Essay film review - what is a thesis statement in a rhetorical analysis


 

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essay film review

essay film reviewEssay film review -This despite the fact that I can say (like everyone else on Harvard’s campus in the fall of 2003) that “I was there” at Facebook’s inception, and remember Facemash and the fuss it caused; also that tiny, exquisite movie star trailed by fan-boys through the snow wherever she went, and the awful snow itself, turning your toes gray, destroying your spirit, bringing a bloodless end to a squirrel on my block: frozen, inanimate, perfect—like the Blaschka glass flowers.Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails, commits exquisite brutality upon Edward Grieg’s already pretty brutal “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” All synths and white noise.(“Final clubs,” says Mark, correcting Erica, as they discuss those exclusive Harvard entities, “Not Finals clubs.”) He doesn’t understand what’s happening as she tries to break up with him. To create this Zuckerberg, Sorkin barely need brush his pen against the page.To put it another way, if you feel discomfort at the world they’re making, you want to have a good reason for it.Perhaps this is the disjunct between real Zuckerberg and fake Zuckerberg: the movie places him in the Roman world of betrayal and excess, but the real Zuckerberg may belong in the Greek, perhaps with the Stoics (“eliminating desire”? There’s a clue in the two Zuckerbergs’ relative physiognomies: real Zuckerberg (especially in profile) is Greek sculpture, noble, featureless, a little like the Doryphorus (only facially, mind—his torso is definitely not seven times his head).He is, to say the least, dispassionate about the philosophical questions concerning privacy—and sociality itself—raised by his ingenious program.Lanier is interested in the ways in which people “reduce themselves” in order to make a computer’s description of them appear more accurate.Zuckerberg, with his steady relationship and his rented house and his refusal to get angry on television even when people are being very rude to him (he sweats instead), has something of the teenage Stoic about him.In his New Yorker profile, Zuckerberg made his personal “philosophy” clear: Most of the information that we care about is things that are in our heads, right? But his skeptical interrogation of the “Nerd reductionism” of Web 2.0 prompts us to ask a question: What kind of life?How “Groups” will work alongside “Facebook Connect” remains to be seen.Perhaps Generation Facebook have built their virtual mansions in good faith, in order to house the People 2.0 they genuinely are, and if I feel uncomfortable within them it is because I am stuck at Person 1.0. In The Social Network Generation Facebook gets a movie almost worthy of them, and this fact, being so unexpected, makes the film feel more delightful than it probably, objectively, is.) consequence that your Aunt Dora could suddenly find out you joined the group Queer Nation last Tuesday.I often worry that my idea of personhood is nostalgic, irrational, inaccurate.We know that having two thousand Facebook friends is not what it looks like.If it’s not for money and it’s not for girls—what is it for? Maybe it’s not mysterious and he’s just playing the long game, holding out: not a billion dollars but a hundred billion dollars. No doubt the filmmakers considered this option, but you can see their dilemma: how to convey the pleasure of programming—if such a pleasure exists—in a way that is both cinematic and comprehensible?Watching this movie, even though you know Sorkin wants your disapproval, you can’t help feel a little swell of pride in this 2.0 generation. He uses the word “connect” as believers use the word “Jesus,” as if it were sacred in and of itself: “So the idea is really that, um, the site helps everyone connect with people and share information with the people they want to stay connected with….” Connection is the goal.On the other hand, you’ll also take your likes and dislikes with you, your tastes, your preferences, all connected to your name, through which people will try to sell you things.In an interview on The Today Show, Matt Lauer asked Zuckerberg the same question, but because Matt Lauer doesn’t listen to people when they talk, he accepted the following answer and moved on to the next question: “Yeah, so what’ll happen is that none of that information will be shared with anyone going forward.”You want to be optimistic about your own generation.As Lanier argues: Different media designs stimulate different potentials in human nature.Controlled but dull, bright and clean but uniformly plain, nonideological, affectless.essay film review“You have to be somebody,” Lanier writes, “before you can share yourself.” But to Zuckerberg sharing your choices with everybody (and doing what they do) is being somebody. It reminds me that those of us who turn in disgust from what we consider an overinflated liberal-bourgeois sense of self should be careful what we wish for: our denuded networked selves don’t look more free, they just look more owned.Hollywood still believes that behind every mogul there’s an idée fixe: Rosebud—meet Erica.I’m so utterly 1.0 that I spent an hour of the movie trying to detect any difference between the twins.) Their arms move suspiciously fast, faster than real human arms, their muscles seem outlined by a fine pen, the water splashes up in individual droplets as if painted by Caravaggio, and the music!When I finally decided to put a stop to it, once and for all, I was left with the question bothering everybody: Are you ever truly removed, once and for all?Like many a nerd before him, Zuckerberg is too hyped on the idea that he’s in heaven to notice he’s in hell. Several times the script tries to square the real Zuckerberg’s apparent indifference to money with the plot arc of The Social Network—and never quite succeeds.What Lanier, a software expert, reveals to me, a software idiot, is what must be obvious (to software experts): software is not neutral.For sometimes the culture surmises an individual personality, collectively. Sorkin, confident of his foundation myth, spins an exhilarating tale of double rejection—spurned by Erica and the Porcellian, the Finaliest of the Final Clubs, Zuckerberg begins his spite-fueled rise to the top. A lot of scenes of lawyers’ offices and miserable, character-damning depositions. ”) Sorkin has swapped the military types of A Few Good Men for a different kind of all-male community in a different uniform: GAP hoodies, North Face sweats.A boy, Mark, and his girl, Erica, sit at a little table in a Harvard bar, zinging each other, in that relentless Sorkin style made famous by The West Wing (though at no point does either party say “Walk with me”—for this we should be grateful).“Information systems,” he writes, “need to have information in order to run, but information underrepresents reality” (my italics).In Lanier’s view, there is no perfect computer analogue for what we call a “person.” In life, we all profess to know this, but when we get online it becomes easy to forget.Timberlake shimmies into view in the third act to offer the audience, and Zuckerberg, the very same thing, essentially, that he’s been offering us for the past decade in his videos: a vision of the good life.Master programmer and virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier (b.It’s a talkie, for goodness’ sake, with as many words per minute as His Girl Friday.The real Zuckerberg is much more like his website, on each page of which, once upon a time (2004), he emblazoned the legend: A Mark Zuckerberg Production.Or as Mark pleasantly puts it across a conference table: “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook you’d have invented Facebook.”All that’s left for Zuckerberg is to meet the devil at the crossroads: naturally he’s an Internet music entrepreneur.MIDI, an inflexible, early-1980s digital music protocol for connecting different musical components, such as a keyboard and a computer, takes no account of, say, the fluid line of a soprano’s coloratura; it is still the basis of most of the tinny music we hear every day—in our phones, in the charts, in elevators—simply because it became, in software terms, too big to fail, too big to change.In Zuckerberg’s New Yorker profile it is revealed that his own Facebook page lists, among his interests, Minimalism, revolutions, and “eliminating desire.” We also learn of his affection for the culture and writings of ancient Greece.Doubtless years from now I will misremember my closeness to Zuckerberg, in the same spirit that everyone in ’60s Liverpool met John Lennon.At my screening, blocks from NYU, the audience thrilled with intimate identification.But even if we spent half the film looking at those busy screens (and we do get glimpses), most of us would be none the wiser. The striking thing about the real Zuckerberg, in video and in print, is the relative banality of his ideas concerning the “Why” of Facebook. essay film review The arbitration scenes—that should be dull, being so terribly static—get their power from the eerie opposition between Eisenberg’s unmoving countenance (his eyebrows hardly ever move; the real Zuckerberg’s eyebrows never move) and Garfield’s imploring disbelief, almost the way Spencer Tracy got all worked up opposite Frederic March’s rigidity in another courtroom epic, Inherit the Wind.In the scheme of things it’s a parking ticket”), we’re offered a Zuckerberg slumped before his laptop, still obsessed with the long-lost Erica, sending a “Friend request” to her on Facebook, and then refreshing the page, over and over, in expectation of her reply….Fake Mark looks Roman, with all the precise facial detail filled in.It’s a Generation Facebook instinct to expect (hope?Fincher’s contemporary window-dressing is so convincing that it wasn’t until this very last scene that I realized the obvious progenitor of this wildly enjoyable, wildly inaccurate biopic.As with all seriously addictive things, giving up proved to be immeasurably harder than starting.With Facebook hours, afternoons, entire days went by without my noticing.It’s this type of kid who would think that giving people less privacy was a good idea.Generation Facebook’s obsession with this type of “celebrity lifestyle” is more than familiar. But would Zuckerberg recognize it, the real Zuckerberg? In a scene in which Mark argues with a lawyer, Sorkin attempts a sleight of hand, swapping an interest in money for an interest in power: Ma’am, I know you’ve done your homework and so you know that money isn’t a big part of my life, but at the moment I could buy Harvard University, take the Phoenix Club and turn it into my ping pong room.In Facebook, as it is with other online social networks, life is turned into a database, and this is a degradation, Lanier argues, which is We know the consequences of this instinctively; we feel them.But something is not right with this young man: his eye contact is patchy; he doesn’t seem to understand common turns of phrase or ambiguities of language; he is literal to the point of offense, pedantic to the point of aggression. He doesn’t get that what he may consider a statement of fact might yet have, for this other person, some personal, painful import: Simply put, he is a computer nerd, a social “autistic”: a type as recognizable to Fincher’s audience as the cynical newshound was to Howard Hawks’s.), but the puffed chest vertical march (the I’m not 5'8", I’m 5'9"! It’s in Eduardo—in the actor Andrew Garfield’s animate, beautiful face—that all these betrayals seem to converge, and become personal, painful.I kept changing my mind: Facebook remains the greatest distraction from work I’ve ever had, and I loved it for that. Some work-avoidance techniques are onerous in themselves and don’t make time move especially quickly: smoking, eating, calling people up on the phone.Anyway, the twins lose the regatta, too, by a nose, which allows Fincher to justify the scene by thematic reiteration: sometimes very close is simply not close enough.Facebook Connect is the “next iteration of Facebook Platform,” in which users are “allowed” to “‘connect’ their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site.” In this new, open Internet, we will take our real identities with us as we travel through the Internet.We should instead seek to inspire the phenomenon of individual intelligence.This vision is also wafer-thin, and Fincher satirizes it mercilessly. A billion dollars.” Over cocktails in a glamorous nightclub, Parker dazzles Zuckerberg with tales of the life that awaits him on the other side of a billion.Manicured eyebrows, sweaty forehead, and that coked-up, wafer-thin self- confidence, always threatening to collapse into paranoia.Surely not this one, where 500 million connected people all decide to watch the reality-TV show Bride Wars because their friends are? In a way it’s a transcendent experience: we lose our bodies, our messy feelings, our desires, our fears.Different software embeds different philosophies, and these philosophies, as they become ubiquitous, become invisible. essay film review This concept seems to have some immediate Stoical advantages: no more faceless bile, no more inflammatory trolling: if your name and social network track you around the virtual world beyond Facebook, you’ll have to restrain yourself and so will everyone else.Gay kids became un-gay, partiers took down their party photos, political firebrands put out their fires.It’ll be a long time before a cinema geek comes along to push Jesse Eisenberg, the actor who plays Zuckerberg, off the top of our nerd typologies. The shifty boredom when anyone, other than himself, is speaking. Eisenberg even chooses the correct nerd walk: not the sideways corridor shuffle (the Don’t Hit Me! An extended four-minute shot has him doing exactly this all the way through the Harvard campus, before he lands finally where he belongs, the only place he’s truly comfortable, in front of his laptop, with his blog: Oh, yeah. If it’s a three-act movie it’s because Zuckerberg screws over more people than a two-act movie can comfortably hold: the Winklevoss twins and Divya Navendra (from whom Zuckerberg allegedly stole the Facebook concept), and then his best friend, Eduardo Saverin (the CFO he edged out of the company), and finally Sean Parker, the boy king of Napster, the music-sharing program, although he, to be fair, pretty much screws himself.What power was he hoping to accrue to himself in high school, at seventeen? Except the girl motivation is patently phony—with a brief interruption Zuckerberg has been dating the same Chinese-American, now a medical student, since 2003, a fact the movie omits entirely.Turns out the brightest 2.0 kids have been doing something else extraordinary. World makers, social network makers, ask one question first: How can I do it? The other question, the ethical question, he came to later: Why? That a lot of social networking software explicitly encourages people to make weak, superficial connections with each other (as Malcolm Gladwell has recently argued), and that this might not be an entirely positive thing, seem to never have occurred to him.They’ve spent a decade being berated for not making the right sorts of paintings or novels or music or politics. The quality of that connection, the quality of the information that passes through it, the quality of the relationship that connection permits—none of this is important.Halfway through the film, he inserts a ravishing but quite unnecessary scene of the pretty Winklevoss twins (for a story of nerds, all the men are surprisingly comely) at the Henley Regatta. (One actor, Armie Hammer, has been digitally doubled.We shouldn’t seek to make the pack mentality as efficient as possible.Movies are notoriously bad at showing the pleasures and rigors of art-making, even when the medium is familiar. Fincher makes a brave stab at showing the intensity of programming in action (“He’s wired in,” people say to other people to stop them disturbing a third person who sits before a laptop wearing noise-reducing earphones) and there’s a “vodka-shots-and-programming” party in Zuckerberg’s dorm room that gives us some clue of the pleasures.Again, we know its basic outline: a velvet rope, a cocktail waitress who treats you like a king, the best of everything on tap, a special booth of your own, fussy tiny expensive food (“Could you bring out some things? I don’t know, tuna tartar, some lobster claws, the foie gras and the shrimp dumplings, that’ll get us started”), appletinis, a Victoria’s Secret model date, wild house parties, fancy cars, slick suits, cocaine, and a “sky’s the limit” objective: “A million dollars isn’t cool. Fincher keeps the thumping Euro house music turned up to exactly the level it would be in real life: the actors have to practically scream to be heard above it.For all these reasons I quit Facebook about two months after I’d joined it.In real life we can be all these people on our own terms, in our own way, with whom we choose. Or else got bored of waiting for us to change in the ways it’s betting we will.At the time, though, I felt distant from Zuckerberg and all the kids at Harvard.Is it possible that what is communicated between people online “eventually becomes their truth”?Watching him interviewed I found myself waiting for the verbal wit, the controlled and articulate sarcasm of that famous Zuckerberg kid—then remembered that was only Sorkin.But if the hipsters and nerds are hoping for Fincher’s usual pyrotechnics they will be disappointed: in a lawyer’s office there’s not a lot for Fincher to do. I must be in Mark Zuckerberg’s generation—there are only nine years between us—but somehow it doesn’t feel that way.Still, Fincher allows himself one sequence of (literal) showboating.Lanier wants us to be attentive to the software into which we are “locked in.” Is it really fulfilling our needs?) that a pop star will fall on his face in the cinema, but Justin Timberlake, as Sean Parker, neatly steps over that expectation: whether or not you think he’s a shmuck, he sure plays a great shmuck. essay film review (“Final clubs,” says Mark, correcting Erica, as they discuss those exclusive Harvard entities, “Not Finals clubs.”) He doesn’t understand what’s happening as she tries to break up with him. To create this Zuckerberg, Sorkin barely need brush his pen against the page. essay film review




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