Hollywood Could Have a Blast with Google's Story
When Deadline.com got the scoop that Groundswell Productions is making a feature film out of Ken Auletta's book "Googled: The End of the World As We Know it," media summarily claimed that such a film would be boring.
I've read Auletta's book. He does a fine job telling the story of how Google came to be. Read this New York Times book review of Auletta's book from last November and tell me you're not interested.
Business Insider argues that it's going to be really hard to make an interesting film dedicated to making consumers' lives much better.
Really? Because that sounds like a great idea to me. If it is half such a feel-good story, it should be interesting for some people. BI further notes:
The Google story is about two big nerds who made a great product, then got rich. Good luck sexing that up, Hollywood!
If I'm Hollywood, I say "Just watch us." We shouldn't assume that Hollywood won't find a way to "sex that up." Look what they're doing to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network."
They portray him as a privileged white kid who gets richer by screwing over his friends.
I have no doubt there are ways to make the Google story interesting without a legal brouhaha to ooh and ah over; it might just appeal to a more mature audience than the people who want to see geeks party with model-type girls and speak like God's gift to glib.
Here is producer Michael London's characterization of his book adapation:
"It's about these two young guys who created a company that changed the world, and how the world in turn changed them. The heart of the movie is their wonderful edict, 'Don't be evil.' At a certain point in the evolution of a company so big and powerful, there are a million challenges to that mandate. Can you stay true to principles like that as you become as rich and powerful as that company has become? The intention is to be sympathetic to Sergey and Larry, and hopefully the film will be as interesting as the company they created."
That sounds interesting to me. Yet Gawker wrote after that description:
Zzzzzzzzz... What's worse, that there are going to be personally-targeted ads pasted all over the movie theater or little ads are going to pop up from the bottom of the screen during the film? Adwords humor! [LAT]
And that gets to the heart of the bias. There is a perception among people who prefer Facebook and its rise to power on the Web because they view Google, with all of its search algorithms and math-based ad models, as boring or uncool.
It's hard to blame them. The same thing happened to Yahoo when Google came around. Yahoo became uncool a decade or so ago. The Facebook fans with some high-tech know-how view Google as the new Yahoo.
Give the Google movie a chance. We haven't even see a trailer yet, which I unfortunately can't say for "The Social Network."
The trailer makes Zuckerberg out to be a scheming, ratty, "begins with D and ends with bag." I've seen the trailer enough to know I don't need to see The Social Network.
I have no idea how true it is or isn't, but let's say it's all true and Zuckerberg is a "begins with D and ends with bag."
Why pay the movie industry to celebrate that? Unfortunately, the phenomenon that is Facebook is being turned into a movie that has no more substance than other college capers like "Animal House," albeit with a legal brawl.
Maybe people don't like London's description because it doesn't involve rich brats snorting coke off of woman's breasts, a scene the powers that be are agonizing over for "The Social Network" only because of ratings issues.
And because there isn't a whiff of sex, people will assume the Google movie will suck?
I don't think so. Don't judge a movie before the trailer launches.
On a personal note, while it's obvious I don't approve of "The Social Network," I'm not thrilled about the Google movie either.
High-tech has largely flown under the radar, written off as uncool by legions of people who can't be bothered with bits and bytes. I kind if like that at parties when people ask what I do for a living. I tell them and it sounds mysterious to them.
It usually kills the conversation dead, which is good. First, I'm fairly antisocial, an adjective I wear like an albatross more than a badge of honor.
Second, it's because who the hell wants to discuss work with people that don't follow it? It would be like someone trying to explain plumbing or the postal service to me.
That is, until Facebook came along with all of its social goodness, which is ironic because, well, I just explained that my work in high-tech helped me remain antisocial, right?
People like social because they're naturally social creatures and they get it; it's easy to grok unlike, again, the math that comprises Google, the desktop operating system that is Microsoft or the database the defines Oracle.
So what's next? Probably a movie about Apple, where CEO Steve Jobs' aura looms in a way that Google CEO Eric Schmidt's bespectacled countenance can't.
If Facebook and Google movies thrive, expect a whole bunch more, including some that air out legal laundry between Apple and Microsoft. Maybe even Microsoft and the Justice Department from a decade ago.
Imagine the fun Hollywood can have with Oracle and Google's Java-Android tussle. OK, maybe not that one.
Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle. Bringing the X in sexy back. Thank you, Hollywood.