Monday, October 18, 2010

Review - The Social Network

The worst part about being born in the mid to late 80s is that people my age have never quite had a very definitive generational definition. There are 60s flower children, 70s disco freaks, 80s neon fanny-pack enthusiasts, and then everything sort of petered out around around 1994, when neon stopped being cool. My generation went straight from post Cold War ennui to post 9/11 paranoia, and popular culture in the 00s was either 80s nostalgia (which I was too young for) or extremism on either side of the political spectrum (which is always lame, ex: Marvel’s Civil War crossover). But with the spread of broadband access and the rise of mobile Internet, identity thieves are scarier than terrorists. Instantanious worldwide communication is the new norm, and Hollywood has only recently realized that the Internet is neither a fad nor a sub-culture.

“The Social network” is a story of trust and betrayal, genius and cunning, and friendship and business. It gratuitously dramatizes chronicles the rise of Facebook, and those betrayed along the way, but the website is ancillary to the plot. Facebook could have been replaced with lol cats and it would have been just as compelling of a tale. Mark Zuckerberg, the brains behind Facebook, is played with cold intensity by Jesse Eisenberg, who is still shaking his reputation as the Michael Cera stand-in from “Zombieland” and “Adventureland”. Great performances all around, including (and I hate to say it) Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, the fast-talking, crack-loving founder of Napster.

Is it factually accurate? Probably not, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable. “The Social Network” isn’t a monument to a new generation, but a signpost signifying that Generation Web has finally come to maturity.


When I review a movie, I usually have an IMDB page open to make sure that I’m spelling the character’s names right and such. Well, looking for “The Social Netork” on IMDB not only turned up The Social Network, a film by David Fincher, but also “Untitled Teen Social Networking Thriller.” I eagerly await that inevitable train wreck.

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