Harry was kind of blown away by THE SOCIAL NETWORK both times he's seen it!
Think about AMERICAN GRAFITTI. Arguably George’s best and most completely satisfying film experience of Lucas’ career. It perfectly encapsulates a life changing evening for a group of friends that led them from the portal of personal independent freedom, and in which direction they were mutually going to set out upon.
Think about THE PAPER CHASE – the highest of ambition for the brilliant of our society. This is one of those schools and institutions that change the world. You can be snarky about the conceit of a film based upon the origins FACEBOOK… but you can find yourself discussing and talking about not just AMERICAN GRAFITTI and THE PAPER CHASE, but you can bring up movies like ACE IN THE HOLE and CITIZEN KANE and THE THIRD MAN and FACE IN THE CROWD and then you can start talking about great directors of those types of great movies – and you start thinking about THE SOCIAL NETWORK.
I’ve seen it twice now. And I am completely biased, because after my first viewing I could say, without a hint of irony, that the film had changed a direction in my mind that will absolutely change my life. It isn’t necessarily the obvious thing, it’s actually a personal leap that I’ve been headed for and playing footsie, but immediately after that screening, I called my Business & Numbers Man (who happens to be a lifetime best friend & partner) and we began a new process – with a very deliberate resolve to pursue aggressively – and those kinds of moments happen so rarely in life, that I find myself truly indebted to Fincher, Sorkin, Jesse Eisenberg and everybody that is responsible for this film, because I believe this personal ‘revelation’ and ‘eureka’ moment will better my life and AintItCool forever.
Yes, I’m cagey. But time will tell.
When you have a private screening of a film – and you have that teary faced dazed look of profound enlightenment upon your face… you tend to think. Harry, you’re being fucking delusional. Obviously someone placed 3 drops of Liquid LSD in your water glass. Again. Sigh.
The screening tonight went smooth as could be. People showed up in droves, everybody buzzing about the film. People being very thankful and aggressively pleasant about thanking me for hosting the event. It was strange, people seemed to know they were in store for a hell of an evening.
Everyone of my friends loved it. Many of them sticking it with “Best Film I’ve Seen All Year” – and when you combine just how brilliantly written the film is. I mean. It’s just so well written.
In the first 10 minutes or so of THE SOCIAL NETWORK, you have that moment. You know the moment I’m talking about. It’s that moment in the film, where you know… beyond any shadow of a doubt, that you have been seated to a great fucking movie. And it is exceedingly rare to have that moment come in the very first sequence of the film. In JJ Abrams’ STAR TREK – it’s the George Kirk story. In SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, it is that jog with Clarice… Tak Fujimoto’s exquisite camera and Jody Foster lost in ambition, determination, self-doubt and strength of that run… and that score. That box in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, where it absolutely places you in a mindset, a vibe… You are ready for the following feature film, and you’ve scooted to the front of your seat because, GOD DAMN IT, IT IS ON!
In THE SOCIAL NETWORK – that “moment” is the opening dinner between two people that we learn are dating and romantically intertwined. Not necessarily because we read that kind of emotion on them – but because of the scene. This is where they break up. And what is particularly remarkable is that both parties came to this establishment with every intention of still being with the other, but because of the conversation they are having, they are about to melt down – and that melt down, that disasterous sharing of spirits will be the first in a series of events, being told in a series of RASHOMAN flashbacks – being told in a series of depositions for lawsuits that the settlements become the kind of settlements that are so huge, that one wonders just how that much money can even exist. Much less be handled in this manner.
Now – every single character in this movie is a complete person. The character of “Mark Zuckerberg” in Sorkin’s script in David Fincher’s movie containing Jesse Eixenberg’s hypnotic performance as a self-loathing brilliant geek with asshole reflexes that are undeniably the pure product of some deeply entrenched desire to be alone, while also being a human that craves acknowledgement and companionship. He’s incredibly self-centered choosing to think only about what he is thinking about, while ignoring or dismissing everything that Rooney Mara’s Erica is saying to him. Something Zuckerberg saids about the level of Geniuses in CHINA and it’s relationship to the amount of geniuses in the world. Meanwhile Mark is already 3 subjects past that factoid he spouted but had no interest in following up on. The conversation goes back and forth – each of them getting slightly… and sometimes MAJORLY – hung up on an innocent comment that the other made. It becomes a fight naturally and quickly. The kind of fight you can realistically imagine, but usually someone blinks, here… they’re racing to the finish line – and it is EXCITING. Exciting because the dialogue is punchy, sharp, fascinating to listen to – because beyond the dialogue – their reactions to one another are thoughtful responses that show that the other was listening and even more so – looked for and found hidden meanings, which set them off. It is fast and furious and breathtaking. It is a dialogue action scene. Two people at a table for drinks, but damn could these two trade blows – and it is kind of embarrassing how the dialogue from Sorkin and the way Fincher directs it and how Rooney and Jesse deliver it all… it is electrifying.
Yes, I’m getting all hot and bothered about a dialogue scene that opens the film. That’s because that dialogue scene sets the tone for the entire film that follows.
Everybody in this film has surface level needs, subterranean unspoken needs – faults & motives. This is something that comes with business. Not just FACEBOOK, not just with get rich quick miracle situations, but every time you enter into business with a friend, you have to be upfront with every turn of the page. You can’t have private agendas with friends, you must be on the level. The second you start maneuvering around them, flanking them… you’re setting yourself up for a pretty big bummer. And yes, I’ve experienced some of those things. AND it sucks massive cock when it happens.
Everything about this movie just works perfect. Every role, every shot, every scene… I love the film. NOW – is it the greatest film of all time? NO. Top 100? Probably not. BUT Harry, you said it literally changed your life! Well, so did DON JUAN DEMARCO, but you wouldn’t see me labeling it anywhere near the top romantic films of all time. BUT TO ME – The film unlocked the mysteries of courtship in a manner that has served me extremely well in this life. And I owe that to Johnny, Marlon and Jeremy Leven.
Is it the “MOVIE OF THE YEAR”? At this point, I might personally LOVE Edgar Wright’s film the most, but SOCIAL NETWORK is the best film that I’ve seen thus far in 2010 – it really is that fucking good!