Really Sorkin’s only obvious dud, Malice stars Alec Baldwin and Nicole Kidman in a heavy-handed story about sexual assault on college campuses. It’s ham-fisted and in poor taste more often than not, showcasing the worst of Sorkin without any of the elements that keep viewers coming back for more of his films.
Sorkin’s 2007 feature Charlie Wilson’s War stars Tom Hanks as one half of the team behind Operation Cyclone, a complicated plan enacted by a congressman and a CIA operative during the Soviet-Afghan War. Sorkin can be funny, for sure, but when he leans into comedy something inexplicable is lost.
Strangely enough, The American President is a romantic comedy instead of Sorkin’s typical style of darkly comedic drama. It works out well, though, remaining a standout against some of his other painfully serious stuff.
Sorkin’s most recent picture Molly's Game also happens to be his directorial debut. Naturally, this results in a movie that could’ve been reigned in a bit more with a more experienced director, but that classic Sorkin scriptwriting is still there to suck you in and hold your attention (if you aren’t immune to his charm, that is). Plus, after decades of criticism, he finally took a crack at writing a movie featuring a strong female character.
Done in the same vein as The Social Network (and originally supposed to feature Fincher behind the camera until negotiations fell through), Steve Jobs tackles the Apple cofounder with the same honesty that Zuckerberg got. It’s engrossing for this very reason, choosing to highlight the good and the bad instead of feeling like a commercial for a product.
Originally written by Sorkin for Steven Soderbergh, 2011’s Moneyball served as a vehicle for Bennett Miller. It stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman—all at the top of their game—and features very little for any female characters to do, something that is unfortunately as engrained in the Sorkin model as politics, patriotism, and monologues.
Probably Sorkin’s most-quoted script, A Few Good Men really showed audiences what kind of stories Sorkin was most interested in telling. It’s politically-driven, monologue-heavy, and patriotic—three tropes Sorkin can’t help but to cling to. Still, it’s very entertaining (as most of his work is).
Sorkin’s first collaboration with master director David Fincher, The Social Network tackles the riches-to-more-riches story of Harvard student-turned-billionaire developer Mark Zuckerberg. Sorkin’s dialogue perfectly paints Zuckerberg as the odd, emotionless robot that he is in real life instead of glorifying him, which—after countless tone-deaf scandals surrounding the Facebook co-creator—seems like the best way to do it.