Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Things I Love About 'The Social Network'

Last night I treated myself to a second screening of "The Social Network," the smartest, speediest, coolest and, most likely, best movie of the year.

I didn't want to take notes again, but I started jotting down what I loved and my hand couldn't keep up. Repeat viewings of great movies are the best. You've got the foundation down, and now you can focus on the struts.

Let's take a brief, mostly chronological look at my select highlights from this most inspiring -- and consistently refreshing -- of films.


* "Stairmaster."

* That its perpetually low lighting requires you to watch it in a very dark room (and that my theater during this viewing was completely empty save one late-arriving couple).

* That the ambient sounds in the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross make you think of circuits working, or brain cells firing, or code...coding.

* That at the same time Zuckerberg is whizzing through the Frankensteinian creation of FaceMash, we see an elite batch of Phoenix Club partiers, who didn't invite the geek but will soon be enamored with the fruits of his genius.

* "Moving right along..."


* That Fincher can occasionally put Armie Hammer and double Josh Pence in the same frame by keeping Pence just slightly out of focus.

* How the simple wearing of sandals can speak volumes about a new type of entrepreneur.

* That geeks have never looked cooler, mainly because these particular geeks have changed all of our lives.

* "I can't stop staring at that loop of Niagara Falls, which has nothing to do with the Caribbean..."

* The fun connotations you can apply to that dart Mark plays with while hacking.

* That it's just shy of being JUST as engrossing and exhilarating the second time around.


* That Mark lifts his legal pad during depositions to reveal a page full of doodles.

* How the moments of creative spark and innovation could put a great many bajillion-dollar action sequences to shame.

* "The site's live." [voice fails]

* That it boasts the year's finest and tightest ensemble cast, and all of the principal actors are under 30.

* That it makes you feel like you've been given an insider's tour of Harvard.

* That Natalie Portman managed to sneak into not one, but two of the year's best movies ("Which movie star?").

* "It will never be finished, like fashion will never be finished..."


* How beautifully Rooney Mara's Erica stands her ground when confronted by Mark in the club ("I don't want to be rude to my FRIENDS").

* That Fincher and Sorkin take only the most delicious opportunities to liken Zuckerberg to a mad scientist ("We have to expand...").

* That the new setting of Stanford is revealed on the panty-wearing butt of a coed (sorry, it's an appreciation-of-tone thing, not a sexist thing).

* "You're Sean Parker?"
   "Aha...the shoe's on the other..."

   "Table. Which is turned."

* The priceless cameo performance by film producer Douglas Urbanski as the dry and unaffected Harvard president, Larry Summers, whose shooting down of the Winklevi is a joy ("I don't know who they are, but they look like they want to sell me a Brooks Brothers franchise").

* The sound Mark makes while falling asleep and humiliating Eduardo in a meeting with a potential New York investor (played by Aaron Sorkin, no less). It's like a "glottle stop," or a "gag reflex." In fact, it's kind of like the sound Colin Firth makes in "The King's Speech," the movie that's seeming less and less a worthy adversary for Fincher's masterpiece.

* The brilliant casting of Justin Timberlake ("A Sean-a-thon").

* "Private behavior is a relic of a time gone by..."


* The amazing smoothness and effectiveness of Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall's Oscar-bound, cross-chronological editing.

* The sad pain of a shattered frienship that you feel ping-ponging across the deposition table.

* The awesome power and earth-shaking resonance of the words, "Welcome to Facebook."

* That the boundlessly gifted stylist David Fincher has one of the savviest, most bad-ass 20-somethings around living inside his 40-something body.

* The isolated, dreamlike, frozen-in-time beauty of the regatta scene -- a reason in itself why DP Jeff Cronenweth should net an Oscar nom.

* Thinking about Eduardo hunting for advertisers in Manhattan (personal reasons).


* The parallel that's created between Christy setting fire to her scarf in Eduardo's apartment and the company catching fire with a $500K investment.

* The terrible emotional impact of Eduardo's "ambush" and eruption -- easily one of the strongest emotional moments in film this year.

* One million users ("REFRESH!!").

* Sean Parker's "paranoia."

* "Farm animals."

* The f**k-you postscript that insists on noting the Winklevi placed sixth when rowing for the U.S. team in the Beijing Olympics.

* Friend request -- REFRESH, REFRESH, REFRESH.

* And finally, moving out of order a bit, the mini-monologue that should be filed away in the annals of great mini-monologues...the one that knocks you back in your chair...the one, some variety of which, I'd like to fire at a heaping pile of other movies that dared to ask for my...attention:


Brandon Schultz said...

yay! this was so fun! i especially loved that video at the end.

Brandon Schultz said...

yay! this was so fun! i especially loved that video at the end.