From various sources today comes the news that legendary TV & Film writer Aaron Sorkin is going to write a film about the rise of Facebook. What makes this so interesting is that Sorkin has been hating on the internet since the West Wing days, so this choice seems, well, counter-intuitive.
At first blush, Oliver Stone’s film about George W. Bush seems like it will be more sympathetic to the subject than any film that Aaron Sorkin is going to write about the internet.
But as it turns out, that’s wrong. At least according to this sneak preview of the film, which will be called Yourbook.
It will be set in a dorm, where we open with a plucky, preachy engineer — Mike Ringenberg — is holding court with several of his friends. He’s come up with an idea to connect the entire world together, and we have several scenes with him and his friends walking through the dorm, the quad, the cafeteria, discussing the various aspects of his “Yourbook” concept.
One of the people is Ringenberg’s High School Sweetheart, Darla, who broke up with him when then hit college, because she wanted to “date men, not boys,” but he has now grown up enough to be intriguing to her all over again. She soon joins the inner circle, except when she and Mike are fighting over arcane algorithms. Which inevitably leads to sex.
These scenes of the concept coming together are contrasted with the comic relief scenes of standard college hijinks: getting drunk at frat parties, failing to connect with underwritten women, sleeping through classes.
But these are all done by Ringenberg’s engineers: he is true and stalwart and fully committed to his cause, while understanding that his engineers need to blow off steam, as long as they all come together and focus on building his vision every night in the dorm room.
And they do! And Yourbook is obviously, and easily the greatest, smartest, most terrific Web site ever built. But there is a problem: you see, the Internet has Overlords — spread far and wide throughout the world — which approve every single Website at the Beta stage, and those Overlords don’t like the concept of Yourbook. They don’t like the fact that it is something that could quite literally connect all of humanity in an ever-virtuous cycle of peace, love and understanding.
The Overlords actually find this funny, and furthermore, it is in their best interest to keep humanity disconnected. And yet, and yet some of them like Ringenberg, and his plucky stalwart ways. And one of them — played by Joshua Malina — started secretly using the Yourbook Beta to connect a couple of the other Overlords in ways they hadn’t done in years.
A Review Board is called: Ringenberg, his girl, and the Overlords are going to be in the same place at the same time to debate the final fate of Yourbook. Either it will be allowed out into the world and quite possibly be the best thing that humanity has ever seen, or the plug (and we see the actual plug) will be pulled forever!
This is a highly unusual situation, but, of course Yourbook is a highly unusual website. There’s never been anything quite as good as it ever!
In the meantime, a personal tragedy strikes: Ringenberg’s mother has had some bad botox and goes into a coma, and he makes a beeline to the hospital to be at her side. Also, Darla is pregnant. Suddenly, on the eve of the most important day in his life — in perhaps the history of the world — he is fully distracted from his cause, his purpose in life.
Will Ringenberg pull it together? Will the best, most terrific website ever get released? Or will the evil Overlords put a stop it it once and for all. And if it does get released, will the great mass of humanity even be smart enough to use it?!
You’ll just have to wait until the movie comes out.