The Social Network

The Social Network

I’m still reeling from my utter disappointment in “The Social Network.”  I saw it nearly a month ago and I can’t seem to unravel exactly why my hopes were so high and my disgust so acute. It’s easy to see the film’s weaknesses. Fincher’s pace, coupled with Sorkin’s snappiness, were enough to derail even the best actors. They felt like automatons up there–fast forwarded for no apparent purpose. How could this proven technique with crisp political dramas fall so flat on youth culture? Ugh. Who cares? It was a snappy little disaster. A narrative too mired in the Hollywood version of “geek” to understand why Facebook became so popular. And to hinge the creation of Facebook on a romantic ‘breakup’ — just absurd. I don’t know the ‘real’ story, but to characterize Zuckerburg as a lonely little widget afloat a sea of Palo Alto glamor is just… insipid.

On late night TV, Sorkin explains that the film tries to tell three different narratives about what happened (who stole who’s idea/code). If the writer had any interest in Hacking Culture; he’d have realized this premise is uninteresting to its core. Software development is so much more interesting than who owns what, who’s idea was better, etc. The legal disputes about Facebook are like daytime TV in comparison to the impact that hacking has had on my generation. Why not tell that story? Why not take a really good look at what software development is, what it means, why it’s exploded in the last 10 years? Damn it, someone make THAT movie!

The funny thing is, I didn’t know how much I wanted a movie about hacking until I watched the trailer for The Social Network. Good God, what a phenomenal trailer.  Radiohead choral rendition of “Creep” with gloomy precession of soft, pixellated pictures from Facebook.

All About Lily Chou-Chou

Thank God for All About Lily Chou-Chou,  a movie I netflixed around the same time that The Social Network reared it’s ugly head. Lily’s a film about the internet underworld that actually takes you down there, kids zoning out with headphones while online prattle blinks in and out. The internet acts as a escape valve for the cruelty of youth culture. You can’t follow the online conversations, nor do you really know who’s who for a while, but the immaturity of the sentiment is poignant. These conversations bear so little relation to the “real’ lives of the characters. And that, in itself, was so beautiful and terrible. Also, something that more filmmakers should explore.

2 thoughts on “The Social Network

  1. I agree. I wanted it to be more about the development of the most addictive game ever created and the central themes involved in facebook, the app. identity and the self centered 140 character broadcasts that pass these days for communication between friends. the legal battle is not interesting to anyone. not even lawyers.

    of course, there are 3 good reasons they didn’t focus on the development process. one, it’s not a best selling teen-lit book, so Sorkin had to stick to the story. two, i’m sure they wanted the scandal of it all to promote the film. $100 million to jersey schools, whatever and last, how does one write a movie about software development if they’ve never done it? i’m sure Sorkin has been involved in the development of ingenious projects before and all it would take is a little whimsy and metaphor to realize what those kids where doing that first summer in Palo Alto. they weren’t “wired in” while the nsync had all the fun. they were developing 2 major features. the Wall, and the Newsfeed. shortly followed by the worlds most used media application, Photos. all three of those things represented new ways to communicate that had never been seen before. (the brilliant part of Photos is the tagging system, not the photo album, that’d been done). they were revolutions in culture written by revolutionaries who had no idea what they were doing. in the end they made something grotesque and shallow, something to make everyone a celebrity for 1.5 seconds. but i wouldn’t have known about this article if i hadn’t checked my facebook.

  2. Law, maybe you should do a project on hacking/development. It’s about time someone our age did this.

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