Movie Guy, at Your Service: The Social Network (Plus, Which Actors are Jewish)

Why this movie guy proclaims it to be “Movie of the Year”.

I am extremely picky when it comes to movies.  Extremely. Very seldom do I finish seeing a movie and say, “There’s nothing they could have done to make that any better.  It was perfect.”  But that’s what I said to my wife as I left the cinema on Saturday afternoon after seeing The Social Network.

For a person who hasn’t seen The Social Network yet, and especially for a person who hasn’t even seen a preview for it either, it would be easy to think of it as Facebook: The Movie, some light-hearted movie about how facebook got started.  Fortunately, the movie’s title doesn’t contain the word “facebook” in it.  “The Social Network” is the best possible title because the film retraces all of the random people it took to invent, expand, sustain, and make a confirmed success out of the website.

I always assumed that Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg himself was the responsible for it all.  Played by Jesse Eisenberg, facebook creator Zuckerberg comes across as an obsessed college student with Aspergers (he’s just extremely intelligent, instead), so consumed with his website idea that despite making facebook about socializing with people, that his last concern in the world is actually having real friends.

It’s interesting to see how Zuckerberg journeys through the entire movie, constantly finding ways to improve facebook, plowing through real-life friends along the way, collecting and adding their ideas to his growing snowball of a website.  I had no idea that Napster creator Sean Parker, cleverly portrayed by Justin Timberlake, at one time played an important part in it all.

A key factor in The Social Network‘s success is its dark and sophisticated tone. It’s not just Trent Reznor’s musical contributions going on in the background.  I can confidently state that the movie can’t be described as “fun” or “trendy”.  It’s not quirky in the ways that made Garden State a comedy as well as a drama.  The Social Network is simply just a drama, but an infectiously interesting one.  I was impressed how they could fit the coolness of an R-rated movie into the limitations of a PG-13 rating.

When the movie ended, I came to terms with the fact there was no real climax or truly resolvable plot… just like facebook.  In the movie, Zuckerberg compares facebook to fashion, in that it never ends.  The Social Network, from start to finish, is an ongoing, constantly evolving entity.  For me, the whole movie was a continual plot line and climax. This offbeat formula captures the idea of facebook so well.

For me to say that The Social Network is the movie of the year is to say that it’s better than Inception.  So just to be clear, for me, it was better than Inception. My guess is that most people who have seen both movies will disagree with me. But the cultural relevance, perfectly executed acting, and snappy pace of The Social Network kept my mind from ever wandering.  And in age where things like facebook only encourage ADHD behavior, a movie that can keep my attention for a solid two hours and one minute deserves a prize for that alone.

Ethnic Backgrounds of the Main Cast

The Real Mark Zuckerberg

 

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38 thoughts on “Movie Guy, at Your Service: The Social Network (Plus, Which Actors are Jewish)

  1. I’m in love with Jesse Eisenberg…that along would have been enough reason for me to see this film. That, coupled with the topic, the author of the scrpit and the rest of the cast has me wondering why I haven’t the afternoon off work to go to the movie. Oh yeah, I gotta work so that I have money to eat. Thanks for the reminder.

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

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  2. I thought the ending was brilliant and so appropriate — to boil it down to Zuckerberg, sitting in his attorney’s office after truly accepting his fate, hitting “refresh” in anticipation of a girl accepting his friend request on the very monster he created — just brilliant!

    I agree: casting was perfect; pacing was quick; music was dark; and the sum of the parts was a GREAT flick! 🙂

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  3. Thanks for the review. I am a huge Aaron Sorkin fan (who wrote the movie). As a rule, I see everything he writes. So I’m very excited to see this movie, even more so now reading your review.

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  4. Great post! I’m wondering about something, though: can you explain why you listed the ethnicity of the cast at the bottom of your review? What is the purpose of that?

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    • Thanks, I’m obsessed with ethnic backgrounds. And I’m learning that thousands of other Americans are too. It’s just a fun thing to do; catches peoples’ attention. 🙂

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  5. Great review.

    BUT,
    I’m still concerned about how close this movie stays to the facts and how much of it is “Hollywood being Hollywood”.

    I doubt I’ll pay for the ticket and just wait for it to hit Netflix.

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    • You’re right. Nothing in entertainment is “real”. Hey, if reality TV isn’t real, nothing is- even documentaries have some sort of spin, if they’re any good at least 🙂

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  6. I, a Facebook fanatic, and my husband, who won’t touch a computer to play with it, both thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was fast moving and engaging and entertaining and cautionary. In fact, I think parents and their teens should both see it and discuss it afterward together. There were no heroes in this movie and since there was no climactic ending, it feels like you would like to check back in to see how everything is going right now. I walked out of the theater and posted on my wall that this was a winner of a movie before I even got to the car!

    However, the dialogue in the opening scene was very soft and very fast and I thought we were in for a difficult 2 hours; perhaps the fault was with the projector in the theater in which we saw the movie and maybe no one else had the same experience. After the first scene the sound was fine and the rest of the movie was compelling.

    Here’s to it being nominated for an Academy Award (not that Mark Zuckerberg would care or notice)!

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  7. Going to the movies tonight and wasn’t sure which movie to pick… Wall Street or The Social Network. Safe to say, we’ll be seeing your recommendation tonight. Thanks so much for the great review and congrats on being freshly pressed. 🙂

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    • The Town is a good action film. I went to see it with some male friends last night and they the action/gangster element, plus it has a really cute love story running throughout. Action and romance. Perfect.

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  8. I really liked the film, but wouldn’t say it was perfect.

    I’d be curious as to what some of your other “perfect” movies are. I always hesitate when someone says, “you should take my opinion on this, because I’m very picky.” That’s not the best qualification, in my book.

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    • Off the top of my head: Garden State, Sideways, and Supersize Me. You’re right though- no movie can ever be perfect because regarding entertainment, “perfect” is a static word.

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  9. As much as I love Facebook (I am a college student, after all), I had no interest in seeing ‘The Social Network.’ Perhaps currently being a film and TV major has made me skeptical of movies of this genre, but I’m really intrigued after your review.

    Although, I did hear in an interview that Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the movie was factually very incorrect. It sounds like a pretty dramatic movie. Wish it were all true!

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  10. You’re spot on, it is better than Inception. It manages to take all the excitement that Inception had and condensed it into a story that by all accounts should have been mundane and fairly uninteresting. Instead we had a punchy, witty script delivered brilliantly by a multitude of capable actors and actresses, all while being bathed in the wonderful soundtrack provided by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I usually start looking at my cell phone’s clock during movies that push past the 90 minute mark but during this one not once was I tempted to check the time. It was that riveting, that current and relevant and wasted no time on getting on with it by dropping us into the story only moments before Mark Zuckerberg created Facemash, which is where the interesting stuff starts.

    This movie is a textbook example of how to properly dramatize history; enough is changed to make a coherent arc for the characters and the narrative, but the core of the story, how a college student created one of the most successful websites in recent history is intact and gives the movie tremendous momentum. I want to see more movies like this, and yet I’m not sure if any others currently exist. Anybody have any suggestions?

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  11. I haven’t seen the movie yet but been planning to watch it. I’d hope this one would really fall into those “PERFECT” movies category. Each movie is unique and in my own opinion there hasn’t been any so-called perfect film being produced yet. We see things differently, I respect your opinion.

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  12. The Shawn we remember from Napster was Shawn Fanning who actually wrote the software, and at that time got the notoriety. Sean Parker has always had an eye for talent and, like facebook, jumped on the Napster fame bandwagon early on and was a driving force in it’s popularity.

    The facebook movie stating that Sean Parker created Napster is a huge disservice to the real creator.

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  13. Question from a man who has to wait till November to see this; is Jesse Eisenberg shaping up as a legit Finest Actor contender? I love him to bits, but there hasn’t actually been something he is completed but that might warrant critical awards consideration. I would love to see him get in there amongst the Firths and the Duvalls and the Bridgeses.

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  14. You make a very good point about the ending. I was at first thrown off by the lack of a climax, but I forgot about that fashion line. I’m a little angry at myself for not picking up on it, but thank you very much for pointing it out to me.

    Great review.

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  15. Have not seen the movie yet, but based on the trailer that you posted- cannot WAIT to see it. Facebok is like taking over the world…lol… Oscar buzz around Justin Timberlake I hear….

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  16. Listing Jewish for some people and Irish or English or American or whatever other nationality for others makes no sense… Judaism is a religion, not a nationality; a Jew can be of any nationality… there are English Jews and many French Jews that are more aboriginal than any French Christians. The fact that you confuse races, religions, and nationalities as labels for people is pretty incorrect.

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    • I agree with you, Bob. It makes no sense. But people are searching for that info; believe it or not. I think Hooters is a disgrace of an establishment, but it turns out enough people support it to make it successful.

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