It has been a year since The Social Network hit theaters and deemed itself the frontrunner Oscar candidate. In those 12 months, I’ve encountered many conversations with those who want to debunk the myths behind the Facebook phenomenon. Scouring through all those conversations I finally came to my own conclusion: I don’t care if “TSN” is an accurate portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg’s behavioral mannerisms or not, it’s no longer pertinent in the scope of what else David Fincher achieved with his film.
I look at that first scene of Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) out on a date with Erica (Rooney Mara) and chuckle at the degrees of his rudeness, all the while he’s so proud. She calls him an a**hole. This ruins his night, he’s been crushed. Then he goes back to his dorm to create FaceMash, which posts pictures of female co-eds in various colleges so they can be voted on their hotness. This is what most dorm hall buddies did on their Monday and Tuesday nights back when I was in college between studying, rating girls. In retrospect, it was all about frustration. We couldn’t wait until Friday for the hopes to get laid and would settle for a 5 out of 10 or an equivalent girl of someone we gave a thumbs down to on the internet.
FaceMash ferments an idea with the Winklevoss twins (both played by Armie Hammer) who want Zuckerberg to do their own programming behind the “Harvard Connection.” I don’t like these guys, but I do love the scene where they meet with the Harvard President Larry Summers to raise complaint about how their multi-million dollar idea has been stolen. President Summers sniggers his disbelief at these twins who think that an internet website can possibly be worth a million dollars let alone a billion.
I do like Eduardo Saverin and the actor who plays him, Andrew Garfield. CFO Saverin still has co-founder status at Facebook today, but it seems that he almost got shafted by lawyers and possibly by Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake, his best work) who was the Napster founder turned Facebook consultant. “Drop the ‘The.’ Just call it Facebook, it’s cleaner,” imparted his wisdom. Saverin is the Harvard undergrad who became CFO almost by default and it seems that it is because he was the rich kid with money to help get the business a live credit line. Which leaves me to wonder more this time: Where are Zuckerberg’s parents? What kind of college living budget was Zuckerberg living on? It certainly wasn’t a budget for trendy clothes. He doesn’t know how to dress.
The kids go out west to Palo Alto, CA and find angel investors in Silicon Valley. It’s right then that Zuckerberg doesn’t need Saverin’s money anymore. Nor does he need his friendship, it seems. Sean Parker seems to be providing the new party, and all the quasi-new ideas. In this Palo Alto house, Zuckerberg seems to be having more of a college life – with the from the roof zip-line jumps into his pool, and bongs, and beer – than he did at Harvard. Saverin, the guy that acquainted Zuckerberg with social mixers in the modest early days who indeed helped him get laid with Asian “groupies,” stayed behind in New York to work a summer internship. Zuckerberg and Parker (conjunctly?) take advantage of Saverin’s mistimed absence.
Director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin (who won the Oscar as scribe) interweave two deposition hearings, one with Saverin as plaintiff and the other with the Winklevoss twins as plaintiff. College kids can be just like kids, the way they backstab friends and pilfer each other’s money. They can get rejected and call a good girl a bitch out of frustration. They can piss all over a shared group project, fix it up, and take credit for all its sources and origins. But we all grow up and mature and continue forth on our endeavors with intentions to succeed with the highest principles. But here’s this double lawsuit that Zuckerberg was clunked with. I’m sure he has shaken if off, found his early conduct silly and unbecoming of a business leader, and has sharpened his principles since then. I’m sure the Erica types from Harvard would like the Mark he is today, a proud and magnanimous business icon with a mission to interconnect, not just Ivy League hook-ups as first conceived, but the entire world.
“The Social Network” is an addition to all that look at the rise of the youngest billionaire in history. I have a friend who said that “TSN” wouldn’t be that big of a deal if it wasn’t about a billionaire. I had no idea how to respond to that, I was flabbergasted. I suppose historical docudramas are not that big of a deal unless a mass army gets annihilated, leaving a bloodstained print in our history books. But I’ll stand rigid on this one uninflected. This is one of the cinematic landmarks of the 21st century.