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Author Topic: The Social Network (2010)  (Read 7361 times)
Groggy
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« on: October 03, 2010, 12:52:55 PM »

I was extremely skeptical about this at-a-glance despite my love of Aaron Sorkin, but the nearly-unanimous praise it's getting has sufficiently intrigued me. I'll try and check it out next weekend.

Jenkins gave it a glowing review, anyone else seen it?

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2010, 03:29:47 PM »

Thanks for the mention, Grogs. I'll redux my take-made-in-haste here:

The Social Network (2010) - 9/10. The Facebook Story, as told to David Fincher. Can Fincher do docu-dramas, or what? And who knew that such sedentary subject matter could make for such compelling drama (the two hours just flew by)? Of course it helps that Aaron Sorkin's barb-laden script is interpreted by such a talented (and multitudinous) cast. Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg is a real find: You Will Believe That A Billionaire Dweeb Can Stab His Friends in the Back. The acting throughout is top-notch: Andrew Garfield is wonderful as the best friend who gets left behind, and Justin Timberlake does a great turn as the Napster Guy (Sean Parker), who the film portrays as a total douche (a real stretch for ol' Justin, eh?). Occasionally there's even the odd cameo that had me leaning forward in my seat (David Selby appears briefly as a lawyer--haven't seen him, I swear, since his Dark Shadows days!). Fincher did more than cast well, though. The film has a basic flashback-within-a-frame structure, but Fincher wisely dispenses with the frame for his opening scene and begins in media res (only after the titles do you learn you've been watching a flashback). I do have to knock off one point, though, for Fincher trotting out the Rosebud Ending yet again--especially since we see it coming from the aforesaid opening ("Rosebud" in this case is a character--apparently a composite, as she rates no afterstory titles). I assume that this based-on-a-true-story film is largely fiction, of course, but that's probably what makes it so entertaining. In spite of the title, I don't think the film has any larger social message to convey; but it is a very good character study.

Here's an article in Slate that points out many (but probably not all) of the things that are factually wrong with the movie.
http://www.slate.com/id/2269250/pagenum/all/#p2

Of course, nobody here, I'm sure, will be too concerned about the inaccuracies, we all just want an entertaining film, right? Even the Slate writer admitted that the film was fun to watch, but cautioned viewers not to put too much stock in the details. Well, I guess regular Slate readers need to warned about such things.

Here's a review that praises the film for its entertainment value:
http://whatwouldtotowatch.com/2010/10/02/toto-movie-review-social-network-fincher-sorkin/

The scene that writer highlights, the one between the brothers and Larry Summers (then President of Harvard) is a masterpiece of snarky dialog. Summers gets the better of his opponents, but his advice to them, that they should forget about Zuckerberg's "theft" of their intellectual property and just invent something else, is, in retrospect, the most hilarious thing about the scene. Facebook is now valued at something like 65 billion dollars. And Summers, who is now the Director of the National Economic Council, is the guy giving Obama economic advice. No wonder we're all taking it in the shorts!

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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2010, 09:40:22 PM »

Just got back from seeing this. What does Groggy think?

It's a solid character study and corporate drama, though much more the former. As skeptical as I was about this going in, I have to say the film got almost everything right: Fincher's direction is fine, the story's perfectly constructed, Aaron Sorkin is at the top of his game (the hilarious Larry Summers scene goes pretty high on the Sorkin highlight reel), the cast couldn't be better, the score is good. And contrary to my expectations, the story and its protagonist were extremely compelling, as the movie pretty much nails the appeal and emptiness of Internet culture: anyone who's spent much time on Facebook/IMDB/here will relate to at least some of what's shown. The Citizen Kane comparison gets thrown around a lot but I don't see it as entirely valid - Zuckerberg (the film's Zuckerburg of course) strikes me as a scheming, irredeemable ass who knows perfectly well what he's doing, more Richard Nixon than Charlie Kane. Anyway, it isn't nearly as brilliant as some are saying but it's still a solid flick I'd recommend. 8/10

Full-length review to follow, possibly tomorrow. I need to digest some bits of it.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2010, 04:47:05 AM »

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more Richard Nixon than Charlie Kane.
Why, because Kane began as an idealist and gradually lost his way, but Nixon and Zuckerberg were scheming sh*ts right from the start? A distinction, I'd say, without much difference.

I hadn't really noticed points of comparison with Kane as I watched the film (except for the ending), but as you raise the issue it seems to me the films have these elements in common:

character study
communications industry setting
flashback structure
hero who turns on his friends
Rosebud Ending (the hero, after all, just wanted to be loved)

Neither Kane nor Social Network have much to say about the culture about them (although both purport to do just that--remember, Welles' original title was going to be American). And each film pretends to be about actual historical people, when in fact they've been fictionalized out of existence. Certainly both films are well made, using techniques that are state-of-the-art for their day. Both are entertaining, and both will likely be talked about in flimmaking circles for years to come with regard to their formal aesthetic qualities. And that's about it.

« Last Edit: October 10, 2010, 04:51:38 AM by dave jenkins » Logged


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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2010, 08:28:01 AM »

For a second there, I thought Gorggy has gone mad and started praising something (whatever it is) called ''The Socialist Network''.

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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2010, 01:04:24 PM »

Full-length thoughts:

Quote
Well, for those of you (like me) who didn't think Facebook was an interesting subject for a movie, David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin have proven you wrong.

The Social Network is a solid film. Despite its deceptively dubious subject matter, Fincher, Sorkin and a top-notch cast create a compelling, thematic drama and incisive character study. Arguably no film has better-defined the Internet generation than The Social Network, and it's both fascinating and disconcerting in its portrayal of modern society's emptiness and isolation.

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is an ambitious but socially-awkward sophomore at Harvard. After a messy breakup with girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara), Zuckerberg gains revenge by creating a website, Facesmash, where users can rate the "hotness" of Harvard co-eds. This leads to Zuckerberg being approached by the Winklevoss twins (both played by Arnie Hammer) to help develop. Using their ideas, Zuckerberg goes behind their back and, enlisting the help of friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), creates The Facebook, a networking site. Facebook is an instant hit, both befuddling and angering the Winklevosses. But Zuckerberg's newfound fame and success go to his head, and he shuns Eduardo aside as Facebook goes global, leading to lawsuits by his disgruntled friends, colleagues and victims.

The Social Network succeeds on many levels. The movie is at base a typical corporate drama, but works even better as an exploration of alienation. Fincher isn't exactly a subtle director, but he does a fine job capturing both the appeal and emptiness of Internet culture. An early scene, where Zuckerberg starts Facesmash as revenge against his ex, is on the nose but gets the point across: while more popular students drink and party, Zuckerberg gets revenge in the isolated quiet of his dorm. Fiction allows an individual to escape from reality, but the Internet allows one to actually live their fantasy, isolating them from real-world interaction no matter "popular" they are with unseen Internet friends. Anyone who's spent a decent amount of time online can relate to this.

The film is equally scathing in its show of unbridled capitalism and cut-throat competitiveness. Zuckerberg's piratical behavior, stealing ideas and backstabbing friends, isn't too shocking by now, but other elements are. The Winklevoss twins, attempting to bring Zuckerberg to heel the "gentleman's" way, are stymied by Harvard's President (Douglas Urbanski), who basically tells them that they should shut up and invent something else. The object isn't money but fame and recognition: and yet Zuckerberg ultimately finds Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), the erratic but brilliant creator of Napster, as repulsive as the Harvard snobs he rejected. When success is society's ultimate object, honest human interactions are less important: The culture is self-perpetuating, Fincher and Sorkin brilliantly argue, providing Facebook with a perfect niche.

Most interesting, of course, is Zuckerberg himself, brilliantly portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland). As portrayed by the film, Zuckerberg is an anti-social loser, a computer genius who's a failure at everything else. Citizen Kane comparisons have been thrown around by the more excitable critics but Richard Nixon might be a better comparison: Zuckerberg lacks Kane's relative innocence, and his actions are a campaign of calculated spite, self-advancement and petty revenge against those who daren't accept him into their social circle. Even those who do appreciate him (the Winklevosses, Parker) are screwed over for not appreciating him on *his* terms. Either Zuckerberg is a complete asshole, or else a pitiably empty shell with a facade of cultivated nastiness. Either way, he isn't a pretty sight.

Fincher's direction is solid if fairly restrained: only a few bits jar, namely a stylized crew-racing scene that seems out-of-place. Sorkin's script is brilliantly constructed, using flashbacks within flashbacks with consummate skill, and as to be expected from his work, the dialogue is sharp, witty and incisive. Trevor Reznor and Atticus Ross's score is also superb. It's a technically sound film.

Jesse Eisenberg, as mentioned before, is superb. He makes Zuckerberg a believable, well-rounded character without trying for unearned sympathy: he's at base a petty, hateful prick who's compelling without being likeable. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets an Oscar nod for this role. Arnie Hammer's dual performance is remarkable, creating two completely-distinct characters. Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake are also perfect, and Rooney Mara's small-but-crucial role is well-handled. Douglas Urbanski gets arguably the film's best scene: it's disconcerting to consider that his character, Larry Summers, is now President Obama's chief economic advisor!

The Social Network is, all around, a wonderful piece of work. Some critics may have gone too far in proclaiming it a masterpiece, but it certainly is an impressive, insightful and disquieting film. 8/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2010/10/social-network.html

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2010, 03:36:25 PM »

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Douglas Urbanski gets arguably the film's best scene: it's disconcerting to consider that his character, Larry Summers, is now President Obama's chief economic advisor!
My idea, used without attribution! Plagiarist!

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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2010, 04:19:24 PM »

I will ammend the review to appropriate acknowledge the influence of Jenkinsian sentiments.

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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 04:36:08 PM »

I'll watch it tomorrow morning, cannot wait! That's the first movie I'm really expecting since Shutter Island.

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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 09:45:37 AM »

Ok saw it, liked it a lot. I'll wait a second viewing (on tuesday) to say "masterpiece" in a full length review, that will be very deep and talk about the generation the film is talking about (not the facebook users, Fincher and Sorkin don't give a shit about these guys: what they wanna talk about is entrepreneurs of the 2000's and the new rules of the game).
I'll just mention the amazingness of the Red cameras with their new censor: digital has never looked so filmic. You've got that shallow depth of field (even on wide outside shots) WITHOUT the cheap plastic-CGI look of Star Wars III (or the great plastic-CGI look of Zodiac, for the matter). It looks like film, although they can do things you couldn't do on film without wasting litteraly tens of millions of dollars on lighting and lab.

(a bit out of topic, but concerning the low light abilities of the new Red One, here is a little test shot by Fincher with DiCaprio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJpLgdD7r3c yeah, they use nothing more than a match)

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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2010, 10:18:05 PM »

Nice to hear this movie has started a useless "controversy": Roll Eyes

http://www.lemondrop.com/2010/10/14/is-the-social-network-sexist-depends-who-you-ask/?icid=main%7Cmain%7Cdl5%7Csec3_lnk2%7C177908

Translation: the movie features misogynist characters so uppity, hyper-sensitive morons think the movie itself is misogynist.

I'm really sick of the tiny-brained controlling our discourse.

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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2010, 01:56:02 AM »

Nice to hear this movie has started a useless "controversy": Roll Eyes

http://www.lemondrop.com/2010/10/14/is-the-social-network-sexist-depends-who-you-ask/?icid=main%7Cmain%7Cdl5%7Csec3_lnk2%7C177908

Translation: the movie features misogynist characters so uppity, hyper-sensitive morons think the movie itself is misogynist.

I'm really sick of the tiny-brained controlling our discourse.


So true ...

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« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2010, 05:21:11 AM »

Yes I saw this yesterday. Now every article talking about  the movie talks about misogyny. Even those which talk about its use of the music.

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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2010, 10:17:40 AM »

Maybe it's anti-Semitic because Zuckerberg is portrayed as a creep. And racist because of the Asian bimbos he and Eduardo score with. Cheesy

Sorkin made an online reply to this, I'll have to track it down.

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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2010, 12:01:11 PM »

Quote
“It’s not hard to understand how bright women could be appalled by what they saw in the movie but you have to understand that that was the very specific world I was writing about. Women are both prizes and equal. Mark’s blogging that we hear in voiceover as he drinks, hacks, creates Facemash and dreams of the kind of party he’s sure he’s missing, came directly from Mark’s blog. With the exception of doing some cuts and tightening (and I can promise you that nothing that I cut would have changed your perception of the people or the trajectory of the story by even an inch) I used Mark’s blog verbatim. Mark said, “Erica Albright’s a bitch” (Erica isn’t her real name — I changed three names in the movie when there was no need to embarrass anyone further), “Do you think that’s because all B.U. girls are bitches?” Facebook was born during a night of incredible misogyny. The idea of comparing women to farm animals, and then to each other, based on their looks and then publicly ranking them. It was a revenge stunt, aimed first at the woman who’d most recently broke his heart (who should get some kind of medal for not breaking his head) and then at the entire female population of Harvard.
 
More generally, I was writing about a very angry and deeply misogynistic group of people. These aren’t the cuddly nerds we made movies about in the 80’s. They’re very angry that the cheerleader still wants to go out with the quarterback instead of the men (boys) who are running the universe right now. The women they surround themselves with aren’t women who challenge them (and frankly, no woman who could challenge them would be interested in being anywhere near them.)
 
And this very disturbing attitude toward women isn’t just confined to the guys who can’t get dates.
 
I didn’t invent the “F—k Truck”, it’s real — and the men (boys) at the final clubs think it’s what they deserve for being who they are. (It’s only fair to note that the women—bussed in from other schools for the “hot” parties, wait on line to get on that bus without anyone pointing guns at their heads.)
 
These women—whether it’s the girls who are happy to take their clothes off and dance for the boys or Eduardo’s psycho-girlfriend are real. I mean REALLY real. (In the case of Christy, Eduardo’s girlfriend so beautifully played by Brenda Song, I conflated two characters—again I hope you’ll trust me that doing that did nothing to alter our take on the events. Christy was the second of three characters whose name I changed.)
 
I invented two characters — one was Rashida Jones’s “Marylin,” the youngest lawyer on the team and a far cry from the other women we see in the movie. She’s plainly serious, competent and, when asked, has no problem speaking the truth as she sees it to Mark. The other was Gretchen, Eduardo’s lawyer (in reality there was a large team of litigators who all took turns deposing witnesses but I wanted us to become familiar with just one person—a woman, who, again, is nobody’s trophy.

http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-aaron-sorkin-responds-to-critiques-of-the-social-network-misogyny/

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