Sometimes people are just plain jerks. Sometimes people are misunderstood. Sometimes people are just at the right place at the right time standing upon a precipice of the Next Big Thing (right Brock Lesnar? Obscure Wrestling Reference Warning!). And then sometimes people are just so socially awkward that they come across as misunderstood jerks because they happened to come upon an improvement to an idea at the exact right time. I’m talking about how Facebook took the MySpace motif and gave it enough of a twist to make it interesting.
It happens all throughout history. Houses became improvements to caves. Guns became an improvement to pointy sticks. Labradoodles became an improvement to the bulky Labrador and wimpy poodle. Pizza became an improvement to picking up scalding cheese in your bare hand. Blackberry Messenger is an improvement to ICQ. Firefox and Chrome are improvements to NetScape Navigator. The list goes on.
It’s not stealing an idea if it’s an improvement of an existing idea.
The Social Network is an improvement to an existing movie formula. It takes the silly competitive drama that’s only found in university and combines it with a story of potential stolen intellectual property. Then wordsmith Alan Sorkin braids a true story with large strands of fiction.
No. This isn’t a 100% factual account of how Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Savarin, Dustin Mokovitz and Chris Hughes founded THE most influential website in history. This is a Hollywood dramatization of that story.
Here’s a secret. Life is boring. 98% of people’s lives (mine included) would be one big test pattern or the original Slap Chop commercial like this:
What Hollywood does is this as represented by DJ Steve Porter:
I think I’ve made my point.
So let’s be fair and look at this movie as what it is: entertainment.
The real star of this movie isn’t Jesse “I’m not Michael Cera” Eisenberg or the constantly surprising Justin Timberlake. Yet, each of their performances are levels above anything else I’ve ever seen them in. Eisenberg plays the socially awkward Zuckerberg who introduced and updated the best version of a social network around today. Think about that for a moment…it’s like Carrot Top actually making of of his toilet seatbelt for Taco Bell toilets an improvement over a regular toilet seat. I might’ve just compared Zuckerberg to Carrot Top. I apologize to both…but regret nothing!
The real star in this movie is the adapted script written by the incomparable Alan Sorkin (A Few Good Men, Sports Night, The West Wing) from Ben Mehzrich’s nonfiction book “The Accidental Billionaires”. The story is honest in it’s portrayal of collegiate life as a young twenty-something. The hazing, the acceptance, the need to be different and break out of whatever shadow you may be under, the sex, the drinking, the parties, the embarrassments and the quick assumptions. Sorkin’s smart script deserves every accolades it receives.
The actors, as talented as they are, would’ve needed to be very bad to not be able to follow the nuances that were put into the script. Not to say the cast couldn’t have made it their own…my point is that like a great recipe, sometimes you don’t need to add another dash of cilantro for it to taste good. Sometimes the writer is just good enough with his creation that the actor just needs to say the words with a medial level of competence and they’d have a Bobby Flay entree. Other times, the actor needs to become Bobby Flay to make it work.
The Social Network is intelligent, funny, enjoyable and, in moments, cringe worthy in that “Kevin says something unintentionally stupid on Wonder Years” kinda way.
And with Oscar nominating it for 8 naked golden dudes (Best Picture, Best Actor – Eisenberg, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Original Music Score, Sound Mixing, Writing -Adapted Screenplay), the Academy is expecting big things from this one. As of this writing, they are the buzz to win it all this year…but I disagree. Amazing movie but see my other reviews to see which ones I think are better…
9 inappropriate Pokes out of 10