The Social Network - 6th February 2011

Right. This movie made me think I was clueless, stupid and wrong for a second because everyone I have ever heard talking about this movie in the media has, quite frankly, cum all over it like it was high class hooker in solid gold shoes.
I honestly couldn't see why, I am dumfounded, baffled, perplexed and, my personal favourite, flabbergasted.
I feel like I watched the wrong film because the film I watched was, while being as well written as a thing like this could be (so hats off to Aaron Sorkin), utterly pointless, tedious, irrelevant and unredeemable. The tag line on the poster is as thought provoking and interesting as this film gets.

You see it all comes down to, I suppose, what a big deal you think Facebook is because if, like me, you were happy pootling along with e-mails and MySpace before suddenly all of your friends made some unexplained mass exodus to what, appeared to me to be, the less exciting and the less creative Facebook, you probably think Facebook is hardly the enormous social awakening everyone else thinks it is and you probably, again like me, only use it because everyone else does and you live thousands of miles away from your friends and family, well maybe not the last bit but you get the idea. The true shame is then MySpace and all other social media then tried to be more like Facebook and the internet became awash with bland, beige, marketing driven arse. Still it is nice to keep in touch with my mateys across the pond, so I won't knock it all too much.

I mention all this though because when I initially heard about this film I was completely confused as to why anyone would want to make Facebook the movie, least of all the usually reliable and brilliant David Fincher, then those abstract and random trailers started appearing and being very annoying and that sort of sealed it for me, I thought, well I never have to see this movie, I really don't care one bit about any of it. I didn't even really look into what it was actually about.
Then, towards the end of last year, it was The Social Network that was one of the first films to pick up a lot of possible award buzz and people started talking about it like it was this incredible piece of cinema that had fallen radiantly from the heavens into our multiplexes and shone on all of us like the shiny piece of wonder that it was. To which my response was "are they really talking about that damn Facebook movie? hmmmmmm that's interesting"
Now I would put three of David Fincher's films into my top 50 films of all time, Seven, Fight Club and Zodiac, so any awards buzz about one of his films and I slowly began to take notice. Then I heard an interview with Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter, on a podcast I listen to and he really sold it to me. Firstly, he explained what it was about, the notion of the man who invented a social network being very anti social and he made it sound like this interesting sort of courtroom drama and I like courtroom dramas so I thought "hmmmmm I have obviously got this film all wrong, I should watch it" and so we did and it stunk.
The one thing everyone failed to mention about the film is you need to believe in what a big deal Facebook is as a concept, or as a thing and I don't care. I simply don't. The internet itself is a big deal, like the telephone before it but Facebook to me really was a simpler and therefor more tedious and frustrating MySpace but I realise I am very much alone in that opinion to the tune of 1 Billion to 1.

The other day when I put a status up on Facebook (appropriately enough) about having been to see The King's Speech (review coming soon) a friend of mine said "It was ok, but I can't get too excited about the problems of rich people" well I disagree with that statement about The King's Speech but about The Facebook Movie it is 100% accurate.
This film has absolutely nothing satisfying or remotely thought provoking about it. It is about over-privalaged, overly-educated, self important, stuck up, rich kids going around and being arrogant, entitled pricks to one another. There isn't one character in the film that has a remotely interesting arc featuring anything really resembling an actual dilemma, for all their so-called heightened intelligence they all act incredibly stupidly and selfishly throughout the film and it all boils down to a bunch of people who want some money because they may or may not have had anything to do with inventing or financing Facebook, they get some money, sign something that says they won't talk about it and that's it. Nothing at all revelatory or resembling any kind of exciting climax happens, absolutely nothing. Astoundingly dull and awful. Mark Zuckerberg is the worst culprit as he seemingly walks around being pretty much an annoying self aggrandising arse sandwich to everyone he meets but because he can write computer code with some speed and an unhealthy dollop of superhuman aloofness and nonchalance he manages to become the worlds youngest billionaire.
This is why I say you have to care about Facebook or buy into all the hype that it is this fantastic thing. It would be like going back 25 years and making a movie about the Rubic's cube, it's a wonder anyone cares at all.

The film focusses on two main cases, one in which a pair of Harvard rowing twins, who asked Mark Zuckerberg to build a Harvard exclusive dating site, claim that instead of that he invented Facebook and that somehow it was also their idea.
As far as I understood it he never took their money, he never signed anything and he didn't use any of their computer code, maybe I am wrong but it seems like the only reason this wasn't laughed out of the board room by some semi-capable lawyers is because of their privileged upbringing, standing and who their father was. So you have a storyline that takes up 65% of the screen time and I am sat there thinking "oh they are going to kick this case to the curb, urinate on it and be on their way" but no, they entertain this half baked hogwash and you have to sit through deposition after boring deposition of a case where you don't agree with the plaintiff but you downright loathe the defendant and which ends with these arian youth bastards being awarded a bundle of ready cash for their mouths shut!
All of which I present as exhibit A, your honor, as to why I didn't give an armful of BALLS about any of this mind-numbing crappery.

The second case, which is honestly the more vaguely interesting of the two, but only quite, focusses on Zuckerberg being sued by his best friend Eduardo someone-or-other (at this point I was half asleep). This case isn't particularly solid either as it again features two aggressively mundane and arrogant people, one of whom "invented" Facebook and the other one coughed up $1500, pocket change to these wealthy turds, to pay for the servers. Eduardo is named CFO by Mark, in a way that resembles two children playing business, but anytime he tries to do anything remotely CFO-ish he is either hampered by Mark's enormous ego or by his own staggering ineptitude.
It all goes tits up when Mark falls under the spell of a slimy west-coast, silver spoon in rectum, overly confident waste of hair gel who "invented" Napster played by Justin Timberlake (how can anyone take any of this bilge seriously?!).
For a bit, while Eduardo is on the east coast doing something not very interesting not very well, everyone else hangs out in a house in the LA 'burbs and have strippers round doing enormous bongs of pot while several nerds sit about, unaware of any of it, 'wired in' to computer programming.
It's all exceptionally predictable, unrealistic and just simply snooze-worthy.
Deals are made, friendships are stretched, people are arrested and shown to be the drug addled losers we all expected them to be and after what seems like an eternity of pompous swanning about and masturbatory back slapping, Eduardo is being sort of written out of the company, or something and getting all angry and litigious. To be honest at this point I was so past caring I started to debate internally what colour socks to wear tomorrow but I never felt that it was really fully made clear or properly explained what the hell was going on but you understand, that whatever it is, he's upset about it.
Quite how he has a leg to stand on when he signed the original paperwork without a lawyer checking it first and therefor happily agreed to the terms that allowed them to downsize his interest in the company is beyond me but apparently he gets a fat wedge of sweaty bank notes too and goes about his day.

We are now 17 hours into this, I've run out of words for tedious, movie and still nothing remotely resembling a worthwhile story line has emerged and I am sitting there, jaw to the floor, scratching my head as to what it is I am missing, how is it anyone liked this, let alone the huge numbers that do? This was nominated for awards?? by whom? Insomniacs who are showing the gratitude at finally being put to sleep by something?? What is this patently ridiculous world coming to?

The last piece of the puzzle that is this, not at all puzzling film, is Zuckerberg himself. Made out to be an overly sensitive, rain man like, obnoxious, grudge carrying, snot nosed, fanny fart of a man who apparently, despite being obviously and knowingly rude to everyone, really just wants to talk to girls and be touched in the boy parts like everyone else. Now, unless I missed something, I did mentally wander off after all, the man doesn't have aspergers or autism or whatever, nothing that could make him remotely sympathetic or even maybe an anti-hero, no he is just a plain bastard who doesn't deserve to be touched in the man parts unless it was swiftly and repeatedly with some steel toe capped, army-issue boots.
Which brings me back to my point, you have to care about Facebook, believe that it is this amazingly connective, beautifully cool thing that just wants to bring about world peace and understanding and not that it is a forum for people to discuss their bowel movements and nose pick habits while advertisers tell you what useless tat to buy and politicians get to pretend to be like the commoners by telling everyone what brand of shampoo they use or their latest outdated and meaningless opinion on universal healthcare in the United States. The only thing Facebook has achieved is to get Betty White a hosting gig on SNL and to sell all your private information off to the highest bidder.
Without a positive view on Facebook there is nothing else redeeming, likable or worthwhile about this surprisingly awful film.

I also want to point out that a film doesn't have to have complicated character arcs, likable protagonists, a cliched wrap up at the end or even much of a point, films can be whatever they want to be but having at least one of the above would help.

As for the directing, writing and acting, well all are fine. Unlike previous efforts of Mr.Fincher, the direction is nothing to get excited over, it is just perfectly adequate, although the boat race scene isn't bad as a stand out piece of technical wizardry (shame that the entirety of the scene was completely devoid of any reason for its existence but there you are). The acting, likewise is fine, everyone does an ok job and everyone involved makes you hate them in the first 5 minutes, which I suppose is their worthless task at the end of the day.
The writing, though, is the stand out of the three because, considering everything I have said above about how stiflingly average and, in the grand scheme of things, relatively uneventful the whole sorry affair is, Sorkin does at least manage to work it into something resembling something (just what I don't know!) He does write pretty cracking dialogue too.

So I am sorry folks, haul me over the coals, argue with me, defend this overly long self important piece of tripe if you must but I am not sure I will ever be able to see whatever it is everyone else liked about the movie. My gast will just have to continue to remain flabbered, I guess.

2.5 out of 10 rather perplexing and tasteless radishes.
Points from The Wife 4 out of 10

Hot Fuzz - 7th February 2011

Wake Up Ron Burgandy - 5th February 2011