Friday, February 11, 2011

eight word stories

In this literary analysis of why The Social Network's anti-hero works, Dedi Felman calls attention to this brilliant line that Mark Zuckerberg says to Eduardo over the phone:

"You should definitely come and live with us."

In Mark's signature non-confrontational style that borders manipulativeness, crossing over often, the line manages to communicate a lot about the relationship. It's one of those lines that makes The Social Network the true writer's movie of the year, more than The King's Speech, and why screen writer Aaron Sorkin is a shoe-in for the Best Adapted Screenplay oscar. In eight words, it communicates Mark's regret but also puts the blame easily on Eduardo.

You see, Mark would've like it if Eduardo had been the kind of person who would've wanted to come and live with them. We would've "liked" Mark more if he had been the kind of person to tell Eduardo that sooner. But as it is, Mark has to state this as a command-suggestion, a "should," one of those words that can go either way while leaving it "up to Eduardo." The line also communicates their friendship at the same time as it cannot help from gloating about their growing apart. It's like saying "I wish you were here!" but in a totally non-commital, totally Mark Zuckerberg (the character) way. It sounds obvious but a different person would have communicated this in a completely different way. This is not the movie speaking through Mark, like the movie Juno (which somehow won best screenplay) speaks through Juno The Character. It's Mark The Character as himself.

What other single line in the movies or in books this year communicated so much so concisely?

I was trying to think of one-liners from Freedom, The Social Network of books, if you will. But then I remembered that Rand and I could've sworn we heard Zadie Smith mutter "Franzen" under her breath when she talked about novelists who can't give up the sound of their own voice for a single sentence.

Can you guys think of any?

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