I'm not the target
audience for The Social Network, a movie about the founding
of Facebook.com. That's because I don't understand what the
fuck Facebook is. I used to hear about it from the college kids
at Southern universities who liked reading my shit because they
thought I was as afraid of women as they are. Then the local
the high school kids talked about it, how they couldn't wait
to post pictures after they'd beaten the crap out of me behind
the Conoco. Now, though, every fucking jerk talks about Facebook.
Old people, young people, my sisters and even babies. Hell,
the insurance agents who leave fliers on our apartment door
say to join them on it. What good can a place be where you spend
more time with insurance hacks?
So, what the fuck
is Facebook? I assume it's not an online sex site, because nobody
would go there to join Steve Loeb of State Farm. I don't think
it's a dating site, at least not outwardly, because I know married
people who put pictures of their kids and pets on it. If it
is a dating site, that's fucked up. It can't be about making
friends, because that's what Friendster is for. It says so right
in the name. And it can't be about sharing your life because
nobody outside of about eight people ever has anything interesting
to say or happen to them. When I do something interesting, it's
almost always published in the Arvada Press police log.
People have more
class than to post the mundane shit that happens to them every
day. Plus, they have text messaging for those times they just
need to share "TGIF!!!" Someone tell me facebook.com is not
just another way for boring assholes to tell other boring assholes
about their boring lives. People say that porn drives technological
innovation, but in reality it's driven by people who love their
cats and have a certainty that the rest of the world feels likewise.
Regardless of what
Facebook is, The Social Network tells the story of a
guy named Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) as he
creates it and grows it into the next .com phenomenon, maybe
as huge as Pets.com or Netscape, and maybe for half as long.
Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg as obsessive-compulsive to the point
of being borderline Asperger in his inability to relate to other
people. He's asocial, arrogant and insecure. Mostly insecure.
He must be smart because he got into Harvard, and nobody ever
mentions that his family had boatloads of money or influence.
He must have had some social skill because the movie opens with
him having a girlfriend. After that, no more ladies like him
for him. There are plenty of groupies, though. He taps away,
writing code for web sites and "blogging", while meeting with
people, during depositions and any time he is near a keyboard.
When he isn't, other people don't hold his interest.
Eisenberg is always
looking for the next big web site. He's not motivated by money,
but his need to be accepted, and maybe even because girls, like
his ex, will stop hating him. This is pretty believable logic
for a dweeb. In the absence of charm or personality, either
success or Axe body spray is the only hope they can imagine.
The character's idea is that people don't understand him, but
if he did something phenomenal, they would. They'd get that
he wasn't an asshole, just someone who needed to insult and
trample them to achieve greatness.
The Social Network
is not really about the creation of the Facebook web site. It
is primarily about Eisenberg's duplicity. Most of that is passive.
He has a business partner who fronts him money, played by Andrew
Garfield. He is less impulsive/compulsive than Eisenberg, and
he gets pushed out of Facebook when something newer and shinier
attracts Eisenberg's attention. That is Sean Parker, played
by Justin Timberlake. The Social Network presents him
as the biggest asshole, a guy brings almost nothing to the business
but a few contacts, yet schemes to stake of the value. Timberlake's
Parker has no soul and only Garfield's character sees that.
Eisenberg is too impressed because he's hearing what he wants
to hear. For the most part Zuckerberg is too big a dick to confront
people. Instead, he lets sleazier people, like lawyers and Timberlake
do the dirty stuff for him.
that the idea for Facebook was stolen from two Harvard crew-rowing
twins who wanted Eisenberg's character to work on developing
a similar site for them. There is the accusation by Garfield's
character that he was forced out unfairly and without his explicit
consent. There are many scenes of depositions as Eisenberg is
sued by Garfield and the twins. The movie flashes back and forth
between the present court cases and the defining moments in
Zuckerberg's life and creation of Facebook. I wouldn't call
these scenes filler, but they are background in what is really
the intensely personal story of a guy who's a misfit. They are
the setting. While they could be deathly boring, director David
Fincher handles them slickly. They don't add to our understanding
of Zuckerberg, but they move us closer to understanding how
a mess gets resolved.
arrogance, basically calling the lawyers idiots for wasting
his time. It's an interesting strategy, and one that probably
does little to make them go easy on a guy. But this character
isn't interested in getting a break. He's compulsively interested
in always having the upper hand and being better than others.
What's interesting is that he is never an outright asshole.
He may speak rudely and arrogantly. But he's too big a pussy
to be the bad guy. He lets other, greedier and more avaricious
people make decisions for him. Despite thinking he's so fucking
brilliant, he's a gullible naÔf. Eisenberg plays him perfectly.
In fact, it's a fucking great performance. He captures the character
through a lot of small and quiet gestures. He makes Zuckerberg
very bright, but also a fool.
Surrounding him are
other fantastic performances. Garfield is very good as the friend
who is probably the most honest and sympathetic character in
the movie. Justin Timberlake does a good job as the monstrously
self-absorbed Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, who worms
his way into Facebook.
The movie isn't a
success story. It doesn't matter that Facebook is worth $25
billion. Hell, I'd take that number with as many grains of salt
as you took the $166 billion that AOL was once worth. What the
move is about is the monster that Mark Zuckerberg feeds, to
have a girl who dumped him be his friend. The site could be
worth a trillion and if that girl didn't come back, he'd just
keep feeding it. In the closing moments, it's clear that he
will, too, because for him it's easier to put on some headphones
and type some code than it is to be a better person.
for The Social Network. I still ain't putting my face
on its book, though.
to tell Filthy Something?