss of power (Panic Room, The Social Network). There are others, but those come to mind off the top of my head. Also, forgive me for not mentioning The Game, but I haven't seen that in years.

So I'm not really disagreeing with you as a whole, I think I'm just giving him more credit than you are. I think he's more than just a solid director for hire.

Last edited by Bourne101; 02-21-2011 at 09:43 PM..
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  #24  
Old 02-21-2011, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CosmicPuppet View Post
You're dissecting one of his movies, but you're not really saying how it makes Fincher an auteur. Craftsmanship is only one part of being an auteur. There's many fine craftsman directors who also aren't auteurs. They're great directors because they know how to put a movie together, but they would work on any good script that came their way. This is pretty much what Fincher does. He doesn't originate any of his projects. They are always offered to him at some point after the script has been bought and sold. He puts his stamp through craftsmanship, but he has no real vision or voice that connects his films to a bigger picture and that separates a great director-for-hire from an auteur director. Again, the important thing is going back to the idea of having that singular vision... how does Panic Room connect to Benjamin Button? Forget the visual style. Put them side by side and tell me what those two say about Fincher's point of view that make them HIS films and not films written by David Koepp and Eric Roth that he directed very closely to the script. The most creative decision he made with Panic Room was having the camera go through a CGI bannister or key hole.

Also, one thing I have to mention is the tilt shift miniature effect in the Social Network. I've seen people absurdly credit Fincher with this as if he pioneered something, but that effect has been done to death these past couple of years. It was the opening credits sequence in Dollhouse even long before the Social Network ever used it. I don't see how Fincher could claim any kind of authorship on a shot like that. If anything, it shows how he pretty much is following a trend with that technique.
I did. All of his films have a chilly outlook on humanity, and as Bourne said, he adds subtle touches to show this constant lack of ease. I haven't seen Panic Room or The Game in years, but all of Fight Club, Zodiac, Se7en and The Social Network have similar style and a hesitant view of a generation or a subculture and their own dark, haunting worlds. San Francisco 1970s, Boston early 2000s, the nameless dripping city in Se7en, the dank recesses of Fight Club. Mundane modern life, either in post-industrial crapholes or gentrified high-tech areas, is made to feel strange.

Last edited by Jon Lyrik; 02-21-2011 at 09:50 PM..
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  #25  
Old 02-22-2011, 02:55 AM
All of his films do deal with isolation, which I'm surprised no one has mentioned in favor of this idea that he's an auteur. Either way, along with his bleak outlook on society, focusing on subcultures and outcasts - that's all inherent to the scripts. Those are things that are central to the plot and that the writer often times makes very clear in establishing the tone of their stories. To approach that as the director as an auteur is silly when comparing it to something like Kubrick throwing sexual metaphors into his movies when his source material had none what-so-ever.

The darkness described in The Social Network, it's attributed to Reznor justly. I said when bringing this all up initially that Fincher has good taste in music, but that doesn't mean he's an auteur. I could reedit The Social Network with the score to Kramer vs. Kramer and it would change the tone, and in general, I doubt most of the movies fans would become nonfans. Scorsese uses great music too, but that's not what makes him an auteur; that's a director doing their job.

Picking good subject matter, having a strong visual style and making images mesh with music are pretty much all the strong traits of a music video director. Fincher isn't making music videos, he's directing feature films. He does a great job, but he's not making films, he's directing them.
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  #26  
Old 02-22-2011, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by The Postmaster General View Post
The darkness described in The Social Network, it's attributed to Reznor justly. I said when bringing this all up initially that Fincher has good taste in music, but that doesn't mean he's an auteur. I could reedit The Social Network with the score to Kramer vs. Kramer and it would change the tone, and in general, I doubt most of the movies fans would become nonfans. Scorsese uses great music too, but that's not what makes him an auteur; that's a director doing their job.
I'm assuming this is directed at me. I never said once in my post that I think Fincher is an auteur. I was never arguing points for him being an auteur either. I was simply saying he does more than just show up and make the film look nice. And yes, Reznor deserves a ton of credit, but when Fincher watched the film before he hired Reznor, he knew exactly what it needed and he knew that Reznor would be the one who could capture the type of sound he was looking for. That doesn't make him an auteur, no, but it shows that he knew something was lacking in the initial cut and that he made a ballsy move to hire two composers who had never composed a film before. And while he does follow the scripts, there are, like Lyrick and I said, subtle changes or additions that he makes to ensure the best is brought out in the story. You can see some of this in the making-of featurette of The Social Network.

Last edited by Bourne101; 02-22-2011 at 12:11 PM..
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  #27  
Old 02-22-2011, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Bourne101 View Post
I'm assuming this is directed at me. I never said once in my post that I think Fincher is an auteur. I was never arguing points for him being an auteur either. I was simply saying he does more than just show up and make the film look nice. And yes, Reznor deserves a ton of credit, but when Fincher watched the film before he hired Reznor, he knew exactly what it needed and he knew that Reznor would be the one who could capture the type of sound he was looking for. That doesn't make him an auteur, no, but it shows that he knew something was lacking in the initial cut and that he made a ballsy move to hire two composers who had never composed a film before. And while he does follow the scripts, there are, like Lyrick and I said, subtle changes or additions that he makes to ensure the best is brought out in the story. You can see some of this in the making-of featurette of The Social Network.

No, not aimed at you, just the idea that he's the major voice behind the films he directs. I just used the Reznor/score bit as an additional example. If you aren't arguing in favor of auteur theory applying to Fincher, then it's not aimed at you. I'm just keeping up the discussion, so if something strikes you wrong, just reply accordingly, it's just the only way we can keep sharing thoughts about this as they occur to us, while still hearing what others have to say.

My thing, and perhaps why it unwittingly looked like I was singling you out, is that me and Cosmic (I believe rocknblues is here too) aren't saying that Fincher is bad or even not that's he's not, for lack of a better word, just awesome.

However...

I think that a lot of people think of "being an auteur" as if it's some special good boys club, based on quantitive measure. Like, only the best director's are auteurs, or something. That's just not it. Seeing additional remarks of evidence where Fincher is director within the context here, it's easy to show where that's more of him doing a great job doing his job, and not him having complete control over everything for the sake of a singular voice.

And I know that Fincher does wield a lot of control on the set and even some production duties, but not to some extent beyond his job. Fincher really does let people show up and do their jobs. That is a far cry away from the meddling you hear going on from traditionally noted auteurs, where people become annoyed that their work was changed, or that a director brought them to tears through obsessiveness...

That's not Fincher's style and he knows it. I think this quote from him speaks volumes:

"“I have a philosophy about the two extremes of filmmaking. The first is the “Kubrick way,” where you’re at the end of an alley in which four guys are kicking the shit out of a wino. Hopefully, the audience members will know that such a scenario is morally wrong, even though it’s not presented as if the viewer is the one being beaten up; it’s more as if you’re witnessing an event. Inversely, there’s the “Spielberg way,” where you’re dropped into the middle of the action and you’re going to live the experience vicariously – not only through what’s happening, but through the emotional flow of what people are saying. It’s a much more involved style. I find myself attracted to both styles at different times, but mostly I’m interested in just presenting something and letting people decide for themselves what they want to look at."



I was originally looking for a quote from the (I believe) Fight Club commentary where Fincher talks more about his role as a director, but can't find it. That quote, though, I think is right on because an auteur wouldn't let anyone do anything, because they are there to hear what the director is trying to say.

No one here is alone in saying Fincher is an auteur, though - I did find one amusing quote to show just how confused people are when they say that:

"The Social Network is the collaborative effort of two great auteurs."

I mean, that's just fucking wrong no matter who you are.

Also while looking, I came across this piece of trivia that I think sums up the idea of Fincher not being an auteur...

"In the scene where The Narrator is sitting on a toilet, with his pants down while reading an Ikea catalog, Edward Norton is actually completely nude from the waist down. Norton talks about it on the DVD commentary to which David Fincher says "really?" Norton then says "Did you notice I never had to go to the bathroom that day?" "

Last edited by The Postmaster General; 02-22-2011 at 05:03 PM..
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  #28  
Old 02-22-2011, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by The Postmaster General View Post
I think that a lot of people think of "being an auteur" as if it's some special good boys club, based on quantitive measure. Like, only the best director's are auteurs, or something. That's just not it. Seeing additional remarks of evidence where Fincher is director within the context here, it's easy to show where that's more of him doing a great job doing his job, and not him having complete control over everything for the sake of a singular voice.
Your post as a whole was terrific, but this particular paragraph sums up part of what I was trying to say. I do think that some people (not necessarily in this thread) think of Fincher as a lesser director simply because he doesn't write his own screenplays, doesn't have a singular voice and doesn't have full control over all aspects of the production.

Last edited by Bourne101; 02-22-2011 at 05:32 PM..
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  #29  
Old 02-22-2011, 05:44 PM
There has only ever been one proven auteur.
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  #30  
Old 02-22-2011, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Jon Lyrik View Post
I did. All of his films have a chilly outlook on humanity, and as Bourne said, he adds subtle touches to show this constant lack of ease. I haven't seen Panic Room or The Game in years, but all of Fight Club, Zodiac, Se7en and The Social Network have similar style and a hesitant view of a generation or a subculture and their own dark, haunting worlds. San Francisco 1970s, Boston early 2000s, the nameless dripping city in Se7en, the dank recesses of Fight Club. Mundane modern life, either in post-industrial crapholes or gentrified high-tech areas, is made to feel strange.
Your previous citing of "subtle changes" in the script doesn't prove that he's an auteur. Every director will make a subtle change in any script due to a number of reasons. The example you cited before was very vague, which is how I feel about the cases made that Fincher is an auteur.

Now with this, you're trying harder, but you're also giving him 100% credit for the themes and ideas in the scripts that he didn't write. Scripts that were conceived by another the writer. The best example of Fincher having a hand in really shaping the material has to be Zodiac. Zodiac is probably the one film he had the most artistic control over than his other work. It would probably be the only film that I would say is truly his, which is no surprise given how many times he brings that one up in interviews. You can tell he had a passion for it more than his other films, but I don't really see how Zodiac was about more than just the case. I don't see how it talks about the 70's. I hear Fincher mention it in interviews, but the film is so focused on the case that I don't see how he's ever trying to capture a generation or subculture in that movie. It's not like with Summer of Sam where Spike is doing exactly that by focusing more on the culture of the 70's in the Bronx juxtaposed with the Son of Sam murders.

I also challenge you on the idea that all of his films have a "chilly outlook on humanity." You can say this about Seven or Zodiac, but I don't really see it being true of Fight Club, the Game, Benjamin Button, Panic Room or even the Social Network. All of those films actually present the opposite case. That life may be dark but there's still optimism in those films. Fight Club's ending is actually pretty optimistic. A man overcomes his own insanity and finds love. Benjamin Button is all about "appreciating those precious moments." The whole film is about how amazing life is. Even Panic Room ends on an optimistic note as one of the criminals realizes that he's a good person and saves the victims from being killed. Even the Social Network went out of its way to say that Zuckerberg may have done bad things, but he's still not a terrible person. I see optimism in those stories more than a chilly outlook on humanity. Spielberg has a lot of dark scenes in his films, but I wouldn't say he has a chilly outlook on humanity.

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Originally Posted by Bourne101 View Post
I'm assuming this is directed at me. I never said once in my post that I think Fincher is an auteur. I was never arguing points for him being an auteur either. I was simply saying he does more than just show up and make the film look nice.
I was a bit confused by your earlier posts. I thought you were making the case that he was an auteur. That's why I was specifically looking for examples that proved he was an auteur, but I didn't see any because you weren't trying to do that. Now it makes sense. I agree he's one of the top directors working today. I was only giving you a hard time because the examples I was seeing weren't really proving how it made him an auteur. In the context of him just being a good director, you'll get no argument from me. He's solid.

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Originally Posted by Bourne101 View Post
Your post as a whole was terrific, but this particular paragraph sums up part of what I was trying to say. I do think that some people (not necessarily in this thread) think of Fincher as a lesser director simply because he doesn't write his own screenplays, doesn't have a singular voice and doesn't have full control over all aspects of the production.
Sorry if I gave that impression. I dig his movies. Like I said, I really enjoy Seven, Fight Club, the Game and Zodiac a great deal. I never meant to discuss the quality of his films as I enjoy quite a few of them. I just wanted to shed light on why I don't see Fincher as an auteur.

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Originally Posted by Reigh Kaufman View Post
There has only ever been one proven auteur.
Reigh, your love for Michael Bay blinds you.

Last edited by Cop No. 633; 02-23-2011 at 02:38 AM..
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