Today! Because if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try –
The Social Network (2010)
Directed by David Fincher (x4)
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Rooney Mara (x2), Justin Timberlake (x2), Dakota Johnson, Rashida Jones (x2), Joseph Mazzello (x2), David Selby, Brenda Song, Wallace Langham, John Getz (x2), Douglas Urbanski
Before Facebook completely destroyed society, it was the absolute best way to check out what that kid who sat across from you in sophomore English made for lunch that day, and whose kids turned out to be absolutely hideous monsters. It was great! And it was the only show in town, because what were we going to do, go back to MySpace? That fucking ghost town? No thank you!
And in 2010, this was still pretty much holding true. Sure, Twitter might’ve been around, but it wasn’t the stirring conduit of great international news and presidential opinion that it is today. And Instagram was just getting underway – who the hell was an early adopter of that thing? I can’t make a status update of how I’m feeling without a snap of my dumb mug?? Nope, Facebook was a titanic, culture-shaking improvement on life, and everyone you ever knew wished you a happy birthday. It was amazing.
David Fincher and friends somehow knew that waiting any amount of time to tell the story of the great company’s founding would prove eminently more complicated and/or hold no interest to the youth of the day, so they got the tale before the camera, no matter how accurate it may or may not be. Is Mark Zuckerberg really this much of an asshole? Would Harvard Connection have been been a success, even with the biggest douchebags in existence running the thing? Shouldn’t HotorNot.com have gotten a piece of the royalties from this whole mess?
Who cares? Fincher is a nearly unequaled master of cinema, and so executes the riveting tale of software and litigation with deft skill. He dragged career best (so far) performances out of Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, and managed to draw some delineations between Aaron Sorkin’s notoriously similar written characters. It picked up three Oscars, for Sorkin, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s score, and for Film Editing, but lost out to The King’s Speech (?!?) for Picture, Director, and Actor. This wasn’t a slouch year either – you had Toy Story 3, Inception, True Grit, Black Swan, and The Fighter also in the running, but hey, Colin Firth’s stutter was adorable or whatever, so why not, voters, huh? Why not?
Of course, we all know what happened to Facebook itself – everyone’s parents signed up, the kids fled to Snapchat or wherever, no one read newspapers any longer, and the colossal immolation emanating from Washington was visible with the naked eye from coast to coast. It’s hard to say what place it holds in society right now, and by the time this posts the country and world could have changed drastically. Once Zuckerberg went before Congress to try and explain how Facebook didn’t screw all of us forever, most people tuned out and began to disregard this platform as a place that could be trusted (if indeed anyone ever felt otherwise).
Now it’s just a weird shell of its former self – a locus for targeted ads and photos from your grandma’s 90th birthday party – but for a brief, glimmering moment in the mid-to-late ’00s, it was the abstract dream of a perfect internet come alive. Ten years ago we collectively made the jump over from MySpace, five years before that we were on Friendster, five years before that we started buying junk on Amazon, unaware that we were heading down a road that would close malls and chain bookstores and Sears forever. Where the hell will we be five years from now?
Seriously, if they made this movie today, would anyone see it? Would anyone care? Would it have to lean so heavy into the angle of what a complete villain Zuckerberg was as to unbalance the movie completely? You can still watch the movie now and get glimpses of this, but he’s just kind of a bully to his co-creators – you don’t get the impression that he’d knowingly torpedo us all for a few bucks.
What I’m saying is, Fincher needs to get on The Social Network 2 like yesterday. The material is piling up.
Fincher’s fourth and final list film makes sixteen in the Four-Timers, following his work on #221 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, #278 Zodiac, and #103 Fight Club, while we only induct new Two-Timers today – no one advancing! – Mara (Dragon Tattoo), Mazzello (#123 Jurassic Park), Timberlake (#197 Inside Llewyn Davis), Rashida Jones (#377 I Love You, Man), and John Getz (Zodiac).