Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
78

Flicked Off: "The Social Network"

THE PICTURES GOT SMALLERNatasha Vargas-Cooper: I ain't going to lie to you. I went in wanting to hate. I was queasy thinking about what Fincher/Sorkin had to say about the Digital Generation and I was resistant to suffering through Jesse's flat-affect-acting.

Sasha Frere-Jones: I enjoyed the narrative locomotive, but the movie might as well have been about a struggle over the Enzongium contract in Quadrant K9. I would have liked that more, actually. This is first and foremost a movie about Sorkinese, a language that finds a comfy home in litigation. "The West Wing" was Walking and Talkingâ„¢-The Social Network is Sitting and Talking and Occasionally Dartingâ„¢.

NVC: What kills about Sorkinese is that it doesn't give room for any mode but Pithy.

SFJ: In Sorkinland, people speak as if coked up (even when not) and are always witty and slightly angry.

NVC: The actors barely breathe between quips, except for the Eduardo Saverin character-he crowbarred in some moments of ACTING?

SFJ: He was good at perspiring and breathing.

NVC: It is no country for young men.

SFJ: Everyone is a quote machine in Sorkinland, even dumbos. Moving on: there are a lot of crazytown moves in the actual fabric of the story, and here is just one: almost every collaborative, commercial endeavor could engender a movie like this. Look at The Police. Band struggles over songwriting credits are an epic GOLD MINE.

NVC: YES! WHY ISNT THERE A POLICE MOVIE?! WORLD TOUR NETWORK.

SFJ: The core problem-which I think we agree on?-is that we did not see a movie about Facebook or the Internet. Think of that early moment when Zuck drops the "22,000" bomb. Rashida Jones has to pause and ponder the majesty of his pageviews. But wait-in 2003, there were many sites that could have quickly generated that kind of traffic. Hmm. That fact is not relevant, apparently. The movie's plot driver and its ad tagline is another number: 500,000,000 users. OK-no argument. That is historically huge, no matter how anyone feels Zuckerberg fits into history, or what this movie does or doesn't do. But what does the movie say about all those users? Almost zero, except a little bit about the first, university-based users.

SFJ: And we can probably salute the arc of the pitch. First, you were supposed to want to be on Facebook because only a small elite could join. Now, many stock options later, you need to get on Facebook because all of China and your Dad and your ex is on there. Nice! But is this a typical sales arc, selling exclusivity and then implying losership when it opens up and you're not on it? Or atypical? You know more about products and pitches-what do you think?

NVC: This speaks to my overall beef to the movie: because the real DRAMA with Facebook that merited cinematic exploration is not questions about the creation myth of Zuck or the lawsuits with the Winklevi-but the decisions that came after the million members. The tradeoff between exclusivity and advertising money. I want to know about the decisions to open it up to public universities, to moms, to predators and (and/or) to advertisers.

SFJ: Enter John Seabrook's 1993 piece on Bob Kearns, windshield wipers and the nature of patents, "The Flash of Genius." (The article became the basis for a 2008 movie called "Flash of Genius"-cleaner without the article, isn't it?-that jettisoned the most complicated bits of Seabrook's piece and decided to celebrate the majesty of individual innovation.)

NVC: Goody!

SFJ: The piece seems relevant because it discusses how inventions can be ascribed to one person, and also how they can't. Here is a passage about Thomas Jefferson, who took on the idea of inventions:

Jefferson thought he could fix the basic flaw in the British system. His solution was the principle of examination. The principle is that certain innovations have a quality that elevates them to the status of inventions, and thus makes them eligible to be held as private property, while innovations that lack this quality are the common property of humanity. Learned people can, by study and power of reason, determine which inventions deserve a patent and which do not. Examination is the greatest American contribution to the institution of patents, and it has been copied by virtually every industrial nation in the world. Like a lot of ideas associated with the Enlightenment, it sounds a lot better than it works.

SFJ: Patent law now favors the individual, and rewards him or her with the right to be paid. The idea of "common property of humanity" would sound like Communist pinko talk to most people now. So: did anyone ever cash in harder on "common property" than Zuckerberg? Aside from the very elegant design, which-kudos!

NVC: So why is this entirely forgettable procedural lawsuit movie being hailed as THE SECOND COMING?

SFJ: Nerd alert: I think it is about lexis and mimesis.

NVC: Explain yourself.

SFJ: Let's compare "The West Wing" and "The Wire."

NVC: I'd love to!

SFJ: Sorkin talk makes everybody feel smart and makes the shitty world look OK because making money and being an asshole is fine as long as a deserving nerd wins. This appeals to nerds and anybody who fancies themselves as SMARTS. Further, he goes in hard on lexis-the act of delivering words-and lets the characters walk you through everything that would either be the job of a) acting or b) the audience using their heads. It is a way to load middlebrow content into totally fun speed talk that saves many people some hard work while feeling highbrow, because only smart people can talk that quickly. It's like associating athletic skill with height, de jure.

SFJ: Think of how many Sorkin characters are sort of Flat Erics who talk, rapidly describing every idea that could have been acted out. The advantage is you can cram a lot of action into one episode. The downside is a weird, Aspergersy sameness to every project. Actors become court stenographers in reverse, spitting out Sorkinese and then stepping aside to let the next block of text barrel through.

NVC: Agreed.

SFJ: "The Wire," on the other hand, doesn't mind alienating you. It eliminates spoken exposition (lexis) in favor of mimesis. This is an entire world, it is full, and you had better take notes if you want to keep up. You have to WORK. People who don't look like you may be in charge for a minute, maybe for a long time, and nobody has the moral high ground.

NVC: THERE IS NO PRESIDENT BARTLET IN BALTIMORE.

SFJ: Sorkin loves the abasement that is a by-product of believing in the high ground. It's in everything Sorkin does.

NVC: Might as well be footage of Sorkin sweatily wanking in front of a mirror screaming SAT words (with a hoodie on).

NVC: This brings us to the other big point which is about HISTORY. Here is the challenge thrown down regarding The Social Network: we are still in the middle of this moment; we are at the point where the lava is touching the sea. The lava is still hot!

NVC: David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin have the hubris (rightly or wrongly) to take it on and I think they did not rise to the occasion because it failed to actually be ABOUT anything but a lawsuit.

SFJ: Another flaw in the mimesis (which is part of the selling point, that this is A REAL NOW THING HAPPENING TO YOU) is that the movie didn't summon any particular year. Compare that to the OCD set-design of "Mad Men" or the verité of Panic In Needle Park, which essentially time-stamp all their scenes.

NVC: Ooo, yes!

SFJ: It could have been 1972. It could have been 2012.

NVC: It could have been the dot com boom.

SFJ: Coke off an intern's stomach in 2003? Wouldn't it be Adderall?

SFJ: There is no take on this era. There is no take on the internet.

NVC: I think that's a colossal failure of nerve.

SFJ: Like, I don't think RoboCop says much about robots or cops. Though it does say something about cities.

NVC: This is still a movie about a lawsuit.

SFJ: The movie about the internet already exists and it's called: The Matrix.

NVC: OH DOPE.

SFJ: But we can still value the Sosh Net. Look at that body of work about WWII.

NVC: I often do!

SFJ: Tracing the national attitude towards the war through fifty years of movies-it's bonkers!

SFJ: We just need enough art. This is part of the first wave of internet movies. We need more of them, and then we can sift them in twenty years.

NVC: It's a weak start. I also don't know where to put this work in relation to Fight Club. It seems like Fincher has these really silly notions of rebellion.

NVC: And what I resent after a two-hour creation myth is that: the big Sork/Finch insight is that Zuck is sad about a girl? BECAUSE HE'S A GEEK? AND AN OUTSIDER? I don't buy it for a second.

SFJ: He had the same girlfriend for the entire time period depicted in this movie.

NVC: I'm so EXHAUSTED from this fucking narrative of the love-lorn outsider forgiven for his inability to function because he has a broken heart.

SFJ: Say Anything.

NVC: Right!

SFJ: ZUCK HOLDS UP LAPTOP. AND PLAYS DEATH CAB.

SFJ: (WHAT MUSIC DOES ZUCK LIKE? HE HASN'T FRIENDED ME, SO I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE'S JAMMING TO ON THOSE ENORMOUS AIR TRAFFIC HEADPHONES WHEN EDUARDO IS BUSTING UP HIS PC.)

NVC: CLICK INSTALL CAMERON CROWE APP.



Natasha Vargas-Cooper is a writer and lady in Los Angeles. Sasha Frere-Jones is a writer and a musician from New York.

78 Comments / Post A Comment

anildash (#487)

I "liked" this on Facebook.

To be fair, the "silly notions of rebellion" in Fight Club were Palahniuk's, not Fincher's.

deepomega (#1,720)

And Fincher makes it pretty clear that the silly notions of rebellion are very silly. Rooting for mayhem is like rooting for heroin in Trainspotting.

synchronia (#3,755)

Great piece, and I agree with a lot of what you say about The West Wing vs. The Wire, but I think it's worth noting that The West Wing did make you do quite a bit of work to follow twisty narration or figure out the things the characters knew long before you did.

See – "There's intelligence that Kuhndunese neighbors in the country are swapping family members."
Or – Sam: "[Steve Onorato] said that if we dropped F.E.C., he could warm things up for drugs… What's going on?" Josh: "He knows about Laurie."

Asa (#1,055)

Someone once referred to The West Wing as "Dialogue Porn", which I liked a lot.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Uh, there was a movie about The Police.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Also, comment two, Awl staffers are selling their souls trying to get at least one piece out that coherently explains why this movie is bad. Well, here is a pretty decent piece. Congrats. The "Month of Zuck" should be over now, thanks.

melis (#1,854)

This.

Miles Klee (#3,657)

SOME OF US REMAIN PURE

gumplr (#66)

The Social Network is no more about the Internet than A Beautiful Mind is about game theory or The Aviator is about the commercial airline industry. In this case, Facebook and connectivity provide the set and circumstances around which we are told the story of a person who has had an outsized impact on modern life. Is there irony in an instrument of connectivity being created by someone who can't, himself, connect? Of course, and that's part of the story's appeal, and it's a worthy discussion point. But this fictionalized Zuckerberg (who hasn't been dating the same girl since '03, for example) isn't written as The Millenial. He's is A Millenial, just like TSN is just A(n) Internet movie. So is Hackers. And you make a great point re: WWII… in 50 years, we will look back at them and The Matrix and Terminator 2's Skynet and be able to form a larger and more nuanced view of what 'the era of the early Internet' was really like. For now, though, esoteric complaints about "the 22,000 bomb" seem more directed at the movie the Internet thinks should have been made rather than the movie Sorkin, Fincher, et al. decided to make.

balsa_wood (#465)

You should write The Awl's next post about The Social Network. (Surely there's room for another 15 or so?) Lucid, and you didn't even have to have a faux-dialogue.

joshc (#442)

First, I think that you guys are being way too hard on this very enjoyable movie. So, I'll just say that the 22,000 bomb was probably more impressive not in the context of 2003 web traffic but in the context of overnight adoption of a site that was limited to/targeted at a very small number of people. Not that I even know if that number is real.

I'd also like to see the movie about the transition from cool exclusivity to profit-driven ubiquity, but I feel like it would be five minutes long and would include the word "money" and be over.

balsa_wood (#465)

The movie's not enough about the internet, blah blah. Is that the criticism? The movie's gotten good reviews–The Awl says it's been hailed as The Second Coming. Okay, then, fine, whack away.

The Awl really has a hate-boner for this movie. It's fascinating…perhaps the best-made Hollywood movie, just on a plain level of craft, of the year, and The Awl raises their muskets, because it doesn't tell the story they want to hear. (Credit: At least you haven't stooped to Jezebel levels yet…please please don't hire Irin Camron to write anything ever here.)

Also…is it weird that the Awl hasn't gotten one experienced film critic to chime in on their site about this Most Important Movie? Half of the film critics in the world have been laid-off…they'd do a good job. And they'd lean less heavily on all the pseudo-sociology and "22,000 hits?!" nonsense.

And why are people selling Sorkin so VASTLY short? It's just rapid, snappy dialogue? Oh really? Is that all? Well, then we should all have no problem writing it ourselves. Get to it, you guys.

Alex Balk (#4)

Hey, you are more than welcome to defend Sorkin's decaffeinated Mametisms. You're clearly a big fan of his work, and that's fine. But let's not pretend that the entire world is clamoring for what is essentially "Moonlighting"-caliber wordplay, but with extra preachiness.

balsa_wood (#465)

"Moonlighting"-caliber wordplay…no. Oh, come on, no–at least, not in the movie we're discussing here. He's written plenty of precious stuff in the past–the speechifying in The West Wing can be nauseating–but the dialogue in THE SOCIAL NETWORK is a) not really all that preachy (rarely does it meander over to BIG TOPICS), and b) more elaborate and solidly constructed than mere "wordplay." Building a scene dramatically is fundamental, but how many people do that so well? Not many.

But then, I also like Mamet. What is this, a Eugene O'Neill crowd? No respect for the careful quip up in here.

balsa_wood (#465)

Also, thanks for your reply.

I'm experiencing SOCIAL NETWORK overload. As are we all, maybe?

Abe Sauer (#148)

"Hire": There, fixed.

Alex Balk (#4)

I can't believe it's only been out since Friday, so yeah.

brianvan (#149)

Balk owns the entire series of "Moonlighting" on DVD, so he would know.

NO WAIT SORRY, IT'S ON VHS AND IT WAS RECORDED FROM CH. 7, WITH ALL THE 1980'S COMMERCIALS AND NEWS PROMOS INCLUDED

saythatscool (#101)

Decaf Mamet! Killing me, Balk.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Hey now. Seasons 1 and 2 of Moonlighting hold up at least as well if not better than Night Court.

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

@Balk: Did you see the movie yet?

Baroness (#273)

Yeah, it's a shame the Awl couldn't get an experienced cultural critic here to talk about the film, just Sasha Frere-Jones from the New Yorker. Jesus.

This was a brilliant exchange to read by the way. People with three names are uncommonly astute.

balsa_wood (#465)

Well, throw a rock and you'll hit an "experienced culture critic."

By the way, did I say "culture critic"? Nope, said "film critic."

The Social Network is a film. Sasha Frere-Jones is a music critic (and a good one!). Natasha Vargas-Cooper is a…I guess a culture critic. Again, throw a rock. In any case, she seems to spend a great deal of time being bored by things.

I just think it'd be a nice thing to do every now and then…post something by someone who has a background in film analysis (beyond being, say, a self-appointed "horror expert") to discuss a film. Otherwise, "film" just becomes a synonym for "popular platform on which to stack my culturally relevant concerns." Which gets tiresome.

wb (#2,214)

Sasha Frere-Jones may be a music critic, but point to me the last piece about film in a relatively middle-brow publication where someone who is specifically, wholly a film critic brings up mimesis and lexis. Some might call that pretentious, but, when addressed correctly–as SFJ does–these are concepts that mark someone with chops in writing about film.

Nathan McIntyre (#7,822)

@wb: the phenomenon you're asking for happens every time a regular old film critic evokes the classic "show rather than tell" maxim. Only they generally have the self-respect to resist lapsing into the glitzier "lexis-mimesis" drivel.

Ian Carey (#7,531)

I often read pieces like this and think, "I too could be a high-falutin' cultural critic!", but then I come across something like, "I don't think RoboCop says much about robots or cops. Though it does say something about cities," and I have to admit there is falutin' on a whole other level going on.

Flashman (#418)

That line cracked me up too. I think this 'SFJ' could Sorkin with the best of them.

Lukas Kaiser (#5,518)

It IS about cities. Verhoeven went into depth about that in an interview he did for Stop Smiling in 2007… Verhoeven's stuff is usually fairly, uh, allegorical is the word I guess? RoboCop is also about Jesus, apparently.

My favorite part of this review is that it was written in the rare hipster/lit major dialect of Sorkinese.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

"talk, rapidly describing every idea that could have been acted out"

I really don't give a rat's ass if this movie is about Facebook or not (as I never give much importance to the "aboutness" or "significance" of anything that I look at as art). In fact, I avoid biographies, period pieces, historical, war movies, and documentaries as a rule, and only make exceptions for highly "artistic" among those. So, if the above is true, I may not be likely to make such an exception in the case of this movie.

balsa_wood (#465)

You avoid all period pieces?

Wow.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

Saying that I avoid period pieces as a rule, making exception for those of highly artistic value is *not* the same thing as saying I avoid all of them. Not to me, at least.

garge (#736)

Oh, god, period pieces are my benzodiazepines. We would never work out, Niko :(

balsa_wood (#465)

Ah, now I see your exception. Still, The Rule of Avoiding Documentaries, Period Pieces, and War Movies strikes me as an odd rule.

laurel (#4,035)

That's a nice alt tag you've got there.

Abe Sauer (#148)

I found the The Social Network to be about Facebook and the Internet the same way Twelve Angry Men is about crime and murder?

"decaffeinated Mametisms"! I actually like Sorkin but YOU WIN THE INTERNET.

This movie could never live up to its marketing, which is perfect. The teaser was gorgeous and right about all the stuff the movie doesn't get to (the status change, the perfect delay as the emoticon is typed out). The poster (and the online blurb-filled ad) were perfect in their Chuck Close distance and Jesse's utterly magnetic face. The full trailer included enough dialogue to make you think that there were lots of times when no one would be talking and someone would be acting (you would be wrong, but you would think that).

I am saying this movie is 2010's Where the Wild Things Are.

Truth! It was also boring as fuck.

In the future, all trailers will capture the zeitgeist.

Lukas Kaiser (#5,518)

Where the Wild Things Are was way better than its trailer. I am 2010's version of you, when you defended something people didn't like that one time.

whoneedslight (#758)

That is really what I was waiting for SOMEONE to say. Thank you.

@LK: I hearlity disagree. With both halves. BUT! I did love Gandolfini in it (2 great perfs last year, including In the Loop), AND! I wanted the production design to get nominated (by the ADG). I am not saying the movie was bad; I am saying the marketing was tremendous (the teaser was better than the full trailer; the one-sheets were superb).

@wnl: who are you thanking? Me or Lukas? If me, de nada.

brianvan (#149)

If it was actually a movie about Facebook, you'd all be complaining a LOT more.

Abe Sauer (#148)

this is true!

Well at least they would have tried. Even Spielberg tried with Munich. D for effort.

SeanP (#4,058)

Is that even possible?

Here is a word you all might find handy in the future: "sperg." You can use it as a noun, or transform it into a verb or an adjective – even an embarrassed or accusatory action ("sperg out").

spanish bombs (#562)

Someone tell Sasha to go update his Best of 2010 list! Or at least tell me where the one that does get updated lives.

http://www.sashafrerejones.com/2009/11/hell_u_talmbout.html

Also, here's the other problem : Soc Net is not about Facebook because Sorkin/Fincher, I think, do not fundamentally understand what digital revolution is about and the effects that it's had. For them to make a movie about the greatest culture artifact of the decade and momental rise I think shows that they don't get it or don't think it's that big of a deal, which I resent, not in the name of Zuckerberg but– well, it's kind of like the movie of Ghosts of Mississippi where the Wrongs of the civil rights movement are corrected by a few spooks in the FBI and some Good Guy lawyers. There's something super insulting about the chutzpah to take on a historical moment and white wash or in this case COMPLETELY IGNORE what it was about.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Well, I didn;t love this movie but I'm surprised there is no mention here of Catfish, which as I understand it, is more "about" Facebook and the digital generation than The Social Network, making Catfish "the Facebook movie" and TSN a courtroom drama that happens to be based on facebook. It seems people are holding the sins of TSN's marketing against the movie.

I'm also surprised to see no mention of A Few Good Men and Charlie Wilson's War which, both by Sorkin, were respectively viewed to be "about" the military and a war but were really both courtroom dramas in their own ways.

TheStarterWife (#4,478)

Isn't this the part where we discuss that the screenplay and film were adapted from a book? From a book that was purported to be only loosely based on the facts?

wb (#2,214)

Sorkin, in particular, doesn't care about understanding the digital revolution at all and said as much in the Zuck's New Yorker profile. The quote that stood out to me was "I've heard of Facebook, in the same way I've heard of a carburetor. But if I opened the hood of my car I wouldn't know how to find it." The movie isn't really about Facebook, isn't about Millennials, isn't about the digital age because I don't think Sorkin (and likely Fincher) actually wanted it to be. He took reality and made it work in service of the story he wanted to tell by manipulating it.

And in that sense, to Abe's point, Catfish was a FAR better film about social networking, as it actually addressed the intricacies of it, the ways in which people use it. All Sorkin managed was a few scenes where people said "Facebook me" and some dudes got laid because of the Internet.

I am very excited to see Catfish!!!

wb (#2,214)

Another Flicked Off in the future?

Lukas Kaiser (#5,518)

Doing a movie about this subject and having it be "just" about a court battle is a supreme example of performance anxiety if I've ever seen it.

balsa_wood (#465)

"It seems people are holding the sins of TSN's marketing against the movie."

Yes.

And funnily enough, the marketing of CATFISH is twice as misleading.

wb (#2,214)

The marketing for CATFISH summed up to: go see the movie; we're not telling you anything. An odd approach, but misleading?

A.R. Chrisman (#2,964)

Hey did anyone hear they're making a movie about facebook?! JEEZ! What will they think of next?!?!

Matt (#26)

I'd just like to register that I think your reading of RoboCop is flawed, sir. Especially RoboCop III.

Liz Colville (#7,774)

YEHS. If this doesn't take the Awl into the sub-20,000 range on Alexa it's a crying shame.

alorsenfants (#139)

WORST thing about you guys, and your 'antecedents' over at Gawker — is that you actually think TV matters.
Aaron Sorkin, Bill O'Reilly, Christine O'Donnell… so forth.
Come on.

alorsenfants (#139)

Not to say I don't love you guys –
(I do!)

I would just like to say, I am sad that work is killing me right now, and that I had to wait 8 hours to see that this was posted. (I am also sad that I have 385 unread Awl posts in my RSS.)

THAT IS ALL.

/John Hodgman'd

Asher Steinberg (#7,363)

Some comments:

1. The dialogue in this movie wasn't really very Sorkinese. I can barely remember a single line from it; that's how nondescript and functional most of the dialogue actually is (as it should be). I wouldn't claim that it's a very apt representation of how people at Harvard talk, but it wasn't so far off the mark to kill the verisimilitude either.

2. There's no reason why this movie had to be about Facebook. Or even about the Internet. You're asking for a completely different movie. Now, I'm going to agree that it wasn't especially good at what it was trying to do, but it's absurd to claim that a movie about the Facebook founder must necessarily be an Internet parable. Citizen Kane, to which this thing is not altogether ridiculously compared (not ridiculously because formally they have a lot in common, even though the one's far greater than the other), was about the founder of modern sensationalistic mass media, but the movie isn't about that at all. The Magnificent Ambersons, Welles's much better second film and his real masterpiece, is in large part about one of America's first big car manufacturers. But it's about the car manufacturer's love life, not the massive cultural impact of the automobile, interesting subject though that would be. (In fact, just like here, where we never see any of the Facebook users, there's only one car you ever see in The Magnificent Ambersons: the manufacturer's. All the end users are completely absent; there's no reckoning of how his product affects lives.) Here, Fincher and Sorkin have decided to make a movie about a guy who screwed his one friend out of billions of dollars and also screwed a couple of huge blond rowers. You might say that that's not as worthwhile an area of Zuckerberg's life to make a movie about when he's the fucking creator of Facebook. You probably also would've complained when Citizen Kane came out that it should've been about Hearst instigating the Spanish-American War, not attempting to turn his second wife into an opera star. Of course there's a great film to be made about the Zuckerberg-Saverin bromance (just like you could make a great movie about Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and skip any serious discussion of Iraq or New Labor), but:

3. This just isn't one – not at all or even close. For one thing, Saverin's a personality-less cipher (Garfield doesn't really help matters here), so it's hard to care much about him. Why does he spend any time with Mark (or for that matter date a crazy girl who introduced herself to him by attacking him in a bathroom)? Does he even enjoy Mark's company? Do they ever spend time together in non-watching-Mark-program ways, or is that how they bond? One can only guess. And then Mark doesn't seem to really be interested in him for anything more than financial support, so when things go sour it's not exactly like we're in The Fox and the Hound territory. It was never much of a friendship to begin with. Rather, all the movie shows us is a generous dope who lends his genius college roommate some money, gets really rich when genius roommate turns that money into billions, and then wants to complain that he doesn't get to keep a way bigger share of the billions even though all he ever really did for the company was loan it $25000. And then he makes some sad faces and we're supposed to nod our heads in knowing ironic response to the tritism that the founder of Facebook doesn't get "real" friendship. Moreover, the Mark-Eduardo relationship, which should have dominated the movie because, as meaningless as its dissolution is, it's the only thing that even slightly resonates, gets buried by all the entertaining but ultimately pointless stuff with Timberlake, and the Winkelvosses, and all the "shall we or shan't we advertise" tedium that you can go read about in a book if you're interested. Ultimately it's this incoherent, semi-topical, semi-biographical mess that fails at doing either right because they tried to do both.

balsa_wood (#465)

I did like it more than you–the aesthetics pleased me to no end, which apparently I should just take for granted?–but I think you nail the shortcomings. In a way, the problem wasn't at all that Sorkin embellished/narrowed reality, but that he didn't embellish/narrow it enough. (This is what happens when you try to hammer a very well-known, widely covered current event or mega-novel into the square peg of a feature film.) I remember feeling, when the movie ended, both thrilled and unsatisfied–liked I'd just been pulled in too many directions.

Also, The Magnificent Ambersons. I don't think it applies perfectly–Welles does seem to be reaching for a broader vision of where we've ended up as a society–but it's definitely something to think about. That movie. So so wonderful. (And not on DVD, boo.)

libmas (#231)

Um, it's been many years since I saw The Magnificent Ambersons, but isn't there a scene where the manufacturer's family is at dinner and the discussion circles the fact that the old social order that they represent is crumbling because people with money are moving further from the center of town now that they have cars? And (SPOILER), doesn't the manufacturer himself get run down by a car at the end, or what should have been the end before the studio tacked on the ridiculous "happy" ending? That's an end user!

But as I say, it's been a long time. Still, I really did think at the time that it was a brilliant mix of personal tragedy/larger social change.

DMcK (#5,027)

Thank you, SFJ, for your spot-on definition of Sorkinese. So impeccably glib! yet, earnest! I could never sit through an entire episode of West Wing, it's like fingernails on a blackboard. Awful stuff.

My favorite Aaron Sorkin rumor is that he, actually, wrote Gilmore Girls and "Amy Sherman-Palladino" was a pen name. Considering The Social Network script was 500 million pages long and Sorkin/Fincher insisted on fast-talk to get it all in…it just would make sense.

Michael Dunford (#4,984)

"no country for young men." -NVC

+20 space bucks.

Why isn't the a Directors Label collection for Fincher? Did he turn them down? http://bit.ly/directorslabel

Abe Sauer (#148)

Maybe's he's worried about "Cradle of Love" being included.

Abe Sauer (#148)

"Maybe"

that would be enough reason to spend $799.99 or whatever things cost now.

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