Monday, December 6, 2010

Waiting For Superman & The Social Network

Waiting for Superman

This documentary from writer/director David Guggenheim (Inconvenient Truth) follows a handful of school-aged kids as they apply to charter schools within their respective cities to better their chances of educational advancement.  These individual stories reflect the overall mission of the film to better explain the massive deficiencies in the U.S.’s public school system.  Bottom line – the current and future educations of our nation’s youth are in a downward spiral unless there is an overhaul of the existing public school systems.  This particular story seems to favor the new charter schools with providing those rays of light.  Novel ideas such as longer school days/years and committed teachers really seem to do the trick.  Teacher unions do seem to get body slammed as a major part of the blame.  Bad teachers equate to bad student results.  Seems pretty logical to me. 

So, as we’re getting all whipped up about our embarrassing national academic results, we are following actual kids and their quest to better their lives.  Near the end of the movie, we get to see the famous lotteries where kids have numbers and if their numbers are called, they get in or are put on a wait list.  See, these charter schools are only so big and the demand for admission is far greater than the size of their walls.  Needless to say, I was wiping away some tears by the end of the movie. 

This is like watching 60 Minutes.  A story that is so important and so unappealing if you are not in the mood for the truth.  I think you should watch this documentary, even if you don’t have kids.  We all need to know where we fall short as a nation.  This documentary comes with a campaign -- a call to action of sorts, see link below for more details.

The Social Network

A movie about the founder/creator of Facebook.  Or, The Facebook as it was originally called.  I like to put “the” in front of nouns…it’s funny.

I had a list of reasons why I wanted to see this movie.  Here they are in order of importance: 
1.    I like the writing of Aaron Sorkin, even though it’s a little pretentious and show-offy.  I LOVED West Wing, still do and so, his writing works.  Works really well.
2.    I like Justin Timberlake.  There’s something about him and I’m pretty sure there are lots of fans out there that wouldn’t admit it, but I just did.  He’s super talented.

3.    I saw Armie Hammer (plays both Winklevoss twins) do an interview on Kathie Lee & Hoda (the best part of TODAY) and he seemed really nice.

Those are my reasons.  I don’t Facebook.  I don’t trust it and I’m freaked out by its popularity.  But I wanted to see the movie and I enjoyed it from the beginning through the end.  I don’t think their portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg is so terrible at all.  I think Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of him is probably spot on.  The film paints the picture of a computer genius at school in Harvard.   He’s intense, frustrated, driven and brilliant.  So what if he’s a little socially awkward – that’s what makes the story so amazing.  The guy who creates the biggest SOCIAL communication network in the world is a little weird.  Great stuff.

So, aside from liking the story, I was satisfied with the writing, Mr. Timberlake and Mr. Hammer.  If it’s not in a theatre near you, then rent, download and/or buy it.  

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