October 1, 2010, - 2:01 pm
The biggest movie release, this weekend–probably in several months–is “The Social Network,” the story of how Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, who is now America’s youngest billionaire, at age 26. Because of a scheduling conflict, I did not see, “Let Me In” (will try to see it, later, over the weekend, and add my review). “Case 39,” starring Renee Zellweger, was not screened for critics, usually a sign it’s not a great flick. But I did see “The Social Network.”
Despite claims to the contrary, it’s no coincidence that Facebook chief Zuckerberg announced last week–to much fanfare on Oprah–that he was donating $100 million to the City of Newark schools. The movie about how he created Facebook as a Harvard undergrad is an entirely negative, unsympathetic portrayal of the computer code writer, and he felt the need to do something to answer the hate it is bound to create for him. Disregard reviews that say you’ll want to egg his house, then hug him afterward and help him clean it up. You definitely won’t want to hug him or help him clean anything. If even a fraction of it is true, the guy’s a major scumbag. But that’s the key. Just how much of it is, indeed true?
While the movie is based mostly on the Ben Mezrich book, ”The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal,” and testimony at depositions in two lawsuits against Zuckerberg (both of which settled for multi-millions of dollars), the tiny print at the end tells you some events and conversations were made up to add drama. Um, I don’t know about you, but when a movie is portraying a real person and attacking that person, I don’t need embellishment, I need truth. Sadly, you’ll almost never get that from Hollywood.
While the movie is interesting–if at times, somewhat slow and boring–I’m not sure I’d pay $10 to see something that is billed as a true story but is, by its own admission, embellished. Character assassination schadenfreude in movies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Still, Jesse Eisenberg, a usually great actor, is at his usual high level of acting skill here, essentially playing himself as Zuckerberg.
Is Mark Zuckerberg a creep and thief of a multi-billion dollar idea? Perhaps. Some reports say that Zuckerberg was even more loathsome than portrayed in the movies but because of potential litigation from him, his “character” was toned down. Others say it’s a hatchet job. So, what was made up and what is real? We won’t know for certain, and that’s the problem. Zuckerberg and the Facebook people didn’t cooperate with the project–and who can blame them?
But what is true is that the preppy Winklevoss twins–elite, wealthy kids at Harvard played by the late oil magnate Armand Hammer’s great-grandson, Armie Hammer–sued Zuckerberg saying he stole their idea for a Harvard-based online social network, after they hired him to develop it. He settled with them for $65 million, no small chunk of change, even when you consider that Facebook, today, is valued at over $25 billion, of which Zuckerberg owns about $7 billion. The other suit, by Zuckerberg’s one-time best friend and the financier of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin, also settled for undisclosed millions and restored Saverin’s name to the site as a co-founder of the site. A third lawsuit, which is ongoing, is not covered in the movie.
One thing the movie makes clear and wants you to know is that Zuckerberg is a cold, calculating, mean, insensitive guy who steals money from his best friend, Saverin, frames him in trumped up allegations of animal cruelty, and otherwise rips him off and uses anything to prevent him from seeking redress. The movie also wants you to know that Zuckerberg not only steals money from his friends, but ideas from rich, preppy guys who don’t consider him worthy and won’t include him in their social circles.
How much of this is true? I don’t know. As I said, while some of it is taken from lawsuit depositions and a book, some is admittedly made up by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who wrote it.
Among the conversations that liberal, self-hating Jew Sorkin likely made up is a scene in which Sorkin wants all the haters to know that Zuckerberg is a Jew. And not just any Jew, but a Jew, who along with fellow Jews, has a bigoted fetish for Asian chicks (Zuckerberg’s real-life long-term girlfriend is, in fact, Asian). A scene set at an AEPi (the Jewish fraternity) party shows Zuckerberg and two of his Jewish friends ogling a gaggle of Asian girls, discussing “why Jewish guys [allegedly] like Asian chicks,” a bigoted conversation against both Jews and Asians. Did the conversation ever take place? Probably not, although it’s recalled in a deposition scene.
I’m not sure what the point was–as it isn’t relevant to the movie or whether or not Facebook was stolen–other than for Sorkin to let the world know that his detestable main character is not just a Jew, but a piggish Jew. Later scenes show Zuckerberg and his Jewish friend having sex with Asian girls in bathroom stalls. Did that happen? Again, probably Sorkin’s self-hating embellishment. Per usual, the worst cinematic anti-Semitism always comes from Hollywood’s and Israel’s self-loathing, lapsed Jews. Is Sorkin trying to tell us that being Jewish has something to do with why Zuckerberg is such a jerk? That seems to be the implication. Because, hey, there isn’t enough anti-Semitism on the planet, so let’s add more.
But Zuckerberg has, in real life, nothing to do with Judaism, but for a coincidence of birth. He allows Facebook to serve as the forum for anti-Semitism, Islamic terrorist groups and their supporters, and neo-Nazis. Kick a Jew Day and Kill a Jew Day were comfy on Facebook until our tireless friend, the JIDF, made it his mission to get them removed. Ditto for Holocaust denial, which flourishes on the social networking site. Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi Zuckerberg (not shown in the movie), a top Facebook executive and spokeswoman, regularly visits anti-Israel travel-apartheid states like Dubai and gushes over them on her Twitter account.
Later, we see Justin Timberlake (who has magically dropped his usual affected urban Black accent) as Napster founder, Sean Parker, the slimy guy who becomes Zuckerberg’s guru, helps him get financing to expand Facebook into a major start-up and big player, and is a big troublemaker involved with cocaine and underaged girls. Parker, today, owns a good chunk of Facebook.
Like I said, I would not pay $10 to see this. It wasn’t “exciting,” “thrilling,” or any of the adjectives used in advertisements for the movie. It’s really a story of inside baseball about a guy–no matter how loathsome–who is something of a misanthrope, definitely a computer genius ,and mostly a much-embellished character about whom I’ll never really know the truth.
And I really don’t care to. That’s the thing. I really didn’t care about most of this because the movie didn’t make me want to. And I didn’t consider it escapist fun at the movies. It was mostly just depressing.
I wouldn’t even pay to rent this. Wait until this comes to cable.
ZERO REAGANS OR MARXES – A WASH
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Aaron Sorkin, Accidental Billionaires, AEPi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Armand Hammer, Armie Hammer, Ben Mezrich, Cameron Winklevoss, Eduardo Saverin, Genius and Betrayal, Harvard, Jesse Eisenberg, Jewish, Justin Timberlake, lawsuits, Mark Zuckerberg, Money, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, Napster, Randi Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, The Accidental Billionaires, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex Money Genius and Betrayal, The Social Network, Tyler Winklevoss, Winklevoss twins