Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Social Network

That "The Social Network" has won numerous awards as the Best Film of 2010 pretty much sums up what a disappointing year it was for films in my opinion.  I just watched this on DVD and I was pretty unimpressed.  Really I think it would have made for a better hour-long CNBC documentary on Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook.

Writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher try to inject some life into what is otherwise a pretty dull tale.  Essentially what they do is try to set Zuckerberg up as a 21st Century Charlie Kane, going so far as to create a fictitious Rosebud in the form of a former girlfriend named Erica (Rooney Mara), whom Zuckerberg perhaps sees as "the one who got away."  They also interweave testimony from two legal hearings against Zuckerberg.

One hearing is for a lawsuit brought on by his former partner Eduardo (Andrew Garfield, soon to be Spider-Man), who put up the cash for Zuckerberg to start "the facebook" which eventually became what we now know as Facebook.  Eduardo thinks that the site needs to find some advertisers to make money, while Zuckerberg thinks that would compromise the "coolness" of the site.  The former Harvard roommates eventually drift apart, much like Kane drifted apart from his former roommate, played by Joseph Cotten.  And just like in "Citizen Kane" there's a final betrayal that fractures their relationship, leading to the lawsuit.

The other hearing is brought on by the Winklevoss twins and another guy, who wanted Zuckerberg to create a dating service called "Harvard Connection."  But Zuckerberg had a better idea.  Instead of just breaking things off with the twins, he makes excuses and then rolls out "the facebook" on his own, cutting them out of the loop.  After exhausting other remedies, including going to Harvard's president, the twins and their partner sue Zuckerberg.

Actually while they were already pilfering so much of one of the greatest films in history, Sorkin and Fincher might as well have gone the rest of the way and used the same style of having a reporter interview everyone to try and find the real Zuckerberg.  The real Zuckerberg is what's missing from this movie.  We get to see that he's socially awkward, smart, a gifted programmer, and driven to succeed.  I'm not sure we really get to see what makes him tick.  We never get to see his parents.  (Are they alive?  Where do they live?  Does he have siblings?  Aunts, uncles, cousins?  I have no idea.  Maybe I should check his Facebook page.)  "Citizen Kane" at least gave us some glimpses of Kane's background.  "The Social Network" just has Zuckerberg springing fully formed from Harvard and bursting onto the scene.

Like Charlie Kane, the film shows Zuckerberg as essentially being a victim of his own success.  By achieving fame and fortune he's alienated those (one, really) who cared about him.  Probably if they made this movie ten years from now they could include where Zuckerberg builds his palatial house and lives in seclusion from the outside world after a failed attempt to become governor.  Overall it's fine, but as I said, a straight documentary would have been more interesting to learn about Facebook and then you can always watch "Citizen Kane" for the rest of it.

Though the greatest accomplishment is that now I probably won't think of Jesse Eisenberg as "that guy who looks like Michael Cera and was in 'Zombieland.'"  I have my doubts that he'll become an A-list star after this (I doubt he'll win the Oscar or Golden Globe), but he's on his way to some good parts now.
Anyway, I should probably go see "The King's Speech" which is the other heavyweight Oscar contender.  I doubt it could be less impressive than this.

That is all.

My score:  62/100 (2.5 stars)
Metacritic score:  95/100 (4 stars)

No comments:

Post a Comment