Until recent weeks, David Fincher's The Social Network won pretty much every major award of the season. It was named best picture by the National Board of Review, the Critics Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, and pretty much every major film critics circle. Then, all of a sudden, The King's Speech came on strong at the guild awards, winning top honors at the Producer's Guild, Director's Guild, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. The momentum shifted, and now Tom Hooper's royal costume drama seems poised for a rout of The Social Network at the Oscars.Which is really unfortunate.
But almost everything in our digitized, cut-and-paste world these days has a tenuous relationship to reality. Perhaps that’s why these dubiously “true” films are nevertheless enjoyed and embraced, particularly by younger audiences. The idea of black and white, “true or untrue” doesn’t make much sense to a generation who has grown up with a steady stream of mediated half-truths, advertising, made-for-TV reflections on the news, The Real World, etc. It goes without saying that something can be enjoyable, moving, resonant, but completely fabricated. Even if it touts itself, with a wink, as “real."
Though by now we’re all a little fatigued by the flurry of end-of-year best-of lists, I’m going to go ahead and add to the critical chorus with my picks for the best films of 2010. This is the list I think about the most and put the most hours into compiling. That’s because I love films, see a lot of them (I saw upwards of 60 new releases in 2010), and want others to see them too. I will be posting a more in-depth analysis of the year in cinema this weekend (in which I also try to make sense of Banksy, Facebook and flashmobs). But for now, here are my picks for the best of the year...
When I found out about likealittle.com last week (Biola has its own site), I wasn't the least bit surprised that it was the Next Big Social Media Thing to hit college campuses. The site, self-described as "a flirting-facilitator platform (or FFP, for advanced users)" basically allows college students to kill time in class by posting flirtatious notes to the person they've got their eye on across the room.
The Social Network is more than just a Fincher film. It's a time-capsule for our time—a document of a curious revolution in social communication, economics, and the shifting notion of "status" in a world where roots, tradition, and familial privilege are less important than the ability to navigate media and manipulate tech-enabled perceptions of one's digital self.