Five minutes into David Fincher's movie about the birth and gnarled development of Facebook, "The Social Network," you get the picture of founder Mark Zuckerberg trying to impress his girlfriend by putting her down. Clueless, he doesn't get why she picks up and leaves calling him an Asshole. We get it though, and ponder how this ill-adjusted kid got into Harvard in the first place. Said to have studied people with Asperger's Syndrome in order to play this part, Jesse Eisenberg frowns his way through a movie that many hail as the "Network" of the new media.
Surely there must be some joy in grimacing all the way to the bank!
"The Social Network" was a brilliant choice for the opening of the New York Film Festival, a sign that something is going right with the festival's direction under the new executive director, Rose Kuo. In due course, filing past fans lining the sidewalk at Lincoln Center hoping for a glimpse of Justin Timberlake who plays Napster founder Sean Parker, a thousand or so guests made their way to The Harvard Club for a lavish party. Abuzz on 3 floors, this venerable wood-lined institution returned the gloss and glamour to this special festival's opening night. I for one was grateful to see the words Black Tie Optional on the invite: no matter that fashion went from tux to tattered jeans.
As to Facebook and its founder, let the lawsuits take their course. That guests included the real Winklevoss twins still in court with Zuckerberg even after receiving a $65 million settlement was a reminder, there is a larger story out there waiting for a good documentary, about a phenomenon bigger than the attention-grabbing scandals. Where is all this money coming from? What will become of personal privacy? Who are the Facebook users: are they as lonely as Zuckerberg appears to be, truly connected to millions of friends, happy that others know their relationship status? I started out agreeing with Betty White on SNL when she quipped, "What a waste of time," even as the social network revived her career. I end up wondering how long I can hang out hopelessly old school
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