October 1, 2010, - 2:01 pm

Weekend Box Office: “The Social Network”

By Debbie Schlussel

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.


Watch the trailer . . .

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49 Responses

From my understanding, Facebook is also up its gazooka in political correctness with respect to Islam (besides hosting Islamo-terror supporting outfits as mentioned in this review, anybody who criticizes Islam is yanked off and their forums likewise deep-sixed).

ConcernedPatriot on October 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm

More tripe from Aaron Sorkin, I’m having flashbacks to the crapfest that was “Charlie Wilson’s War”.

Agen T. on October 1, 2010 at 7:03 pm

His most memorable work was “West Wing.” In the real world, Americans don’t look that fondly on liberals. We’ll see how it all plays out in November.

NormanF on October 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm

proud to say I was thrown out of the fraternity AEPi

Noah David Simon on October 1, 2010 at 10:58 pm

I found The Social Network fascinating from beginning to end. For me, it was well worth the $9 admission (matinee price). The script was sophisticated and unsentimental–not repulsively dumbed down, sappy and reeking with didactic liberalism like Wall Street 2 (the other “money” movie out right now). I have to say I like David Fincher’s documdramas (e.g., Zodiac and this movie) far more than his fantasy-allegory Benjamin Button.

I also saw Case 39 and liked it. Besides being extremely scary, it had a good conservative subtext and did not treat nanny-state liberal-fascism kindly. That may be why it wasn’t previewed early; liberal critics won’t take kindly to the dripping irony of this film.

Let Me In was a little creepy. It’s definitely not for kids (even though it features kids, and that’s the problem). I’ll certainly be interested to hear your take on it, Debbie.

Burke on October 1, 2010 at 11:42 pm

The winklevoss twins are still suing facebook. They claim on CNN the other day internal emails and other information was not turned over to them during discovery. The company deliberately tried to downplay the role of the twins and the true value of the company. A sincere enough reason for the twins to come at the company again.

This Zukerberg guy comes off very creepy in many of the articles written about him. I guess he thinks he is so cocky he can do anything. The NY post even had an article in today’s paper regarding his 100 million dollar donation. Basically that Newark gets enough money and giving them more will achieve nothing unless the schools go in a different direction. So the donation will be a waste. Zuckerberg might have jut done it as a PR stunt.

spaceship22 on October 2, 2010 at 12:09 am

Guess I am so out of touch, but I couldn’t care less about Facebook.

I laugh at the term “social network”, it’s anything but. Twitter, reality TV, Facebook, people will fall for anything.

Jeff W. on October 2, 2010 at 3:21 am

I love this review. Thank you for it.

L on October 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm

From everything you said here, the movie should’ve gotten TEN REAGANS, because Zuckerberg is the EPITOME of freewheeling Reaganomics!

EminemsRevenge on October 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm

We have Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social mechanisms to help us make better social connections, and social relationships are more of a mess than they were 50 years ago when we didn’t have such ‘aids’.

Little Al on October 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Just what Americans want… to see films about ugly geeks with very bad character.

I think I will nuke my Facebook page. I don’t want any part of this dweeb.

This whole thing just makes me sick.

Skunky on October 2, 2010 at 11:38 pm

I admit it..I got a Face page after being told it would help my business….Well, it is worthless. I rarely look a the page. It is just another waste of time. People you never met want to “Friend” you. What touchy feely electronic garbage.

I do take exception about the Jewish-Asian connection. I am married to a Filipina Jew. Asians have a lot of the values Jews have, and the First and second generation Asians still have those same values that have been lost in an assimilated population.

Jonathan Grant on October 3, 2010 at 11:20 am

It is TRUE about Jewish guys and Asian chicks. I lived in NYC long enough to know there is some social-psychological aspect to this. (Who am I going to believe, Debbie or my own eyes?)
Actually it might be a quite sensible attempt to breed a REAL master race! I’m saying that in fun so don’t blow a gasket.

D: A very minuscule percentage of Jewish guys ever end up married to Asian chicks. Although the Jewish intermarriage rate is upwards of 50%, most Jewish intermarriage is between Jews and Irish Catholics, followed by Jews and Protestants. So, it is simply not borne out by the stats, regardless of your unreliable anecdotal evidence. What you see is only what you see, like a blind man feeling the toe of an elephant. It simply ain’t the true picture. DS

DAN on October 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    There’s much more to the Asian/Jew thing here…and adoptions of Asians by Jews. Zionism and merchandise from China…they’ve taken over the world. creep show.

    D — what BS regarding Irish Catholics and Jews. Too much bleach seeping to your brain?? Get real and get well soon.

    SargeantDan on February 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Debbie, what wisdom you just wrote: “What you see is only what you see, like a blind man feeling the toe of an elephant.” That distillation of the famous story sums up life in general, doesn’t it?

For what it is worth, I saw the movie tonight and I thought that the script by Aaron Sorkin was first-class. I don’t know the real story, of course, and assumed that some scenes and dialogue would be made up – it is in every movie, no matter how ‘true-to-life’ it is supposed to be – but the character of Zuckerberg seemed to come through in his talking-and-typing-at-the-speed-of-light approach to life. He seemed to me to be basically a high-level nerd, maybe the unfunny version of that character Sheldon on ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ Sure, he thought he was the smartest person on the planet, and he had the social graces of a pig. That actually describes a lot of young men, even those who didn’t score well on the SAT’s. With today’s technology he was in the right spot at the right time, and had or half-stole the ideas that he put together into Facebook. Now, he has been a billionaire for years and is still only 26. That fact alone kept me from feeling sorry for him at the end.

People in general don’t come off well in this movie. Almost everyone comes off greedy, weak-willed and possessing the morals of farm animals. And that might be insulting to farm animals.

Dearborn Fan on October 4, 2010 at 1:06 am

Zuckerberg will become a new curse word for electronic pirates.

Lars on October 4, 2010 at 8:09 am

I don’t belong to Facebook. I don’t belong to MySpace. I don’t Twitter. In other words, I haven’t been suckered into contributing to the “Culture of Me” by becoming a member of one or more of these social networking sites. Accordingly, I could care less about Mark Zuckerberg. If he is a bad guy, he won’t be the last one to come out ahead of the pack. That’s for sure. Paying $10 to see this flick only contributes to the “Cult of Celebrity” in this country, which in turn leads to a perverse form of idolatry and an over-reliance on varying forms of media to find fulfillment and meaning in one’s life. No thanks. I can think of many better uses of $10, that’s for sure….

Dalton on October 4, 2010 at 8:41 am

Is anyone else having an issue with the websites content being centered-aligned? It has been that was since last week for me.

KB on October 4, 2010 at 9:19 am

Also, I saw “Let Me In” over the weekend and I think it is one of the best horror movies to come out in a LONG time.

The isolation of the boy Owen in the movie due to his parents divorce and his mother’s alcoholism shows the sad effects of divorce on our children and the mental issues it can cause in our young children. His anger and outbursts are frustration that children go through when placed in these unfortunate situations. The bullying he encounters at school also feeds his aggression.

I am very interested to see Debbie’s take on it. i would give the movie a 4/5 because it was slow in some places. I felt it wasn’t over the top with gore either like most “horror” films are nowadays.

KB on October 4, 2010 at 9:22 am

Seen this?… terrific, although I cannot translate Hebrew. Worth the watch!


sharon on October 4, 2010 at 11:31 am

I think these allegations always come up whenever someone becomes so wealthy and powerful like that, so who knows..all the scenes were taken from the depositions given so no way to really verify if it really is true or not. Though when it comes to someone that has attained such wealth and success so quickly, there will always be allegations like these. In Bill Gates hey day, they always rumored him to be quite ruthless especially when in his early days with Paul Allen. Then again I don’t expect CEOs to be Saints.

Barb on October 5, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I just saw the movie last night. I found it engaging and entertaining. I’d give it a couple Reagans, seven beers, and two Asian chicks.

snookra on October 10, 2010 at 10:25 am

The sex in the bathroom with the Asian girls incident was not Sorkin’s embellishment. It was in the book and attributed to Eduardo Saverin.

slp on November 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm

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