Saturday, February 26, 2011

Movie Review: The Social Network

The Social Network

I wanted to love this movie. That's not to say I didn't like it, because I did - but it's an Oscar nominee? Meh.

There were some brilliant things going on in the script. The opening scene was effective in setting up the background, the tone, and especially the main character. We join the story as Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg faces off with a soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend over a bar table. He's a know-it-all. He's a narcissist. He's condescending without meaning to be, just because he's so focused on himself. She eventually gets fed up and walks out on him for good, saying being with him is like dating a stairmaster. Oh, and by the way, she adds, he's going to have trouble with girls in the future and he'll think it's because he's a nerd, but it's really because he's an asshole. Snap! Score one for the ex.

He then goes back to his dorm room, launches into the dangerous combination of drinking and blogging, then hacks into a bunch of university systems to grab pictures of girls to post on the impromptu "Facemash" hot coed comparison site. After he emails out the link, so many people log on that it crashes the network and gains him a lot of attention, including that of a couple of athletic rich-guy brothers named Winklevoss. They ask him to help them set up a new social website called Harvard Connection, but Zuckerberg takes the idea and runs with it himself, creating what he then refers to as "The Facebook."

Lawsuits follow, including a mess with his best (and only) friend and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Meanwhile, what started out as a genius cool computer geek idea is turning into what will become a multi-billion dollar company. The new social site spreads from Harvard to a few other universities, then all over the country, to England, and eventually the entire known universe... or something like that.

The movie is dark. I don't mean dark as in morbid, but actually dark like it's filmed in dim light. Sometimes it's hard to see what's going on. It's also noisy at times, particularly in a couple of bar scenes, and I found myself straining to hear the dialogue. Maybe this all lends some realism to it, which is appropriate since it's the story of some regular guys - as regular as Harvard guys can be - who make good, or more accurately make good while being totally, soul-suckingly self-absorbed.

Justin Timberlake steals the show as Napster founder Sean Parker, over whom Zuckerberg fawns. This guy is incredibly talented and funny. Have you seen his "Cock in a Box" video from Saturday night live? He could have gone down the wrong road after the whole boy band and dating Britney thing, but he's been a great surprise.

The Social Network left me feeling a little creepy inside, and I felt like a sucker posting on Facebook after watching it. Several days later I'm still thinking about it, though, which isn't something I can say about many movies. It wasn't the film of the year, despite its Academy Award nomination, but it's worth watching if you don't mind cranking the volume, squinting through some dark scenes, and being prepared to dislike the story's anti-hero protagonist.


Shauna said...

I am new here! Hope you will come follow my blogs also :) Have a great day! Shauna

Beth said...

Hi Shauna! You got it - I'm following all three. :)

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!

Beth said...

Thanks crystalamazing! I checked yours out too and am happy to have learned a fun new term, douche canoe - LOL!

Tracy said...

I swear I'm living under a rock, haven't seen this yet!

Swinging by from 'ols' to say hi and follow!

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Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly