‘You Set Me Up’: How The Social Network Crafted A Perfect Scene

The Social Network / Sony Pictures

To call The Social Network a perfect movie may be an understatement, or an overstatement, depending on your admiration for David Fincher’s 2010 iconic film about Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook. The Social Network is arguably the best film from the year 2010, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disagreed with this sentiment when it awarded Best Picture to The King’s Speech.

Regardless of your personal opinion, there’s one scene that’s as close to perfect as you can get and it includes lines like “Sorry, my Prada’s at the cleaners along with my hoodie and my fuck-you flip-flops, you pretentious douchebag,” and “You better lawyer up, asshole, ‘cause I’m not comin’ back, for my 30 percent, I’m comin’ back for everything!” The scene is known as the “You set me up” scene, where Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) confronts Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) about having his share of Facebook diluted from 34% to 0.03%.

Watching this scene again is like watching a football team flawlessly execute a 12-play, 90-yard scoring drive. Minute by minute, line by line, the scene builds in suspense and anticipation as Eduardo and Mark go back and forth at each other at both the deposition and party. Eduardo and Mark are the Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan of the scene, but Justin Timberlake, Aaron Sorkin, and David Fincher play the roles of Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley to round out the Dream Team starting lineup. All five guys are in complete control of the scene.

First, there’s David Fincher, who’s as intricate as it comes behind the camera. Fincher is a perfectionist in every sense of the word. In the opening scene of the movie, where Erica Albright dumps Mark, Fincher had Eisenberg and Rooney Mara do 99 takes of this six-minute scene. Try doing something 99 times over the course of two days for your job and see if you still love it after. Just ask Jake Gyllenhall about his time on Zodiac. But if you trust Fincher’s process, he’ll push you to great heights, which usually leads to terrific performances.

Fincher may be the perfectionist behind the camera, but Aaron Sorkin is the maestro behind the script. Sorkin is known for his fast, rhythmic, and over-lapping dialogue that makes the scene play like a musical. It’s why Sorkin is one of the most unique and successful screenwriters of the last 30 years. One would think a director as precise as Fincher and a writer as detailed as Sorkin would clash like oil and water. It turns out that Fincher and Sorkin perfectly balanced each other out, and Sorkin’s script won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars.

As previously stated, if you trust Fincher’s process, he can bring the best out of you. In Justin Timberlake’s case, his turn as Sean Parker is the actor’s best performance. Everything about Parker screams snake-oil salesman. In the film, Sean is the cool senior who’s showing off to the freshman so he can eventually get the younger kid to do his homework in exchange for popularity. Timberlake is so cool in this movie, and yet you want to punch him in the face throughout the entire exchange between Eduardo and Mark.

Finally, the heart of this scene is the friendship and betrayal between Eduardo and Mark. As Eduardo tells Mark in the deposition, “I was your only friend.” Eduardo’s teary-eyed and emphatic plea is so raw and full of emotion that the audience has to side with the former CFO of Facebook. In turn, Mark starts off as his usual cocky self, blaming Eduardo for his mistake, but Eduardo’s passionate speech eventually shakes Mark to his core. Behind the billionaire-genius is still a guy who wants to be liked. Eisenberg received a well-deserved nomination for Best Actor, but the fact that Garfield did not find himself in the supporting category is still a mistake 10 years later.

If you’ve never seen The Social Network, watch this one scene because it tells you everything you need to know about each character. Sean is manipulative and arrogant, but at the other end of his Facebook mug is an insecure coward. Eduardo is a deer in headlights whose pride gets the best of him, but he’s the film’s most sympathetic character. Then, there’s Mark, who was best described by Marylin Delpy, played by Rashida Jones. At the end of the deposition, Marylin said, “You’re not an asshole Mark. You’re just trying so hard to be.”

It’s up for debate as to whether Mark is a good guy or not, but what’s not up for discussion is the perfection of this scene.

What is your favorite scene from The Social Network? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

10 Best Movies Of The Decade

Determining the 10 best movies of the decade is a somewhat impossible task. For starters, there are thousands of movies to choose from so narrowing it down to 10 is not easy. That being said, a huge selection is a great problem to have. Think about how far movies have come in a decade. Who would’ve thought that streaming services would be winning Oscars? Maybe I’m the “old man yelling at cloud” but I didn’t think it would happen, but I’m glad it has.

When making my best of the decade list, I took into account the following factors:

  1. Do I rewatch the movie frequently and can I find something new every time?
  2. Do I think about it often?
  3. When I watch a film in the same genre, do I compare it to this film?
  4. Do I revisit scenes on YouTube?
  5. Was it a memorable theater viewing?

There were so many films I had to cut and if you talk to me in a few weeks, I’m sure I’ll adjust this list in some way, shape, or form. That being said, here are the 10 best films of the decade.

10. Free Solo

I watch movies to be inspired, and one of the most inspiring movies I’ve ever seen is Free Solo. I can’t remember leaving a theater saying “humans are awesome” until I saw Free Solo. Not only is the story of Alex Honnold’s death-defying climb inspiring, but it’s visuals are jaw-dropping. Even though I knew Honnold would complete the climb, my heart could not stop racing to the point where I debated on taking a xanax after it ended.

9. Get Out

By far, Get Out is the most memorable viewing experience I’ve ever had at a theater. I saw Get Out on a Sunday afternoon a few days after its premiere. The sold-out crowd was laughing, screaming, and cheering throughout the entirety of the film. I felt like I was at a basketball game. It’s an experience that will never be replicated. Get Out is one of the most unique pieces of social commentary I’ve ever seen. Jordan Peele is a genius.

8. Moneyball

Every year, you can make a case that X should have won the Oscar over Y. I understand it’s completely subjective and arguments can be made for or against every performance. That being said, one of the biggest crimes of the decade happened at the 2012 Oscars when Brad Pitt lost in Best Actor for Moneyball. Look at this category and make the case that any of these performances should have won over Pitt.

Billy Beane is my favorite Brad Pitt performance of all time. Pitt somehow made a movie about spreadsheets and on-base percentage so entertaining and riveting that whenever it’s on television, I stop everything I’m doing to watch.

7. Sicario

A “Best of the decade” list without a film from Denis Villeneuve should be invalid. This is Villeneuve’s decade of movies since 2013: Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049. Swap in any of those for Sicario and you won’t hear a peep out of me. However, I’m going with one of the most underrated films of the 21st century, Sicario. It’s a thriller that relentlessly punches you in the stomach and shakes you to your core for two hours. It’s terrifying but brilliant.

6. The Wolf of Wall Street

I’m not fucking leaving! I’ve done an entire 180 on The Wolf of Wall Street. When I first saw it in 2013, I thought it was over-the-top, long, and ridiculous. Now, it’s one of the funniest movies of the decade and I appreciate all the aspects that I initially believed held it back. It’s an adrenaline rush fueled by cocaine and quaaludes. Oh, it also has one of the greatest living directors, Martin Scorsese, and actors, Leonardo DiCaprio, at the top of their games.

5. Parasite

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect a South Korean black comedy thriller from 2019 to be included in the best of the decade list. That all changed when I saw Parasite. I saw Parasite on a Friday afternoon in November, three weeks after it premiered in my local theater. The theater was packed. Parasite fever is real. Masterpiece is the only word that comes to mind when describing Bong Joon-ho’s film. Parasite successfully manages to be a popcorn thriller disguised as a social commentary piece on the wealthy versus the poor. Could this be recency bias? Honestly, who cares. Parasite is phenomenal.

4. Inception

Christopher Nolan is the greatest living director of mass spectacle. His ability to craft gigantic set pieces and enthralling action sequences is second to none. This spot on my list came down to Dunkirk or Inception. You can’t go wrong in my opinion. However, I went with his 2010 follow-up to The Dark Knight. Imagine directing the greatest comic book movie of all time and following that up with a film about the unconscious mind and our perception of what’s real and what’s a dream. That takes stones and Nolan has major onions. It’s a genius and innovative film that still keeps you guessing a decade later.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road

In an age where content is often rushed, Mad Max: Fury Road is the perfect example of when patience is rewarded. After a 30 year absence, Max Rockatansky returned to the big screen in 2015’s Max Max: Fury Road. This film is the greatest action film of the decade. From the exhilarating chase sequences to the spectacular performance from Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road proved that blockbusters can be both entertaining and thematically compelling.

2. The Social Network

The Social Network is a perfect movie. Having both David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin was a cheat code. Between Sorkin’s sharp script and Fincher’s keen direction, The Social Network is a spell-binding look into the mind of one of the most important minds of the 21st century. Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield Armie Hammer, and Justin Timberlake all give career-best performances. The score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is a triumph for cinematic music. How it lost Best Picture is beyond me. Spend your next two hours revisiting this 21st-century classic.

1. La La Land

This musical is a joy to watch. La La Land a love letter to all of the dreamers searching for a better life. The musical numbers are breathtaking and bring me so much joy. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have so much chemistry together that it’s shocking to learn that they’re not a real-life couple. From Justin Hurwitz’s score to Damien Chazelle’s script and direction, La La Land is a film I find myself revisiting every week of my life. The ending is not your fairytale ending, but its sheer honesty is beautiful. Simply put, La La Land is why I watch movies.

What are your favorite movies of the decade? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.