I’ll jump right to it. This week I read “The Social Network.” Despite all of the problems and content that I didn’t care for, it was a well written and compelling script. I have to say that I liked it, even though there isn’t a single reason I can think of to do so. There isn’t a great scene, a grand hero, a victory, or anything, really, except a bunch of very smart, very small people being mean to each other.
Thing is, it’s about Facebook, and somehow that makes this story larger than life.
The problem I have with the script is the same problem I have with Facebook itself. There’s a whole lot of trash mixed in with the lives of people I don’t really know or care about. It’s a story of over-sharing and back stabbing without a hero. It’s a story of arrogance and hedonistic self-indulgence. And once you start it, you have to finish it – drunken drug-induced orgies and all.
To be fair, much like the real Facebook, the worst of the bad is hidden in subtext so the censors don’t have to cut anything out, but I have no intention of ever actually watching it. What is there in the story isn’t entertainment. Neither are videos of cats taking a bath, but they still get a lot of views.
Maybe that’s why I liked it? It was a commentary on how banal the most successful social networking site in the world really is – and has been right from the get-go.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Facebook “hater” but nobody can deny how much more narcissistic it has made our culture. And at the expense of true knowledge – like what narcissistic means and where it came from.
If you want to write screenplays, read this script. There are some interesting transitions and it uses flashbacks masterfully. It also draws characters and settings extremely well. Then there’s the pacing, top notch. It’s technically an outstandingly well executed document. But if you aren’t writing screenplays, just watch the movie -- if you’re in to that sort of thing.
I know that doesn’t make any sense. How can I be so down on it and still like it? Still be thinking about the script days later? Actually put off writing on my project so I could finish it? It’s got to be the magic of the site itself, the addiction that keeps us logging in, time and time again.
Facebook really has changed the world. Perhaps the allure of “The Social Network” is that of any creation legend, one that all mythologies must have.