Saturday, October 30, 2010

the social network

I just saw the movie and being the FB addict that I am, I rushed into Barnes and Noble to blog about it.

I can see why all my law school chums are raving about it. It should be on the curriculum in a depositions class. Do we have a depositions class? Well, we should.

Jesse Eisenberg played Mark Zuckerberg and I only know him as Hallie Eisenberg's brother and the resemblance was uncanny. Contrary to what Rashida Jones' character tells Zuckerberg, he is an asshole. And Eduardo Saverin was probably blind not to have seen it before. Poor guy. He really got the short end of the stick. The Winklevii also got a bit of a short-shrift and it was unfair for Zuckerberg to claim they were only climbing all over him b/c something didn't happen for them the way they wanted it to. These weren't just Daddy's fair-haireds coasting through Harvard on Daddy's name.

Aside: Hell, Daddy's name cut them no grease with the stupid Dean. Sorry Dean, but you were stupid and I am now reconsidering my life's dream to have Derek go to Harvard. Princeton, here we come.

Back to Bom.

These boys were top students and worked fucking hard to be the racers they are. They got stuff handed to them, I am sure, but no one studied for them or raced for them. I thought the movie got that across very well. The actors playing the Winklevii were great and managed to create personalities that rose above their looks. And it wasn't twins or even brothers playing Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss but Arnie Hammer and Josh Pence plus a little digital magic.

Andrew Garfield played Saverin and all through the film I knew I'd seen him before. It was in the Red Riding Trilogy. He is a fine young actor and had more to do, acting-wise, in the trilogy, but wasn't shabby here at all. He manged to convey his feeling of betrayal without making you feel like he should suck it up. He really showed Saverin as the only supporter and friend Zuckerberg had and it killed me to watch him duel with Sean Parker.

Ah, Sean. What a dick. Well-played by Justin Timberlake, who did such a good job that my brain didn't do the "it's Justin Timberlake!" jump every time he showed up on screen. It was a very unsympathetic portrayal of a man once hailed as a hero for providing free music online. Timberlake must have had a ball playing someone so arrogant and cocky.

One thing I realized, whether it's true or not, FB was a more collaborative effort than Zuckerberg would have himself believe. Parker seemed to have had the idea for pix sharing and tagging. The Winklevii had the big idea. Even Saverin's crazy ex had the idea of putting Zuckerberg and Parker together.

Other people in the film: Rashida Jones had me wondering what she was doing there until the very nice scene at the end of the movie. She does that kind of get-your-head-out-of-your-ass and-come-back-to-reality scene well. Joseph Mazzello was unrecognizable as Dustin Moskivitz, Zuckerberg's programmer. Who is he? The kid from "Jurassic Park" who gets electrocuted on the fence. He grew up.

I was very curious to see Rooney Mara who played Erica Albright, who may have never friended Mark Zuckerberg, deservedly. She is cast in Fincher's version of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" as Lisbeth Salander, because he was impressed with her. I've seen the Swedish version, and she has to come very very good to even compare to Noomi Rapace, who transformed herself physically and emotionally for the role. She didn't have much to do in "The Social Network", so I guess Fincher saw something that I didn't that screamed "LISBETH SALANDER" to him. The character actually had more presence when she wasn't in a scene with Eisenberg. It's Zuckerberg's reaction to Erica's name and what she might be thinking about him and his poor judgment is what fuels his actions. He makes her out to be more than she is.

About the lawsuits. all through the film, I was wondering what the susbtantive issue was in the claim the Winkelvoss brothers brought against Zuckerberg. It is easy to prove he didn't use their code for setting up FB and there is no copyright or patent on an idea. All the brothers seem concerned with is that their idea was stolen. But ideas are unprotected and I didn't have to be in law school to tell you that. And Zuckerberg didn't appear to sign any kind of contract with the brothers and Divya Narendra, but that didn't mean they didn't have an agreement. The movie didn't address this well and I thank New York Law School and my K prof for being able to fill in the blanks myself. The brothers and Narendra claimed Zuckerberg broke a relationship with them because they had an affirmative agreement from him to work on their HarvardConnection website.

Saverin's claim were a bit more concrete and basic: fraud. He got cheated out of his share through the machinations, it appeared, of Sean Parker and his influence over Zuckerberg.

All in all, a good movie. The editing was crisp and clear and the flashbacks worked very well. Timberlake stood out, but the story was very good and well-told. I haven't read Ben Mezrich's book "The Accidental Billionaries", on which Aaron Sorkin based his script, but the movie stood on its own without me having to know too much about anything, really. I'd even like to see it again.