In the land of The Newsroom‘s Aaron Sorkin, everything ends up as it should be–Karma works and Yins and Yangs co-exist happily. (For example, the Obamacare websites would be working on day one.) In Sorkin’s final scene in The Social Network he portrays the Facebook founder as a miserable billionaire with no friends, cyber stalking his ex-girlfriend who started the whole ball a-rollin’–all to the Beatle’s tune, “Baby You’re a Rich Man.”
But unfortunately for us, Zuckerberg’s not really that sad and Martin Sheen isn’t in charge of the Affordable Health Care Act. Hollywood isn’t real–but maybe a piece of Hollywood could be real–the Metascore.
Bloodsuckers in Washington? Who Knew?
I’d finally caved and started a Netflix viewing of the terribly bad, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
“Now that’s a mistake,” I complained. “The White House didn’t have that second floor porch until Truman was president.”
“They also didn’t have vampires,” pointed out my wife,
In short, the film didn’t know what it wanted to be when it grew up. The trailer was fun. It had the right level of cheesy-campy that made me drift toward it in the first place.
But unlike that neighbor you meet briefly when you’re dragging boxes into your house, movie trailers are often not accurate portrayals of the real thing. The movie did have the silly action of a summer blockbuster horror film, the historical gravity of a period piece, the sexy romance that Mary Todd Lincoln has sometimes the campy comedy I was really hoping for.
Strike one. Two more bad movie picks and I was going to lose control of film-choices for a while.
For the next night’s viewing I was more confident. I’d been waiting for Liam Neeson’s Taken to make it to my cheap Netflix/Hulu offerings, but it never arrived. Finally, I caved and purchased it through Amazon. It was, after all, a box-office hit and I liked Schindler’s List so I figured it was a good call.
But as the title suggests bluntly, I’d been taken out of my $3.99–an extra dollar for the HD version, you see.
Neeson plays a former rock-star super-spy who, while using a disposable film-camera for old-time’s sake, caves in to his whiny daughter’s request to go to Europe with her trashy friend. Within moments of getting off her plane, his instincts are predictably accurate as she is kidnapped at the airport taxi-stand and whisked away into white-slavery and daddy arrives just in time at the auction as she is sold for top-dollar as a virgin to an evil Arabian about to board his speedy Thames raft. It was so far-fetched and silly that I was expecting to see Abe Lincoln jump with Neeson off the Thames bridge wielding his silver-tipped axe.
A clever guy actually edited the film together into a four-minute synopsis that highlights all the lowlights perfectly:
In Taken‘s case I wanted my money back. In both cases, I wanted my time back. I should have looked more carefully at my favorite feature of my favorite website–IMDB.com. It’s one of the first websites I found and answers the age-old question we’ve always had when watching an old TV show:
- “What else have I seen that guy in?”
Click a film title, you get the cast. Click the cast member, you get all his movies. What a godsend to a trivia fiend like me. But IMDB also provides the Metascore: a composite number of 1-100, based upon a large bushel of critics.
Let’s take a look at composite for the the Abe-Biopic:
If you skip to the right side you’ll see the 93K folks who have chimed in their opinions. You also can see the 374 critics reviews. But the 42/100 is what we’ll examine…
Mr. Williams’ statement of “best action movie of the summer” may have been clipped from the “involving a bearded ex-president” that followed.
But down at the bottom, where I like to dwell sometimes, you can read…
And in Taken‘s case, you’ll also find New York chiming in…
Ah, Paycheck. The John Woo superflop that was Ben Affleck on his downward Gigli spiral. I was given a free pass to that film and once again regretted my lost evening. Even today, it is our family’s code word for a bad, bad, bad film.
But I wonder how long it will be until we get a Metascore for people?
An Extra Feature on the Real Estate Listing: “Neighbor Metascore”
I’m wondering if, deep in the Facebook labs, there are a few Zuckerbergian interns working on an algorithm that is processing all of the “Likes” we attract, the hits or cat pictures get or how many times we write negative blogs about mediocre action films.
Perhaps we’ll see ratings for such important people as…
Cup of Sugar Metascore
- Likely to lend you a cup of sugar, a snow blower or hose in a house fire.
- Likely to yell at you for walking on his sidewalk.
- Doesn’t notice his dog barking at 2 AM for an hour.
Worse Half Metascore
- Lets you know he’s working late–particularly if it involved a trip out of town you didn’t know about.
- Knows how to load a dishwasher.
- Buys flowers, birthday cards, gasoline, tuition.
- Understands that the TV can’t really hear him yelling at it.
Facebook, these are just some suggestions, in case Mr. Zuckerberg is reading this and not checking out the Metascore on The Social Network.
But he knows, as of know, there is no Metascore for life and Jesse Eisenberg is looking for his next job, not him.
Strike three, by the way, was the first 45 minutes of New Year’s Eve.