MARK ZUCKERBERG is on a DATE. He is also a NERD, as demonstrated by the universal Hollywood mechanism of marking out smart people by making them speak their dialogue too fast.
GIRL: So, which is the easiest Final Club to join?
ZUCK: Bitch farm animals SCART lead order a burger!
GIRL: That’s it, I’m leaving you. I don’t care how good you are setting up the DVD player!
MARK ZUCKERBERG is hiring interns for DA FACEBUK. His co-founder EDUARDO SAVERIN walks into the computer lab where a competition seems to be going on. He asks a BRILLIANT QUESTION.
SAVERIN: What’s going on here?
ZUCK: Python intern competition MySQL teddy bear collection!
SAVERIN: But why are they drinking?
ZUCK: Hacking Linkin Park pop-up window tequila shot!
DA FACEBUK adds more programmers to its team and TAKES OVER THE WORLD.
AARON SORKIN, Luddite-extraordinaire (“I figured a good first step in my preparation would be finding out what Facebook is…” – you figured?!) and the screenplay writer for The Social Network is busy at work. He is conversing with a MINION who advises on ‘technology-stuff’ for the screenplay.
SORKIN: Okay Minion, you see this scene here? It needs more computer?
SORKIN: Yes! Like, hacking and stuff. Can we make Zuckerberg hack into the Pentagon?
MINION: I’m pretty sure he didn’t do that…
MINION: …but we could make him say he needs ‘an Apache server with a MySQL back-end’ to run the Facebook…
SORKIN: DO IT!
At the end of a long day at work, MINION feels miserable. Working for a person who wants him to write about ‘More computer’ is mind-numbingly menial, but it pays the bills. A smile creeps across MINION’s face as he remembers the joke he snuck into the script – making Zuckerberg use Emacs instead of vi! He probably used Vi though, MINION muses.
Watching paint dry is a fascinating exercise. There’s something of an ethereal quality in what’s happening, as you sit with rapt attention – and look there, out of the corner of your eye, that little bubble just dried up! Ooh! Slightly less fascinating though is watching David Fincher’s latest inevitably destined for blockbuster success film, The Social Network.
Maybe I am being harsh. The script doesn’t use pseudo-technobabble like, say, Swordfish did; the few scenes where programming is shown are very accurate. But the intention is just the same – borne out of a need to establish that there’s a ‘computer hacker’ in the room. Sheryl Sandberg (current COO of Facebook) admits, without the liberties the film took, it would be two hours of Jesse Eisenberg “sitting around with his friends in front of his computer, ordering pizza”. While nobody wants to see that, the film spectacularly accomplishes being boring and condescending at the same time – much like the portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in it.
Look, I’m not getting into a debate on whether Mark Zuckerberg stole ideas or swindled people. Regardless of what he did the film is, ultimately, boring. The only reason why anyone would stick around till the end is because this is Facebook we’re talking about. Were this about any other major web or technology company, nobody would be interested. Fair enough, no other major company has touched people’s lives in such a visible way. Still doesn’t make the film any less boring.
The basic story of how Facebook started off seems to be more or less true. The only changes that seem to have been made is liven up the few interesting characters available – giving Sean Parker more of a playboy vibe, portraying Eduardo Saverin as a martyr, and making Mark Zuckerberg appear more of a jerk than he probably is in real life. The changes are forgiveable and necessary to move the plot forward. What really grates though is how everyone in the film tries to speak in punchlines rather than normal human beings. “You know what’s better than a million dollars? A billion dollars!” “You’re not an asshole. You’re just trying too hard to be one!” “A chicken crossed the road. To get to the other side!” Etcetera.
I was impressed with Jesse Eisenberg’s performance. I was apprehensive when I heard a relative unknown was cast in the role, as I consider Michael Cera to have a monopoly on the nerd movie market. Eisenberg does a great job of acting out the character he’s given though! As for the soundtrack – by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – it’s very meh. You can download a five-track EP sampler of The Social Network soundtrack for free from the Nine Inch Nails’ Null Corp website.
This probably won’t be able to dissuade people from watching this movie as this is one that every user of Facebook will be curious to watch, and it’s not meant to. For me, the high-point of The Social Network ended with the Scala & Kolacny Brothers trailer.
My rating of The Social Network: 2 / 5
In case you’re wondering where the ‘forgotten co-founder’ of Facebook is these days: apparently, Eduardo Saverin is living in Singapore now! (Where he’s a regular at The Butter Factory. I’ve been to The Butter Factory a few times – nice hangout. Bills itself as one of the “coolest places in the city” and takes this statement too seriously by pumping jets of dry ice through the air-conditioning. I swear!) Less than six (geographical) degrees of separation?