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He said/she said: The Social Network

I’ve started a new film endeavor with Eric Robinette, life and arts editor at Cox Media Group. He and I are major film fans and both review films. With The Social Network, beings our he said/she said co-reviews, in hopes of making our sites more intriguing. We’ll introduce each other’s unique perspectives into our review. You’ll find excerpts from his review within mine, and to read his full review go to Sir Critic’s Cinema.

I never thought I would think of Jesse Eisenberg as a jerk, but man does he know how to play a neurotic ass, and well. He was the opposite type of character in 2009’s Zombieland when he played a soft-spoken sweetheart. The Social Network shed a lot of light on Mark Zuckerberg’s mindset and life. But you’ve got to take the unauthorized Facebook movie with a grain of salt, seeing as Zuckerberg has said, “It’s a movie, it’s fun.” It’s hard for me, the average viewer, to know how true it really rings.

While the film was very entertaining it was also draining. Eisenberg as Zuckerberg was great at acting as a fast-talking, fast-thinking, fast-acting college student with nothing but time to waste. Zuckerberg was portrayed as a loner with insecurities as large as his ego. It was great though to watch the mind of a computer-obsessed guy just whiz by everyone else and dominate the Internet. These character flaws were effective at making the viewer jump between liking Zuckerberg and hating him. He was extremely intelligent and witty, but was almost bipolar because he’d switch to a cold, calculating jerk. Even when Zuckerberg tried to act sincere, i.e. the bar scene when he tries to apologize to Erica Albright (Rooney Mara), he does it in a condescending way that shows it isn’t sincere. Zuckerberg seemed to have a very hard time relating to people and the root of that problem never became apparent.

Eric Robinette says, “…Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s (A Few Good Men) rapid-fire dialogue hits the bullseye in the very opening scene and never lets up. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) talks and thinks a mile a minute. His hyper-intelligence is both his blessing and his curse. While he is intellectually brilliant, that very quality also makes him socially inept. His girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) tells him, ‘Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster.'”

The scenes with Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) and Zuckerberg were very interesting. Eduardo really cared about his friend but I have no idea what motivated him to stay friends with Zuckerberg, pity? Zuckerberg was such a jealous punk to Eduardo. I thought it was admirable for Eduardo to stand up for himself by suing Zuckerberg. Competitiveness between friends is a common thing but Zuckerberg took it further by spitting spiteful and genuinely hateful racist, snide put downs to Eduardo. Despite his denial, Zuckerberg longed to be a part of the Harvard clubs Eduardo so easily got into. I would love to know how much Eduardo’s settlement was for. Garfield hasn’t been in a lot of memorable films but is slated to play Spider-Man soon. I foresee the 27-year-old getting lots of standout roles.

Robinette says, “The ultimate irony is that the man who made the world more social had only one true friend, and he betrayed even that one.”

The scenes with the Winklevoss twins shed light on a more unknown aspect of the Facebook saga. I didn’t know anything about the ConnectU dating site and if the way the movie played out was true, Zuckerberg’s Facebook was definitely not an original idea. Going back to Zuckerberg’s self-esteem issues in terms of ‘Crew guys’ and Harvard clubs, he took full advantage once he found a chance to prove to his peers that he’s just as relevant as them. If Zuckerberg hadn’t taken the initiative to bring Facebook to fruition, there’s no way the Winklevoss twins website would have been anywhere near as successful.

Speaking of the Winklevoss’, I the scene with the two men leading the rowing team in slow motion with music pounding into the audience’s ears was a nice break from the fast-paced film. It almost gave my brain a break to catch up to the movie. Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac) went beyond the normal constraints of a film and was inventive with a lot of scenes. Though it’s wasn’t as unique as someone like David Lynch, Fincher’s approach to film is something to respect.

The college atmosphere of the film seemed fairly realistic. Though I don’t have experience within the world of Harvard and the East coast, I could totally see it being as dramatic and over-the-top as the movie made it out to be — except for the high-class party that almost turned into an orgy, that was a little too much. Since I wasn’t part of the first wave of Facebook it was awesome to get an insider’s view into just how popular the website got so quickly. The phrase “Facebook me,” is still widely heard today.

It was neat to see the origins and process of creating Facebook play out. All of the coding and mock-ups of the welcome page, profile, etc. made the film seem more legitimate and accurate. The live journal blog in hindsight was a stupid idea because everyone knew the inner workings of Facebook and the process. I probably wouldn’t have blogged it, but then again he was a computer nerd. It was also cool to see how ideas would pop up from Zuckerberg’s interactions with people, i.e. the guy in class asking if some girl was taken, and then he did the relationship status.

Justin Timberlake’s character of Shawn Parker, creator of Napster, was great. Parker’s lifestyle was very appealing to Zuckerberg who had never in his life been popular. He wanted to indulge and I don’t blame him. He got a taste of the party life and seemed to do whatever Parker said — even completely selling out his best friend in such a behind-the-back, sneaky way. At the same time, Parker did know what he was talking about in terms of how to successful exploit Web users to make money.

But like Rashida Jones’ character Marilyn Delpy said something about all the lawsuits just being a bump along the road, it’s so true. Zuckerberg made so much money, why would he care if a few people sue him and try to ride his coat tails? The movie, while well-done and enlightening, did leave me with a bad taste in my mouth — only because Zuckerberg had few redeeming characteristics. Zuckerberg exploited his friends, and went back on his original statement of “I’m not doing this to make money; I don’t want to advertise.” But in the end, I don’t dislike him enough to deactivate; Facebook’s addictive.



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