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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #549 (Vol. 11, No. 40). This edition is for the week of September 27--October 3, 2010.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Social Network"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"Let Me In"  by Mike Smith
"The Social Network" by Mike Smith
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part 13. The Works of John Randal McDonald, Part Two, The Church Building: Transcending the Material to the Spiritual  by William Moriaty
Forgotten Films: Stop, Look, and Laugh  by ED Tucker
September Album of the Month: Neil Young Le Noise  by Terence Nuzum
Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974)  by Jason Fetters
Passing On .... Rock And Roll Honors .... How Much Money Can I Make From These Movies - Let's Find Out .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

Columbia Pictures     
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake
Directed by: David Fincher
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 49 mins

Depending on where you are now reading this review, the newspaper or on line, you probably got a notice via your Facebook page that it was up and ready to read. Ah, the magic of the Internet. My knowledge of how it works and what exactly you can do with computers is minute. On a scale of 0 to 100 I’d give myself a -3. My website partner is just the opposite. I’d give him a 112. It’s amazing what can happen when someone with the drive and the know-how sets his mind to something.

Harvard. In a local watering hole 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) is being dumped by his girlfriend Erika (Rooney Mara). An overly analytical kind of guy, Mark takes good natured comments as criticism and as for criticism…well, let’s suffice it to say that Mark takes most comments as either backhand compliments or criticism. Upset after the break up, Mark heads to his dorm room where his lap top computer and many beers await him. The combination of the two embolden him to write some pretty negative things about Erika, including her real bra size. Mark then hacks into the student records of other universities in the area and creates a site where voters can choose who’s the cutest between two co-eds. Satisfied and quite snockered, Mark falls to sleep, unaware that his creation has caused the computer servers at Harvard to crash. He is as unaware as Doctor Frankenstein as to what he has created.

If you were like me you had to scratch your head when you learned that Oscar-nominated director David Fincher and (11) time Emmy Award nominee (and four time winner) Aaron Sorkin were collaborating on a movie about Facebook. It’s a cool thing but come on…this was the guy that directed “Fight Club.” My knowledge of Facebook came from my son, Phillip, who attended the University of Kansas. One night we were talking about something Internet related and he mentioned this cool new site called Facebook. When I asked about it he told me I couldn’t join because it was only for college kids. Obviously that has changed.

The film is a flashback filled look at the way Facebook was created, not only by Zuckerberg but by at least five other people who think they did. Among them are the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (Armie Hammer and Josh Pence), star rowers on the crew team who want Mark to help them design an online dating service with one big difference: you have to have a Harvard email address to register. Mark agrees to help them but then begins coming up with other ideas. Rather than share them with the twins, he puts off meeting with them while enlisting the financial help of his roommate Eduardo (Garfield) to help create the system. Soon a new web site known as the Facebook hits the web. It soon takes off, so much so that Mark and Eduardo are almost giddy when they book their 650th user. Wish I could have been there earlier this year when the site nabbed number 500,000,000!

Sorkin has always excelled in combining drama and comedy almost seamlessly in films like “A Few Good Men” (based on his original play) and “The American President,” and he doesn’t disappoint here. The dialogue is tightly written and the story flows easily on screen. Even in more grittier films like “Se7en” and “Fight Club,” Fincher has always been able to make his characters come to light. Those films wouldn’t be great without Kevin Spacey’s John Doe and Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden. They drew you into the story and that is what Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg does here. As much as you really don’t want to like Mark, Eisenberg’s performance makes you want to see him succeed. Eisenberg had a successful double bill last year with solid work in “Adventureland” and “Zombieland” (ironically, his character in “Zombieland” declares that if there is one thing he likes about Zombies roaming the earth it’s that there are no more Facebook status updates), and here he plants his flag as one of Hollywoods' best young actors. Another acting revelation is Timberlake, who plays Napster co-creator Sean Parker. Still feeling the sting of all of the lawsuits the music industry hit him with, Parker sees a kindred soul in Zuckerberg and is soon part of the Facebook creative team. Timberlake has impressed in smaller roles in smaller films, but here he is front and center and hold the own against his more seasoned co-stars. Another irony is that I’m sure JT and his fellow N’Sync pals probably lost more than a buck or two because of Napster. Garfield is also strong as the roommate who sees his creation, as well as his friend, slowly being taken away from him.

It’s still a little early to start making Oscar noise, but I can see “The Social Network” nabbing several come early next year, including nods for Eisenberg and Timberlake. Check with me in February to see if I’m right.

Borrowing a page from Facebook, on a scale of zero to four, I give “The Social Network” four “LIKES”!

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. This week's movie review of "Let Me In" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.