The Social Network

Back in 1995, I went back to college to finish my degree.  While there, I joined Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity.  Once I was finished with school, I continued to work with the students in various advisory roles.  Of course this meant getting up to spped quickly with an ever-changing Internet landscape.  Instead of problems being limited to in-person encounters or phone calls, people were now doing it through new tools such as LiveJournal.

As my responsibilities grew within the fraternity, so did my level of education regarding tools for students.  I started hearing about FaceBook from students who would report issues to me and say, “Well, the pictures are on FaceBook.”  However, to get into FaceBook, you had to have a .edu email address.  Then FaceBook was opened to the public, and the Internet and society has never been the same.  I still have issues with aspects of FaceBook, but I can not deny its overall positive impact.

So what does that all have to do with movies?

Well, The Social Network is a movie adapted from a book (The Accidental Billionaires) that loosely tells the history of the founding of FaceBook and the struggles within.  Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland, Zombieland) stars as FaceBook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  The story starts off showing how an argument with a girlfriend led to computer hacking and the evolution of the idea of FaceBook.  What follows is a story with stereotypical “villains” and internal fighting.

The story is told as a series of flashbacks told during depositions for lawsuits.  It follows the typical trappings of the tragic hero tale: the rise, the temptations, the forgetting of friends, and then the fall.  Granted his fall only involved the loss of friends, but it was still a fall nonetheless.  The casting in the movie was good.  Justin Timberlake’s performance as Sean Parker (of Napster fame) was particularly good.  At no point did I feel like I was seeing Timberlake on-screen; I just saw the character.  If he keeps doing performances like that, Timberlake may make a better movie star than a singer.

The major downside to this movie is the ability to get repeat viewers.  I enjoyed the movie, but it is not one that I would necessarily sit through again.  That factor cuts into box office numbers and DVD/Blu-Ray purchases.  That being said, it is still doing ok in the box office race.

My advice: worth seeing at matinee or dollar-movie theaters; just keep in mind that a lot of literary license has been used in crafting this story…

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