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THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010)

>> Monday, October 4, 2010

Angry Charlie likes The Social Network.

I remember when I first started hearing about Facebook back in about 2006 (maybe late 2005, not sure) via email invites from a few people. It wasn’t until my friend, Luke Fandrich of Editing Luke, decided to join the fad that I jumped on board. I recall him telling me about how it was the neatest thing ever and in just a few days on the site, he had connected with people he hadn’t spoken to in years. Prior to Facebook I never tried MySpace but was part of Hi5 – which never really went anywhere. Facebook never really seemed different until you realized EVERYONE was doing it. That’s when it became common for someone at a bar to ask if a person was on Facebook rather than try and get their phone number. Nowadays if you run into someone who doesn’t have Facebook, it seems about as strange as it did in the 80’s to not have a TV (before it became a trend for hipsters in the past decade).

As I walked into The Social Network (or “the Facebook movie” as it’s commonly referred to) I initially didn’t think too hard about how much of an impact Facebook has had on our lives, on our culture. Seeing where the site comes from is even more astounding as it’s something that sorta seemed to be there overnight. Unsurprisingly, that seems to be the way it was for Mark Zuckerberg (portrayed very well by Zombieland’s Jesse Eisenberg) as well. The basic story is that Mark gets drunk one night while getting revenge on his girlfriend who just dumped him. How does Mark get the revenge he seeks? Well outside of calling her a bitch on his blog, he decides to demoralize all the women on his and several other campuses by creating a website called FaceMash.com. The site, not unlike HotorNot.com, allows you to compare which girl is hotter – not exactly flattering for the one who doesn’t win. Within four hours of the site being live, there are 22, 000 hits to the website and it crashes Harvard’s network. This is an intro to the type of person Mark is - both in genius and ego

This stunt also gains the attention of a fraternity who wants Mark to create a website for them called ConnectU, which is pretty much an online dating site for the campus folk. Mark says he’ll do it but instead uses the interest in such a site to begin working on a project of his own – theFacebook.com. This leads him to making many acquaintances and business relationships in a span of only a couple of years, including friend and initial CFO of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin (Spider-Man 4’s Andrew Garfield), and Napster’s Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake). The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, when it comes to a docudrama, obviously we’re not seeing all truth. There are things used to exaggerate the real stories in order to create more of a compelling story. The funny thing is, is that The Social Network doesn’t really need such a gimmick. Director David Fincher is a great story teller – Fight Club (1999) and Se7en (1995) are just two examples of that. With this film he does no different. In the end what you realize is that for Mark Zuckerberg, creating Facebook wasn’t about money or popularity (well, maybe a little about popularity), it was about feeding his own hunger of self control, ego and perpetual rebellion – all in an effort to be self satisfied. What we find out in the end is that somebody like Zuckerberg may never be truly satisfied with what he’s doing – than again, I could be wrong. To me it seems like the classic case of the genius who’s unable to relate to anybody around him. The name of the film, The Social Network, is a double entendre referencing the obvious (Facebook itself) and the unobvious (Zuckerberg’s relationships to those he already knew and those he meets).

I am giving The Social Network an open door. Some of the people I spoke to after the movie stated they liked it but didn’t know why it existed, as nothing really happened and there seemed to be no point. While I agree with the fact that ‘nothing really happened’, I don’t think it’s a bad thing nor do I think it’s pointless. In the same style of 2008’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, you get to experience the journey of someone who, in the end, is still the same person. They haven’t really learned any lessons, they didn’t gain a new perspective on life, if anything – they’re more annoyed by the complexities of it all. The journey though, is an important and inspiring one that I absolutely admired. Watch for this one come Oscar season.

*Stills courtesy of Columbia Pictures

2 comments:

Editing Luke October 6, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

Well this is going to surprise you. I went back and checked my original blog and as it turns out I didn't join facebook until April 2007. It was right before I went on my Rushmore road trip. That seems so recent when considering how much of a daily occurance facebook has become.

I have yet to see the Social Network, but given the relevance alone I'm pretty interested.

Angry Charlie October 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM  

That does surprise me! I was actually combing through your old blog because I remember you writing about it as I was going to post the link here. haha

But yeah, the fact it's only been three years is crazy considering how many memories have been created through it! Definitely check out the flick tho, something I know you would enjoy. When watching it tho, you'll see why Social Network will be Dave's new favorite movie. haha

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