The film explores how people experience the darker side of social networking following four interwoven stories.
1) The story of an up and coming news Reporter exposing underage webcam chat rooms, (cam-whores).
2) A former marine and his wife while dealing with the death of their infant son, have their identity stolen along with all their money.
3) Two Boys impersonate a fake made-up girl, (catfish), on Facebook and convince a recluse musical savant teenage boy to send a nude picture of himself as the boys distribute it to classmates at their local high school. The picture circulates to nearly everyone in a day. Embarrassed by the cyberbullying he attempts to hang himself only to have his slightly older sister to find him.
4) One of the 2 boys that pull off the cyberbullying has problems of his own with an overly critical father dealing with being a single parent after the mother/wife dies of cancer.
I did like this movie for a lot of reasons. Being involved in social networking the way that I have been since before the beginning of the term, “social” and “networking,” I found a lot of these topics are right on. Before the unwritten rules of social networking started making its rounds around 2008 most people chatted online with complete strangers. It was a process of getting to know new people in a unique way. It was also a way to escape your life as you knew it then.
You could be totally someone else online than you were in reality. People still do that. It’s not as pro-dominant as it was in the late 90’s and the early part of the 00’s, but it is still there. Back when Yahoo was just taking off and AOL Hometown were the ways one could meet new people online with profile pictures and a small bio. It was the Myspace/Facebook of the times. When Myspace came out, now one could do searches for specific things, rather than just sex type, age and distance. When Facebook first started being the more popular of the social media sites, it also shared this idea.
When Myspace sold out and totally became a pop culture site about entertainment and not about meeting new people, people turned to Facebook. Facebook was great for the first few years. Even better, simpler, than Myspace. Around late 2009 and 2010, Facebook started changing its philosophy on how people should know each other or get to know each other. There were now banner ads everywhere, Like pages for silly things like upcoming movies. One could check into just about everything and anything. It was basically a road map for one’s social life.
Facebook used to be about meeting new people, making new connections along with catching up with family and ole friends from the growing up days and the High Schools. All the sudden that was frowned upon. Now it was, pretty much over a 3 month period, about expanding your inner circles. Now the only real way to meet new people was through “Mutual Friends.” If you added someone completely random and did that too, too many profiles. Facebook would flag you as a spammer and suspend your account. If you started using certain types of language or phrases you were suspended. If you posted too many outside links you were suspended. If you were reported too many times you were suspended.
Over the past few years, Facebook has made it nearly impossible to meet new people based on age/location/sex/interests. Now it is all about mutual friends and interests. Instead of having a take on a subject now you have everyone’s friend and social friend’s would comment on it. One could no longer have an opinion without it turning into a “Facebook War” or some sort of bullying would start.
All this is relevant to the subject of this film. They have replaced Yahoo/AOL Hometown/Myspace with very specific types of social networking. Dating… Social Networking Sites dedicated to dating or casual dating. They have now separated that to sites based on Creed or Race. Ala, Blackpeople.com, Farmersonly.com etc. In this film, they have social networking sites for Greif. Where one can go and chat with other people who have had a loved one die. The same things on here. Bio, Chatting, WebCam to WebCam, picture sharing. All of the same rules or unwritten rules apply.
I may do another NOTE just on “THE UNWRITTEN RULES OF THE INTERNET.” Gonna take my time with that one.
This movie deals with all of the Darker Sides of how this process works. I highly recommend this film. It’s a rare gem. Plus; you get to see Jason Bateman in a drama and he is every bit as good and convincing as a grieving father, with his son in a coma after he tries to hang himself because of Facebook Bullshit. The reporter, to me, comes off as someone who floats back and forth as a confident and yet insecure female that actually falls for an 18-year-old cam model (guy), but yet at the end she is so indecisive about what she wants to do for him and for herself that she ends up being the bad guy. The Marine and his wife, are seriously on the rocks and both are hiding from the other over their grief and money issues. Granted all of these things are of the extreme. There is no grey zone here, where most people choose to live their lives, remember I say weakness is a choice… It’s very clear, black and white, what all the characters should do with the information provided, but everyone is so messed up with their own bullshit they do not have the courage to make that leap and do right, rather than not be confident with who they are.
I am writing this because, I see so much on here. Not just here, Facebook, but all of the sites I am on… They all have their dark sides and you really do not know who you are socializing with on here. Even the ones you know in real life, you have to question. Granted you know they are “real people,” but how real do you know them? They could be the person you know, but have a very sinister side to them. I know, I have been exposed to it several times. Years ago, I would have behaved very badly being manipulated or bullied in such a way. Not, now.. I have better things to do with my time then let some black text on a screen fire me up to a point to where I am driving in my car with the intention of hurting someone physically with my car, or my fists or whatever I might be able to get my hands on.
People have been saying it lately. SO GLAD FOR IT TOO… That behind this screen, people are no longer accountable for their words. ANYONE… And I mean ANYONE… Can be tough, or hurtful on here and not have to worry whatsoever if they have to fess up to those words. I know if someone literally came up to me in person and tried to pull some fook-stick with me, on me, they would be looking down on me for a split second and then I would be looking down at them, physically, literally.
However, in this day and age people no longer have to worry about that. Nor do they have to worry about having to deal with someone getting in their face either. The bully doesn’t have to step up and the bullied person doesn’t have to stand up for themselves either. It is a total give and give situation; where no one has to be accountable for anything anymore.
The point of this is, we are all suckers for something in life. Don’t get sucked into this BS. Whatever Number of sites you are on, get rid of all the people that bring the negative in on a constant level. Constant…
People are going to comment about things in a negative nature and it might be just them ranting their opinion that is different from yours. I mean hurtful people that are out to be overly negative to ruin everyone else’s perception.
Beware of the ones that always want to befriend you, but yet never want to actually talk to you. Most of the people I interact with, outside of a few women I might be talking to on a dating site, I have their numbers and could call them at any time without a hitch, they would answer to say what is up?
Granted I will use FB Messenger a lot or text, only because I do not have time to get into an hour-long phone call, but just wanted to share a few lines of dialog… You know, to show I care… I care a lot… That is why I am so passionate about a lot of things.
Alright; I need to wrap this up. 1500 words is a lot to talk about a movie I have hardly talked about, lol… The movie is pretty good, its dark, it’s very grown-up, but yet if you have teenagers, watch it with them. It deals with a lot of topics they are exposed to that maybe one has not had those talks with before.
This is a discussion film. A movie you can watch with your teenage kid and share concepts and ideas about. You never know when your kid could be in the middle of something like this. Or maybe you are in a bad relationship and you want a way out… Instead of seeking help from fake FB friends, make a plan, buy your time, execute said plan. Rather than seeing if some stranger will listen to you. Mostly, especially, if you are a woman, they are not listening, they are just waiting for you to make a mistake so you can be manipulated for their benefit!
Some guys totally get off on that sort of thing. I know them… They were once called friend… Internet, phone, social site, reality. It’s all the same, just played by different rules.. One of the most chillin’ lines in a movie I have ever heard still stands strong today as it was delivered in 1968..