The Social Network

So I finally got to see this flick last night. On the walk to the theater I could practically taste the slightly downgraded hype in the ether. It was palpable. That may have been driven by the fact that I didn't receive one email or text insisting I see this movie. Nobody called wanting to discuss. In fact I don't even think any of my Facebook friends changed their status update to '... was just blown away by Social Network :-)'. For me, this kind of movie falls into that unique other-worldly category of 'must Like' (thumbs up icon) status. To 'not like' this movie would reveal the disliker to be out of touch. Or old. Or cynical. Or jaded. Or thick. But the truth is I think this movie hardly deserves the critical chariot it coasted in on to a pre-recorded cheering. And then it arrived! Finally! And it plunked itself down on the screen it nodded at me all self-satisfied and handsome. It leaned back and calmly said, 'This is my happening, baby. Enjoy me.' With an afterthought shrug and cuticle nibble it informed me that it was also redefining cinema. And for being generous enough to share its vast intelligence-- it expected to be thanked.

That all being said, this isn't a bad movie at all. It's super watchable. It moves along at a zim zimm zimmery clip. Some of the dialogue is very snappy peppy. And I probably laughed out loud five times (and snorfed out loud another five). It does capture the lit match in a paper house feeling. I liked watching it. But not for one second did I fall in love with this movie. Not one scene. Not one moment. The Creep trailer had more emotional impact. That trailer was longing for love. This movie sidestepped the idea of love or being loved or have loved altogether. Us and love didn't factor. This is a movie about cold business. Served cold. Starring a detached young semi-dick who worked with the impressive efficiency of a douche dunked robot. Which in theory is a interesting centerpiece character. But in reality-- this Zuckerberger is kinda... boring. Watching him runaround and mindlessly backstab people isn't far from a Jason Voorhees style of killer movie business-- it may be very effective and focused. But soul-less. In the movie world-- I'd prefer a Freddy. Because Freddy had heart. Freddy had soul. Freddy had style. Mark Zuckerberger's flip-flops were really just his Jason hockey mask. Without that mask-- what do you got? Just an ugly guy who is invincible. I get it. You win. You got me.

Unfortunately, this hits another questionable note for David Flincher. When I first heard he was directing 'The Facebook Movie' I rolled my eyes and felt sad. It seemed like another betrayal of sorts. I imagined a movie that started with a poke and ended with happy children. Then when I heard it was more about the "bigger picture"-- I became interested but not juiced up. (Facebook? Who cares, really?) And while sitting there watching this thing in my local hipstery theater, I realized my brain kept revolving around the same thought. 'Is this it?' I kept expecting 'it' to kick in. For the first hour, it felt like we were intentionally wading through details and backstory before the whole thing opened up into something bigger. More personal. More personal to me. But it didn't change stripes. And finally once we crossed the halfway mark and the movie was unhelped/unhurt by the arrival of Justine Timberlake (and it fumbled more than once with 'TV-ish' plot turns (did Sean really live across the street? sitcom style? ding dong?))-- I switched my brain to watch this movie in the way that it was most impressive. The structure.

I know this is a bit of a bash and I am underselling much of the goodness of this flick. The 'twins' in the movie were show stealers. Early on I thought the Reznor score was impressive and punchy. But rising above everything else I can't avoid the fact that I was simply bored by the spittle lipped star. I didn't root for him or against him. Or I did both. I dunno. But I knew the ending-- so it kind of didn't matter. I respected the fact that Zuckerberger was willing to step on people's heads to get to the top (a quality I often think I lack)-- but then again... who wants to be that guy? Who likes that guy? He didn't seem to mind the personal sacrifice and everyone around him got rich anyway. Everyone wins. Except us. For a story that was hyped as revolutionarily new and 'generation defining'-- I felt I saw the same old story with a 21st century face...

Umm... Thanks?

Three Good Things about this Movie

- Without those twins-- this may have dudded pretty hard.
- The first half-hour had real momentum whooshy power.
- I liked how the flick shifted gears between depositions and story movement.

Three Bad Things about this Movie

- Every time JT stepped on screen I was like, 'Look who's there! JT! Acting it up!'
- Where were all we in this? Poke poke?
- When 'Sean Parker' founder of Napster appeared-- I was distracted bc I thought they changed Sean Fannin's name to Parker for legal reasons. And I couldn't imagine what legal world a name change would make sense in considering Sean was being identified for who he was. (A post-movie google fixed my confusion. Two Sean's at napster.) But it nagged at me during.

All in all, umm... put it this way---about a half-hour into the movie I had to pee. (I guzzled down my blue slurpee and after I changed it to yellow-- it wanted out). But I held it in. Because I didn't want to miss the important 'moment'. I was paranoid that I'd miss the big gear shift of this movie. I didn't want to be off peeing where it tagged itself into greatness. So I held my pee. And held it. Time after time, I rejected the idea of rushing to the bathroom-- then I'd sit there for the next few minutes-- and watch another neither-here-nor-there scene and think, 'Man, I could have just gone right there! I wouldn't have missed anything...'

<<< chyatt