Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just the facts, ma'am.

I’m still catching up on Oscar picks and watched The Social Network this week. I have a beef: movies based on true stories shouldn’t be allowed into the Best Picture category. After all, truth is often stranger than fiction. But fiction is a lot harder to writer. Fiction readers won’t allow an author to rely on coincidence and oversized characters, even if they do exist in real life.

Case in point. I give you the Social Network.

Fast talking computer Geek who loves convoluted arguments and the sound of his own voice. He builds the world’s fastest growing social media site. The one that changes everything. He’s a genius, naturally, and socially inept. He’s not a very likable character but that’s okay because he’s sort of the villain of the piece.

He has a Loyal Friend who sees past the Geek’s self absorbed self and invests time and money into the Geek’s dream. Loyal friend is exotic, born in Brazil and handsome as can be. He’s a bit of genius himself in the economic arena. Let’s say he’s earned 300k over summer break while still in high school.

Sworn enemies of the Geek. Those would be the 6’5” twins, handsome, Olympic athletes. Did I mention handsome? And tall? And Olympic athletes. From a wealthy family, naturally. Not just your run of the mill Harvard crew guys.

New Friend. You know the type. Fast talking, slightly dangerous. He’s attractive to the Geek but demands he leaves Loyal Friend behind. This one just so happens to be the guy who destroyed the music industry by giving things away for free. Things that weren’t his to give. He loves to party, has Victoria Secret models hanging off him and has made and lost a fortune by the time he was 25.

Extras: Don’t forget the hot (and crazy) Asia girl, the South Asian kid, and the beaurecrats from hell.

Let’s say the Loyal Friend doesn’t trust the New Friend. He’s heard rumors that New Friend does drugs and dates underage women. Sure enough, right after the New Friend has completely screwed over Loyal Friend, with the Geek standing by and letting it happen, that same night at the after party to celebrate the new venture, New Friend gets busted with guess what, drugs and underage girls. The Geek has to bail him out and realizes what he’s wrought. He is now tied to the devil, friendless. And very, very, very rich.

Too much? Cliché? Unbelievable? I’d agree. My critique group would be asking me to tone down the fantasy factor. I mean, come on, do the bad guys have to be so big, so handsome, so outrageously gifted? Does the Geek have to talk like all dorky guys? And then he meets New Friend and they live across the street from one another? Come on!

Lack of imagination you say? Facts, in fact, If it wasn’t true, you’d never believe it. Not fair to those of us who struggle to make up stuff.

The final scene of the movie: The Geek is staring at the picture of the girl who dumped him in the first scene of the movie. And yes, she’s on Facebook the site that was started to get back at her for dumping the Geek.

That might have been fiction.


Becky Levine said...

All I can think is, how much fun would it be if we could write synopses of our own books in this voice?! :)

Probably half of us would ask you to tone it down, and the other half would be suggesting amping it up!

Monica Ferris said...

Too unbelievable!