Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Social Network (Fincher)

I am not on Facebook. I still have yet to be convinced I ought to join Facebook. But I really liked watching a movie about Facebook. And if anything, The Social Network reaffirmed my opinion of Facebook. Just because David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin decided to make a movie about Facebook doesn't mean that they think Facebook is some amazing internet invention either. In fact, I would wager that they share the same opinion of Facebook as I do. They've made a movie about Facebook that's more interesting than Facebook itself.

I mean what's the big deal? So some guy created a website, and everybody started using it, and he made a ton of money, but what did he do really? Did he really make a difference in this world? Did he make people happier? Did he make himself happier?

Good question. I think he was trying. A lot of people might watch this movie and think, "Wow, that Mark Zuckerberg guy's an asshole; I'm glad I'm not as much of an asshole as he is." Does it make me an asshole if I say I kind of related to him? I mean, I could understand why he thought it was OK to be such an asshole. He wasn't an asshole because he enjoyed it. He was an asshole because he was a talented guy trying to do big things, and he didn't really have the patience to deal with all these not-as-talented people getting in his way. Of course, you can do big things and deal with not-as-talented people and still not be an asshole. But that sort of takes all the fun out of it.

Indeed, I'm not sure who came off well and who came off poorly here. Sure, Zuckerberg was an asshole, but at least he wasn't an elitist, snobby asshole like the Winklevoss twins, or a fast-talking sleazeball asshole like Sean Parker. The character who came off least like an asshole was probably Eduardo Saverin, but aside from putting up some early cash, I'm not exactly sure what he did. In fact, I'm not exactly sure what Mark Zuckerberg did. How was Facebook any more impressive than MySpace, or Hot Or Not? Now Napster I can understand: that was impressive. But maybe a movie about Napster wouldn't have been as interesting. Maybe it would have only starred one guy.

Anyways. What a relief to watch a movie where the characters are all incredibly intelligent and ambitious and the filmmakers aren't expecting John Q. Public to understand every single word they say. As Dana Stevens wrote in her Slate review, "Please stop throwing flaming robot cars at me, then asking for an Oscar. Just give some money to some smart people with something to say and let them make a movie." The Social Network was a box office hit. See, Hollywood? It can be done.

Film critic rating: ****
Little Earl rating: ****


Herr Zrbo said...

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails did the score and I was immensely aware of it the entire time. At times it sounded like a few tracks straight off of 'The Fragile'. Especially the opening shots of Zuckerberg walking across campus with an intense eerie piano. Otherwise it was a good movie, I enjoyed it. And I was actually thinking if you LE when Justin Tim... Sean Parker had that rant about the music industry.

Anonymous said...

Great write up on a good film. I think I will post it up on my FB page (not much else is up there, so it will stand out). Facebook ought to be called "acquaintance book" imo. And, yeah, I still like gmail better, but the movie was compelling.