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This was the review where I realized Joe had turned me into a Bollywood fan. High fives to Jesus Christ, but I've got a new religion.

Jog should review every Bollywood film.

Fucking loved My Son My Son, What Have Ye Done. Bad Lieutenant had its moments, but when I finished with My Son, I was like "holy shit, that's the movie I wanted Herzog to make."

Shannon and Zabriskie were just amazing; the bit with Shannon at his drumset was one of the most perfect scenes I've seen all year. That was around the point where my sister asked me "I can't tell, is this supposed to be disturbing or funny?" To be fair, I don't think she'd ever actually watched a Herzog movie before this.

I'm still a little haunted by Michael Shannon's bit in Delocated.

Marty - I haven't seen it yet but I was ind of expecting exactly what you're saying? I'm not really a Sorkin guy (I watched Sports Night for Natalie), so there's not much difference for me with Fincher directing him than Fincher directing Eric Roth. Since Fight Club it's really been Fincher fighting his subject matter that makes me want to see his movies. That's why I'm excited to see him do this and then Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo, because you know he's not going to just shoot the book.

To be fair, Fincher does some really interesting stuff. Just the fact that he lets Eisenberg go so negative and emotionless with the main character is like Wow, I've never really seen that in a film like this before. Sorkin gets some great stuff in, too. But overall it just feels like something's missing, you know?

@Martin, I agree that the line about him trying to be an asshole fell flat. It was a strange line to end the movie, because the tone was so different from the entire movie that had preceded it. Also, it was so obviously untrue. Zuckerberg is portrayed as an anti-social geek. He's not "trying" to be anything other than a great programmer, seeking admiration only from those he admires such as Parker. Most of the movie is quite consistent on that point, and it is highlighted on the line where he explains that he doesn't hate anyone, which I felt was quite genuine.

But I really think you misinterpreted many other points. He was not involved in the chicken fiasco, and had nothing to do with the police showing up at the house party. The lawyer, Delpy, was just showing him how easy it would be to convince a jury otherwise. The audience, however, is privy to his innocent reactions during the events themselves and his sincere surprise at the accusation. There was also no indication that he was jealous of Saverin's improving social status; only Saverin's accusations even introduce the idea. Once Facebook starts to take off, Zuckerberg doesn't seem to care about any other kind of recognition.

A couple other points: Zuckerberg does not idolize Parker because he is a bigger sociopath, he idolizes Parker's success with Napster. He is further drawn in because of Parker's geek-dream charisma.

You also touched on the point of the misogyny in the film. This is entirely introduced by the filmmakers, which is really sad. From what I've heard, in real life Zuckerberg had a girlfriend throughout the entire creation of Facebook and is married to her today. The film version fails the Bechdel Test, which is simply the question, "Does the film contain at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man?"

Personally, I thought the structure of the movie worked quite well, though it was a little confusing at first. My only complaint there is that they never explained why Saverin was the only one screwed out of his percentage. We are left to assume that Zuckerberg caved to Parker's desire to dump him. To me, that was the crux of the movie. While the lawsuit brought by the twins was the motivating force of the story, the lawsuit brought by Saverin was the motivating force of the character exploration. The failure to resolve that aspect is the only flaw that really bothers me as far as story structure.

I think you're operating under the notion that the camera and the audience have a neutral point of view, but they don't. The framing device is such that the flashbacks are supposed to be illustrations of what's being described in the hearings--that's established in the beginning when they introduce testimony about the breakup with Erica Albright. So we never really see Zuckerberg's "innocent reactions." We see an illustration of someone else's description of them. It's on some Usual Suspects shit.

And there are implications that Mark is jealous of Eduardo getting punched by the Phoenix--he says a couple of passive agressive things that are meant to sound positive but actually cut down Eduardo's confidence. That's why they get laughs in the theater. But they're also meant to illustrate Zuckerberg's ability to be emotionally manipulative.

As far as him burning his friends, the film leaves it ambiguous, but shows that he's definitely capable of it. It's insinuated that he did, which I think is what I said, and not just by Jones' character (iirc).

And I don't think that Zuckerberg consciously thinks of himself or Sean Parker as sociopathic, that was a joke. But he does idolize the manipulative aspects of Parker--how he treats women, for instance. That's what the club scene is about.

As far as the structure goes--in my opinion, it didn't add anything thematic to the film (like in, say, The Sweet Hereafter), and it wasn't necessary to tell the story (like in Memento), so it's just a writer trick. Like a fucking voice-over narration. And Sorkin's better than that. He could have easily told it linearly with longer scenes and slower tension builds and bigger payoffs, and it would have been a better film. I think the reason he didn't to that is to try and conceal the fact that the story underneath is pretty weak.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. And for that Bechdel rule. I'm going to put that in my pocket.

I too was really disappointed in the lawyer's closing comments in "Social Network." She is the film's sole standin for the audience: Early on, she's impressed by this genius impresario, to the point where she's nearly hitting on him. By the end, she doesn't want to be in a room with him. While technically Zuckerberg is her client, she never questions anyone, as the main lawyers do, so she's the only character in the film not to advocate a position, either. She's us, watching and forming an opinion.

So, after we've seen the story of What An Asshole Mark Zuckerberg Is, she not only says he's not an asshole, she says, that the testimony (i.e., the entire film) is worthless. She says that she assumes that 85% of what she hears at a deposition is exaggeration, and the other 15% is lies. Clever lawyer line, but what it tells the audience (to whom the line is all but delivered with subtitles for extra clarity) is that 1. Mark's not an asshole and 2. the film you just watched? Don't buy it.

I don't think that's what Sorkin/Fincher intended. I think maybe they saw this as providing a little balance after having taken one perspective on MZ and run with it. But that's what they get, a character in one scene pretty much discrediting the entire film.

I still liked the film a lot, because it flowed well and was interesting. I also liked your review -- breaking down the story Sorkin is telling versus the one Fincher is telling really clarifies my perception that MZ is the film's villain, despite itself. Good stuff, thanks.

Oh, yeah, Zabriskie is almost as crazy as Shannon. The scene where she keeps coming into his room to interrupt his conversations with his fiancee, and then just standing there? Damn.

Just got out of the Social Network. I liked the movie fine, though the reviews are outrageously positive-- but I guess I'm happy that tech people finally got their own Wall Street (i.e. the Oliver Stone movie not the actual street). It's strange no one's really ever made a great movie about the business of computers. At least, I grew up knowing about all those guys-- Jobs or Andy Grove or whoever, so... I've never seen a movie that mentioned venture capital as much, which was fun...

And Fincher filming college shit sure was fun to look at. Plus: Sorkin's crazy issues with women are funny to me, especially since this time they were Asian and liked cocaine and I didn't have to wonder which one was Kristyn Chenewoth. And Timberlake was pretty damn good-- those POV shots of him Fincher put in at the club scene were really interesting.

But boy, Fincher + Sorkin is an unholy union. Fincher's so much about getting things right, and Sorkin seems so oblivious to how much he gets wrong. "Here is my tv show about how comedy writers think they're saving the planet Earth with their comedy. Here is my show about how idealism is a driving motivation behind politics." Having to watch those Candyland depositions for two hours... And the movie concluding with a 2nd Year Associate giving speeches to a billionaire client? Sorkin can be a lot of fun-- his dialogue is cute, and if you want to go visit Candyland, he puts together a cute board game. But mixing his strain of romantic bullshit with Fincher's precision... I don't know if that works.

I don't know though. The last lines worked for me fine but I was rooting for Zuckerberg the entire time. Just because they cast some puppy-dog actor to be the CFO guy, I'm supposed to root for him...? Fuck that guy-- he was wrong about everything and he was making bad choices the entire time. Let the puppy-dog go get make Spiderman movies-- I'm on Team Zuckerberg.

Boy, that movie's not sitting well with me at all. If the last hour's any indication, by tomorrow, I'm not going to have a very nice opinion of it all... Huh...

Abhay, you might want to check out Pirates of Silicon Valley - it's a made for tv "docudrama" about the rise of both Microsoft and Apple, and the rivalry that existed between them. It's good tv quality, I think, and it presents Gates and Jobs as two larger than life personalities. Well worth watching.

"The script wants you to root for Zuckerberg, but Fincher and Eisenberg don’t."

I haven't seen the film yet, but I did read the script, and I never got the impression that I was supposed to root for Zuckerberg. The main thing I liked about the script was that Sorkin managed to write a main character that was so thoroughly a dick, and not try to twist the story into the kind of triumph-of-the-human-spirit everything-must-come-out-happy thing he always does. Gave me hope for "The Politician," which is a story that to tell right will require a meanness that, until the script for "The Social Network," I hadn't really seen Sorkin bring to the table.

Sorkin made Zuckerberg the film's protagonist, when he could have easily made it Saverin. Of course he wants you to root for him.

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