Jerome’s 100 Favorite Movies Ever: The Social Network

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(Check out the list so far)

The Movie: The Social Network (2010)

One Sentence Plot Summary: Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher pretend that Mark Zuckerberg invented a social network because of a bad relationship but inadvertently reveal the co-founder of Facebook’s amoral sociopathic tendencies.

Why It’s on the List: I recently watched this movie for the first time in a long time because who has time to be watching things you’ve already seen again. The quarantine has certainly allotted me the chance to revisit a lot of my personal favorites. This is one I wanted to check out again simply because Mark Zuckerberg’s presence in our collective lives has only increased as Facebook has become the bane of our existence. Social media has also become increasingly important.

In a lot of ways, the movie is both nailing it and missing the point. Zuckerberg is a complete tool, and the film represents that quite well even though Jesse Eisenberg is giving a strong performance. Fincher does a spectacular job of taking Sorkin’s words and translating them into an engaging comedy/drama. This movie really hums along, and while Sorkin’s dialogue can sometimes feel samey, the actors do a really good job of differentiating the characters and Fincher is a master of creating detailed settings and lighting them correctly.

There are very good reasons this movie won Academy Awards and is regarded as one of the best films of the 2010s. You’ve got the right script combined with a director at the peak of his powers and great acting across the board.

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#problematic:  

*Mark Zuckerberg’s wife doesn’t even get so much as a mention.

*Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) has a girlfriend who threatens to burn down a house because she’s a woman written by Aaron Sorkin and thus cannot control her emotions.

*The opening scene is incredible, especially when you consider what Rooney Mara is up against, but Zuckerberg comes off like a giant creep. His confronting of her somehow makes this even worse.

*The movie does feel like a byproduct of two 50-year-olds because they miss the real danger of social networks. In 2010, this might have been harder to predict, but I feel like we were seeing some of it by this point.

MVP: This is the first and likely only time this is going to happen, but I have to give this to the studio, in this case, a combination of Sony/Columbia Pictures/Magnolia. Whoever said this movie had to be two hours and no longer is a genius. I’m not going to pull a Matt Waters and say every movie has to be shorter than two hours, but Aaron Sorkin tends to fall in love with his own dialogue while David Fincher isn’t above making a 2.5 hour movie himself. I love Fincher as much as the next guy and even appreciate some of those 2.5 films, but this is a tight movie that gets in and gets out. Every scene has a clear purpose, and I wouldn’t take out a single scene.  

Best Performance: Jesse Eisenberg is the lead, but he might be the third best performance in this movie. I love Rooney Mara as Erica Albright, but I will have ample opportunity to talk about her in a later review. Instead, I’m going to go with Armie Hammer who plays dual roles as the Winklevoss twins. He manages to make each twin feel like an individual character and not simply like the same person copied over. Anyone who watched this movie and knows nothing else probably assumes he’s become a big star, but he’s struggled in a lot of ways. Nonetheless, he excels here in a supporting role. In a film with a lot of meaty supporting characters, the Winkelvoss twins still stand out a decade later.

Best Quote: “You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.” – Erica Albright

Is there a sequel? There are rumors of one. I’d love to see a younger director and writer team take it on with Eisenberg reprising the role. There’s a lot to break down, and I don’t think there’s a chance Sorkin could write a script that captures these issues.

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Follow Jerome on Twitter, and check out Reel BadThe Superhero Pantheon and his new podcast Pantheon Plus.

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