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Movie Review: The Social Network

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Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) the perfect geek in an imperfect film is about as socially secure as an autistic child who let go of his daddy’s hand at the Texas State fair. A lost boy with a twist…he can program drunk as a skunk and in his sleep. The Internet as social network is a jungle and he is about to tame it with “The Facebook.”

But before Facebook there was “Facemash” a devious invention by the future creator of Facebook depicted as an odious deed done, while drunk, as rejection revenge. While we cannot verify the revenge part, we can enjoy the stealing to come as Mark lets out a howl to “let the hacking begin” before he settles in to rock the social network world that includes MySpace and Friendster. After this initial hacking episode, with its infamous crashing of the Harvard server with 22,000 hits in an hour, Mark escalates the game. He begins to steal outright the very idea for a site from the Winklevoss twins and their Indian partner. They approach him with an idea for “he Harvard Connect.” Mark instantly snaps the picture from one meeting with them, then repaints the walls and calls it The Facebook.  His only legal defense later: “I never used a line of their code to create Facebook.”

The Social Network deprecates this poor geek in the esteem of the audience.  It dishes on the long arm of Mark—an arm that snakes around his best friend Eduardo Saverin, (Andrew Garfield) so he can easily stab him in the back face-to-Facebook. Saverin sues Zuckerberg in court and is the main informant for Mezrich’s book, who by his admission did not speak directly to Zuckerberg, although he tried to contact him for a year without success.

That’s a problem because The Social Network is an adopted screenplay from the novel The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, by Ben Mezrich. It aids and abets the downfall of this biopic, if there is any, with far too much license taken served in the form of nonexistent sexual cocktails. Sexual intrigue for the hell of it is like a fallen soufflé. You anticipate beauty and scrumptious yet if it falls it is hardly fit to serve your guests! However ugly, its taste remains intact, you cut it—you like it, it likes you back.

Harvard’s buzz beginning in 2003 and the “Facebook me” meme that sweeps the major Ivy universities in the USA and England is the best part of this interesting classic take on generation XY ME.  My take: I think that if Facebook fell into the discovery genre it would be Nobel Prize worthy.  It is, at the very least—Internet cream that rises up to and over the top. It makes you fat and lazy but you gotta have it.

The verdict is out on whether or not too much fantasy and fiction has been blended with the real tableau of the youngest billionaire on earth. Did the screenplay, director David Fincher, and well-cast actors get it right? We know that the extreme womanizing is fiction, but not Mark’s involvement with Sean Parker (played brilliantly by Justin Timberlake), the co-founder of Napster (so dubbed because of his curly hair).  He finds, according to the film, Mark on Facebook so that he can objectify his brilliant book, the Facebook. And in one cool scene he quips to Mark to “drop the ‘the’–it’s cleaner.”

That which is nonfiction, in this film, the pitting of two lone Jews against twin rich WASP Harvard crew members is set in stark black and white terms all the way to England. There is no grey zone in stealing the Facebook formula from the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (Arnie Hammer in dual roles). Mark’s stealing however does not end with them.

He just can’t control himself and his strong passionate will goes beyond the pale when he throws Eduardo under the bus while he is busy beating the bushes in New York City for advertisers. While on the West coast Mark and Sean are drumming up investors to launch the offices of Facebook in Palo Alto country. Living on the posh Camino Real exit Mark cooks up the Facebook in its final form by adding the wall, reincorporating, setting stock percent shares, dropping  “the” and hawking ads on a Website that will bring him billions.  

Like unfettered faces of cute babies you don’t want to miss, so too the hacking, evasive, boy-genius Mark is a sight to behold. Einsenberg’s Mark lights up the screen with a very dark brooding image. He speaks a distinct monotone and aims his deadpan delivery of scorching, sarcastic lines to everyone he encounters. He works hard to make people hate him. And they do. Like most smart people he and those around him talk at light speed, every word a strike and the repartee bordering on brilliant at times from these accidental billionaires. So be careful you don’t accidentally miss this film. It will make you smarter. Run time 121 minutes, rated R for sex, drug use, language.

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About Heloise

  • Jordan Richardson

    You basically just asserted that BIG = popular, but you’re still telling me that’s not what you meant?

    Is there really that much nuance to this point to overshadow the fact that you made a mistake and covered it up with a dumb remark? I doubt it.

  • net

    “Besides who the hell knows any directors but the really big ones?”

    Jordan that is what I said. You are putting words in my mouth. I did not say “popular” I said really BIG. That does not denigrate those names that do not jump to mind. In fact a director can be really popular but not BIG in a Hollywood way.

    With Spike Lee’s first B/W movie “She’s gotta have it” which I saw in theater back when he was instantly and wildly popular among blacks from the getgo. But was NOT BIG until a decade later in Hollywood. That does not diminish his status.

    I am an artist, we are masters of evasion.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Heloise, there’s simply no reason to have such a condescending attitude towards directors and filmmakers if you are so well-versed in the movies. To say that only the popular directors are known is simply a garbage way out of admitting that you were wrong.

    Admit it. Move on. Stop with these lame excuses.

  • You also say you don’t need to be exact with figures so why should we trust your claim of 90%?

  • Don’t infer that I only watch US/Hollywood films. I’d say 90% of the films I watch in a week are NOT MADE IN AMERICA! You would not believe my arcane flic list from Netflix.

  • Oh I get it now. I am slow today after running a 4 mile race on Saturday…this is the other side of the bad coin comments AKA karma. Thank you people for the scrub.

  • Oh and by the by, the editor did not catch that it was David and not Daniel.

  • Yes, Zuckerberg is portrayed as EVIL personified! The film does not hide that he is Jewish and actually uses that word. The film also makes fun of how Jewish men go after Asian women or vice versa. It gets too sleazy for me on that tip.

    No doubt about it. Heloise can write crazy-bad because she is a poet at heart. It was meant to be a disconcerting review. I see you got that Handyman.

    Ever heard of hyperbole? I probably watch on average 20 movies a week, but maybe write only 2 or 3 reviews tops. White people!

    I’m black and I don’t need exact.

  • Great movie, embarrassing “review.”

  • Baronius

    Not impossible, El B. You’d have to be in a pretty bad manic phase of bipolar disorder, but 50 movies a week is doable.

  • I don’t know about your fight over the correct actors/director but the movie sound interesting and I sure would like to see it when it arrives to my country. I guess it will be on the rental shelves and I hope it will cause it gives me information of a man I admire (not the stealing part of it 😉

  • I have a little trouble buying you “review and watch like 50 movies a week”. That would be on average seven movies a day and assuming the movies average 100 minutes that’s about 12 hours spent every day and that doesn’t count the reviewing part.

    Are you no longer a physics teacher? Can’t see how you would also squeeze in a full-time job since that would leave you less than four hours a day for sleep.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You watch 50 movies a week but have never heard of the guy who made Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac, and Seven?

    Mistakes are one thing, but don’t go around citing someone as “not a big name director” when it’s clear he is.

  • There’s http://ow.ly/2NNmG“>a very good article that Lawrence Lessig wrote on the inaccuracies depicted in this movie, as well as the positive side of Facebook.

  • Melinda Gates said they spent 1 billion dollars on some saving the world in Africa stuff, instead of 9 billion. Now, that’s a mistake.

  • El Bicho, I have Jews on the brain what can I say? It was an honest mistake. But IMBD DID get the actor wrong who played the twins and I caught that one. I never heard of Fincher and I review and watch like 50 movies a week.

    Anyway thanks for fixing my mistake. It was not the first one and won’t be the last. I also got the actor’s name wrong for Eat Pray Love but no one caught that. Anyway he is not the director.

    Give me a break. It takes hours to write and I ain’t getting paid for it!

  • And Fincher is currently considered a big director in Hollywood

  • No, you didn’t, Heloise. An editor corrected it after Ash pointed out your error.

    And it’s correct on IMDb as well if that’s the site you meant.

  • Wait a minute, I recall my comment. Ash Whiting I name the director as David Fincher, not Daniel as you claim. Do you need glasses?

  • One other question Ash did you see the film? You did not say.

  • Ash, I got the info from IBMD and did not doubt it’s veracity. So, does one mistake make for terrible writing? I don’t think so. If you just don’t appreciate this review then that’s another thing.

    I will never use IBDM again, whatever the acronym is. It did not get the actors right and got a whole bunch of shit wrong. I happened to find THEIR mistakes and fixed them. I however did not find this one. I took it straight off their site. From now on will use the official site.

    On occasion I take notes during the film and get my own facts. But that is not always possible. The truth I write for the reviewers and journalists who read, appreciate and imitate the folks on bc FYI.

    Thanks for the tip about the site NBAY.

    Besides who the hell knows any directors but the really big ones?

  • Um… The director is David Fincher. Not Daniel… Terribly written this.