The Friendster / MySpace / Twitter Movie

This is a review of a little movie you, um, may possibly have heard of: The Facebook Movie The Social Network, helmed by David Fincher and typed by God Aaron Sorkin, from the book The Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich.

Yes, I invented Facebook.

A ton of ink– real and digital– has already been spilled on this most buzziest of buzzy flick, so here’s a bit more:

I met Aaron Sorkin once.  Well, that’s not entirely true; I didn’t meet Aaron Sorkin once because he’s Aaron Sorkin and what was I going to say?  I saw Aaron Sorkin speak once, at a theater in Santa Monica, on writing at a benefit for a theater company to a small group of folks.  Most of what he had to say– witty, erudite, funny, smart but self-deprecating– is dutifully recorded in a notebook upstairs.  But I do remember that he talked about how, as a writer, when plying his trade for film as opposed to television, he’ll hold onto a particularly good joke or line if it’s going to get him through the months and years it often takes to see a flick up on the screen.

You should know already that this isn’t going to be a fair review.  I could quote lines from A Few Good Men (one of the great late-night, always on TNT flicks) before I knew who he was.  I watched ABC’s Sports Night from day one, when no one was watching Sports Night.  A new episode of The West Wing was cause for celebration in our house.  I stuck through the good and the bad of NBC’s Studio 60 (even if it never knew what it was), have caught Malice and The American President on TV more than once, and saw Charlie Wilson’s War in the theater twice.  Heck, I even read Making Movies and saw the unappreciated The Farnsworth Invention on Broadway.

Like I said, this isn’t going to be a fair review.

No, I invented Facebook.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I read the script for The Social Network and thought, Hmm, well, it’s good– it’s Sorkin!– but it’s got some problems.

I was wrong.

When you have Aaron Sorkin doing the typing (seriously, pick up The West Wing script-books just to read his intro), and David Fincher (the guy behind one of the best flicks of the last 10 years, Zodiac) doing the helming, and a superb cast, you don’t have problems.  You have magic.

It is so rare to find intelligent flicks made for adults these days, but here is one.  Crackerjack dialogue (I’m sure Sean Parker didn’t talk like that when telling the story of Roy Raymond, but it’s classic Sorkin and Justin Timberlake– yes, J.T.!– in a go-for-broke performance makes it work).  Truly stunning visual direction (if you haven’t seen Zodiac, shot on digital, please head to the queue right now.  Great Halloween flick, too).  Pitch-perfect performances (While we’re at it, it’s worth checking out Jesse Eisenberg’s prior work in Greg Mottola’s Adventureland).  It’s two hours that passes like 5 minutes.

And did I mention the dialogue?

Now, you can go to any website and read about how it’s all fiction, they made it up, they changed the book, blah blah blah–  I don’t care.  It’s a marvelous film.  But I will say this: I was be the only guy in America who emphasizes with Mark Zuckerberg.  The guy is obviously a genius, and doesn’t come off as a jerk to me (hello, he’s standing next to Sean Parker!) so much as a guy who fumbles like the rest of us, and he invents– or co-invents– something we’re all addicted to (First thing I did after the flick?  Unironically check my Facebook app.) and…  what?  He has to give $100 million buck to clean up his image?

The brilliant part of the flick, to me, is we’re all just people–  those of us who invented Facebook, those of us who didn’t.  It’s a humanizing movie, to me at least.  The film is all gray.  I mean, these guys were doing it all for girls!

I wish Mr. Sorkin would find his way back to series television, as I prefer 22 hours of dialogue a year to, say, 2 hours every year or two.  But in the meantime, it’s good to see him bringing his A-game to a director like David Fincher.

Guys, I invented the Internet.

I can’t wait to Facebook someone about seeing this flick again.  Also, I can’t wait to see the forthcoming Moneyball.

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