The Social Network Connection

 Facebook, eternal time-waster that it is, is all about making superficial connections, right? So, when there’s a movie about Facebook coming out, and it gets some early Oscar buzz, I figure that means it’s a good opportunity to make some connections between the movie and our area. 

First off, there’s the obvious: Facebook creator (or idea-stealer?) Mark Zuckerberg hails from Westchester, having grown up in Dobbs Ferry. To hear the New Yorker describe it:
 
“Zuckerberg grew up in a hilltop house in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Attached to the basement is the dental office of his father, Edward Zuckerberg, known to his patients as ‘Painless Dr. Z.'”
 
(Edward Zuckerberg was my dentist for a while, and I never once referred to him as ‘Painless Dr. Z.’ Not that his services were painful; it’s just that, well, no one really talks that way. But yes, the office is in the basement, and the house is on a hill.)
 
The Social Network, the movie based on an ax-to-grind book about Facebook’s controversial founding, pays homage to Zuckerberg’s Westchester upbringing. Behold, the trailer. If you stick with it until the 0:56 mark, you can clearly spot an Ardsley shirt:
 
 
Another interesting fact: Mark Zuckerberg didn’t graduate from Ardsley High School. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy. And, as we already established, he grew up in Dobbs Ferry, not Ardsley. So, unless he had an uncanny attachment to his middle school—and, really, no one likes middle school—he should be sporting a t-shirt that represents the 10522. But I can’t begrudge Hollywood not being able to tell Westchester’s rivertowns apart, except…
 
…Aaron Sorkin, the movie’s writer, is also one of our own. He grew up in Scarsdale, and graduated from Scarsdale High School. (Of course, he graduated in 1983—one year before Mark Zuckerberg was born.) It’s interesting to think that Zuckerberg’s middle-school alma mater and Sorkin’s alma mater were rivals of sorts. My problem with Sorkin, though, is that all of his characters talk like Sorkin characters: quippy, lightning-fast, and hyper-educated, be they doctors or sportscasters or White House employees. Then again, that might not be such a problem in a movie about a bunch of Harvard brats. But let’s hope this time he’s able to distinguish the way the characters talk from one another.
 
Finally, a note about counter-programming: This isn’t the only movie about Facebook out there right now. The other film, Catfish, a Sundance hit, has no connections to our area that I can think of, other than reading after-the-fact in New York magazine that Nev, the film’s subject, dropped out of Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville. But I saw it, and it’s worth seeking out., though the trailer may give you some misconceptions. First off, it’s a real, honest-to-God documentary. Since the trailer was shown in front of mockumentary films like The Last Exorcism, I think some people got the impression that it is also a fake-doc. It is not. It is real. Second, it is not a horror film. There are some surprises, but they are not of the scary variety. I don’t know why the trailer makes it look like it is—I think it’s just to trick teens into buying tickets. Finally, it is not about catfish. To tell you what it’s actually about might ruin some of the aforementioned surprises, but it’s real and interesting and the people in it don’t talk like Sorkin characters. Take a look at the somewhat misleading trailer here:
 
 
Catfish is playing now (try Cinema De Lux in White Plains if you can’t find it anywhere closer to you), and The Social Network opens on October 1.
 
The Social Network photo © 2010 Columbia Tristar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

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