Continuing on my quest to see all of the movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, I rented “The Social Network” yesterday. Further commentary is behind the cut to avoid spoilers.
I really had no desire to watch “The Social Network” but I’ve seen so many of the other best picture nominees I wanted to be able to judge them all fairly. My biggest concern was how the movie would treat women, as I’d read some critical reviews in that regard. Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay, and he’s also responsible for a couple of the best TV shows in the last 15 years, “Sports Night” and “The West Wing,” so I know he’s capable of writing multidimensional female characters. He missed the mark a couple of times in this movie, however. Eduardo Saverin is one of the co-founders of Facebook, and his girlfriend, Christy, was perfectly normal for a while. For some reason she did a complete transformation into every stereotype you can imagine: jealous, wild, controlling. She lit a scarf on fire in a trash can, then tipped the trash can onto a bedspread that also caught fire. I assume that was drama made up for the movie and didn’t happen in real life. It was more than a bit over the top.
The second female character who bothered me was a lawyer assigned to help Mark Zuckerberg’s case. She’s the one who’s supposed to give him validation by saying of course he’s not a bad guy. “You’re not an asshole, you’re just trying to be.” Well, I beg to differ. The movie gave us plenty of evidence that he is, in fact, an asshole, even–especially–to his supposed best friend. He never once thinks about someone other than himself.
That’s part of the reason why even though Zuckerberg became a billionaire, he doesn’t have everything. He may be a genius when it comes to computers but he doesn’t have a clue when it comes to people. He doesn’t understand women at all and he managed to drive away the one person who was his friend before his success happened. And now that he’s rich and famous he has to wonder if people are being nice to him because they want to be or because they want something from him.
Please note that when I refer to Zuckerberg, I’m talking about the character in the movie and not the real man. The only things I know about him in real life are he recently sold his house and he wants to donate money to New Jersey schools.
Overall it was an interesting movie, although I don’t think it’s good enough to win best picture. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins best adapted screenplay, but that will be a tough category. It goes up against “True Grit” and “Winter’s Bone,” which were both very good.
I also watched “How to Train your Dragon,” which is nominated for best animated feature film. I liked it, but every time I saw Toothless I thought of Stitch from the Disney movie “Lilo and Stitch.” The music was neat. It will be really tough to win against “Toy Story 3,” though. The final two movies on my list are “127 Hours” and “The Fighter.”