Tag Archives: Aaron Sorkin

This just in

A few of my friends — okay, really just one, but I hate to name names — have had a lot of fun on Twitter slamming Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO series The Newsroom.

To be fair, said friend slams a lot of other shows as well, but since I happen to agree with most of those observations, I don’t take issue.

But when he repeatedly tweetslaps –and retweetslaps — The Newsroom?

I cannot stand idly by.

Now, even I will admit the pilot was an explosion of exposition and classic Sorkin sermons.  But if we wrote off every series’ first episode for being exposition-heavy, the Harry Potter movies would have ended at Sorcerer’s Stone.  

You have to establish characters before you can build relationships.  That’s a given.

For those of you lucky enough to have stuck around for Sunday night’s episode of The Newsroom, your patience was rewarded.  Fewer sermons.  More focus on the relationships in the newsroom (which, if you’ve worked in one, do blow up like that from time to time).  Even some cultural references to add to the fun.  And did a few of you shed a tear at the ending?

I’ll take that bet.

And I’ll be DVRing The Newsroom this season.  And next.

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Terrible twos

Those pesky Winklevii are at it again.

Or is it ‘pouting?’

The courts awarded the pair a cash and stock settlement in their 2008 lawsuit against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  Then The Social Network made ‘Winklevoss’ a household name.

Now they’ve taken their grievances to the public as spokespersons for Wonderful Pistachios.

So classy.  They’ve even sued Zuckerberg a second time.

When are these two gonna give it a rest?  As Aaron Sorkin penned so eloquently in his Oscar-winning script:

“If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you would have invented Facebook.

And let’s face it — actor Arnie Hammer, who portrayed both twins in the movie, is way better looking than the real Winklevii.

Should have stayed off television, boys.  You were a far better looking pair of pricks on film.

Movies matter

Do movies change lives?

Mark Cousins of The Telegraph spent six years traveling the world compiling a history of film.  That process convinced him that movies do indeed make a difference.  (They did in his life.  Six years — geez.)

Here’s his list of the Top 10 movies that changed the world.

Me?  I don’t need to travel the globe to know movies make an impact.  I can’t imagine life without them, so my list is a bit more personal.  (Okay, it’s completely personal.)

Top 10 Movies that Changed My World

The Godfather (1972): Due to my youth, I didn’t see the movie when it was released.  But thanks to an overly enthusiastic film professor in college, I spent six weeks of my life watching it. And analyzing it.  As a result, I hate it and all things mafia.

The Way We Were (1973): This was my introduction to Robert Redford and movie romance.  I have been faithful to both ever since.  I’ve watched that film literally hundreds of times.  The opening strains of its Oscar-winning song start the waterworks every time.

Foul Play (1978): This Chevy Chase-Goldie Hawn comedy was Chevy’s first movie post-SNL and introduced Dudley Moore to American audiences.  It was also the first time I remember laughing with my mother in a movie theatre.  Cherished memory.

Airplane! (1980): I was sick when I left the theatre — facial muscles and ribs sore from laughing so incredibly hard.  I think I knew even then that I was witnessing the birth of a whole new genre of comedy.  “Ain’t that a pisser.”

Ordinary People (1980): I went to see this film because Robert Redford directed it — I told you I was faithful — and was stunned by the subject matter, the performances, the mood, the music.  Who knew Mary Tyler Moore could be so cold?  I have watched it again and again.

Amadeus (1984): My love affair with costume drama began with this amazing film.  I knew very little about Mozart before I saw it; it inspired me to learn more.  If it’s on television, my day is decided (and it takes about a day to watch — it’s that long).  Mesmerizing.

Broadcast News (1987): I was working at a television station and dating a news reporter when this movie was released, so it hit very close to home. Loved hearing a Southern accent on a leading lady, too. (Holly Hunter should have won the Oscar, btw.)

When Harry Met Sally (1989): I think this movie appears on most women’s Top 10 lists.  We all have those friendships with men that either have or could or should spark something ‘more.’  This was the fantasy with the perfect actors cast to make it come true.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994): A movie ‘bromance’ with Morgan Freeman in the mix to make it heartfelt and meaningful.  Everything about this movie is perfect — the setting, the script, the casting.  Another marathon, it takes up a whole day when it comes on TV, but it’s worth it.

The American President (1995): It was Aaron Sorkin’s warmup to The West Wing, and what a wonderful one it was.  Michael Douglas and Annette Bening make every word ring true, and Martin Sheen learned a few tricks — as Chief of Staff — that came in handy for his future role as President Jed Bartlet (also a Sorkin production).

In the more than 15 years since, lots of other great movies have had an impact on my life.  But these 10 laid the foundation for the films, filmmakers and stars to come.

I’ll be thinking of them today as I head to — where else? — the theatre.

Fair warning

Weeks before the 2011 Academy Awards hit the air, the producers warned everyone in pre-show interviews that their young hosts weren’t comedians, so we shouldn’t expect jokes.

Anne and James weren’t bringing the funny.

And they were right.  They didn’t.

Anne did bring an overly energetic brightness to the stage that became grating.  Her big number went well, but I’m sure Hugh Jackman is even happier today that he dodged that bullet.

James, on the other hand, was quiet and appeared stoned.  He even had trouble reading the teleprompter.  (Hey, it’s a skill not all people can master.)  I think he regretted taking job #1,714 as soon as he stepped on stage, and his partnership with perky Anne even more so.

Oil and water, those two.

It made me even more grateful for the moments to come in the Oscar acceptance speeches.

Moments of wonderful self-deprecation from Best Actor winner Colin Firth:
“I have a feeling my career’s just peaked.”

…and NYU student Luke Matheny, upon winning the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film God of Love:
“Oh, I should have got a haircut!”

Entertaining shout-outs to family members, including Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network:

“Roxy Sorkin, your father just won the Academy Award, I’m going to insist on some respect from your guinea pig.”

…and Tom Hooper, giving credit to his mother for finding The King’s Speech during his Best Director Oscar acceptance:

“The moral of the story is, listen to your mother.”

And perhaps most inspiring of all — especially for Sticky Eggs like me — were David Seidler’s words upon receiving his Best Screenplay Oscar for “Speech.”

“My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer.  I believe I am the oldest person to win this particular award.  I hope that record is broken quickly and often.”

Now, that’s what we needed to hear.

2011 Golden Eggs

The Golden Globes are here!  The Golden Globes are here!

Before the ceremony sloshes drunkenly into your living room, The Egg is making its annual sticky predictions.

Who will be clutching their awards and tearfully thanking God (and their agents and managers)? The Egg has all kinds of predictions.

But no promises.  We’re just making these up like the rest of the critics.

BEST MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA

* Black Swan
* The Fighter
* Inception
* The King’s Speech
* The Social Network

Although “The Black Swan” was an amazing psychological thriller, I have to give the edge to “The Social Network” — thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s beautifully crafted script and the amazing ensemble cast.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA

* Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice
* Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
* Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
* Natalie Portman, Black Swan
* Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Her performance was a career maker (and freaky scary!).

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA

* Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
* Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
* James Franco, 127 Hours
* Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
* Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

Second nomination’s a charm!   You’ve got this one, Colin.

BEST MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

* Alice in Wonderland
* Burlesque
* The Kids are All Right
* Red
* The Tourist

If there is any justice, quality will win this category.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

* Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right
* Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
* Angelina Jolie, The Tourist
* Julianne Moore, The Kids are All Right
* Emma Stone, Easy A

Although I loved the ever funny Emma Stone in “Easy A,” Annette’s turn in “Kids” will win the Globe.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

* Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
* Johnny Depp, The Tourist
* Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version
* Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs
* Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack

I doubt anyone can beat a double Johnny.  Hopefully his turn in “Alice” will beat his bloated “Tourist.”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

* Despicable Me
* How to Train Your Dragon
* The Illusionist
* Tangled
* Toy Story 3

The most competitive category at the Globes…but I have to give the edge to “Dragon” — loved it!

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

* Biutiful
* The Concert
* The Edge
* I am Love
* In a Better World

Truth?  Haven’t seen any of them, so I’m going purely on here say.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

* Amy Adams, The Fighter
* Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
* Mila Kunis, Black Swan
* Melissa Leo, The Fighter
* Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

I went back and forth between Mila and Helena, but Helena’s quiet strength won me over.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

* Christian Bale, The Fighter
* Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
* Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
* Jeremy Renner, The Town
* Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

I haven’t seen “The Fighter” yet, so I’m going on industry buzz and Bale’s reputation.  (Would love to see Andrew Garfield pull an upset, though.)

BEST DIRECTOR

* Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
* David Fincher, The Social Network
* Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
* Christopher Nolan, Inception
* David O. Russell, The Fighter

I don’t normally like to split the movie/director wins, but I think Aronofsky deserves a nod for directing this amazing thriller.

BEST SCREENPLAY

* Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
* Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids are All Right
* Christopher Nolan, Inception
* David Seidler, The King’s Speech
* Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

A celebration of writing as a craft.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

* Alexandre Desplat, The King’s Speech
* Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
* A.R. Rahmann, 127 Hours
* Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network
* Hans Zimmer, Inception

They’ve been winning all the awards so far….

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

* “Bound to You” from Burlesque
* “Coming Home” from Country Strong
* “I See the Light” from Tangled
* “There’s a Place for Us” from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
* “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from Burlesque

Would love to see “Tangled” bring something home.

BEST TELEVISION SERIES, DRAMA

* “Boardwalk Empire”
* “Dexter”
* “The Good Wife”
* “Mad Men”
* “The Walking Dead”

The Hollywood Foreign Press usually likes new and freaky.  This one fits the bill.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES, DRAMA

* Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
* Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”
* Piper Perabo, “Covert Affairs”
* Katey Sagal, “Sons of Anarchy”
* Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”

Julia will nab another award.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES, DRAMA

* Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”
* Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
* Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
* Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
* Hugh Laurie, “House”

Bryan will nab another one as well.

BEST TELEVISION SERIES, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

* “30 Rock”
* “The Big Bang Theory”
* “The Big C”
* “Glee”
* “Modern Family”
* “Nurse Jackie”

Continue your domination, oh wondrous sitcom.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

* Toni Collette, “United States of Tara”
* Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
* Tina Fey, “30 Rock”
* Laura Linney, “The Big C”
* Lea Michele, “Glee”

Edie’s back.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

* Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
* Steve Carell, “The Office”
* Thomas Jane, “Hung”
* Matthew Morrison, “Glee”
* Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

Continue your domination, Sheldon.

BEST MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

* “Carlos”
* “The Pacific”
* “Pillars of the Earth”
* “Temple Grandin”
* “You Don’t Know Jack”

It’s won everything else — why not a Globe?

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

* Hayley Atwell, “Pillars of the Earth”
* Claire Danes, “Temple Grandin”
* Judi Dench, “Return to Cranford”
* Romola Garai, “Emma”
* Jennifer Love Hewitt, “The Client List”

She’s won everything else — why not a Globe?

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

* Idris Elba, “Luther”
* Ian McShane, “Pillars of the Earth”
* Al Pacino, “You Don’t Know Jack”
* Dennis Quaid, “The Special Relationship”
* Edgar Ramirez, “Carlos”

He’s won everything else — sorry, it just seems to work here.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

* Hope Davis, “The Special Relationship”
* Jane Lynch, “Glee”
* Kelly MacDonald, “Boardwalk Empire”
* Julia Stiles, “Dexter”
* Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

The HFP is bound to like Sofia a lot.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

* Scott Caan, “Hawaii Five-O”
* Chris Colfer, “Glee”
* Chris Noth, “The Good Wife”
* Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family”
* David Strathairn, “Temple Grandin”

What a crazy category.  I hope Eric takes it home.

Enjoy the Globes everyone!

An American Writer

A little over a decade ago, NBC’s fall television line-up included a new drama called “The West Wing.”

I can’t remember now what initially drew me to the series.  Was it Rob Lowe in the cast?  Washington D.C. as the setting?  All the characters talking about the then mysterious “POTUS”?  Or did the promos say ‘brought to you by the creator of The American President?’

Any of those would have worked on me.

But after witnessing the series premiere’s first scene alone — that now famous ‘walk and talk’ through the corridors of the White House — I was hooked.  My friends will tell you, I became a huge unpaid front man for the show, constantly trying to get more people on board to watch.

So, no one was prouder than me when “The West Wing” won a record 9 Emmy awards in its first year, including Best Drama.  I even hung a banner on my cubicle at Hallmark Cards.  (I believe it said, “I told you so.”)

By that time, I knew one of the big reasons I kept watching:  writer/creator Aaron Sorkin.  He has scribed so many movies and TV shows that I love.  A Few Good Men.  Malice.  The American President. “Sports Night.”  Even “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”  (Hey, someone had to like it.)

Sorkin’s writing is intelligent and real, always rapid-fire and often preachy when he feels the need to soapbox (which is quite often).  I think he was the perfect choice to write “The Social Network,” the movie about the birth of Facebook, which opens today.

I haven’t seen it yet, but the trailers look amazing….and early reviews are glowing.  And based on his record, I’ll bet I give Mr. Sorkin a really big “like” for his latest effort.

The American Icon

I follow ‘golfgossip’ on Twitter, so I heard about  Tiger Woods’ car accident almost the moment it happened.  The first tweet simply described his condition as ‘serious.’

Then the tweets really hit the fan.

Next thing you know, wife Elin is standing over Tiger’s semi-conscious body holding a golf club. Then the story is they were arguing, Elin chasing his car down the driveway.  The next tweet supplied the motive — a rumored affair between Tiger and a nightclub hostess.

Thanks to the Internet, Tiger’s front yard fender bender has grown like gangbusters.  But in typical fashion, the Tiger camp has maintained its silence, posting only a short statement on tigerwoods.com Sunday afternoon.  In it, Tiger maintains he is ‘the only person responsible for the crash’ and that ‘the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.’  (Notice he didn’t say ‘untrue’…just ‘irresponsible.’)

The situation reminds me so much of the movie “The American President,” starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening.

In this Aaron Sorkin classic, President Andrew Shepherd, a widower, gets romantically involved with Sidney Ellen Wade, a lobbyist.  The press — and Shepherd’s Republican opponent for re-election — make a big issue of the relationship.  But Shepherd stubbornly refuses to comment, and his approval rating spirals downward.

Only when the President  openly confronts the lies and innuendo in the press does he win back the confidence of the American voting public…and the love of Sidney Ellen Wade.  [I probably should have said SPOILER ALERT, but if you haven’t seen this 1995 movie yet, it’s kinda your own fault.]

Personally, I think Tiger Woods could learn something by popping “The American President” into the ol’ DVD player.

The night of the accident may not be the proudest in his career or personal life, but saying ‘no comment’ won’t stop the spread of hurtful rumors that have already begun.  When you’re a sports legend like Tiger Woods, there will always be people eager to jump on any opportunity to knock you down.

So say something, Tiger.  Hiding from the police and the press does not hold up to your past behavior or your future success.