What Makes A Good Film? King’s Speech vs. Social Network

17 Feb

By: Open Book

Currently there’s an argument happening among film patrons regarding The King’s Speech and Social Network, which are both up for an Academy Award for best picture this year. The two films have been front-runners (for best film) of all the award and film festivals and a favorite among consumers(which represents box office).  So far Social Network has won 49 awards with 8 Oscar nominations.[1] The King’s Speech has won 17 awards including the BAFTA for best picture and has 12 Oscar nominations.[2] The only award that remains is the Academy Award/Oscar and this is where the argument begins. In one corner we have debate number one: “The King’s Speech captures the “human condition” in its most vulnerable state and sends a positive message in overcoming one’s fears should be acknowledged.” The second debate: “should Social Network equally good but illustrate greed, backstabbing behavior, which some say sends a negative message about the “human condition,” be rewarded?” So it begs the question. What makes a good film?

What makes a good film?

Many school districts in America rely on films to teach social studies in middle school and high schools.  In a Connecticut town, the Board of Education banned the use of showing R rated-films in classrooms.[3] The King’s Speech is rated R and Social Network is rated PG-13.  Given people use films as a frame of reference of the “human condition” in our society, should filmmakers only be rewarded for showing the good and not the bad side of human beings? In Dictionary.com they describe the human condition as follows:

The positive and negative aspects of existence as a human being, esp. the inevitable events such as birth, childhood, adolescence, love, sex, reproduction, aging, and death.” [4]

From that definition, clearly the human condition involves examining the positive and negative behaviors of human beings in order to be realistic. There’s also the issue of not jeopardizing art for the sake of social responsibility. Artist s should be allowed to explore different issues because it provokes critical dialogue about race, sex and other social issues. If we put limitations on filmmakers than we are not allowing all aspects of the human spirit to be fully examined or realized. Of course a good film as defined by film critics involves good casting, direction, screenwriting, cinematography, music and editing etc…. When consumers (non-film critics) review a film they base it upon relationship, visuals and knowledge. Meaning could they easily relate, was it visually pleasing and did they learn anything from the experience? As you can see both films satisfied all those elements critics and consumers look for, so the question is:  what film do you think should be awarded the Oscar this year and why?

Please join us for a discussion on this topic-Friday: 2/18/11@7pEST/12UTC

102 Responses to “What Makes A Good Film? King’s Speech vs. Social Network”

  1. Littlebells February 17, 2011 at 10:56 PM #

    Hi! I know I’m day early, but I figured I might not make it to the live discussion. So here goes:

    I remember my high school history teacher showing movies for each chapter or unit (can’t remember) and it had great use. He showed us movies that he recorded on TV so that if they were R rated, we got the edited for television version. I remember seeing “Glory” and the impact it had on me. Movies truly help capture emotion that often goes lacking in history books.

    As far as what makes a good movie? I don’t know! I’m just your average happy homemaker who substitutes on the side just trying to get through one day at a time. As a consumer and audience member I enjoy all genres of movies but find that ones that get me to think are the most influential. I think that as long as I can take something positive away from even a crappy story line, it’s a good movie. Argh, ok, I’m having a hard time finding my words. I’ll wait till tomorrow and will probably find one of you brilliant ladies writing what I’m trying to say. 🙂

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 3:56 PM #

      I think it’s easier for schools to customize films themselves with all the editing software available today. So that should not be a problem if teachers wanted to show R rated films in their classes.

      Well, I would say u being an average consumer is exactly who film studios are trying to appeal to. So your opinion is really valuable. Otherwise, they don’t know why seats go empty in theaters if u don’t speak up. So your opinions are great!!!

  2. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 6:09 PM #

    Thanks for joining us tonight!! First, time or returning visitors u are welcome to join in on the discussion. We welcome your views and opinions!!!

  3. Littlebells February 18, 2011 at 6:59 PM #

    Hi! I’m here (but don’t know for how long)!

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:05 PM #

      Great! Nice to see u made it tonight!!

    • Littlebells February 19, 2011 at 12:12 AM #

      Argh! I hate being on PST!!! I was here and then I had to leave to run errands….Argh! Missed everyone so I’m going to go read your comments, make my own which will probably never be read because you’ve all gone to bed :), and thank you for giving me intelligent, stimulating conversation. It’s hard to come by these days….

      • Open Book February 19, 2011 at 1:52 AM #

        No problem!! I like PST also. Were glad u enjoy the site!! Sorry! We keep missing u.

  4. Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:01 PM #

    Hi everyone!

  5. ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 7:03 PM #

    Hi all.

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:07 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!!!

  6. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:04 PM #

    Hi Everyone!!

  7. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:05 PM #

    What did u think of the article? Do u have any questions or comments?

  8. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:07 PM #

    Let’s get started!!

    Has everyone seen SN and KS? If so I have a question for u?

    Both Social Network and King’s Speech are biopics. Do u think the reason KS and SN did so well because they were about famous people?

  9. Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:07 PM #

    Of the two films Social Network and Kings Speech, I’ve only seen 1 – The Kings Speech.

    I think it deserves the Oscar because it has several elements a great story, exceptional acting and evokes an emotional response in the viewer.

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:11 PM #

      So true!! But so does SN and this is the argument. Some think KS should win because it sends a positive message but SN does as well. However, SN is laced with negative attributes of the human spirit and therefore people are on the fence about rewarding it for that reason.

      • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:14 PM #

        Well I haven’t seen SN, however, those that have, when you left the movie, how did you feel?

        I think the movies that I remember the most over the years are the ones which have the ‘uplift’, reassurance that people are good stories, something that the character has some redemption at the end. (Schindler’s List)

        • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

          Yes! I think everyone like’s the HW ending.

          Why do u think films that have a HW happy ending like SN and KS are more popular during a recession, than say Inception where it’s ending made people angry?

          • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:21 PM #

            Because it closes the loop to the story. Inception didn’t make me angry as much as frustrated because it leaves you hanging. I get that it’s supposed to make you think and lead to a sequel, however, IMO most people like closure – the natural ending -whatever that may be.

            • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM #

              I agree I mean people go to see a film for escape. If they leave feeling frustrated then it defeats the purpose IMO. However, I’m very familiar with Nolan’s work and he writes and directs in such a way that u need to see his films over and over again. Which I like because it’s like reading a book in some ways. But u are right and I agree people want closure or else there’s hell to pay for a filmmaker!!!

              • Littlebells February 19, 2011 at 12:14 AM #

                I liked Inceptions ending because I got to decide the ending. haha! It didn’t leave me frustrated because I wanted him to be with his family, so that’s what I decided. That was completely off topic!

                OT: I haven’t seen either film, but am more interested in seeing KS.

                • Open Book February 19, 2011 at 2:03 AM #

                  Exactly!! This is what I love about Nolan’s films they are so interactive. They are not formulaic u know he’s going to take u some where. Also, he knows how to write and direct a non-linear story which not a lot of directors can do. Although, Guy Ritchie does a pretty good job of it!!

                  The King’s Speech is a wonderful film. I do hope u see Social Network because it’s really a great film as well.

          • ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM #

            I can’t comment on The King’s Speech because I haven’t seen it but I have seen The Social Network. I can comment on it but it will be long!

            • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:29 PM #

              No problem!!

              Take your time!!

              • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:31 PM #

                Wonder what the text limit is and if Ozzie will hit it! LOL

                • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:34 PM #

                  Will see!! But I have yet to reach it myself.LOL!! I will keep trying one day, one day!!

                • ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 7:34 PM #

                  Oh now I have a challenge. Bring it on text limit! This may take a while…

                  • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:36 PM #

                    Your on Ozzie!! LOL!!

          • kim February 18, 2011 at 7:53 PM #

            Great question and I know I’m behind but, the reason that HW has always had those feel good endings at these down times, is bc people are looking to escape from their lives and what a great way to do it.

            That is what HW did during the great depression people would save their money just to go to the movies for the escapism.

            • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:56 PM #

              Kim!! My historian!!! Smile!!

              O.k. So answer the question below that I posed to Lurker!!

  10. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:31 PM #

    Why do u think films like Pulp Fiction did well in theaters and was nominated for best picture back in 1994?

    • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:37 PM #

      Well shocked first that it was 16 years ago- whew.
      It was edgy different and had some cool characters.
      Even though it was a replay on an existing theme, gangsters, the writers gave the actors some great material.

      • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:40 PM #

        Tarantino won an Oscar for best screenplay that year. The reason I brought up PF because I really thought it did not have a HW happy ending. Yet, people were willing to accept it. Why do u think that is?

        • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

          Well I had to go look to see what film did beat it in 1994 for Best Picture and it was Forrest Gump.
          Well thinking back that far, ahem, there is no way Pulp Fiction would have beat Forrest Gump for best picture. However, PF it still a watchable movie because it’s entertaining and witty. Because it was edgier I think it deserved the nomination but stacked against the competition that year tough sell.

          • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

            O.k. o.k. But yet again FG did not have a typical HW ending. I mean it sorta had both a sad but happy ending. PF did win an Oscar for best screenplay though. So I go back to my previous Q. Why? What was so significant that year in 1994?

            • kim February 18, 2011 at 7:56 PM #

              Historically we were in good times during 1994, so that is why people were more excepting to that kind of ending.

              • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:59 PM #


                So I’m being a little snot to Lurker!! LOL! She’s going to hit me with some technical question I know!!LOL!!!

                • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:04 PM #

                  Do you know what computer you used in 1994? LOL

                  Its Friday, i’m old, you’re asking me to dig into 1994 when I had an infant!

                  • kim February 18, 2011 at 8:07 PM #

                    Oh excuses, excuses. Its Friday and I have been working for a month and I pulled it out of my head. Oh and I had 2 kids by then.


                    • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:07 PM #

                      My mental hard drive is still spinning, I think I need to defrag!

            • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

              Well, from what I remember, 1994 didn’t have any spectacular business events – some deregulation was already underway. It was part of the trends of growth. We had already been to the Gulf in 1991. Clinton was elected in 1992, so it wasn’t an election year. The first bombing in NYC was in 1993, so maybe if you want to draw a conclusion to the ‘realism’ of terrorism?
              Do we even remember how people or if people thought the threats were real back then? I know Gulf War veterans who certainly did. Did we need a ‘feel good movie’ to sooth us then?
              Maybe my memory is fading.

              • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:10 PM #

                Excellent!! People were looking for a change and in 1994 felt more optimistic because Clinton was in office, the war was over. O.k. not bad!!!

                People did not really see the impact of the Gulf war in 1991 it did not last very long. Not like the one we are in now.

                • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:15 PM #

                  See, don’t use the Jeopardy buzzer on me!

      • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:45 PM #

        Did I stump u Lurker on that Q?

        • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

          I had to go poke around for some info so I could give you an answer!

        • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:50 PM #

          Besides, Ozzie is still typing somewhere….LOL

          • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:53 PM #


            • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:10 PM #

              You just haven’t gotten me on my best day!
              I need to reboot.

              • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:15 PM #

                I know!! U are usually stumping me with your questions and answers. So I went for it tonight!! Sorry!!

                U will get me back I know!! I’m waiting!!LOL It’s going to be some algorithm question? LOL!

  11. kim February 18, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

    Hey Guess who’s here? Me. I will read really quick to join conversation

    • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

      Hey Kim! I’m feeling like I”m on jeopardy here…SOLO.

      • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:53 PM #

        U are LOL!!

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM #

      Kim is here!!

      Happy Dance!! Welcome!!

      • kim February 18, 2011 at 7:57 PM #

        Yeah I have to say I have a new view on HW and movies now.

        • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:00 PM #

          Be careful of what u wish for!! U just might get it!!

          • kim February 18, 2011 at 8:17 PM #

            That’s okay I’m ready. Give me a day or two to catch up on some sleep and I’ll be already to get back in the game.

          • ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 8:24 PM #

            Kim is here! *joins OB’s happy dance* Hi Kim!

            • kim February 18, 2011 at 8:25 PM #

              Hi Ozzie. I missed all of you ladies. I have been very busy learning and enjoying my new career.

  12. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:00 PM #

    Do u think anyone would go see King’s Speech if it were about a Cashier who stuttered?

    • kim February 18, 2011 at 8:14 PM #

      Actually I think it would still get a reaction because its still a feel good movie. Look at Forest Gump he was just a guy in different circumstances.

  13. kim February 18, 2011 at 8:05 PM #

    Okay finally read the article. Great questions. This is my take. I good movie as a consumer is different than for using in educational purposes, in my opinion.

    As a consumer I really enjoy certain films at certain times. Like this weekend I am going to see King’s Speech, but had no ambition in seeing Social Network. I also rented The Hurt Locker and You Again to watch at home, but noticed that Waiting for Superman was available but I was not in the mood for a documentary so I will wait to see that in the future.

    As an educator I loved to use movies in both history classes and English classes. In history classes film is a great way to show students what life was like during that period of time. English classes film is great to show how a book can become a film. The one thing that is great about using film is that a “R” rated movie can be shown in schools with PG or PG-13 rating only allowed because there are companies that will edit the films for school use or educators can just show clips of the movie and keep the offensive scenes from being seen.

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:33 PM #

      I agree films used for educational purposes u are thinking about a number of things. For example does it meet curriculum standards etc……

      However, do u think when u see a film for enjoyment u are more critical when u are looking for it’s educational value? Can u disconnect yourself, I mean are u always on the look out for a film that could be used in a classroom?

      • kim February 18, 2011 at 8:41 PM #

        Usually when I first watch a film for enjoyment its just that. When I am teaching and need a film then I go looking for a film to help with that subject (I hope that makes sense).

        • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:43 PM #

          LOL!! Welcome to my world!! LOL!!

          • kim February 18, 2011 at 8:46 PM #
  14. ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 8:15 PM #

    I wasn’t expecting The Social Network to impress me at all but it completely blew me away. It’s probably the first movie to make me feel for all of the characters involved and that surprised me because I usually only feel for the victims.

    I’ll start with the obvious. With the Winklevos twins and Narendra, I felt their anger and humiliation. They had trusted Mark to help them only for Mark to take their idea. Not only did he do that but he probably did it alot better than they ever could. If I were them, I would probably feel bitter too because they needed Mark. He was more knowledgeble and younger too.

    Eduardo was the one I felt the most for obviously. He was betrayed by his friend and kicked out of his own company. Also his father refused to talk to him. Eduardo stood by Mark through think and thin but as soon as Sean turned up, Mark started to move towards Sean and Eduardo was pushed to the side. I felt his pain, humiliation, jealousy and anger. I think anyone in his position would feel the same.

    What surprised me the most was how I ended up feeling for Mark and Sean. With Mark, I started off feeling not much for him. He had betrayed his best friend, how could you feel for someone like that? But as the film progressed, I ended up feeling alot for him. When Sean appeared Mark appeared to sort of fall for him. He idolised him. Sean had been there and wrote the book. In Marks eyes he could do no wrong. Sean, in my opinion, was a complete jerk. He was arrogant and rude. He influenced Mark to bring him onboard and kick out Eduardo.

    That last, 15 minutes or so, was where I began to feel for them. After Eduardo leaves the building their relationship changes. They end up swapping places. Mark admonished Sean for being cruel and later after the drug bust Mark takes control of the situation. Sean however, seems to crumble. When Sean asks Mark is everything going to be ok, you could see deep down he was still a lost little boy. Mark and Sean, were in the same position as each other. Both were very insecure who created things to impress the world. Mark created facebook to impress people and Sean created this bad boy persona. I ended up feeling sorry for both of them. I was listening to the actors commentry and they say the same thing regarding Mark and Sean.

    I think I’m done!

    • kim February 18, 2011 at 8:20 PM #

      Wow Ozzie you have me thinking I may have to give this movie a chance when it is on dvd.

      • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:26 PM #

        See! I told u so!!! However, I understand why Lurker does not wish to see it!!

        • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:32 PM #

          So why don’t you think I want to see it?
          I am seriously curious…

          • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:35 PM #

            Oh! U said u were afraid it would make u angry because of the period and time? No!!

            • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:37 PM #

              Yeah that’s right, I forgot I told you that.
              I lived thru the dot.com days at another start up that was very cut-throat. Survival then was about just what Ozzie described.

              Yeah, don’t wish to relive those days.

              • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:45 PM #

                Exactly!! Cut throat and backstabbing sounds like my home. Inside joke everyone!! Sorry!

      • ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 8:43 PM #

        Honestly, I was adament I wasn’t going to see it. There was no way I was going to see a movie about the set up of an internet site, it would bore me. But I saw some clips online and it made me curious, especially the Eduardo confronting Mark and Sean scene at the end. It’s now among my top movies! I can’t believe that I movie I was so sure I would hate turned out to have that impact on me. Also I never thought Justin Timberlake could act but this movie changed my opinion of him.

        • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:46 PM #

          So did u notice the CGI?

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:24 PM #

      Wow!! Give me a minute to respond Ozzie!! Excellent observations though, I would like to discuss more give me a minute to process!!

      I need to respond to Kim first!!

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:41 PM #

      Ozzie!! This is why SN is such a great film. Because it takes u on a trip!! U are not left thinking or feeling the same way at the beginning that u are at the end. Also, the acting, directing and casting was perfect. Did u think Justin Timberlake was good? I mean u really forgot who he was and he sold u on his character. Also, Garfield was very compelling u could see his character grow and change. Especially when he has the altercation with Mark. Great job!! So did u notice the CGI in the film?

      • ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 8:52 PM #

        I kind of answered that in my reply to kim. Justin’s acting was one of the things that blew me away. Andrew I loved. He is a brilliant actor. I could watch the confrontation scene over and over. As for the CGI, no I didn’t. I knew the twins were played by one guy but until you mentioned it I kind of forgot about the technology used.

  15. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:17 PM #

    O.k. I need a few moments to read Kim and Ozzie’s responses!! It’s going to take me 10 minutes!!

    • kim February 18, 2011 at 8:22 PM #

      haha. See watch what you wish for… I go away for awhile and now I’m back ready to challenge and provoke thought, plus help out my fellow partners when they need it.

      • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:25 PM #

        O.k. o.k. I deserve it!! LOL!! Nice to have u back…

      • ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 8:33 PM #

        *nods head* I didn’t expect to writ that much. I was shocked to see much there was!

        • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:38 PM #

          Well we didn’t test the text limit tonight!
          Good going Ozzie!

          • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:48 PM #

            LOL!! No she did a great job!! Ozzie u win!!

            • ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 8:56 PM #

              Woo! I’m a tiny bit disappointed I didn’t max it out. Maybe next time, mwahahahaha!

              • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:58 PM #

                Everyone has me laughing tonight!

  16. Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:45 PM #

    So where’s the next jeopardy question?
    I broke out the grapes.

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:48 PM #

      LOL!! Why don’t u ask me one? It’s your turn!!

      • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 8:52 PM #

        How about an easy one- are you celebrating the California wine day today?

        • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 9:00 PM #

          No!!LOL!! But I wanted too!!

        • kim February 18, 2011 at 9:00 PM #

          Wow they have a wine day in California? I usually have a “whine” day when I work at the schools or even when I’m home, but a wine day sounds so much better.

  17. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:51 PM #

    ****Spoiler alert for Kim and Lurker!!*****

    Ozzie!! I will give u a hint about the CGI. The Twins?

  18. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 8:54 PM #

    Everyone we have about 10 more minutes to the discussion. I will give u the last word!!
    If u have any more comments or questions. Go for it!

  19. kim February 18, 2011 at 8:56 PM #

    That is a good question. I bet you the answer is “yes.” I have a feeling that they all have that happy ending.

  20. kim February 18, 2011 at 8:59 PM #

    well I don’t have any questions right now, but give me some time.

    But, I’m glad to be back even though I have a couple more days of work and then I go back to substitute teaching again until the next project. Which I will be working on finding and have a couple of leads.

    I missed you all and can’t wait to write my next article.

    • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 9:09 PM #

      Well It was really fun tonight everyone. I could not stop laughing!!

      Kim-Nice to have u back!!

      Ozzie-U won the largest comment contest tonight!

      Lurker-U won the jeopardy questions tonight and I will be expecting the box of snow in the mail tomorrow. LOL!!

      Littlebells-Sorry we missed u tonight!!

      Goodnight Everyone!!

      • ozzie20 February 18, 2011 at 9:14 PM #

        Night girls. I’ve had alot of fun tonight!

      • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 9:15 PM #

        Good night everyone!
        Thanks for a fun 2 hours!

        OH, there’s no snow here, 70’s, hmm wonder who I can bribe to send you some! Quick …call Alaska.

  21. Open Book February 18, 2011 at 9:05 PM #

    U know what I’m already going to say. Sound’s like an idea??????

    • Lurker February 18, 2011 at 9:06 PM #

      Queue the jeopardy music!

      • Open Book February 18, 2011 at 9:13 PM #


  22. Parisienne February 18, 2011 at 9:45 PM #

    Hi Ladies!

    I missed a fun night!!!!!!!!!! I was in a movie theater watching KS for the second time. I will say this….I have NEVER seen my father become emotional over a film or to speak of KS as he has done. He truly felt for the king when he was in his private chambers and his daughters curtsied to him before he kissed them. Nor have I seen him interested in history before this way. I haven’t seen SN yet…so i can’t comment on it.

    • Open Book February 19, 2011 at 2:28 AM #

      Sorry we missed u tonight!!! That was a great story u just described about u and your Dad! I just had to comment about it.

  23. kourtnie February 19, 2011 at 4:58 AM #

    your good

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