5. Meet Hit-Girl
Sure, young actress Chloe Moretz is a star now, but odds are a lot of you reading this didn't really know her until she made her epic entrance into the world of Kick-Ass. As Hit-Girl, Moretz exploded onto the screen as a cute little ass-kicking, potty-mouthed, bundle of cool. For every person who was offended by seeing a little girl cut and shoot criminals while saying things that would make a sailor blush, there was another person who was totally crushing on the girl of hits.
In fact, Hit-Girl went so far as to become a cultural fixation for all of five minutes: Debate raged as to whether the character was a proud embodiment of neo-feminist expression, or simply a button-pushing caricature spawned from the raunchy mind of Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar. Either way, Hit-Girl made her mark on cinema this year and in some ways set a new standard for what child actors can do onscreen. While there are several great sequences of Moretz in action (the Big Daddy rescue, the hallway shootout), nothing dropped audience memebers' jaws quite like her first costumed outing. where she viciously slaughtering a gang of drug dealers in the projects. But only after dropping the C-bomb, of course.
4. Mark Zuckerberg's World-Changing Breakup
Early in 2010, people were referring to The Social Network by its more popular title, "The Facebook Movie" and the hype was... less than enthusiastic, if we're being honest. Having Aaron Sorkin on the script was viewed as somewhat of a head-scratcher; the idea of a real-life story about Harvard kids fighting over a billion-dollar Internet idea wasn't a popular topic in recession time; people were still referring to lead actor Jesse Eisenberg as "the other Michael Cera"; no one really knew the name Andrew Garfield yet; and Justin Timberlake? Fuggedaboutit. The only glimmer of hope for The Social Network was having David Fincher in the director's chair.
Indeed, the film had to overcome a lot of cynicism when it hit theaters; and even if they sat down t0 watch it, viewers weren't likely to extended a lot of patience waiting for the movie to hit some kind of stride. It was going to be an uphill battle,and apparently David Fincher and Co. knew that in advanced, because they sure came out of the gate with a bang.
The opening scenes of The Social Network did three really good things, in my opinion:
- Established that Sorkin had captured lightning in a bottle with his script. The dialogue between Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) and his girlfriend Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) was totally whip-smart and spot-on in its discussion of class, privilege and the pursuit of networking as a means to success in America. The following scenes of the Facebook creator's own internal ruminations about life, love and the Internet were just as brilliant.
- Demonstrated that Jesse Eisenberg is much more than "the other Michael Cera." Let's be honest, that opening scene with Zuck and Albright is really more monologue than dialogue; within five minutes, most viewers knew exactly who Mark Zuckerberg was (as a character, at least) and for better or worse, most of them loved him.
- That opening scene and the following sequence of brash outcry and moral rebellion Zuckerberg launched on the Internet firmly established beyond any doubt that The Social Network was more than just "the Facebook movie." Ten minutes in, we might not have known yet what it was, but we knew it was cool.
Flash-forward to the present, and The Social Network is the lead horse in the race for 2011 Oscar for Best Picture, with Sorkin, Fincher, and Eisenberg all likely to receive individual nominations. Nuff Said.