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Entries in The Accidental Billionaires (2)

Sunday
Oct032010

THE SOCIAL NETWORK is stranger than fiction (review)

Rating:  (Mediocre)

One of my favorite films is Stranger Than Fiction. It's about (spoiler alert) a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch. Harold lives his life by that watch until one day when something extraordinary happens: he starts hearing a voice in his head, narrating his life. This voice knows everything about him, often before he does. It's frustrating at first, and becomes a nightmare when this narrator informs him of his own imminent death. Karen Eiffel is an author who writes masterpieces that always end in the death of her main character. In this case, Harold Crick. Now here's the question: if Karen Eiffel knew that killing her fictional character, Harold Crick, would result in the death of a real living person, would she finish the book? More importantly, does she have the right?

As a film, The Social Network is mesmerizing and thrilling; I can't get it out of my head. It claims to be the story behind the founding of Facebook, a company that was Mark Zuckerberg's drunken dorm room idea seven years ago and is now the largest social networking site in the world, with more than 500 million active users and $2 billion in revenue. It's a great story too; it's just not the truth--not even close.

Usually moviegoers try to pick out inaccuracies in docu-dramas. When watching The Social Network, I suggest you try to find the facts. Aaron Sorkin (writer), David Fincher (director), and Ben Mezrich (author) have twisted this tale so tight that the most accurate thing about it are the names. 

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Wednesday
Sep292010

Four movies that play loose with the truth, like 'The Social Network'

Hollywood biopics hit theaters all the time, but few have the potential to damage real lives. I have not seen The Social Network yet, but early reviews report that it portrays the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, quite negatively. Millions will judge Zuckerberg by David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin, and Jesse Eisenbergs' vision of him in this film. Is it right to release a scathing biopic about someone who is only 26? 

We already know that some scenes in The Social Network are fabricated--Aaron Sorkin has admitted as much. The film's plot comes from The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal, a book by Ben Mezrich. From the title alone, one could guess that Mezrich is prone to embellishment. During interviews, Sorkin claims that he finished most of the screenplay before the book was actually published. Instead of waiting for the book, Mezrich read him notes from a computer so the movie could be fast-tracked.

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