Search This Blog

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rapid Reaction - The Social Network

I made it about 3/4ths of the mile and a half distance between the theater and my apartment before checking Facebook from my touch screen mobile phone.  Seconds later, I knew that someone I've never met who probably lives half a continent away had commented on the roommate I had 8 years ago's status.  Fifteen minutes later, I'm blogging about it.  And I live in Iowa.  You can point your fingers and say I'm in the wrong here, but don't kid yourselves and assume this isn't the norm for 2011.  We're all doomed.

Of course, the human mind is too advanced to have not created this - the touch screen phones, world wide web, and Wi-Fi internet were already here for the taking - but someone had to push the button to send us all crashing into each other online.  Enter Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook and focus of The Social Network, who survived something that seems not far removed from that War Room scene of Dr. Strangelove to father his creation.  Allegedly.

Like the site itself, The Social Network is a one-stop-shop for the things you think are cool.  It's written by TV maestro Aaron Sorkin, directed by the hip and hard-edged David Fincher, and even features music from rock hero Trent Reznor.  To the everyday viewer the high point of the cast is Hollywood Jack of All Trades Justin Timberlake, but the stars - Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, Adventureland) and Andrew Garfield (soon to be big-screen Spider-Man) - are also perfect for the new world in which our experiences are connected together.  Basically, the movie's profile page would show that it "Likes" everything the "hip" facebooker likes in today's society of "fast food, strip mall" nerds - Fight Club, Nine Inch Nails, witty comments, superhero films, zombies, hoodies, etc.

The pop culture factor is key to the movie's effectiveness, because the film doesn't really take much time to tell us why Facebook is so important.  A year or two ago this film might have been an independent prodcution that got cult buzz, but now that even your parents are on facebook - and if they aren't, they will be - it's truly a story of our times.  The people the film talks about, the people who spend more time on the site than any other site and are 91% likely to return to the site (I gotta think that number's gone up since 2003), will no doubt find some connection to the material.  A large portion of that is the writing by Sorkin and the acting by Eisenberg, Garfield, and others, but the personal value of this film to younger generations can't be understated.

If you're savvy in the online world - and if you're reading this tiny blog, I'd imagine you are - I think there's something in The Social Network for you.  I could sit here and break down the film as a film - it's a very good film, BTW - but that's not what interests me about The Social Network.  The movie shows us how we got to where we are in society, and makes me think about where exactly we are now.  It's a cyberspace historical epic, I think.  And as a cyberspace junkie, I'm cool with that.

(Note from The Mike: BTW, the Rapid Reaction feature is designed to be my first thoughts about something, posted quickly and unedited.  Sorry for not explaining it earlier, I was reacting rapidly.  Also, sorry if it doesn't make sense.)