Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Social Network

For the first time, as I started this post, I thought, Who are you, you boring old bag, to blather on? What the hell new do you have to say?

I've just seen "The Social Network."

I emerged feeling energized by this fantastic film, but also old, poor, slow and stupid. Why haven't I invented anything that earned - okay, not billions of dollars, but even a paltry million or two? Why, you total loser? Because you're not nearly young or fast or smart enough, but also ... you're not enough of an obsessive asshole. That's a message in the movie too. The nice guy gets shafted; the relentless, conscienceless assholes win. Except, of course, that they don't.

See it immediately if you haven't already; it's stunning, Shakespearian, gripping from first to last, the performances and direction superb and the writing even better. The story of why and how Facebook got started at Harvard and how it grew is fascinating enough, but in the end, what's moving and beautifully portrayed are the eternal stories: the outsider wanting in; the genius losing perspective and humanity; the snake in Eden cajoles, the apple is devoured and a soul is lost. Not one moment feels false or dull. Well, maybe a cheap joke or two, a bit forced, but Sorkin is forgiven because of the extreme cleverness of his script. To me, the writer has done the equivalent of what his protagonist Zuckerberg, the Facebook guy, did - he has created something vital, current, necessary.

Aaron Sorkin is a writer, so he won't emerge with endless bags of dough as a result of this film. But if he doesn't win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, I'll eat my hat, and I have quite a few of them, so it'll take me awhile. I was a huge fan of "The West Wing" and I'm a huge fan now. Even though he makes me feel uplifted, but also weary, stale, flat and unprofitable.

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