Sometimes there are really good movies out there and we love them but when we recommend them to the people who may or may not trust our opinions anyway, we include a cautionary note about the film’s a) gratuitous violence, b) gratuitous sex or c) gratuitous plot twists that mean someone’s showing off and the rest of us are confused. The Social Network is none of these. This movie’s an icy Coke on a very hot day. Simple as that. Okay, don’t want to get partisan or anything – if you’re getting more of a Pepsi feeling, that’s fine too. Or even Mr. Pibb. But the point is this film (which I’m beyond certain will be nominated for Best Picture) is completely worth your time; it’s a super-straightforward tale about what happens when really smart people feel the need to excel. And here’s the what – nor am I giving anything way – the film plays around with time, flashing back and forward between events. In a genius, reveal-ey way. But it’s not done in that annoying, showy-screenwriter way (which I often find wildly offputting, once the plot has been explained to me well after the credits roll). It’s not a David and Goliath tale either; this movie’s hero is not without massive shortcomings, and evidently the guy who started Facebook knocked heads with both friends and foes alike. (The resulting lawsuits, some of which are depicted here, involve staggering sums of money and it’s a testament to the actors that we still feel their characters getting a raw deal even in the face of eight-figure consolation prizes ). The movie is just an amazing story and writer, director and cast deserve the hype they’re generating. When leaving the theater, none of the myriad conversations around me were about the film itself – they were all about about peoples’ own opinions of Facebook. Standing around outside I heard others wondering aloud about what happened to MySpace — and even Friendster. Why did one succeed while the other two have nowhere near the appeal? Was it a matter of time and sophistication? If you haven’t seen The Social Network, the film will definitely offer up some reasons why FB’s rivals got trumped. And of course it has to do with our overwhelming desire to connect – and the efforts of one guy who apparently had a lot of trouble doing so, most of the time. The movie also manages to make something that would be almost unintelligible (computer programming) not a stumbling block (Wall Street Part Deux tossed a lot of technical stuff around that is, I think, entirely unnecessary). Because even though our central character effectively changed modern social interaction with complex codes and algorithms, they don’t dwell on this and that’s a really, really good thing for me and about 99.9% of the people I have ever met. Bottom line, whether the movie is accurate or not (and reportedly there is creative license) it’s based on a true tale about a very singular young man trying desperately to bring an idea to full –and very lucrative – life. Here’s hoping you’re every bit as entertained by his efforts as I was.
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