Film Review: The Social Network, A Top 10 List

dear readers,

top 10 thoughts on acclaimed box office hit, “the social network,” or, the facebook movie.  first, the basics.  directed by david fincher, screenplay by aaron sorkin, release date, october 1.  sorkin adapted the screenplay from a novel about the ascendance of facebook by ben mezrich called, “the accidental billionaires: the founding of facebook, a tale of sex, money, genius and betrayal.”  no facebook staff or employees were hurt or injured in the film’s creation.  even though it’s more drama than truth.  even though justin timberlake’s spot on performance made us really want to hate napster founder, shawn fanning. 🙂  but for real, no facebook inside crew was involved with the film’s creation, not even mark zuckerberg, founder of facebook and angsty yet brilliant star of the show.

the real deal: facebook founder mark zuckerberg

1. like butter:  let me set up one of the dopest montages in the movie.  we’re talking first 15 minutes.  it’s a mash-up scene, zuckerberg, played by the lip-tastic jesse eisenberg, is hacking away towards creating a slimy rate-these-girls site.  interspersed is an elite campus party, dancing, panties, drinks, and the dj.  the hands of the dj, his serato visuals alive, needles running on the laptop screen, cut in with zuckerberg hands alive on the keyboard, data running on the computer screen. it’s a hot juxtaposition.

2. electro-suspense sound world:  the sound world of the film is distinctly thriller oriented, electro-suspensy for sure.  i movie-hopped to the social network from the new horror flick, let me in.  and the non-diagetic worlds of both films resonated with each other.  weird.  i mean, one had the little girl demon with the blood clot mouth (“i never get cold”…*shudder*) and the other had the lonely, rich kid.  maybe the two entities are not so different.  the social network’s initial montage of harvard (not the real harvard by the way, harvard hasn’t allowed on-campus shooting since the love story in 1970) is set to dark overtures of intrigue, even horror, though the music never stops pulsing with a little bit of club.  california scenes get bob marley and a slightly antiqued light. the beatles to end it all, with, “baby you’re a rich man, baby, you’re a rich man, too.”

3. fuck social norms, get money: claustrophobic shots of discovery and witness examination scenes, old lawyers and young rich kids at a table, propel the film’s narrative towards a criss-cross, rapid fire memory recovery.  facebook founder zuckerberg, sits in rumpled business casual while his peers vulture out, all suited to the nines.  implication: fuck social norms, get your paper booboo, and change the world.  if you can, you should.

4.  off the dick: while the social network is a good film, there is something distinctly saccharin about all the critical fawning.  “filmmaking at its finest,” reports rotten tomatoes, “the movie of the year,” raves rolling stone.  check it, at base, the flick is young, powerful, rich, and technology obsessed.  in other words, the film is everything we are supposed to want to be.  which means the old heads are falling over themselves to get down with the program.  the film is dope, go see it, but all the props are sort of grating, no?

5. one big facebook ad: in the business section of today’s new york times there are two front page articles on, the social network.  but in the arts section, there’s currently just a little blurb, at least until oscar season.  tells you something about the machinery behind and in front of the film, namely, industry.  initially i was going to report that product placement in the film was kept to an up-front minimum: gap sweater in the opening scenes, mountain dew and heineken in the dorm fridge, annoying mountain dew dialogue, sony vaio and apple making a showing.  but  there was more.  on critical glance, the entire film is one big ad for what product?  facebook.  for what else?  an elite, multi-billion dollar endowed, beautiful university called, harvard.  does it matter that the film raises all sorts of hype and buy-in for facebook?  sort of.  only if we don’t recognize that we’re being pitched will we end up pitchforked.

6. succinct + scathing = funny:  zuckerberg’s dialogue is sometimes 100 miles a minute (btw, opening bar/break-up scene with former chick took 99 takes), and sometimes, mad funny.  like caribbean night at the harvard jewish fraternity frat party.  picture hawaiian print shirts.  the harvard jewish dudes hawking the heavily stereotyped asian chicks.  dudes’s dialogue all nerdy, racist, misogynistic and bonerized.  zuckerberg pops in mad quick, he’s a climber, it’s so not his scene, and leaves out with his homie saverin.  but not before clowning the niagra falls with rainbow visual behind the caribbean night dj.  what does this have to do with the caribbean? fucking nothing, indicates zuckerberg.  or what about when zuckerberg calls the perfectly annoying winklevoss twins, “the winklevai.”  like, they’re definitely slytherin house.  the film is peppered with small bits that are devastingly funny. wish there had been more.

7.  what’s the big idea?  ideas. :  the creation of ideas.  the execution of ideas.  the race to cash in on ideas.  the law that divides the indivisible, the law that divides thought.  who’s idea was facebook?  the ones who sparked it?  the ones who funded it?  the one who wrote all its initial code?  the ones who are its lifeblood: us.  the users? all of the above?

8. the social network on intellectual property: the film is simmering with the brewing debate on the public’s legal stake in on-line social spaces.  there is carved out constitutional terrain in the arena of speech and public space.  far less clarity in the arena of speech in online public space.  take for example facebook’s “terms of use” controversy.  it erupted in 2009, when folks at the consumerist reported that facebook wrote itself a new clause into it’s “term of use” agreements which gave the company the right to “Do anything they want with your content. Forever.”

9. is facebook like a sidewalk, a street, or a public beach: are we, as facebook users, a public?  does our presence create a kind of ownership?  when anti-FARC mass mobilizations in Columbia are launched via facebook, and U.S. presidential debate feedback platforms are organized through facebook, what should the impact be on defining “public” in this and all online realms?  historically, it has been youth voices that catalyze cultural and political upheaval, from the south bronx to algeria.  is facebook a protest site?  a permit only site, caged in, we are on the streets outside of the rnc, that kind of site?  by agreeing to stay connected in this era, are we reaching through the bars of a rather isolative social order, heavily imposed but rarely agreed to?

10. fuck social norms (part 2):  journalists are talking generational divide.  they polled elder folks who saw the social network, and found that most think zuckerberg was a jerk, cold blooded, profit minded to fault, tragic, socially retarded.  the younger folks were more like: rock star.  in the film, zuckerberg gives a fuck.  he is biting in his refusal to throw on the veil of formality, which may seem like disrespect to the old guard.  but the old guard has been profiting off of their disrespect for so many, for too long.  call me millenial, but i not only liked zuckerberg for most of the film, i could relate to him socially. except, of course, for the women hating-rating bullshit. that part of him i don’t hardly get down with at all.

anyway, holler back.

peace,

prof. singh

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One thought on “Film Review: The Social Network, A Top 10 List

  1. Dee says:

    LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your Social Network review. Can we say Awesome…yes, yes we can!!!! ***7, 8 & 9 were of particular interest to me. As some one working to afford more and more every day people with space for public discourse those particular points resonate with me. I agree about the “sleeze-site” montage. As for “Fuck the Norms”…I’m a bay boomer so I guess by default I am in partial agreement with my generation. I am just not sure it is for the same reasons. The “break up scene” was like a “lets go to the video replay.” It reminded me of so many of the techno-savy, neurotic, upper class or “wanna be” upper class, pendejo’s I came up with. Being a woman in a tech field these were the guys I was around all the time. They all lived in their techno boy world thinking that they were the shiznit. Mean while they had the social grace of a post-mortum bovine. I have no idea if the “real” Mark Zukerberg is like that. And in earnest I don’t know that I care. But if the scene in any way accurately portrays the manner in which he is accustom to speaking to women.. then like you I ain’t with it. I found his character to be a mix of cunning and naivete. He is portrayed as very “Aspergersesk.”

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