God I wanted to hate the Social Network. I really did. But after seeing it, I have to say: It was awesome. It was fun, funny, emotional, maybe the most important movie of our generation. For those who don’t know, The Social Network is a ‘version’ of the story behind the founding of the hugely-popular Facebook brand, based on the book The Accidental Billionaires. I’m not going to do a plot summary here, just, please, please, please, see it. It was a brilliant piece of movie making, and that’s coming from a guy who really wanted to hate it.
Jesse Eisenberg played the part of Mark Zuckerberg, the man who started Facebook from his dorm room at Harvard. I saw Eisenberg on SNL before seeing this movie, and he was a complete non factor in that forum, so I was sure his shot at playing Zuckerberg had been massively overrated. I was wrong. He was pitch-perfect. We must not forget SNL is a whole different animal. I mean DeNiro made a fool out of himself on SNL and he’s a great actor. The rest of the cast was super-cool. Andrew Garfield was great as Zuckerberg’s sidekick/CFO, Eduardo, who gets ‘screwed’ out of the Facebook brand. Rooney Mara played the part of Zuckerberg’s reverse-muse, Erica Albright to a tee. Let’s talk Justin Timberlake. People, I really wanted to dislike him doing this movie, I really wanted to write him off as lame, and move on with it. Can’t do it. And I am left asking the same thing I’ve been asking for the last ten years: Is there anything JT can’t do? He was electric as Napster bad boy Sean Parker. Electric! When he was pitching his vision of Facebook’s future over Appletinis, I was hypnotized. What can I say: He was the man!
I won’t give away the ending, but I will talk about the last scene. It was awesome. After becoming the world’s youngest billionaire and achieving all the success one could ever dream of, we see Zuckerberg sitting alone at his laptop computer, ‘Friend Requesting’ the same Erica Albright who blew him off in the movie’s first scene, hence inspiring his Facebook idea. In the end, it’s still all about the girl. She is the love interest, the fuel that drives Zuckerberg, even though she is largely off stage the whole movie. As he’s sadly sitting there at that empty lawyers’ conference table, hitting the refresh button again and again, hoping she’ll finally accept him, the screen reads that Zuckerberg is the world’s youngest billionaire and Facebook is worth 250 billion. But he has this look on his face that says: Who cares. It reminded me of the final episode of the Sopranos when Tony tells a mummified Uncle Junior that he once ruled North Jersey, and Junior looks up at him with dead eyes and says, “Oh, that’s nice.”
The movie makers handed this idea to five young actors and a music man and they knocked it out of the park. The movie breaks a lot of rules, but it works. In the end I was left happy, sad, motivated, and defeated at the same time. That’s what a great movie is supposed to do. It supposed to make you examine the value of your own life. It supposed to make you stand up and look in the mirror, awaken something inside of you. It did that for me. With the hugeness of Facebook I have to say: I think it’s the most important movie of our time, what Philadelphia was in the early 90’s.
I predict that Oscar night will belong to the King and his speech, but the Network was the movie that made me think the most about who I am and what I’m doing in this life. And, to me at least, that’s far more important than a bronze statue and two-minute acceptance speech.
Speaking of the Network: Now on Facebook @ the Cat's Pajamas