Yeah, it’s kinda hard coming up with a clever title. “Facebook: the Movie,” is too obvious. “The Social Conscience,” or “The Social Disease,” just don’t cut it. “Suck it Myspace,” sounds like a spoof movie from those jagoffs that keep making spoof movies (I’m not going to bother looking up their names, because they’re talentless jagoffs, that even bigger studio jagoffs keep giving money to).
The question at the heart of the movie is did Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch steal the idea for Facebook from some over privileged rich kids? Well, the movie has to blur that answer and make it a “maybe he did, maybe he didn’t,” kinda thing or risk possible litigation. They could really only rely on court documents and interviews. But if I’ve learned anything from Gregory House, it’s that people lie. Ok, I learned that on my own in the schoolyard, but still. What’s my opinion (which means I can’t be sued, because it’s not fact)? Of course he fucking stole the idea. That’s what people do. Edison didn’t invent all the stuff he’s credited for (just ask Louis Le Prince or William Dickson), but he was a better businessman and beat others to the patent office.
Bill Gates didn’t become a gazillionaire because he was a genius programmer. He bought DOS off of an idiot programmer who didn’t realize what he had, and then turned around and sold it. He turned a quick and dirty operating system into a goldmine. This is what Mark Zuckerberg did. He saw an opportunity, and unlike Bill Gates, was a genius programmer who was able to expand on the original idea. Actually, I can’t say whether he’s a genius programmer, because what else has he done besides find ways to steal people’s personal info off his site? And who’s to say that’s him or the board of directors at Facebook? When he can start putting different stuff out there like Dean Kamen, then we can call him a genius.
So, back to the movie. What did I think? Well, I’ll tell ya, I was actually surprised by how much I liked it. I am not the biggest Fincher cheerleader out there. In fact, he only has two movies I can re-watch without getting annoyed (Fight Club, and Zodiac (though Zodiac has its issues)). But you can look up my feelings on Dave on his director page, cuz we’re here to talk about The Social Network. I can honestly say that this is his best written movie to date. Of course all that credit can go to Aaron Sorkin, who adapted “The Accidental Billionaires” (a book with such reader reviews as: “Excellent example of creative writing while drunk,” and “Yuck.”). Sorkin is a smart dude whose A Few Good Men was entertaining despite the involvement of Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson and Rob Reiner (I liked Kevin Pollack).
The writing is also helped by actors who were able to deliver the dialogue well. Jesse Eisenberg finally found a role where I don’t have to compare him to Michael Cera (the two of them need to do a buddy cop movie (like The Other Guys, but funny)).
Andrew Garfield was another good choice, and he’s been racking up quite a few decent performances over the years. I first noticed him in in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and I remember thinking to myself, “Who’s this kid? He’s pretty good.” You should also check him out in Boy A.
I was also impressed by Armie Hammer (of the Hammer fortune) as the Winklevoss twins. I was even more impressed by the head replacement work they did to put his head on Josh Pence’s body. That’s the kind of digital work I like.
I didn’t hate Justin Timberlake, which is a compliment.
Rooney Mara was fetching in her brief role. I first noticed her in another brief role in Youth In Revolt (which is a decent Michael Cera movie). Rooney will next be seen in Fincher’s unnecessary remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Noomi Rapace is Lisbeth Salander (having said that, only the first Lisbeth Salander movie is entertaining (though a little too rapey), the other two in the trilogy look like cheap television movies (which apparently they were shot for Swedish television)). Oh wait, I should save this for when I talk about that movie this Summer.
The rest of the ensemble is very good too with some non-pros thrown in to boot. The only person who seemed like an obvious plant to deliver the final line of the movie, was Rashida Jones. I like Rashida, but when I first saw her on screen I wondered why she was there. She obviously had something important to do. It woulda been a little more effective Dave, if you had someone a little less recognizable in that part.
What we have here is a story about nerds writing code. What could possibly be more boring than that (besides an Antonioni film (*BURN!!) But Fincher and Sorkin have taken what could’ve been a bore and made it entertaining. Granted there was legal drama, Ivy League politics, and hot Asian girls, but that’s beside the point. I also applaud Fincher for not doing what a crappy director would’ve done and tried to visualize all the computer talk. If Ron Howard had made this, you know there would have been computer visualizations to illustrate what was going on as Mark Zuckerberg and his cronies were typing away (this is not to say Ron Howard is a crappy director, but the majority of his movies are crap). I know some folks have a fondness for Iain Softley’s Hackers, but I think that’ mostly due to the debut of Angelina Jolie’s breasts. The Net is another computer movie with really awful graphic representations of computers (which is surprising, because when you think “cutting edge technological youth culture,” you think Irwin Winkler).
So go ahead and watch this (I know you already have on your iPhones, iPads, iPods, Zunes, Droids, and maybe a Viewmaster) with my stamp of approval. And remember, those nerds you pick on in school could some day grow up and own your ass.
*Luchino Visconti once said of Antonioni: “It seems that boredom is one of the great discoveries of our time. If so, there’s no question but that he must be considered a pioneer.”