Monday, January 17, 2011

The Social Network


I've always wanted to put that at the top of a post. But, in this case, it's a bit disingenuous because the movie is all a matter of public record and some of the lawsuits depicted in the movie are on-going, or have been re-opened. That being said, if you don't want to think about this movie before you see it (I often go in reverse order) then you might want to skip this post for now.


I've wanted to see "The Social Network" since it came out, but thought it might be a better 4 dollar movie, than 10 dollar movie, if you catch my drift. (which, after you count babysitters and dinner, becomes a $100 movie. . but that's another blog)

I was right, . . no reason to see this in the cinema except that Jody might've wanted me to shut up a few times. So, she might view that issue differently. :)

The movie is the story of facebook owner/founder Mark Zuckerberg. It was written for the screenplay from the book "The Accidental Billionaries". There has been some dispute over the way the movie presented certain events. But, the director has admitted he took huge liberties, and Mark Zuckerberg has said most of the movie is "fiction".

I'm not here to debate that. Liberties were taken. . Mark Z. is neither a god nor pure evil. What happened on the way to a midly interesting pseudo-documentary was that they made the best movie of the year. (yes, I saw Inception, and yes, it's really good. . . . . in the #2 hole)

Here are a few reasons why it's so good and why you must see it before the Oscars air:

1) The larger story here is about how we communicate with each other, how facebook has changed that, and what a true "friend" is. The movie nails this without being heavy-handed
And it shows, (true or false) how even Zuckerberg could become an addict of his own creation and at any rate. . .was somewhat enslaved to the "approval" facebook brings. Ironic?

2) The writing. This movie probably will not win Picture of the Year (although it did clean up at the Golden Globes last night) because there isn't alot of cinematic beauty or costuming etc. . . . . But, if Aaron Sorkin doesn't win the Oscar for original screenplay, . . they need to call off the awards this year. That would be a travesty.

Some get sick of his rapid-fire dialogue (from his various T.V. shows), but it was a perfect vehicle for Zuckerberg's ego-maniacal nerdery. The way he interjected themes from facebook into the dialogue was pure genius. My favorite was when Zuckerberg's partner, Eduardo Saverin, yells at Mark after being screwed out of millions of dollars "I was your only friend. . .your one friend!!". Ah, the irony. . . . That was a killer scene.

Less obvious was Sorkin's repeated references to farm animals (Zuckerberg's original site was comparing Harvard co-ed's to farm animals) and how that foreshadowed the ever-present "Farmville" on facebook. clever.

How about the opening scene (reportedly took 99 takes) where Zuckerberg gets dumped by his girlfriend for basically not paying attention to her. (something he struggles with throughout the movie. . hmm. . . .ironic?). That was some of the best dialogue I've ever heard in a movie.

Some of the stars of the movie said Sorkin and director, David Fincher had to get them to stop taking breaths and pauses in between sentences ( an actor's go to device) for effect. It worked.

3) The soundtrack

Hello Trent Reznor! I know he's been around a little bit lately. . but this is a beautiful re-appearance for him, just a haunting, pad thick, noisy, dirty soundtrack from the father of all current smash/techno music. It was almost like Reznor was saying "see, this is what happened after the 90's. . . remember what my music told you!"

I could talk about this movie for hours. . . but basically the founder of our society's biggest vehicle for connection and online "friendship" does not connect with others well, and is a bad friend. Wow.

This is drilled home at the end as Zuckerberg tries to make facebook "friends" with his ex-girlfriend and waits, and waits. . . while re-freshing his browser . . for her to respond to his friend request. fade to black. . .

Beautiful, haunting, sad. I loved this movie.

Perhaps facebook won't last forever? No, check that, it definitely won't. Great article.

Great article about Aaron Sorkin on the movie and perhaps that he had an ax to grind with the new media. If that's true. . I don't care. He should win best screenplay. His "ax" was right on the money, and he pulled it off masterfully.


Jeff said...

Haven't seen it yet. I've been wanting to see it for months now.

Now that it's on DVD I'll try to get it for this weekend.

Nice review! (you didn't spoil too much)

Laura said...

I've been really wanting to see it since it came out, and no you didn't spoil it. My sister is in the film biz and absolutely raved about it. I somehow kept missing it in the theaters ...