"I take orders from the Octoboss."

The Social Network

tn_socialnetworkTHE SOCIAL NETWORK is the new Dave Fincher picture about the founding of the “Facebook” company, which has had alot of success creating a type of “social networking,” so that’s why it’s called that. You may be thinking Vern, I’ve heard the words before in buzz and in word-of-the-mouth, but what in shit’s name is social networking? Well, let me explain. Social networking is a type of computer thing, or “facebook”, that goes in the lower right hand corner of the page. When people sign in they click “like,” and then some of their pictures show up on there sometimes. It tells them when I have a new review, either because Chris posts it on there, or he programmed it to do it, nobody really knows. This is a way to make new friends or promote your thing, or whatever. That’s why social networking is the future of, you know, computer things.

mp_socialnetworkNow that we’re all on the same page (https://outlawvern.com/2010/10/02/-the-social-network/) let’s discuss the movie. Jesse Eisenberg, the top screen portrayer of smart, awkward pricks (see SQUID VS. WHALE), plays Mark Zuckerberg, the real life founder of Facebook. In the beginning of the movie he says some stupid shit about his girlfriend (the girl that’s gonna play THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) and gets dumped. Pissed off, he deals with it by drinking beer and writing on his Livejournal that she’s a bitch and has small tits, then with the help of his best friend Eduardo (the guy that’s gonna play SPIDER-MAN) and others (the kid from JURASSIC PARK I think) programming a thing where people look at pictures of female Harvard students and vote which one is hotter. This gets him into trouble but also brings him to the attention of the Winklevoss twins (the guy who was gonna play Batman in George Miller’s JUSTICE LEAGUE) who want him to help program an idea they have for a Harvard-exclusive social networking deal. He agrees, but instead makes a similar thing without telling them and registers it at thefacebook.com.

The story of the creation and success of Facebook unfolds in flashbacks as it’s told by the various parties at a deposition for a lawsuit where Mark is being sued by the twins and by Eduardo, his best friend who puts up the money for thefacebook.com in the first place. I’ve seen it described as “RASHOMON style,” but I didn’t notice the different perspectives contradicting each other, it’s not that fancy I don’t think.

The script is by Aaron Sorkin, the playwright who wrote A FEW GOOD MEN and created the tv show “The West Wing.” That means every character is hyper-literate and speaks about ten thousand words a second and the movie is about 99% people talking at each other like they’re having a roman candle fight with words. It’s a little bit much to keep up with, but I felt like about halfway through the opening scene my brain became acclimated and I was fine. But if you can’t stand stylized dialogue where everybody always knows the smartest thing to say without pausing to think about it you better stay the fuck away.

Since the director is David Fincher of course it has excellent performances and pacing, flawless photography and invisible special effects. I think he stays in the background here, willing to play rhythm guitar to Sorkin’s endless show-offy solo. There’s just one weird musical boat racing scene that I think is his way of asking Sorkin’s characters “WILL YOU OBNOXIOUS TWATS SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTHS FOR ONE GOD DAMNED MINUTE SO I CAN GET SOME PEACE AND QUIET AROUND HERE?!?”

To be fair he does get to do some visual storytelling even while the fuckers are yapping. I really like the way the scene of him creating his first revenge-program is intercut with scenes of all the parties and shit going on on campus. It’s all the stuff he feels excluded from, but also probly the stuff he’s excluding himself from by sitting in his dorm room staring at the computer machine.

The score is by Trent Reznor, whose band The Nine Inch Nails really spoke to angsty teens before you guys were born, but for a long time he left music to pursue his other passion of playing video games. But he did a good job here of making nerds typing on computers seem exciting the same way the Dust Brothers made shirtless office workers punching each other seem exciting in FIGHT CLUB.

Speaking of typing on computers, I appreciate that this is one of the very few movies where they seem to just use real computer stuff on the screens instead of dumbed down fake ones with giant letters, spinning animations and bleeping and blooping sounds. During the important scene where he writes mean things about his ex online it includes the <p>s and </p>s that he types out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a movie or TV show before.

Some gunjumpers are saying THE SOCIAL NETWORK defines a generation or a decade or some shit like that. I don’t know, because how can you say this guy represents his generation? Isn’t the whole point of telling his story that he’s unique? But I guess we can agree that it’s a movie about the last decade or so. This is a phenomenon now, the computer genius college kids that create something in their dorm room that years later is a multi-billion dollar company. I’m sure you and I would’ve done that also, but they didn’t have computers back then. Plus, hindsight is 20/20.

But you know, Rick Rubin started Def Jam in his dorm room, produced several landmark mid to late ’80s hip hop albums, went on as a great producer behind that incredible run of “American Recordings” records with Johnny Cash, plus Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”… What I’m saying is it’s possible to do something like that but create lasting works of art that move people instead of just finding ways for people to waste their time clicking on things and taking quizzes. Also you can have a crazy ZZ Top type beard.

But maybe there is some art to programming. To be honest I’m not sure I entirely understand what it means when they say they “invented” Facebook. Obviously they programmed it, but how was the idea that the twins had or that Mark had significantly different from the already existing programs mentioned in the movie like MySpace and Friendster? Or the Harvard web page he got the idea and name from? Or also how is it different from friendpalz, which I invented, although it has not been programmed or registered yet? It’s exactly like all of those programs I mentioned except with the important improvement that I am the inventor and owner of it.

I’m writing this review the same day as seeing the movie, which I don’t usually do these days. But it’s in the spirit of people posting things they shouldn’t on their Facebook pages. I probly need more time for this movie to soak in, my feelings about some of this stuff could very well slide around before the glue dries. But my feeling while watching the movie was that it’s very good, but held to the lofty David Fincher standards I think it’s got some weaknesses. I want my Fincher movies to be perfect, but this didn’t work 100% for me. There is a margin of error.

The story is sort of book-ended by two scenes of women bringing up a question of whether or not Mark is an asshole. At the beginning his about-to-be-ex-girlfriend tells him that he’ll grow up to be very successful and he’ll think girls don’t like him because he’s a nerd, but it won’t be true, they won’t like him because he’s an asshole. At the end (and when I say “at the end” what I really mean is HOLY SHIT HERE COMES A SPOILER) a lawyer played by Rashida Jones tells him “You’re not an asshole. But you try so hard to be.” And that kind of threw me because I think she’s supposed to be right (or maybe I just assume everything Rashida Jones says is right because, hubba hubba in my opinion, Thriller was not the only masterpiece Quincy Jones produced [I apologize]). But if the story supports that statement I didn’t pick up on it. I think the girl at the beginning was right. The guy is an asshole. He earned the dumping at the beginning, and he never learned a lesson from that, just spending the rest of the movie bitterly trying to beat that girl by being successful. He had one very loyal friend at the beginning, and he deliberately fucked him over. There were some guys who thought he was talented, he ripped off their idea and only compensated them when forced to by a lawsuit.

There are other interesting sides to his character – it’s said more than once that he doesn’t care about money, as demonstrated by his opposition to advertising and his story about giving away for free a program that Microsoft tried to buy from him. So what drives him? Status (in the opening scene he’s obsessed with exclusive clubs, his friend thinks he’s jealous of him getting in one) and wanting to show this girl who dumped him a thing or two. But it seems to me there’s gotta be more than that, or if there’s not, there’s gotta be a reason why he got to be such a shallow husk of a human. As the story is wrapping up there are suggestions that he’s not that shallow, that he has a soul and conscience, and the very end is a great computery way to illustrate the tragedy of the situation he got himself into. But where did that come from? Why didn’t we see it before? Eduardo is kind of the lead character for alot of the movie, since the book is based on his claims. So Mark is left somewhat mysterious, but then it ends on him. Is he really not an asshole? I wanna see more proof.

So I feel like as a portrait of a personality there’s a little piece either missing or that I’m missing. But it’s a good story, full of interesting ironies. Here is this websight all about “friends,” made because he says people like to look up their friends online. But offline the guy has no concept of friendship. He has one really good and forgiving friend at the beginning but he trades him in for a “cool” friend, the party dude who started Napster played by Justin Timberlake. (The movie doesn’t acknowledge that that guy ripped off the idea for Napster from Seth Green’s character in the ITALIAN JOB remake).

And there are the little ironies too, like the way their popularizing of this websight affected their own lives. Like Eduardo’s girlfriend gets pissed at him because of the relationship status on his Facebook page.

In my opinion this movie is a rebuttal to REVENGE OF THE NERDS. Here are these two friends, Mark I guess is Robert Carradine, the socially awkard super genius, and Eduardo is Anthony Edwards the more laid back and reasonable best friend. They have a hard time getting into the exclusive clubs, but they use their nerd powers to create something that gets them blowjobs. The problem is these nerds start getting revenge on some guys who didn’t do anything that requires vengeance.

Mark resents the twins for being jocks (I guess at Harvard people who row boats are jocks). They’re tall, handsome, athletic and come from a rich family, but they’ve done nothing to deserve his hatred. In fact when he rips off their idea they’re timid about retribution because they believe they’re “Harvard gentlemen” and should be able to settle it honorably by talking to the guy. They can’t though because they’re the only ones that follow a code of honor, he doesn’t. One of the twins points out “I’m 6’5″, weigh 220 and there are two of me,” and yet they don’t punch the little weiner’s face in either. One of them even points out that he doesn’t want to be the asshole bully in a movie, but he doesn’t say REVENGE OF THE NERDS, he says THE KARATE KID. But it’s not a very good comparison because he doesn’t learn a special move that he does at the end, so it’s more like REVENGE OF THE NERDS. I’m not sure which one is Booger though. Maybe Joseph Mazello. If so he shoulda had more dialogue.

Anyway it’s good. If you have any questions drop me a line on friendpalz.

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 3rd, 2010 at 12:24 am and is filed under Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

103 Responses to “The Social Network”

  1. I kind of see this film as a direct extension of Fight Club, but whereas in that film the Narrator had to invent an alternate personality and actually BECOME that person, The Social Network explores how we have all ostensibly become Tyler Durden. But instead of splitting our personalities in two we are able to carefully select photographs and profile pictures, witty quips for our status updates, ect ect ect. Now we can all look how we want to look, talk how we want to talk, and fuck how we want to fuck. The only problem is that it’s all an elaborate simulacra. None of it is real.

    Too, The Social Network exposes and lays bare the postmodern condition more clearly than I have seen since Bret Easton Ellis’s magnum opus, American Psycho. So much of our lives are online. I would wager to say that a majority of my college memories are tied directly to which photographs I have been tagged in. The moments not photographed and cataloged online might just as well have never happened. Lost in the ether. Because I have the photographs, and the comments page to match, the documented moments somehow feel more REAL than the moments that only exist in my mind and so accordingly, the actual experiences have increasingly become based around creating an opportunity for the perfect snapshot that will just DEMAND 50 responses and a few dozen “likes”. It is a perfect scheme to feed our culture’s growing narcissism; our everyday lives are now ruled by photo ops, moments where we can prove, “yes, I do in fact exist.”

  2. Wow Hunter, VERY well said. I adored this movie, mostly because it made an unlikeable protagonist fascinating. I wouldn’t want to be around Mark, but I admire the way he operates in some way.

    The decade defining thing may just be reviewer hoopla but I can see where they’re coming from. The movie explains how we got to a place where Facebook is an appealing form of interaction, and what it costs us, as dramatically as Mark and Eduardo’s examples but also some of the corruption of the business.

  3. I’m just surprised that it’s doing apparently very well at the box office. Sure, it already got rave reviews when it was just in script stadium, but after all it was still “just” a movie about that popular teen website and I didn’t know anybody, not even real Facebook users, who were interested in seeing this!
    It seems to be the anti-Scott Pilgrim! Pilgrim was the one that everybody was excited about but tanked hard, while Social Network is the one that nobody cared for, but is doing very well at the box office!

  4. Ace Mac AShbrook

    October 3rd, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I went my seperate ways with Facebook some years ago now. I started killing (deleting) everyone I knew. After an orgy of death I had the list down to very close friends. It wasn’t enough. My best friend, my wife, my family, all gone. Eventually it was just me, alone in a digital prison. Inevitably I put the magnum under my chin and pulled the trigger and I was free. And I have got to be honest, my life is a tiny bit better for not having any of that annoying bullshit in it.

  5. The original Paul

    October 3rd, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Scott Pilgrim tanked in America? Damn, that’s depressing. I saw it in a full-to-the-brim cinema, so I don’t know how that happened. Another European thing?

    I gotta say I think Aaron Sorkin is one of the most talented screenwriters ever, as long as he keeps his urge to “grandstand” in check. What I mean by that is that there’s a portrayal of an incredibly idealised White House where everyone in it is intelligent, talented, unbiased by partisanship or commercial interests (bizarrely that sentence isn’t quite as ridiculous as it might have sounded during the Bush years. The thing that depresses me is that if you look at some of the figures reported over here in the BBC, etc, Obama’s the most succesful president of the last thirty years on many issues, and yet the American media seems to treat him like a punching bag… Anyway…)

    So the West Wing season 1 and 2 were fantastic – some of the most well-written TV I’ve ever seen, I think. Sorkin has that rare gift of writing intelligent dialogue about well-spoken, literate people without making a viewer who doesn’t understand everything that’s going on feel like a complete idiot. The weird thing is that somewhere between season 2 and season 3 I thought he lost it.

    Every episode seemed to have at least two or three scenes where a character seemingly picked at random would get their own personal “soap box”. It became less about the characters and the flow of debate between them, more about “grandstanding”. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes grandstanding is good (what would “A Few Good Men” be without Jack Nicholson’s “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” speech?) but it’s gotta have a reason and purpose for being there and it’s gotta fit the mood of the scene.

    I’m definitely going to see this one. I’m just interested to know what Sorkin turns up here. I gotta say his name excites me even more than Fincher’s does (and that’s kind of a big deal, given Fincher!)

  6. I got super lucky and my boss gave me free passes to a sneak peak of this Thursday. I get those passes every few months to random movies and they ALWAYS pack the theatre to the brim. Hell, I saw Year One(I’m sorry) that way, and even that theater was completely full. The Social Network on the other hand was about 50% full, and half of those people were 16-19 year old chicks, who probally had no ideal who David Fincher was or had any buisness seeing a movie with no dance routines or sparkling vampires. The chick a few rows behind me didn’t even make through the opening credit sequence without letting out a complaint of “Well how longs this gonna last?”

    Anyway I thought this movie was an incredibly well-paced piece of filmmaking. For a movie with essentially zero action it actually manages to zip along at a nice clip. It reminded me alot of Frost/Nixon if I had to make a comparison. The dialogue,as Vern pointed out, is lightning fast and doesn’t try to dumb itself down for anybodies sake.

    Andrew Garfield was easily my favorite aspect of the movie. Where Eisenberg is cold and calculating, Garfield is generous and wears his emotions on his sleeve. He also gets one of the best lines of the films when he flexes up on Timberlake in front of the entire facebook company,”I like being near you. You make me look tough”. Good shit. And now I’m actually interested to see his Spiderman. Also, did anyone else feel he was channeling his inner Hayden Christensen in some scenes. I couldn’t help but notice they have crazy similar facial features going on.

    I really,at no point in the movie, was rooting for Zuckerberg to come out ahead of either the twins or Garfield.I’ve never read the book but just going on what the movie shows us it’s pretty clear there was some intellectual theft going on. He’s a genuinely un-likable protagonist.

    The biggest complaint I had was that I felt the ending kind of came out of nowhere and I got no real resolution for what alot of the movie had been about. Zuckerburg didn’t seem to learn anything or grow as a person. I guess Eduardo learned that life sucks and sometimes you can’t trust your friends cause they are smart assholes.

    And Inception is still my favorite of the year. Hands down.

  7. I’m probably one of the only 20 something Americans left without a Facebook, maybe THE only

    of course I’ve thought about getting one one day, but to be honest I don’t really see the point, if I ever want to communicate with my friends I can simply call them and I’m not so narcissistic that I think EVERYONE has to know everything I do, plus I’m kind of a loner, I guess that’s because I’m an only child

    but at the same time it might be useful to get in touch with people I haven’t seen in years or keep in touch with a few wayward cousins who I miss and rarely get to see

    however a couple of years ago I used to be a huge internet addict, I rarely got anything done, so in recent times I’ve been trying to spend my free time doing things like watching movie, reading books and playing video games, instead of just mindlessly browsing websites all night

    oh yeah, I should mention my thoughts on the actual movie at hand, I’d like to see it, but I think I’ll wait for blu ray, it doesn’t seem to be the kind of movie that would be enhanced in any significant way by seeing in theaters

  8. of course I’ll probably fold and be assimilated into the Facebook eventually, resistance is futile

  9. Nah, I joined MySpace back in 2005, because I was bored one night. It was fun for a while, talked to some cool people, but in the end I deleted my account a few months ago, because I didn’t use it anymore. I don’t feel the urge to do that again on Facebook.

  10. I actually did get a Myspace, but I hated that stupid as hell website and never really used it for much, I never deleted it though so I guess it’s still on there

  11. @ hunter d.: remember those times, maybe 15 years ago, when measure of a good summer holiday was how many analogue photo camera rolls of film you used, huh?
    I didn’t see this film, maybe I will when it finally arrives in my third world country, maybe I won’t. but there are couple of things that are very interesting to me.
    First there is “social network” the film, and “social network” as the sujet of the film. I am sure that fincher didn’t do less than expected directing this one, the only problem might be that he is filming new sevens, fight clubs, or whatevers; yea yea, I know, the studios, the producers, the suits that “actually run the business”, I know, resistance is futile. he already has his mannerism, and I guess he’s good at it, but hey – after seeing seven, I couldn’t go straight home, I had to cool down for a while, that’s how intense the impression was. Shit, now that I wrote this down, it does not seem that important and witty anymore. Everybody knows that like 100% of the films are made to make money, so that is an organism with it’s rules and regulations, and it’s clerks who just try to make an honest living. It is me who is putting my reading into their product, not the other way around.
    And my second point of interest is that the sujet of facebook is like very very fresh, it is still being created, and human facebook behavior scientists are yet to make their conclusions on the effect it has on us. I wouldn’t call it a revolution, as it is practically a thing that is available thanks to other revolutionary things, like the internet for example, but it definitely is like the most massive global thing happening right now. Well, apart from hunger, natural disasters, conflicts, etc.

  12. I wonder if this movie will end up being Scarface for nerds.

    I had no clue that Facebook was the something with deep social ramifications. I thought it was just people posting pictures, links to funny videos or articles, and stuff like “Hey, we’re in Florida! It’s so sunny here!”

    Oh, the humanity!

  13. if you don’t mind my asking, what third world country is that Robinzon Post?

  14. So this, what, the third film this year to be called the “defining cinematic experience of a generation”? I guess this has a more legit claim to it than the others, given that Facebook has (perhaps regrettably) played a much more central role in youth culture over the last few years than graphic novels or old video games.

    I may be unveiling myself as a cine-philistine here, but I have to say I can’t convince myself to get excited by this thing, no matter how many good reviews I read. The subject matter just doesn’t interest me, even given the supposedly “surprising” angle the film takes on it. I like Sorkin up to a point, but to be perfectly honest I’m not _that_ big on Fincher, especially after BENJAMIN BUTTON.

  15. Ace Mac AShbrook

    October 3rd, 2010 at 7:20 am

    I know a few people who want to see this and I can’t really see what the buzz is. Guess its just not for me if no one gets push kicked through a window. I mean not even a car chase? A shoot out? What kind of fucking film is this?

  16. Vern – You ever review BENJAMIN BUTTON? Would like to hear your thoughts on that movie, a technically well-crafted, well-acted (its Fincher you know) but the FOREST GUMP shit I didn’t need.

    CJ Holden – It helped that SOCIAL NETWORK wasn’t obnoxiously pimped to death by the Internet Nerd Chic, with blinders to the rest of us who didn’t see what was so special about kicking ass or a pilgrim fighting the world.

    As for people not interested in this picture, New Yorker quite frankly convinced me with this great article/essay.


  17. So, was I the only disappointed person? I thought the movie was at the halfway point when it ended. Every character except Eduardo was a rich asshole, and Eduardo was still rich. I wanted to see the complete and utter destruction of Mark Zuckerberg on screen, but it just didn’t happen. Nothing really did happen. Mark Zuckerberg was an asshole. He was good at writing code, so he used it to made a poorly designed website with a no-privacy policy and an ugly interface. In the process, he lost a friend and became a billionaire. I was hoping for some more direct commentary on the plague of social networking, but the filmmakers had to keep it simple-a vague portrait of a dude who may or may not be doing bad stuff. I get that this shit really happened, but it doesn’t feel significant. Besides, how am I supposed to give a shit about a bunch of Ivy league pretty boys who all end up doing rather well for themselves? Larry Clark should’ve made this movie.

  18. this film ain’t going to do shit in flyover country….fuck the intellectuals

  19. “plague of social networking”? that sounds a bit melodramatic, I think at worst social networking is a big waste of time, not anything really sinister

    now you want to talk about a plague, let’s talk about Twilight

  20. I agree with PacmanFever and Ace Mac AShbrook. I don’t know how in the hell we’re supposed to be excited to see a movie about computer nerds. Even Swordfish, another movie that had a lot of keyboards and monitors, had dude get a blow job forced upon him while he typed in some code. Plus, Berry boobs, so it would have been appealing even without all the gunplay.

    It is kind of cool, though, that Fincher is helming a movie about a subject near & dear to the hearts of millions of shallow teenage girls & guys, who are, I suspect, going to be unpleasantly surprised by the actual film, despite the prominent presence of the Timberlake and another depiction of the awesome world that is 21st century college life. (Not the best comparison here, but I remember seeing in a documentary that FF Coppola pitched & described his idea for The Godfather as a metaphor for the rise of capitalism in America. Studio producers freaked the fuck out and had to pester him to make sure he was making a gangster movie, just a good, bloody movie about the mob and criminals, not a 3 hour docu-poem. Also gotta love how FFC later adapted one of the most opaque great works in English literature and had it pushed as a war movie. Now, *that’s* good subversion. Other examples anyone?)

    I partially agree with Hunter D.. Well said about the Tyler Durden jive. I’m unique, though, b/c I’m such an awesome, beautiful guy in person that my online persona actually somehow diminishes me, no matter how clever and choosy I am with my pics & status updates.

    Alright, I’m gonna go look at myself in the mirror now. Shoot me a msg @ http://www.friendpalz.com/Mouth100.

  21. RRA, are you also a subscriber to The New Yorker? I love that publication, yet it’s hard to find anyone who actually reads it. Their fiction podcast is solid, too.

  22. Loudabagel dude come on, it’s based on a true story and if the movie had continued after where it ended we would have just seen Zuckerberg making even more money and probably making a bunch of new cool friends, or at least getting really cool computers that could play video games really fast without breaking the computer. So it actually makes sense that the movie ends where it does, it’s the most obvious end point of this dudes life thus far.

    Also I know for a fact you don’t think social network sites aren’t as bad as a “plague” because i’ve seen you use at least three.

    Although Larry Clark making a competing social network movie would have been great, maybe about Tom from Myspace. Larry Clark would probably be more willing to fudge the facts and give him HIV or something, he’d certainly think about murdering people and he’d definitely wear really tight jean shorts.

  23. The original Paul

    October 3rd, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Mouth – if I thought “Social Network” had any resemblance at all to “Swordfish”, I’d run a mile rather than see it. That film (“Swordfish”) spends the first five minutes having John Travolta lecture us about how Hollywood produces crap, and the next ninety or so proving him right.

    Redneck and Ace – on the assumption that you’re being the sarcastic voice of the dumbed-down generation – heeheehee. :)

    Griff – I don’t have a facebook account. I have various accounts on gaming sites, forums etc, and I’d prefer to keep them all separate. Should I ever own a successful business or become a top executive or something, I don’t want people googling my full name and finding forum posts on movie and gaming boards.

  24. I think some of you kids bitching about why anyone wants to see a movie about nerds/Internet are missing the point. That New Yorker piece made a compelling argument that if FIGHT CLUB had been about ultimately a failed generational X revolution against the status quo, SOCIAL is of a successful revolt by Gen Y.

    Mouth – No but I do steal copies from doctor’s offices. Amazing how when you go into one, you sit and wait a few minutes before you lift it because hey why the hell would you go to a doctor office unless you’re there for an appointment?

    Anyway New Yorker has some good shit, if at times snobby but hey they had that great piece last year which basically compared/contrasted HURT LOCKER and TRANSFORMERS 2, why one was a great “action” movie and the other was dogshit. So good points, and funny cartoons on the side.

    In short, MAD for adults.

  25. If thousands of little girls are going to pile into theaters to see Justin Timberlake not do a song and dance, then this movie might be worth it. Imagine how many of them will go home and start slagging off the film about Facebook and the guy who made Facebook on Facebook. Genius.

  26. “I’m writing this review the same day as seeing the movie, which I don’t usually do these days. But it’s in the spirit of people posting things they shouldn’t on their Facebook pages.”
    Therefore, if they do a movie about Twitter, will you do a review in 140 characters or less?

  27. I hear ya, RRA, but don’t get me started on The Hurt Locker.
    When I was still a minor, I didn’t think The Insider would be a good movie, due to its talky premise, but when I finally saw it on VHS I saw that I had been wrongwrongwrong about that masterpiece. So, I’ll surely see The Social Network soon, even if it looks boring. . . and even though I disliked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Zodiac. . . and even though I have the irrational urge to headbutt Aaron Sorkin. . . and even though that Eisenberg cat is in Mike Cera territory for my least liked Hollywood dudes.

    And Paul, I don’t mean to say that Swordfish is a good film. I’m glad I only saw it once, but the pre-release appeal of the movie — the Berry appeal, the previews of guns & car chases, the most famous hot black chick in the world nude sunbathing for some reason, the Travolta as a crazy bad guy, the hubba hubba Halle — was definitely there, thus drawing me to the box office.

  28. Mouth – You didn’t like ZODIAC? I mean I get if people didn’t like BUTTON* but ZODIAC? That I just don’t understand.

    Funny enough your Eisenberg/Cera comment is interesting considering Cera’s last few movies have flopped in theatres while Eisenberg’s ZOMBIELAND did well last year and SOCIAL NETWORK won the weekend.

    As for “Talking Movies,” I never got people’s allergy to them. The best ones are just as riveting and action-packed (if in a different context) as the dialogue-lite pictures. Take ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, maybe one of the best political thrillers/mysteries ever produced and you don’t have genre traditions like car bombs or framed hero or gunfights or chase through a building’s stairs, all that.

    Or for that matter, Robert Altman’s SECRET HONOR about Richard Nixon babbling his life story, pet peeves, grudges, triumphs, and state secrets into a tape recorder over 90 minutes without anyone else or leaving the room.

    *=Strange you find many non-cinemaphile people who loved that and its still one of Netflix’s top rentals so I guess we’re the minority on that one.

  29. RE: Robinzon Post

    No, I don’t remember that. I was 6 years old at the time. However, I think there is a difference because Polaroids were made to be private, (not even a film developer has to see them). You could remember the moments, but only you had a copy. And a physical copy, I might add.

    Now, not only do we have no physical copy, we have digital simulacra of “photographs” that are not made for you to keep in a coffee table book, but rather designed to share with everyone as a tool for defining your “online” self.

    And I say all of this as a guy who has a charming as fuck online persona on social networking sites. In fact, I’m pretty good at meeting girls online. It suits my strengths. I’m reasonably good looking, but my strongest point is definitely my use of language. As such, in the text based form of say, Ok!cupid, or Friendsplaz (which I’m assuming is a dating site for those with palsy?) I can go from an intriguing guy, to a very attractive guy. Plus, since I can use any photograph I want, I never have to have a bad hair day. And no one needs to know that I have a horrible haircut at the moment.

    A few days before The Social Network came out, I finally broke down and deleted an ex-girlfriend’s facebook page (the only ex-girlfriend who matters, really). It was torture to have her there. She’d update periodically, almost always about her current beau, and it was like daggers in my gut every time. But I simply COULD NOT make myself delete her. I’d find myself visiting her page, looking over her photographs. It was an act of extreme masochism, frankly. And when I deleted her page, I felt so…light. It was like a pathetic, twenty-first century variation on Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

    If my long-winded thoughts on this seem overdeveloped it’s because I’ve been working on a chap book (book of slam poetry) about this subject. I’m gonna call it, “I Hope you Smile as Wide as your Profile Picture.”* But after seeing Social Network (funny how “the” always seems to get dropped in these things?) that entire concept might be redundant.

    *The first one was called “Songs About Women I will Never Marry.” Chicks dig it.

  30. Thing is, RRA, I read books. And a lot of magazine articles and online pieces. So, in order to compete with wordy works of art that are indeed composed of nothing but words, a heavily dialogue-based film has to be really phenomenal and cutting if it’s not going to wow me with its mise-en-scene. 12 ANGRY MEN might be the best talky movie ever, but most films are not comparable with it.


    ZODIAC was. . . well, it reminded me how much I like the music of Donovan. I appreciated the realistic visual period piece aspects of it. Also, I think Se7en is overrated, but I’ve been meaning to rewatch to see if I should reassess.

  31. Never understood social networks. Well the way they’re presented like this new revolution in internet communications. I mean , we’re on the net , right now , and we are socializing , right ? We’re doing it here in the comments section of Vern’s website , and it’s working pretty well so far. I really don’t see the need to have something like Facebbok completely dedicated to socializing . Plus , I really don’t like how some of those websites are designed , more often than not I really don’t understand what the fuck is going on in Twitter comments , it seems like a disjointed mess. I guess that Facebook “friend-score-counter” can be interpreted as the need for attention of a lot teens nowadays , or maybe the internet-related evolution of fake relationships ( and now that I think of it , David Fincher is really a good choice , because the issue of “bite-size-relationships” is mentioned in Fight Club ). But I really think that this social networking is just another media sensation that is constantly mentioned everywhere. I don’t know about you guys , but before here it was Livejournal , than MySpace , than Youtube , than Facebook and now Twitter ( with a little stop at Second Life , but that’s a little different) , all constantly mentioned by mainstream TV news in an attempt to jump on the bandwagon or to come to terms with new and evolving technology , to appear edgy and modern. I really don’t think that this shit is defining this generation.

  32. Kermit – How about the Internet as a whole, would that define a generation?

  33. RRA: More likely than social networking , yes , absolutely , if you want to look at it that way. But I think that it’s just a total generalization . As with political and historical movements you have to consider time and place. For example TV and newspapers , every mainstream news sources here in Italy , are still catching up with this new Twitter thing , sometimes a journalist will drop the term “Twitter” and act like he’s way ahead of the competition . And we’re still talking about Second Life here , like it’s still hot shit. Recently there’s this boom over here of “Jersey Shore” , we just started to show the first season subtitled , and it created a TV sensation because a guy punched another guy or something. We’ve got re-runs of your reality-tv , subtitled for us. That’s a way more scary indication of where Italy is right now than any Twitter feed.

    But what is really defining Italy right now is unemployment. Like , for real , literally , it’s at an all time high since post WW2.

  34. Well, I for one am certainly glad that no major media outlet has been prominently covering the 2 ongoing war operations led by the United States. I’d hate to have something trivial like that define our current generation on this side of the pond, especially when the most significant development of the past decade is obviously that the vast majority of the world’s population has discovered the ability to share photo albums of beer pong matches.

    Unemployment? Whatever, I need to focus on the issues that matter to my generation, like figuring out how much gel to put in my hair before tonight’s party.

    Midterm elections, issues, & policy positions? Nah, much better that we all know precisely where Paris Hilton and Snooki are located and what they are wearing right this instant.

  35. Kermit – I would also worry about your baffoon PM*, who also happens to own or control most of your country’s news media. Him still in power is almost like when Dubya got re-elected. How the hell?

    Mouth – Now now old-timer why you telling me to give a shit about two wars when instead I go to the mall, go see SOCIAL NETWORK, and bitch about it at AICN? I rather do that than get an IED up my ass.

    *=I liked his claim that Mussolini NEVER killed his opponents. Shit not even Dubya was ever that daft.

  36. RRA : I hear you , man . I tried ( yes , personally!) to vote him out of this galaxy for years now , but he’s still there.
    As you say , he’s the owner of almost all of the newspapers and 3 television stations . So , when I look at Italy from outside, the foreign press is obviously very critical about Berlusconi , but the italian press is actually praising him , or ignoring what other countries are writing of him altogether.
    With every category of workers , from airplane pilots to teachers , manifesting in the streets , a trash crisis in Naples ( I’m talking about actual garbage , that is left in the streets for weeks ) and the current economic crisis , I still think that his political program is just “freedom from everyone”. He’s an important figure in more than one investigation and trial , and instead of solving problems , he has passed laws granting trials-immunity to the most important figures of State ( himself included ) , laws against the use of telephone surveillance ( one of the most valuable weapons against Mafia related crimes …and right after the Police recorded him talking about “favors” with another asshole!) and is currently working on a law to make trials time shorter . Man , how the fuck did this happen ?

  37. Oh , I almost forgot , two members of his party ( one even a minister!) , are fascists nostalgics , and you can see them doing the roman salute in a couple of photos and videos . When Obama was elected , his comment was “He’s tanned”. I’m not making this shit up .

    Anyway , I’m glad to see that outside of Italy , people can still see him for he really is . Thanks , RRA !

  38. “People can still see him for what he really is” . That’s another thing defining this generation : poor grammar !

  39. Kermit – But your grammar as an excuse, English aint your native tongue. You expect me to be fluent in Italian outside of what I’ve heard in porn and mob movies? I think not. Which leaves Anglo-Americans for speleng soo bad.

    Personally my favorite Berlusconi gaffe was when he promised to abstain from fucking until after the election. On one hand that’s sorta awesome in an absurd comedy-sketch-come-to-life fashion and yet considering his flaccid age (71), that’s not as impressive as he boasted. He might as well have said he just won’t take blue pills.

    Its like Bob Dole, but not as fucking creepy and disgusting.

    As for that “tanned” line, fucker looks like a tanbed warning. Especially when compared to those college girls he’s always fucking around with.

  40. The movie that best defines my generation is The Beach.

  41. That’s why I can’t watch it.

  42. RRA : Wow , you really know your Italian-politics-related stuff ! We usually assume that everyone knows at least a little bit of the American political-social-economic situation , because it’s such a big country with far reaching consequences for all of us foreign countries , but we also always assume that nobody gives a fuck about our little “republic”.

    And , our prime minister is famous for the volume and quantity of his gaffes. The last one is from a few days ago. He was telling a sessist joke , and he dropped a blasphemy-bomb , with cameras rolling . Obviously his party is the religious , anti-divorce type. Oh and by the way , he’s also divorced.

  43. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    October 4th, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Is the Italian PM the old fart who keeps getting caught in bed with call girls young enough to be his grand children?

  44. Jareth Cutestory

    October 4th, 2010 at 9:50 am

    REVENGE OF THE NERDS trivia: The guy who played “Booger” in the movie now plays a character named “Snot” on AMERICAN DAD. Talk about a varied career!

    dieselboy: If you haven’t seen it, Garfield (not the cat) is awesome in RED RIDING 1974.

    Griff: I’ve never even been on the Facebook site, let alone considered joining it. Resistance is not futile.

    Kermit: Didn’t Berlusconi recently tell the victims of the L’Aquila earthquake that they should think of their new homelessness as a big camping trip? What a fucking dick.

  45. Dude, Red Riding could have totally used some GARFIELD!


  47. Ace Mac : Oh yes, that’s the jackass. As I said , he’s now divorced , and during the aftermath , his ex-wife said that he’s a “sick man” because he’s always running around underage girls.

    Jareth : Yes . The victims of the Aquila Earthquake were relocated ( and some still are ) in wooden temporary houses.
    So , after loosing their homes and living in shelters , this moron said that he was gonna fix everything and , for the time being , “just imagine to be camping”. Now the victims and Aquila’s
    authorities are one of the groups manifesting in the streets for lack of money for the rebuilding process.

  48. Since my “movie time” is limited, I’m torn between seeing Social Network, The Town and I’m Still Here. Any suggestion ?

  49. The Town was really good. I haven’t seen the other two, although I’m Still Here seems to be a “wait for DVD” type movie, so I’d go with The Town or Social Network.

  50. “…my feelings about some of this stuff could very well slide around before the glue dries”…this is what sets you apart from the others, Vern. Honesty. Great review (haven’t seen the movie yet).

  51. My mind is blown and i’m stuned to read words that says that SEVEN and ZODIAC are over-rated. Once i used to think that excelent movies spoke for themselves, their qualities were present, obvious and undeniable. How little did i know. MOUTH, rewatch and reacess SEVEN and ZODIAC pronto. Those two are GREAT movies. That’s how GREAT movie look like, if you need a photo to show.

  52. So Asimov, go over to Nerd Shit and tell us how happy you are that Zach Snyder is directing SUPERMAN.

  53. No, you tell me, because you are the one who has an even worst case of the dislikes for Snyder. You are the one who hated him right away since DAWN OF THE DEAD. Besides, i vented it all on AICN, with a judicious use of the F word, if you get my meaning. Nolan disapoints.

  54. Guys, no need to fight. I’m sure you both hate him equally.

  55. Majestyk – My hatred is bigger than his. Sorry did that come out awkward?

    Anyway, is SOCIAL NETWORK the movie that gets Fincher the Oscar?

  56. There’s just something about AsimovLives that always peps me up when I see him ’round deez parts.

    Concerning the universally beloved older Fincher flicks, I’ll kindly steal from Vern’s words and hijack Jed’s note for myself: “…my feelings about some of this stuff could very well slide around before the glue dries”… and my glue takes a very long time to dry in some cases.

    Last year about this time, we probably all saw a whole bunch of top 10 & top 100 lists and stuff, and we all kept seeing Zodiac way up there, so obviously I intend to find out some day what the hell is wrong with me for not thinking it better than a 3 star film at best. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was by far the best non-animated film of 2007.

  57. Mouth – To be fair, ASSASSIONATION was a hell of a movie even though according to accounting, it was the biggest flop of that year. Not that it matters, I don’t fault anyone for picking it #1.

  58. The original Paul

    October 5th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Hoooooly crap Asimov and I agree on something. It’s another sign of the apocalypse…

  59. RRA — not so sure about this New Yorker piece. I agree that the resonance of this film is with a generation which seeks to commodify everything, especially people… and then feels increasinly victimized that no one is interested in them personally. But I’m not sure Fincher’s take on Zuckerberg is quite as unique as they make it out to be…

    “Charles Foster Kane was convivial and outgoing; Zuckerberg engages only the world he is creating. But those viewers who think of him as nothing more than a vindictive little shit will be responding to only one part of him. He’s a revolutionary because he broods on his personal grievances and, as insensitive as he is, reaches the aggrieved element in everyone, the human desire for response. He’s meant to be a hero—certainly he’s Fincher’s hero, an artist working in code who sticks to his vision and is helpless to prevent himself from suffering the most wounding personal loss…”

    I mean, I just don’t buy that having a angry guy who finds no meaning in anything other than striking back for percieved wrongs is all that unique. Its bacially the same as any revenge movie, except this is less interesting because its on computers. Is it so unexpected to imply that the angry guy at the center is a little sad, too? I think the more interesting angle is that Zuckerburg is a parable of a generation that lost its soul to the iconography of life, rather than actual life itself. The idea that there’s anything heroic about his lashing out at the world he feels doesn’t appreciate him sufficiently… I just don’t buy that Fincher sees it that way, or that the audience should. The essay makes a good case for why Fincher would make a film like that, but Im not sure this is the one.

  60. I still don’t know what Fincher saw in this story. I mean, why take down this guy who, aside from apparently being an asshole, didn’t do anything nearly as bad as a million other businessmen. These social networking sites are interesting contemporary phenomena, but I would be hard pressed to say the same thing about their founding/er. At least they’re providing us a nice little service. This Zuckerberg guy has contributed a little bit to society. The same cannot be said for Wall Street bankers who have royally fucked up the economy but somehow are still kings of the world. A film about Wall Street’s last decade (and no, that Oliver Stone sequel does not count) would be interesting.

  61. Why doesn’t the WALL STREET sequel count?

  62. This is one of those movies that I liked but didn’t love, but it has stuck in my head and keeps bringing up different ideas. I’ve been thinking more about my REVENGE OF THE NERDS comparison, and I think that really is one of the themes here. We always talk about this idea of “geek” and “nerd” culture and how the meaning of it has flipped. It used to be that being nerdy or geeky was a bad thing socially, now young people want to prove to each other how “geeky” they are. But they still resent the popular people, which if I understand correctly now includes not just athletes but these “hipsters” seem to be cast as the bad guys.

    What I’m getting at is that this sort of rise-to-power story could’ve been told in the ’80s, but it would be about a handsome Patrick Bateman type, a guy who proves himself socially and impresses people with his nice suits, and gets rich at a law firm or something. It would be the guy who gets invited to those exclusive parties that we see while Mark is programming “face smash” or whatever. Mark doesnt get invited, but infiltrates by getting the people at the parties to look at his websight.

  63. Huh, on Devin Feraci’s new blog, he also specifically compares this moive to Revenge of the Nerds. It’s a great, thoughtful post you guys should all read: http://between2gigs.blogspot.com/2010/10/if-women-had-invented-facebook-they.html

  64. Vern – did you read that New Yorker article that RRA posted? It posits that Fincher sees Zuckerburg as a hero, and that we’re supposed to root for him to get back at the world for their supposed wrongs to him (by not paying him enough attention, thinking he was awesome, etc). I don’t really see it that way at all — I see the film as a tragedy about a generation that thought they could replace actual human contact with stats. So it’s more like the nerds take revenge, and then realize they’re still nerds, and not just nerds but bitter, unlikable ones who chose to take revenge rather than change even a little to meet people halfway who might have actually liked them.

  65. Guys I finally saw SOCIAL NETWORK and its not a good movie. It’s a FUCKING good movie, so I don’t get the lukewarm, tap water, salt taffy reaction around here to it. I understand why some people write that they were in euphoria after seeing it, though honestly the more direct companion comparison piece is ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, which Fincher once cited as one of his favorite movies.

    Like MEN, Fincher’s SOCIAL really is fucking stacked to shit with information which somehow they were able to condense it enough (without coming off as condensed) within the narrative to make it understandable, even to the non-techphiles in the audience. Thrilling, compelling, about a bigger topic told in a smaller story, all that shit. As for whether its as good as FIGHT CLUB or SE7EN, which seems to be another measuring stick facet around here….Its like if we’re talking Beastie Boys and this is 1992 and CHECK YOUR HEAD just came out, and its not like the rap LICENSE TO ILL or rap/sampling PAUL’S BOUTIQUE. Still an excellent Beastie Boys records (one of the best 90s records in fact) with rap and sampling, but much more rock which was always in their blood. Apples and oranges, all that shit.

    Maybe you guys payed too much attention to the critical “hype” and grading against that, which maybe is the wrong way to go. And if so I apologize for adding onto that with the New Yorker piece. Sorry. Still I’m sure AsimovLives will dig this stuff.

    Mr. Subtlety – Actually I think certain people will see him as a “hero.” Remember WALL STREET, that blunt morality play with Michael Douglas practically bearing horns and hoaves? He’s the devil, yet he became an icon which inspired countless people to become stockbrokers. Which is kinda like Hitler inspiring you to get a major in Speech.

    Personally the best character/actor in SOCIAL for me was probably Timberlake who got the best lines. “Nothing.”

    Vern – I think Devin is onto something. What’s the real difference between that guy’s first moment at the laptop and that last scene? He may be the world’s youngest billionaire, but he’s still an asshole in the dark behind a laptop.

  66. BTW, I liked how Fincher used the Beatles’ “Baby, you’re a rich man” at the ending. So unexpected, and fitting.

  67. RRA – I can certainly see how some people would be able to see him as a hero; your WALL STREET comparison is entirely apt. But the New Yorker article argues that Fincher sees him as a hero and in some ways as an inspirational figure (to quote the same passage again, “He’s a revolutionary because he broods on his personal grievances and, as insensitive as he is, reaches the aggrieved element in everyone, the human desire for response.”) and while I can see the exact generation of bitter nerds the movie is examining perhaps identifying with him on some level, I just don’t buy the idea that the movie sees him as a hero.

  68. Mr. S – Then one disagrees with the article. I only say that people a few at least will inevitably be inspired by him, and not for the better.

    From my end, I thought the movie saw him as a prick. But putting aside his moral failings and douchebagness, I think Fincher might be in awe of the general idea that this guy (with help of others, especially others’ money) sticking it to the despised usual “powers” of society like the blue bloods, the corporations, the jocks, all that.

    Which is not the same thing as seeing him as a “hero”, mind you.

  69. The conservative columnist, David Brooks, also compared the Social Network to Revenge of the Nerds. Of course, he’s kind of a prick.

  70. Fincher says his big inspiration for SOCIAL NETWORK was TAXI DRIVER, even up to telling Jessie E. to play Zuckerberg like the modern Travis Bickle. Interesting, guess he really relates to it more as a character piece then anything else.

    Personally, I can see some similarities to films like REDS, DEAD RINGERS and the aforementioned ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN as well.

    Facebook is arguably a major transformation in human interaction and communication on par with the telegraph, the telephone, and cinema itself. It’s basically giving everybody a public forum to make Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame mass-media prophecy come true: it’s Marshall McCluhan’s theories about virtual space, it’s a William Gibson story. I think that deserves a movie.

  71. RBatty024 – I like Brooks. Unlike most right-wingers who daily fret about liberal gay muslim communists trying to ban God, burn the American flag, and surrender to the Taliban, Brooks resides and talks about a reality where most of us live in. Really the country, shit the world, would be better if right-wingers were more like Brooks and less like Beck.

    Also lets admit it, he called out AVATAR rightly (regardless of film merit debate) as a white guilt liberal fantasy.

    His article on SOCIAL NETWORK:


  72. Mark Zuckerberg: TIME Person of the Year.

    Shit, is there any contest SOCIAL NETWORK won’t win this year?


    Personally I was hoping for Julian Assange. That would comfort the guy before he gets his ass shipped to Guantanamo.

  73. Well, I finally saw this movie today, and It was outstanding.

    VERN, you probably don’t read my post this late in the game, but I think “unlockin” Mark isn’t really that hard.

    The thing is, he is a guy who doesn’t like himself, and doesn’t respect himself. And like so many people with low self-esteem, he is always trying to prove his worth to others. He always wants to be the smartest guy around, he can’t admit he is wrong, he wants to be admired and respected by everyone in the world. He wants the money, the girls, the fame, the power, everything, to prove the whole world that he is worth something.

    (BTW, he wasn’t uncommercial, he didn’t want to have ads on the site simply because he felt it would work against the commercial potential of the site to have ads in there too soon).

    And so he sacrifices his integrity, his morals, his friendship, his soul, everything, to get the respect and love he so much craves. And when he finally does get all that money, power, fame and superficial respect, he’s not feeling anything at all. He feels just as unloved and disrespected as always.

    “You are not an asshole. You just try very hard to be one”.

    …That means that in his quest to be loved and respected, Mark shut off everyone who could potentially love and respect him.

    And there he is in the end, alone, in desperation trying to re-connect with someone who liked him once. That’s his arc. After everything, he did learn something.

  74. Liked this movie alot, don’t get me wrong – but isn’t it kind of weird that critics have unanimously praised this movie without really mentioning that the hero of the piece is a British guy (Andrew Garfield) playing a Brazilian guy (Eduardo Saverin)? I mean at least they didn’t straight up change the race like “21”, but it’s a curious decision and I’m kinda perplexed they couldn’t find a Hispanic actor that they didn’t need to freaking put makeup on to darken his skin.

    Oh, and Max Minghella (another British actor in makeup) plays an Indian guy named Divya Narendra. Since I’ve already seen Minghella in alot of stuff, everytime they said the name “Divya Narendra” in the movie I had no idea who they were talking about because I was like “I don’t recall any Indian characters, who the fuck are they talking about?”

  75. Just saw this the other day. Well made, good dialogue, enjoyed Reznor’s score, but couldn’t say that I really liked it altogether. Mainly because I kept thinking th whole time how I’d like to kick Zuckerberg in the teeth. I found the guy so morally reprehensible that I am considering deleting my facebook because I don’t want to support anything having to do with him. not that it would make much of an impact. Also, I just can’t stand Jessie Eisenberg. Not that I don’t think he’s a good actor or anything, I just hate his voice, the way he looks, and how he carries himself. I guess that makes me an Eisenbergist or whatever, but oh well. You can’t help how you feel. Regardless, Fincher is still on point as a director.

  76. Í’m a bit late in this disucssion, but I’m surprised that none of you have mentioned what I percieved as a major twist in the end.

    Rashida’s character is basically saying, that even though she has little experience with law, she’s still able to see through all the accusations that about 85 % of the story is exaggerated, because it’s all testimony laden with emotions. And the movie is structured so that it follows the testimonies, even though they’re supposedly not true.

    I see it as a direct comment on how it’s almost impossible to get to the truth about Zuckerberg, Facebook, who said what, who owes who zillions of dollars etc,

    Her remarks makes the movie an interesting paradox in my opinion since it beomes both an interesting biopic as well as a deconstruction of a biopic.

    Sort of a Rashomon for computer geeks.

  77. Man I’ve tried twice now to sit through it when it came on STARZ and I can’t make it past 40 minutes without shutting out.

    Everything people loved about it I actually hate so it’s a frustrating watch. Like I think Armie Hammer is a horrible actor. It’s a shitty performance on both ends because there’s not even anything real distinctive to seperate the twins the way he plays them. It’s just the same character with extra lines but people thought otherwise.

    Jessie Eisenberg is supposed to be an asshole. So I guess the fact that I wanted to punch him in the throat was just a case of a job well done on his part. I’m a Reznor fanatic & even I can’t stand this at times amateur elevator music sounding shit most of the time and it feels out of place. Like it’s too somber at points where it doesn’t need to be. A score is supposed to be a character within itself not an out of place distraction IMO. I will say I did enjoy the PRETTY HATE MACHINE sound throwback that played during the part where the kids started going internet nuts on campus though.

    I think the cinematography is WAY off in the movie. It’s not technically bad but it’s the wrong tone for this film. I’m expecting a serial killer and detectives to show up any minute at random. Just so damn bleak. Which brings me to another thing if Fincher is so adamant about reusing his tropes why settle for that one and not have a dynamic credits sequence? seriously. It’s one of my favorite things about his movies (Ie: SEVEN, FIGHT CLUB) the opening credits for this one were as bland as the movie itself.

    I’m having a hard time with this one. I feel that I SHOULD like it but it’s such an uninteresting movie to me on every level I don’t know if I could try giving it another chance.

  78. The film it really reminds me of is THE INSIDER. Both films a case of a director going outside of the more lurid and visceral aspects of their work, and turning it inward. The stakes are not so immediately life-and-death but the approach to the things both Fincher and Michael Mann find interesting about human nature are no less transparent in them than they are in their other work. Dialogue takes on the dimensions of a high-powered shootout in terms of set pieces, whether it’s the opening conversation between Zuck and his girlfriend and Saverin’s lap-top destroying confrontation or Mike Wallace cursing out a CBS executive. Or this.


    I feel like the discussion about factual verascity when it comes to THE SOCIAL NETWORK has been made null and void by how exponentially Facebook has grown, and how the issue of Zuckerberg’s responsibility to the people who depend on it for information has come into question in recent years. The absolute drubbing AOC gave him in front of Congress a few years ago shows that the film may not have been too off the point as to how he was depicted in the film.

  79. The film depiction was on point in that it depicted Zuckerberg as a malevolent force for evil, but off point in that it depicted him as witty and cool under pressure. In those real life hearings he’s nervous, sweaty and intensely awkward.

  80. For the life of me, I will never understand what Zuckerberg is supposed to have pioneered. Conceptually and functionally, Facebook was no different than MySpace. It just hit at the right time to catch the wave of older folks who suddenly figured out how to get online. It could have just have easily been fucking Friendster if the Boomers had been able to wrap their heads around the cyber a few years earlier. Why do you think Zuckerberg got an Aaron Sorkin movie and not Tom from MySpace? Because Boomer Supreme Sorkin was still thinking this internet thing was a fad and these damn kids should get off his lawn when MySpace was big, so Facebook sure seemed like a big honking deal to him when he read an article in the newspaper about it.

    That’s why Zuckerberg always comes off like such an out-of-his-depth turd: He didn’t do jack shit except be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of somebody else’s idea. Fuck that guy. I’ll never watch his movie. I don’t care what an asshole it makes him out to be. It’s still more than he deserves.

  81. I’m going to piggyback on Majestyk to raise another issue with this movie that absolutely baffles me — the invention of the girl the Zuckerberg character in the movie is obsessed with. From what I understand this is a total fabrication, Zuckerberg met his wife while they were both at Harvard and they’ve been together ever since. For the life of me I can’t process how the movie tries to get away with making this girl Zuckerberg’s Rosebud, his primal wound…. it’d be like Citizen Kane ending with a title card saying “Just kidding, Kane had a great childhood and never had a sled!”

    I have absolutely no idea why Sorkin felt like this was necessary to invent seemingly out of whole cloth. It feels so hacky and cheap to me, like Sorkin and/or Fincher somehow wanted to make a movie about Zuckerberg and Facebook but somehow didn’t understand the real people and events well enough to make a movie about them. Why make a movie about real people if you are going to invent nonsense like this to hype things up?

    Definitely made me regret having given this film 2 hours of even part of my attention.

  82. I thought Facebook took off because all the celebrities started using it and the rest of the crowd, thought, holy shit, you mean I can be friends with Michael Phelps and Lil Wayne? I’m not sure why the celebs went with Facebook over My Space. Wasn’t it leaner when it first started? More like Twitter where people just went on to say pithy things and post a picture or two, whereas My Space you had to design your page and add music and all that.

  83. Majestyk – Have you really never seen it? That’s pretty much what the movie is about. He’s a weird nerd who accidentally got super rich for a stupid thing and betrayed all his friends because he sucked. I agree that Sorkin is a jackass, but he was correct that this was an interesting story, and he made a great movie out of it.

    Ben C. – According to my brief research they changed the name of the girlfriend, but used almost verbatim his
    Livejournal post where he calls her a bitch. Whether or how much his anger at this specific woman fueled him during that time, it thematically ties in with the fact that he made a program to rate the looks of women against each other. I think this theme is more interesting than telling the exact historical facts (although Sorkin claims in interviews that their research was so thorough that Fincher wouldn’t let him drink a screwdriver because they found out he was drinking beer).

  84. Sensei, thanks for pointing that out — I should have tried to be clearer in my original post that what bugged me was the closing image of Eisenberg / Zuckerburg obsessively refreshing the Facebook page of the girl from the early scene at Harvard. If I’m remembering the scene right, and how it fits into the overall movie? Just seemed like a case of the screenwriter imposing an emotional dynamic on E/Z’s behavior throughout the movie… implying that it was all for the unrequited obsession with a girl who rejected him.

    Of course if I am misremembering the film or misconstruing what I saw as Sorkin inventing something for the sake of adding drama… then I will humbly slink away and return to watching snippets of RUMBLE IN THE BRONX on youtube. (frankly I’ll do that in any case)

  85. I liked MySpace more when I started on it, but gradually soured to it. I was inundated with requests from indie band after indie band, and it became less and less personalized. In the beginning Facebook had some of that, but I found myself being less of myself because now my family was watching and I have mostly remained quiet on it until recently posting memes and music in relation to the lockdown.

    I read a really interesting review of this on Letterboxd (where, ironically, I feel much more at home at and more free to express myself, in the form of movie reviews of all things) that explains the push-pull between Fincher finding Zuckerberg’s moral ambiguity fascinating while relating to it, and Sorkin taking issue with nearly every facet of his morality. The two sides to this coin are particularly fascinating given that there are an obvious devil and angel on each of Mark’s shoulders.

  86. I’m sure the reason why Facebook makes for an interesting movie where MySpace doesn’t, is that Facebook had huge court cases involved so it was sort of known and could be researched. Is there anything interesting about MySpace’s development? Maybe, but by then it was on its way out anyway and was never the juggernaut that Facebook was so why make that movie? Also the Facebook story intersected nicely with Napster so they were hitting a whole bunch of things.

    The girl doesn’t necessarily bother me, I take it as less than he’s yearning for the love of this woman as he’s yearning for the love of anyone because he’s a shitty empty shell, and so this one woman is kind of the summation of that. At that point in the movie he has ruined all of his other relationships and he’s hoping one person may still give him a chance. Which will probably not come.

    It’s an excellent movie. He’s a turd but if I didn’t watch movies based on real life scumbags there’s a lot of classics I wouldn’t get to see.

  87. I liked MySpace like I like bars in Austin with good jukeboxes: I like foisting my musical taste on other people. I miss people coming to my MySpace page and having to listen to whatever song I’m enamored with at the moment. It’s funny that I live it Austin coz I don’t really like live music unless I’m there specifically to see the band. And I’m usually alone if I am, coz of my taste and I don’t wanna talk over the band while they’re playing. It feels insulting. But I don’t know anyone else who likes The Chromatics so it usually works out.

  88. Vern: I know what the movie’s about. I’m just aggressively uninterested in that story.

  89. Mr. M, I honestly understand how you feel my love of this movie aside. I feel the same about AMERICAN SNIPER, and to a lesser extent Eastwood’s latest, for similar reasons. I’d have rather gotten people more excited and curious about THE INSIDER from reading my initial dusting off of this thread.

  90. Vern – do you still spell “websight” like that? It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. I thought maybe it was a typo but you did it multiple times…

    Anyway, I had to check this out again because Tarantino just named it his hands down best movie of the 2010s. And, I mean, it’s a very good movie that I really enjoyed. But I don’t think it’s close to best of even that year, let alone decade. It might not even be the best Fincher movie of the decade (I need to rewatch GONE GIRL). Then I listened to the Rewatchables podcast on this and they also think it’s the best of the decade. They went through some other candidates and instantly dismissed FURY ROAD which was infuriating.

    I am trying to think what I would put on the top 5 list for the 2010s and whenever I think of a really great one, it turns out to be from the 2000s. I am starting to realize that the 2010s were really a shit sandwich for great movies. There were a lot of very good ones, but very few legitimate all-time classics.

    I’m probably missing some obvious ones but off the top of head my top 5 would be:

    1. FURY ROAD
    3. THE RAID 1&2
    5. DUNKIRK

    In case you’re wondering, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS was 2009 otherwise it would be #1.

  91. It took a while, but I have the feeling that this movie had a surprisingly lasting legacy when it comes to “grown up cinema”. Meaning there seems to be a whole wave of “Hey, check out the incredible story of how a bunch of nerds created your favourite commercial product!” movies. Today a movie about the creation of the MADDEN video games was announced. This year alone we had a RISE OF TETRIS and a SNEAKERS: ORIGINS movie. And they are all presented as “real” drama movies for people who are too mature/intelligent for Superheroes or FAST & FURIOUS. What’s up with that? Are such stories actually exciting? And if yes, how much had to be changed to make them that? Which leads to the question: Who is interested in them? And why did that type of movie seemed to catch on, years after MCDONALDS BEGINS bombed hard?

  92. I thought AIR was pretty good, I mostly watched it because it was included with Prime in the UK and I have liked most of Affleck’s previous go’s behind the camera, although I do have some interest in Jordan (enough so that I watched the LAST DANCE documentary).

    TETRIS movie was I think the end result of numerous attempts to somehow make TETRIS into a movie (unfortunately no Mayor Squaresly origin treatments floating around as far as I know). I read the book about TETRIS’s history a few years back, it’s a pretty interesting story and I would have been interested in the film, but I really don’t want to sign up for AppleTV and apparently they add car chases and such, which sometimes I’m in favour of but not really here. The director last made STAN & OLLIE, which I thought was OK but added a lot of fictional tension between the eponymous duo which really offended one prominent UK-based comedy historian.

  93. dreadguacamole

    May 27th, 2023 at 8:55 am

    The TETRIS movie is entertaining but disappointing, because they made up a lot of spy and other fake crap to make it more exciting, and neglect a little the actually really interesting but less glamorous corporate mishandling and shenanigans. So yeah, Pacman, your take on it is pretty accurate.

    Affleck did the same on ARGO, actually… so I’ll watch AIR, because I also like Affleck as a director, but I’ll constantly be wondering how much of it is absolute bullshit.

    It’s interesting that all these corporate stories are about successful products – it’s actually made me interested in BLACKBERRY; There’s more comedy potential in failed/misguided stories, I think, and it won’t make me feel like I’m celebrating some obscenely rich corporate execs. Well, I probably will anyways, but it will be less celebratory.

  94. Aw crap, totally forgot about BLACKBERRY. Not sure how this movie could be any different from the others though, except that the product that it’s about was only successful for a few years before something more popular showed up. But with the pace that these things are being made, I fully expect a WALK HARD-ish parody (or just a Netflix comedy series) by 2026. Maybe it will be about Fidget Spinners or those Garfield dolls with suction cups that everybody had in their cars for a while.

  95. As I understand it the Blackberry had some legendary poor decision making and got screwed over multiple times during development, though – it was successful despite itself, and died because it wouldn’t adapt. We’ll see what the movie does with all that. And yeah, I certainly wouldn’t say no to anything inspired by WALK HARD if it’s even half as good. Maybe SONY MINIDISC – the movie? Or HD-DVD, directed by Michael Bay.

  96. Years ago I kept joking about making a biopic about the invention of the glass table. The story of a brave visionary who realized that you can use glass as a table surface, although friends, family and investors kept telling him “You can’t use glass for that! It will break, you fool! Besides, who wants to see what’s under a table?!”

    Maybe now is a good time to finally make that movie.

  97. Now you’ve got me thinking that the HUDSUCKER PROXY was ahead of its time.

  98. Damn, you are right!

  99. CJ: “there seems to be a whole wave of “Hey, check out the incredible story of how a bunch of nerds created your favourite commercial product!” movies. … And they are all presented as “real” drama movies for people who are too mature/intelligent for Superheroes or FAST & FURIOUS. What’s up with that?”

    I think what’s up with that is not that such subject matter is highbrow but that it is culturally relevant. I think it’s a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach in which highbrow/Oscar-bait directors are finally choosing to analyze and deconstruct the zeitgeist rather than simply condemn and dismiss it.

  100. Yeah, but I think it’s depressing. People always pick on superhero movies, sequels, action flicks and basically everything for the multiplexes as being “empty” and “commercial crap”, but I think no STAR WARS spin-off or big ‘splody action flick in the world will ever be as cynical and cashgrabby as “Hey, you know that product that you use? Let us tell you the at least 85% made-up story of how it was created!”

  101. I hear you CJ, but in the end put the issue of how “true” the movie is aside and ask how good it is. Either the movie works or it doesn’t. Sure, such movies can be accused of “printing the legend”, but if the legend has resonance for people it can still have value, in the same way that a ‘splody action film can. I don’t think that STEVE JOBS the movie told me who Steve Jobs the person was, but seeing what Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle made of elements of the life and the legend made interesting watching. Give me Fidget Spinners – the Movie, as a dissection of late-stage capitalism, over another Sundance-darling dysfunctional family drama any day.

  102. I don’t mind biopics and such being partly made up. They aren’t documentaries after all. And even the most truthful “based on true story” movie has to change, condense and rejigger a few thinks to make sense in movie form. But is there really any kind of interesting story behind the making of a shoe brand or breakfast cereals? I guess most of it is in reality a bunch of businessmen talking in boardrooms about financing these things and picking the design that appeals the most to focus groups.

    So why even tell the story in the first place? And I can’t imagine them having anything interesting to say, considering most of those don’t even try to have an analytical or satirical angle. It’s really just a cynical try to pretend that you are about to see REAL MOTHERFUCKING CINEMA FOR GROWN UPS although they just try to get asses into the seats with brand recognition and the hollowest of all hollow nostalgia. “You like Flaming Hot Cheetos? Here is a movie about Flaming Hot Cheetos!”

    Sure, I am the last person who complains about a movie being actually good. And say what you want about Aaron Sorkin, but that motherfucker knows how to make a political or business meeting interesting. But that wave of “We swear it’s not product placement, we actually try to tell an interesting story here” movies just rub me in so many wrong ways.

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