Friday, February 4, 2011

"Social Network" and a Look Into Something I Really Hate

Who would have thought that Mark Zuckerberg was, in secret, a dry-humored zombie killer? Mind blown.

But seriously, Jesse Eisenberg (look it's the Berg twins!) is great. He's like a slightly-more mainstream Michael Cera. And a little more diverse, at that. I love the dry humor of these two actors. It's a refreshing change to Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey. I love them both, but there needs to be diversity in the comedic world. And thank God we have it.

Now, the Social Network. Problem Numero Uno: Contrary to popular belief, (note hint of sarcasm here) computer programmers aren't exactly the party crowd that get lots of groupies. Rich programmers, however, are a different story. Being a girl aspiring in a career in this field, I can say that the stereotypes are true and untrue. They're true because someone who dedicates their life to programming that much tends to have a different social life than a business man. That said, everyone is different. And this field is changing. Not to mention, people who work in computers tend to be more logical and straightforward, and those who do well are intelligent and fun to hang out with. We're not socially awkward, I promise!

Back to the story: I liked it a lot. It was funny, intriguing, and witty. I wonder: was there really a chicken involved??? That bit was great. The characters were complex and realistic, no matter how close to reality they are or are not. Eisenberg was amazing.

Beyond a well-executed idea, the movie had a subtle point that sticks out the more you think about it. Just for a second, let's go through some names: Mary Kay. Mark Zuckerberg. Bill Gates. Simon Cowell. Michael Dell. Steve Jobs. What two things do they have in common? 1. They're successful entrepreneurs. 2. They don't have degrees.

This is what I see in that fact, which Social Network brought to light: true success comes from something beyond education. Something that breaks the mold. You don't have to have a business degree to have a great idea and make it work. The people who work for you probably do--ie accountants. In Social Network, you see a character who takes the leap with his idea and lives his life according to his rules. College wasn't necessary. How cool is that? Food for thought.

Before I go into Problem 2, I shall give the bottom line, because Problem 2 is a bigger part of something that needs to be fixed.

Social Network: Spoon, but kind of a rusty spoon. At first, I put it into upper Forking, but as I thought about the deeper implications of the movie, I decided it deserved the little push into Spoon status. Kind of like a teacher looking at a student who's tried really hard in class so s/he bumps the student from an 89.3 to an A-.

Now, the hissy fit. Sound mixing. Music. Dialogue. They are so %*$@! off sometimes. You've seen at least one movie where the music interferes with the dialogue, I know you have. You sit there, listening to the conversation, and suddenly, "Wait, what did they say? I didn't hear that."

I despise answering that question. It's not the viewer's fault, though. You know what I think? Some guy, at some point, in the editing room, got laid off, and on his last project, he screwed with the sound, but no one fixed it. Then lazy editors starting copying that to make their movies. And now we have this. #?*!

Another problem: Dialogue is really quiet, so you turn it up to hear, then the music or sound effects come in, and your ears bleed. And imagine when you're watching TV right below someone who's sleeping, and you have to constantly change the volume because you can't hear the words, but everything else is shattering the room. True, personal story.

Here is my petition to the world of sound mixers: Make your sounds level. Boost the dialogue if you have to. Make sure we hear every word we're supposed to!!!! PLEASE! And you know, you don't really need music all the time. Be diverse. Mix it up. Be picky.

That said, that was my biggest problem in Social Network. The main score of the movie was amazing. It won an award, and rightfully so. If I remember right, it was like three notes, la, la, then LA. This low, resonating note hits you in the face, building suspense for a movie that doesn't need suspense, but once you have it, you're excited. So cool. But...I couldn't hear the words. Okay, the club scene doesn't count. But in other places, the music was distracting. And the movie is about the characters! It's not an action film. Dialogue (and by transitive property, understanding the dialogue) is so insanely important.

On that note, TV is worse. The actual show is roughly tens of decibels below the commercials, as in, your ears bleed the minute commercials start. I'm not alone in this observation, and it does not make me want your laxative product more because it's loud. Let me rephrase that: It doesn't make me want it at all because it's loud. I don't want or need laxatives.

Ahem. To summarize, loud commercials don't change my mind.

And there ya go. Exhausted yet? I am.

Stay classy, San Diego. And the rest of the world, too.

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