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MOVIE REVIEW: The Social Network

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The Social Network: Rates an A-.
Courtesy photo

About seven years ago, I went to write about a party at UCSD. This fraternity had a corn dog eating contest, and lots of beer from Karl Strauss. The head of the party was writing the stats on the chalk board (the record was nine dogs consumed, without barfing – that was grounds for immediate elimination).

They told me they wanted to have a party, and wanted free food (I understood that feeling completely). They researched, and found it was national hot dog day a few weeks later. They called some hot dog company and said they should provide free hot dogs on that day. The company agreed, and I guess a contest was held at other universities on that day, too. They contacted Karl Strauss and they said they’d gladly provide the alcohol if everyone was over 21, and it was a nonprofit event.

Not sure if the 25 pound tub of mustard from Costco was free, but I left the party thinking I had met the smartest college kids ever.

Around that same time at Harvard, the founders of Facebook were coming up with a slightly better idea. It started as a drunken rant to get back at an ex-girlfriend, and was called “Facemash.” You’d compare the two women on the screen, and vote for the prettiest. Needless to say, the women weren’t happy. And neither was the university.

This led to a whole chain of fascinating events in a movie that’s one of the best of the year.

Jesse Eisenberg, an actor I first saw in an indie film called Roger Dodger (not a great movie) and loved in The Squid and the Whale and Adventureland; is probably the only one that could’ve pulled off this Zuckerberg character. He has to be a jerk, intelligent, oblivious, determined – all rolled into one.

The cast is rounded out nicely by Rashida Jones (who was funny on Saturday Night Live, and always good in the films she makes), and a surprisingly slimy performance by Justin Timberlake as the Napster founder who worms himself into the Facebook team.

The legal wrangling that goes on is fascinating.

We all know the stories about how David Letterman couldn’t take certain bits to CBS when his show moved. And Conan O’Brien is in the same situation. Even Dave Rickards on Jack 100.7's morning show has talked about being in that situation.

People that don’t understand the law think it’s silly. But should the two other guys who created the “pet rock” have gotten nothing while the main guy made millions off it? Should the three jocks that contacted Zuckerberg about a Web site to connect all the Harvard students and planted the seed in his mind – be left out in the cold?

It’s great that the various people suing Zuckerberg aren’t goofy movie clichés.

The jocks are big, good looking dudes, but they’re very civil in their approach in how they handle the situation. So are the friends and ex-girlfriends that are left in Zuckerberg’s dust.

This is the type of movie that proves you don’t need goofy car chases or gun battles to make an exciting picture (I’m talking about you Town).

The movie had a few small missteps, but it’s one of the best pictures of the year.

I wondered if legally it couldn’t be called The Facebook, which would’ve been a better title.

Oh, and listen for Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) who provides the music.

You won’t be disappointed you saw this.

I’m giving it an A-.