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By now you know there's a movie about the origins of Facebook. It's called The Social Network. I saw it a few days ago.  It is the best movie I have ever seen.

Pause to digest that.

I'm not saying you'll like it as much as I do.  Art is personal. And you might wonder how I can put one movie above all others, even on my own personal list. Actually, I couldn't do that until I saw this movie. It grabbed me in the first minute, and hasn't released me yet, several days later. It's actually getting better as it ages in my mind.

To begin, I appreciate the movie for what it did not do. It did not rely on special effects in a way that was obvious to the viewer. It wasn't in 3D. There was no violence. There was no car chase scene.  If you make a list of all the elements that can make a movie predictable and lame, this movie had none. That's at least partly because the story is inspired by reality.

If you have ever studied the art of script writing, you might know that movie studios expect scripts to fit a fairly specific sort of formula. For example, you have your "event" early in the movie that changes someone's life, you have the so-called "third act" where things appear impossible to fix, and your main character needs to "change" as a result of his experiences.  There are a number of other story requirements, but you get the idea. Normally a writer pushes these must-do elements right in your face. For example, how many movies open with loved ones dying? 

The Social Network hits all of the required story elements, but with a subtlety that can only come from reality plus extraordinary writing skill. It was only after the movie was over that I realized all of the elements were in place. Normally the writer's craft is so obvious that it buries the art. When the art buries the craft, you have something special.

Speaking of reality, the fact that much of the story is real - it's not clear how much - added the extra level of fascination to put it over the top for me.  I enjoy non-fiction more than fiction, and this had just the right mix of both.

The movie's writer, Aaron Sorkin, is one of the best writers of this era.  And he's at the top of his game with this movie. If you can find an online betting site that takes bets on who will win the Academy Award for Best Writer, this is easy money. And I say that without even seeing the other movies that will get nominated. If you're one of the other contenders, you're feeling pretty bad that your movie came out in Sorkin's year.

There has been much curiosity about the degree to which the story is accurate, and how the main character, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, feels about his portrayal. Apparently some moviegoers feel the script treats Zuckerberg poorly. I didn't see it that way. All I saw was massive respect from a genius in one field (Sorkin) to a genius in another.  The story was as close to self-love as you can get.  As written, the Zuckerberg character does change, a little, but he does so in a context of changing the social fabric of the entire world.  It is almost as if the world was broken, and Zuckerberg fixed it, like a super hero with a hoodie. He can't be too unhappy about that.

Someone once told me that when a movie works, you believe all of the elements were excellent at the same time, even if that wasn't true.  I suspect the writing elevated the other elements in this case, but even so, the directing, casting, and acting came across as superb. Place your second bet for an Academy Award on the casting director.

 
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Oct 23, 2010
and here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx9LdAcnNF8

a*ma*zing*
 
 
Oct 23, 2010
Haven't watched it yet.

I know, I'm off on a tangent here, but...

Top of the pops will always be: LOST IN TRANSLATION. It embodies all the script writing aspects you describe but on a whole different topic though.

And I remember how I was the only one watching it one night at a village cinema while next door the room was !$%*!$%* with herds of people watching a dumb Matrix III (yaaawwwwnnnnnnn).

Instead of "vrrrooooom, booooom, bangggggggggg" I could delve into the beauty of Lost in Translation over and over again. The bristling neon signs, the music, the cool cats in the gaming arcade, clubs and parties. Just fun. And always a moment of heart and tummy chaos: when Bill Murray does his Karaoke part and meets the eye of Scarlett Johansson. Whoaaaaa! What chemistry, what beauty, what eye flashing, what dancing butterflies in the stomach...! That's "vrrrooooom, booooom, bangggggggggg" to the power of ten...

Sighs. Walks off grabbing some chocolate...
 
 
Oct 23, 2010
@ quadrupulus

Hilarious!!!!!!!!!! I love her mad smile at 1:37 and how she sarcastically adds "again..." at 2:45 after stating "and I certainly don't want you poooooking me".

Hahahahhahaha

There's gotta be a reason for the 1.1 million views thus far.
 
 
Oct 14, 2010
Hi Guys,
I really don't want to be an annoyance here correcting English, but I just read a comment that needs correcting. Someone wrote, "I seen the movie..." It should be written, "I saw the movie."
Here's how the verb "to see" operates:
I see (am seeing) a movie everyday. I saw the movie, yesterday (or sometime in the past)
When you want to use "seen" you must have a helper in front of it. For example, I have seen the movie. 'Have' is the helper. Other helpers are: has seen, had seen, is seen, was seen, to be seen, should be seen, etc.
I have seen her many times on the train. I saw her once getting on the bus. Have you seen her lately. Yes, I see her often at the bar or I have seen her often at the bar. Yesterday, I saw her with another girl at the park.
 
 
Oct 14, 2010
Sorry to comment late - just seen the film.

I liked your list of things that make a movie lame. You are pretty spot on and I do prefer films that make the effort to be a little clever rather than heap on the cliches. Sometimes I can enjoy the predictable - for an example the recent Piranha 3D came off a lot better for it's hamming up. OK, I liked the naked stuff too but the energy was enough to carry the obviousness.

Anyhow, the film was as you say (eloquently) excellent - I didn't fall asleep once. I think on seeing the film BlueRaja might be persuaded otherwise - there were genius elements in what Zuckerberg did, and the film conveyed how he made something that would fascinate. If it seems obvious and easy from here, I promise you as a software developer it is absolutely not. I do alright having had much practice but to give something that compelling edge IS certainly close to genius at least. The other thing I liked was the accuracy of whatever technical stuff was shown - no bum notes at all - a first for a film involving computers to my knowledge.
 
 
Oct 13, 2010
uh, but one's gotta get past the crying (up to 00:50) - lol
terrific traffic!
 
 
Oct 13, 2010
I'm a recovering facebook addict. 950 I-don't-know-you-but-let's-be-friends later I have pushed the app out the door and am now joining Kate in the best ode ever to be heard about facebook:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7MuwPlOiNQ
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 11, 2010
Saw the movie twice. It has inspired me to revisit my love for programming - something I have put on the back burner for several years and lost interest in along the way. In a way, I saw myself in Zuckerberg.

I will now be focusing all my efforts on getting my idea up and running.
 
 
Oct 10, 2010
I will probably watch that movie on DVD. Sorkin is a whiz, as evidenced by his work
on West Wing. I'm saying this although my political views are as far from Sorkin's
as Tehran is from Tel Aviv (ideologically speaking).
Sometimes his characters are a little too altruistic because it makes them approachable.

My own favorite movie is "The Hunt for Red October" : no sex, lots of technical errors, and
a heap of jingoism, but characterization you can't shake a stick at. As with "LA Confidential",
all of the actors thought it was their own movie (and for Larry Ferguson, it really was).
 
 
Oct 8, 2010
It was, indeed, a very good movie.
 
 
Oct 8, 2010
@DailyEngHelp

Yes! Finally - an explanation of the subjunctive that I'll be able to remember 10 minutes from now. You succeeded where my 10th grade English teacher and any number of popular grammer writers failed.

Thanks.
 
 
Oct 8, 2010
@rambis, thank you for inspiring my new Facebook status! Great line.
 
 
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 8, 2010
Any movie that does not involve someone using the Force to choke another person from across the room because their lack of faith is disturbing cannot be the best movie ever.
 
 
Oct 8, 2010
This movie is based on true events as much is Chainsaw Massacre. VERY LOOSELY!

I mean this movie cannot begin to fathom the genius that it took to imagine AOL profiles meshed into a forum layout I mean OMG that's as ground breaking then when they invented step open lids for trash cans. Such vision!

Social Networking has NOTHING to do with the product but has EVERYTHING to do with the generation and times at large. Facebook is just AOL going backwards lol.

Zuckerberg a lame dbag that got lucky is all.
 
 
Oct 7, 2010
I haven't seen it yet, but I feel the movie is all about the human condition and the true reason everyone uses Facebook -- a deep loneliness. That's why Mark created the website and that's why we continue to "like" things instead of experience things in real life.

Also, I feel David Fincher, the director, is one of the best of our time. Fight Club is my favorite movie because it hits me in all the right places and the story, directing, everything, is perfect -- even if it isn't. I'm really looking forward to seeing this film.
 
 
Oct 7, 2010
damn, I wasn't going to watch it 'cause it's just an extension of what FB is... "share and consume" but on a MUCH larger scale (being a movie). But, this review sounds promising, "aristic". DAMN, DAMN DAMN!
 
 
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 7, 2010
The best movie I've ever seen (at least in the last 10 years) was Inception--I saw it at the theater. The graphics were pretty awesome but worked so well with what was happening in the movie that they enhanced it 100% without cheapening the plot. The plot itself was fantastic and avoided every cliche/pitfall I can think of when dealing with movies whose plot has to do with what is real and what is not (mostly by telling you when they are in a dream and when they are not, so the cheap "surprise, it's just a dream!" isn't a factor).

Normally, when I see a good movie I will buy the DVD soon after it's released. Inception was so fantastic in the theater, I fear what it will be like a second time. I enjoyed having my mind blown, and I'd hate to be let down with a second viewing.
 
 
+31 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 7, 2010
Mark Zuckerberg is now friends with Aaron Sorkin.

Scott Adams likes this.
 
 
Oct 7, 2010
I thought your review was very interesting and well written. But... Please allow me to make one correction.
"It is almost as if the world was broken, and Zuckerberg fixed it, like a super hero with a hoodie."
An untrue or hypothetical condition is framed in the subjunctive mood: "It is almost as if the world were broken... When 'if" and "wish" are used for an untrue or hypothetical situation, both are followed by the verb, "were" Hence we write, "If I were a rich man..." or "I wish she were the president."
When the statement is not untrue or not hypothetical, we use "was"
"If the doctor was not in his office, he was at the hospital."
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 7, 2010
Wait, wait. Are you saying there are sites on the internet that will take bets on-line? Thanks Scott, I'll be back in about 6 months.
 
 
 
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