Monday, December 13, 2010

The Social Network

People found a lot of things wrong with the Social Network, Nathan Heller and Luke O'Brien over at Slat panned Sorkin for glossing over dteails and believing Harvard still is stuck in 70's era The Way we Were with the jews and Geeks as underdogs and overprivileged WASPS ruling the place.

I'm not a Harvard grad. Hell, I've never stepped foot an an Ivy League campus. But I think the Slate writers are the ones stuck in lala land, not Sorkin. The way Heller depicted it, I expected some sort of Revenge of the Nerds.

Harvard is not depicted as an old boys network, not really. The only one obsessed with final clubs in the movie is Zuckerberg, for whatever reason. Edwardo Saverin is also interested, and he get "punched" for one of them, but Dustin Moskovitz shows no interest in them. Zuckerberg is potrayed as embittered about not getting selected, and even tells Saverin that he was probably picked in a bid for diversity. However, as a non American I can tell you that you won't get picked for a club wearing shower sandals, I don't care if they're Adidas. Saverin on the other hand, seems to be a snappier dresser and a more sociable person in general.

Of course, this is a movie, I'm aware that the real Zuckerberg probably doesn't have Asperger's. And he's been in a long term relationship since before he even moved out to Palo Alto (something the movie completely ignores). And you don't have to be a geek in order to NOT know that the best way to meet women is to go out and meet them, and talk to them, not at them. But the real Zuckerberg still wears those sandals, and the damn hoodie. Maybe he is at least a little bit of that Eisenberg potrayal.

"Sorkin and Fincher's 2003 Harvard is a citadel of old money, regatta blazers, and (if I am not misreading the implication here) a Jewish underclass striving beneath the heel of a WASP-centric, socially draconian culture", according to Heller.

The only people who fit that description are the Winkelvoss twins. But the movie acknowledges that they're not like everyone, and not everyone is like them. Larry Summers brushes them off. Their friend and partner is an Indian guy from Brooklyn or Queens.

Every creation myth needs a devil

Towards the end of the film, a young lawyer tells this to Zuckerberg. True. But that doesn't make him any less ruthless.

I know that Sorkin and Fincher have exaggerated Zuckerberg as a maladapted kid in Harvard. The guy is a Phillips Exter grad who was captain of the fencing team. Hmm, come to think about it, that kinda sounds like Max Fischer. But the point is, they think Facebook was born out of revenge. Who knows the truth? Revenge and lust are extremely powerful motivators. And Zuckerberg is a very driven person. He created software in high school. He had software tutors for christ's sake.

All that said, the social network is a brilliant movie, an excellent piece of storytelling. The editing is tight. The music, courtesy of Trent Reznor, is quite good. The acting is also impressive.

Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg as a tragic hero, anti hero, and misunderstood evil genius all at the same time. Most people don't know much past the sandals and hoodie shtick, but he shows the human side of someon whose is so sad and angry, and at the same time driven (I already said that, no?) and energetic.

Andrew Garfield as Edwardo Saverin comes of as sweet and smart, but ultimately making some foolish decisions that got him pushed out. He seems ti still care about his friend during the deposition, but also knowing that it's past the point of no return. For a guy who looks straight out of Gossip Girl, Garfield is great, IMHO.

Even Napster's Sean Parker gets a good turn by Justin Timberlake. He's opportunistic, sure, but it's not moua-ha-ha nefarious, and you can see that he has learned from experience and helps Zuckerberg retain control (knowing that he played a key part in Zuckerberg having 3 out of 5 seats on the board, that's how I read it).

The Winkelvoss, Winkelvii? (vintage sorkin) are shown as more than two dimentional characters, arguing and feeling conflicted about the need to be "Harvard gentlemen" and the need to kick Zuckerberg's ass for his perceived larceny.

The only part I DID roll my eyes at was the final club party in the beginning, with all the Girls Gone Wild Ivy Leage Edition. I don't know how realistic it was (girls lined up outside waiting to be let in?), but my general reaction to female chauvinist pigs is, really? You're among the smartest women in America and that's what you do? Take your top off? 'Cause you're so empowered? Even if they weren't Harvard co-eds, they had to be from the area, so you're talking about Boston University, Tufts, Amherst, UMass, MIT, etc. I have no idea if final clubs are such dens of iniquity, but college in general does have that type of party, so probably.

So, in the end, did they get the facts right? Did they get the sprit of the whole endeavor? When you have trust, friendship, relationships, betrayal, alienation, entrepreneurship, and all those ships, who cares?? It's a brilliant film. Go see it

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Yo siempre busco comedia, o una defensa del cine mainstream

(No está bien editado, pero a estas alturas es mejor publicar aaalgo que quedarme en el intento)

Cuando mi hermano y yo vamos al cine o a rentar DVDs a Saharis, siempre buscamos comedias. Sabemos que no se ha estrenado algo, pero persistimos con la esperanza de que un día nos vamos a encontrar una colección de humor negro o de feelgoods indie que no chorrea aspartame.

Es como cuando todavía compraba CDs y automáticamente me iba a las Rs para ver que tenían de Radiohead, como si de la noche a la mañana iban a sacar disco nuevo sin que nosotros los geeks supiéramos meses antes.

Examinamos los estantes, a ver si salta por ahí alguna stoner comedy. Yo le quiero dar una oportunidad a algo con Steve Zahn a pesar de que su coestrella es Jennifer Aniston, mientras mi carnal me ve con cara de "ur so gay". Él quiere escoger Watchmen, de la cual no he escuchado nada más que "blue peen". Me dice que tal vez es tan mala que me reiré, así que habríamos logrado nuestro objetivo.

A veces envidio a la gente que no ha visto Fight Club, o This is Spinal Tap, o Adaptation, o Annie Hall. Porque todavía tienen continentes por descubrir.

Obviamente no he visto todas las películas en esta vida, y se que todavía hay comedias. Pero por cada Adventureland o Zombieland had cuatro All About Steve, Along Came Polly y Serious Moonlight. Aún con Judd Apatow y Greg Mottola y compañía, la comedia es ahora terreno de bromas de pedos o situaciones tan pendejas y deprimentes como Carrie y Sex & the City, que la neta prefiero ver algo como Precious que se regodea en su miseria.

Sí, soy light. Me gusta ver movies como forma de entretenimiento. Y aunque me encantó Doubt y Sin Nombre, hay momentos (muchos) que sólo busco catarsis. Verán, yo no veo novelas y no me gusta el horror, en algún lado me tengo que desestresar.

Por eso a veces entiendo a la gente que ve coctelitos de wákala como Transformers 2 o Charlie's Angels. Quieren divertirse. Y la neta, toda esta esquizofrenia de que si algo es indie es bueno y si es palomero tiene que ser malo, ya me dio flojera. Indiana Jones (las originales) es buena. The Dark Knight y Batman Begins son increíbles. It's All about Love, de Thomas Vinterberg, es bastante mala.

A la mera hora, queremos que nos cuenten una historia. Y si el cuento es malo, no importa cuanto maquillaje azúl o nuevas tecnologías embarren en la pantalla, la película nunca podrá ser más que mediocre. (Sorry, Avatar).

Ayer leí que Kathryn Bigelow ganó porque su película es buena y no porque su movie es super macho, y que si Nora Ephron o Nancy Meyers quieren ganar un hombrecillo dorado deben dejar de dirigir It's complicated. Bueno sí, pero porqué denigramos a la comedia? Porqué Salvando al Soldado Ryan o El Paciente Inglés son intrínsicamente mejores que Mejor Imposible? Nos dicen más sobre la condición humana? Neta? Cuando me acuerdo de una película, me acuerdo si era buena o mala antes de pensar en qué género era. Este afán de categorizar nos ha dejado más pobres de películas.