What’s Aaron Sorkin’s Game?

I enjoyed this film. Most people seem to. Wikipedia:

Peter Debruge of Variety praised Sorkin’s script saying “…Molly’s Game delivers one of the screen’s great female parts — a dense, dynamic, compulsively entertaining affair, whose central role makes stunning use of Chastain’s stratospheric talent.”[21] Mike Ryan of Uproxx gave the film 9/10, writing, “Molly’s Game is a perfect story for Sorkin. There’s poker, the Russian mafia, the Italian mafia, celebrities, and sports. The only thing missing for Sorkin’s wheelhouse is President Bartlet. And at over two hours long, the film still feels tight and never fails to entertain.”

There are a few false notes, however. Molly pursues a black guy to be her defense lawyer because she wants someone without a hint of corruption. What defense lawyer is widely regarded as an upstanding citizen? How many of the best defense lawyers are black? One per cent of defense lawyers? What defense lawyer has all these ridiculous moral demands as the one in this movie?

The upshot of the movie is that one should not reveal confidences.

All morality depends upon a leap of faith so this moral stand is no more absurd than any other. It is also no more compelling.

After I watched the movie, I tried to figure out why did Aaron Sorkin make this the point of the film? And then I remembered interviewing a former prostitute, Dimitra Ekmektsis, who serviced Sorkin and was bitter about him. I bet Sorkin was not happy about these hookers speaking out against him.


Sorkin married Julia Bingham in 1996 and divorced in 2005, with his workaholic habits and drug abuse reported to be a partial cause.[125][126] Sorkin and Bingham have one daughter, Roxy.[127] Sorkin was a dependent cocaine user for many years and, after a highly publicized arrest in 2001, he received treatment in a drug diversion program…

In 1987, Sorkin started using marijuana and cocaine. He has said that in cocaine he found a drug that gave him relief from certain nervous tensions he deals with on a regular basis.[6] In 1995, he checked into rehab at the Hazelden Institute in Minnesota, on the advice of his then girlfriend and soon to be wife Julia Bingham, to try to beat his addiction to cocaine.[134] In 2001, Sorkin along with colleagues John Spencer and Martin Sheen received the Phoenix Rising Award for their personal victories over substance abuse. However, two months later on April 15, 2001, Sorkin was arrested when guards at a security checkpoint at the Burbank Airport found hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana, and crack cocaine in his carry-on bag when a metal crack pipe set off the gate’s metal detector.[6][135] He was ordered to a drug diversion program.[59]

Sorkin continued working on The West Wing amidst his drug abuse.

Sorkin has a personal interest in hookers and drug dealers and other members of the dark world not speaking out about clients such as him. And so almost everything he makes either denigrates women who speak out against powerful men or glorifies women who keep their mouths shut. He always hires beautiful young assistants. I assume they all have to sign NDAs. I assume they all have to fuck him. I assume they’re all shiksas. How long till we find out Aaron Sorkin is a serial abuser of women?

New York Daily News Jan. 30, 2006:

In 2002, Dimitra Ekmektsis told us she’d had a two-year, drug-fueled relationship with Sorkin. But apparently, she left a few stories out. “Confessions of a High-Priced Call Girl” is the title of the book she’s shopping. In it, she writes about the time a prince from Oman flew her out to Vegas for $4,000 a day; about a 65-year-old sporting-goods tycoon who, in the days before Viagra, demanded little more than her company at Le Cirque; and about a unnamed “hot, young film actor” who was so well-endowed he was painful. But no client receives more attention than Sorkin, who she says she met in 1990, when he was 29 and enjoying the success of his Broadway play “A Few Good Men.

” Ekmektsis says he’d pay her $2,000 a night for her “almost weekly” visits to his upper West Side apartment. It was there, she claims, that he introduced her to cocaine. Eventually, she says, she fell in with the soft-spoken, brilliant writer. “The last three or four times we were together, he didn’t pay me at all,” she writes. They lost touch until 1999, according to Ekmektsis, when they started E-mailing. She says he told her he’d written a call-girl character into “The West Wing.

” “I wrote it because (I’m serious about this) I’ve always remembered the way you came over to my apartment,” according to the E-mail she reproduces. “I remember looking at you and thinking: I don’t understand why this isn’t my girlfriend.

” Despite that note, she feels ripped off. “Almost every time we were together in his penthouse, he asked me to tell him in minute-per-minute detail about my life as a call girl. … Who knew then he was gathering information?

It’s impossible to live by the belief that all morality is arbitrary. So we all make a leap of faith to a particular type of morality, often it is one that serves our interests.

Brian Moylan writes in 2014: “Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama The Newsroom has been accused of having something of a “women problem” but now it seems like the problem might be backstage as well. Following the series’ penultimate episode, which aired on Sunday 7 December, many criticised a male character’s reaction to a female rape victim. Alena Smith, one of the show’s writers, tweeted that things weren’t much better for her behind the scenes, claiming she was “yelled at” for expressing a view contrary to Sorkin’s.”

Daily Mail December 2014:

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has denied accusations that he is ‘broke’ and having an affair with an author whose book he is using as a source for his next screenplay.
The accusations were made by Sony co-chair Amy Pascal and came to light last week as part of a batch of hacked emails released by a group calling themselves the Guardians of Peace.
The author in question is Molly Bloom, the poker hostess who was arrested after hosting games with Hollywood A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Tobey Maguire.
The games, which initially took place in a back room at the infamous Viper Room bar on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, frequently saw huge amounts of money won and lost on games.
After an FBI sting put pay to her $4m-a-year job she revealed all the A-list names in her book Molly’s Game – now being used by Sorkin for a screenplay.
Sorkin, the creator of The West Wing and The Newsroom used an op-ed for The New York Times on Monday to deny the relationship with the author is anything but professional.
He wrote: ‘The widely published documents that were stolen include an email to Ms. Pascal in which I advocated going to Tom Cruise for the lead role (I did), a second email from one executive to another speculating that I’m broke (I’m fine) and a third that suggested that I might be romantically involved with a woman whose book I’m using as source material for a new script (I wish).
He added: ‘I know there’s juicy stuff in the emails and I know some of us have been insulted and I know there’s more to come. No one’s private life can totally withstand public scrutiny. But this is much bigger than hurt feelings and banged-up egos.’
The op-ed piece went on to condemn the media for releasing the details hacked from the accounts of Sony executives and ‘doing the bidding of the Guardians of Peace.’
He referred to it as ‘morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable.’
The hacked emails from senior executives at Sony Pictures have so far played havoc with its computer network, revealed confidential information regarding its staff and A-list actors, exposed explosive internal squabbles among senior executives and their emails revealing their true feelings about certain A-list actors.

Emily Nussbaum writes in The New Yorker:

Anyway, there we are, with Don Keefer—one of the few truly appealing characters on the show and half of the show’s only romance worth rooting for, with Munn’s Sloan Sabbith—in a Princeton dorm room, interviewing a girl, Mary, who said she’d been raped. In a classic “Newsroom” setup, she wasn’t simply a victim denied justice. Instead, the woman was another of Sorkin’s endless stream of slippery digital femme fatales; she created a Web site where men could be accused, anonymously, of rape. The scene began with an odd, fraught moment: when Don turned up at her dorm room, notebook in hand, he hesitates to close the door, clearly worried that she might make a false accusation. But since this is Season 3, not 1 or 2, the Web site creator isn’t portrayed as a venal idiot, like the Queens-dwelling YouTube blackmailer on a previous episode, who wrote “Sex And The City” fan fiction and used Foursquare at the laundry. The Princeton woman got to make seventy-five per cent of her case, which, in a sense, only made the scene worse.
Before describing the scene between Keefer and the Princeton student, it’s important to note that the scene’s theme of sexual gossip about powerful men has been an obsession since this show began. For a while, Will McAvoy was tormented by a Page Six reporter who first got snubbed by him, then placed gossip items in revenge, then slept with him, then blackmailed him. There was a similar plot about Anthony Weiner; just last week, Jim’s girlfriend Hallie sold him out in a post for the fictional Web site Carnivore. You’d have to consult Philip Roth’s “The Human Stain” to find a fictional narrative more consistently worried about scurrilous sexual gossip directed at prominent men. It’s a subject that replicates Sorkin’s own experiences, from “The Newsroom” on back to “The West Wing.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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