Society’s Niceties

No Boardwalk Empire post until later in the week. I opted for an earlier bed time instead of watching the third episode, and the TV/DVR will be going down for the next couple of days as the living room gets remodeled. That means I’ll have to go on-demand to catch up.

At the viewing of “The Social Network” I went to yesterday, something quite bizarre happened. The same trailer was shown twice in a row. It was both annoying and a little bit heartbreaking. Annoying because, well, we were forced to sit through the same 2-minute preview twice in a row. And heartbreaking because the movie in question, “The Tourist” starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, looks actually half decent. Any chance of me or anyone else going to see that movie is now significantly reduced because some lowly projector operator screwed up. Now, every time someone who attended the 4:35 p.m. showing of “The Social Network” at the West Oaks Mall sees a trailer of “The Tourist” on TV or before another movie, they will be reminded that they were subjected to the torture that is back-to-back viewings and will wrongfully blame the movie for this. Or worse, blame Johnny Depp.

“The Social Network” was pretty much as good as everyone is saying. My favorite aspect to the movie was that, through reliving the story through legal hearings, the film was able to ask questions without giving answers. For every hard hitting question a lawyer slung at Zuckerberg, he had an even snappier, snarkier rebuttal; repositioning the facts rather than actually answering. This left the underlying questions of the whole film unresolved. Is he really an asshole? Was it really jealousy that caused him to stab his best friend in the back? Did he really steal ‘The Facebook’? I had read an interview with Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter, saying that the film wants it’s viewers to debate these things in the parking lot. And as my viewing party did just that, the film began to settle even deeper and deeper. This was a film about the youngest billionaire of our time, but it’s also about the struggles of longing for acceptance, and what our generation will do to achieve it. Zuckerberg’s bitterness, his propensity for being pompous and an elitist to the point of being mean (I’m trying my hardest to not just call him an asshole) stems from his attempt to leverage his strongest attributes in his favor. The geek who feels put-down shoots verbal arrows at the giants that surround him. Facebook seems less and less like an online distraction and more like a vehicle for all of us to address the insecurities we have in the social setting. I want to be friends with this person, so now it is simplified to the click of a button. I want to know about this person but am too afraid to put myself out there and engage them, so now I can gather information beforehand. Zuckerberg wanted admittance into the prestigious Harvard clubs, so he constructed a world where he was cooler than them all. Online we can be whoever we want, and say the things we’re sometimes afraid to say for real. “The Social Network,” then, is as much a film about all of it’s users as it is it’s creator. This may not hit you until the first time you go on facebook after seeing it, and I guarantee you will be very much aware of this fact. I thought about checking on my phone as soon as we exited the theater, but refrained.

The quick dialogue, which begins immediately, is truly something to behold, and at times, difficult to keep up with. “The Social Network” is a smart movie, about smart people, that challenges it’s viewers to think about the very distraction that makes us feel so dumb. It’s about the moral ambiguity that exists in business, friendship, and society, and the very humanistic principles that exist inside each of us. If all that doesn’t stir thoughts up in your head, then perhaps you should hit the refresh button.

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2 Responses to Society’s Niceties

  1. Diamondstone says:

    I am definitely going to see this movie, but everything I’ve read about it online says the majority of it is fictional — Mark Zuckerberg is not THAT much of an asshole.

    Plus, he’s a brother.

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