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Facebook Frenzy

October 7, 2009

This is from a column I write called “Pop Goes the Culture” that is hosted by Jerk Magazine

It’s finally happened. The Facebook frenzy has gone too far. Here’s why: director David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson’s War) have teamed up for a movie about the founders of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, and Sean Parker.
When I first saw this news in Variety, an entertainment trade magazine, it was announcing the finalized cast: Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) as Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield (The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus) as Saverin, and — wait for it — Justin Timberlake as Parker. I first just glossed over the story but 10 minutes later, I thought, “Wait! They’re making a movie about Facebook? Already? WTF?”
Facebook was launched in February 2004 by Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin. By 2005, it was an obsession of college students nationwide. Zuckerberg and Saverin disagreed over money, and Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and moved to Palo Alto, California. When Facebook incorporated in 2004, Napster mastermind Sean Parker became the president. I’ll skip the hows/whys of Facebook since you probably already know.
The screenplay is based on Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal, a book about Facebook’s (not so) humble origins on the Harvard campus. Although this is potentially interesting now (or at least the title makes it appear that way), it will be much more interesting in the future when Facebook is either a relic of the 2000s or a corporate giant.
Facebook is only five years old (It will be six when the film is released on some undetermined date in 2010), Zuckerberg and Saverin are 25, and Parker is 29, and they’ll already have a movie made about them this early in their lives. It’s ridiculous that these men — who are very successful and widely recognized as geeks who invented ways for people to steal music and then alert their friends to the fact that they stole music — are going to become even more rich and famous.
Not that they don’t deserve it — I love Facebook as much as the next person and these guys deserve their success, but this movie should be made in 20 years. There are plenty of great films about interesting people— Catch Me If You CanCapoteThe Pursuit of Happyness. But, these films were made years after the original story took place. Part of the appeal of these films, outside of a cool true story, is that they revived a story for a later generation to enjoy. Making a movie about Facebook while it’s still in its infancy is counter-intuitive.
And how are they going to end it? It’s not like they can do a ‘Where are they now?’ sequence. Personally, I’m hoping Justin Timberlake writes a catchy yet offensive song about Facebook poking and they all perform it as the credits roll.
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