Stanford underwear and tech bros: FLiCKS screens ‘The Social Network’

After its return two weeks ago, FLiCKS promoted its screening of “The Social Network” (2010) last Sunday with models wearing bright red underwear decorated with the word “Stanford” and a special guest who spoke about his experience with FLiCKS and the film itself.

When the scene that inspired the “FLiCKS limited merch” appeared on the big screen, the crowd cheered its loudest throughout the night. For those who haven’t seen the movie, although “The Social Network” mostly takes place at Harvard, it features several scenes set in Silicon Valley — including a hookup that put Stanford-themed underwear on display and an infamous “Stanford party” scene, complete with yellow Bay Area-esque lighting, people doing drugs off each other’s bodies and an eventual police intervention.  

Before the actual film screening, Adam Tobin ’93, a senior lecturer in the department of film and media studies, reminisced about attending FLiCKS as an undergraduate student and applauded its revival. He also joked about once attending a panel of the film’s actors and the screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin (who didn’t show up), upon its first release in 2010. 

“The film came out when Jesse Eisenberg was the only famous actor,” Tobin said. “Andrew Garfield hadn’t been casted as Spiderman, and Armie Hammer hadn’t started eating people.” 

Tobin discussed the initial anxieties of the filmmakers behind “The Social Network,” who feared that college students would have little interest in watching a “tech film.” Their strategy to bolster interest for the movie was to organize a free screening in Palo Alto for Stanford students, who, similar to the students who were at FLiCKS last Sunday, recognized the parodic mentions of their university.

Finally, Tobin shared his reading of the film: “I think Aaron Sorkin wasn’t writing about Mark Zuckerberg, but about himself. The film’s message is basically that you can be an asshole if you’re smarter than everyone in the room.”

Despite Stanford’s overwhelmingly tech bro population, many of the audience members seemed to agree with this statement — “Fuck you!” an audience member yelled after Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) creates Facemash, a website for ranking girls’ attractiveness. The crowd cheered as Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) raised his fist against an antagonistic Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who, in spite of all his big talk, flinches and backs away. 

Whereas during FLiCK’s “Saltburn” screening, there were several antics pulled throughout the event, it was not until near the end of the movie that students performed the night’s first stunt: smashing a laptop to the ground and repeatedly hitting it to bits. This well-timed and surprising performance received many cheers from the audience, as — entering Week 5 and midterms — there is perhaps a great catharsis in watching a laptop being destroyed. 

Though the CEMEX auditorium wasn’t nearly as full as it was during FLiCKS’ first screening (most likely because of said midterms), the tradition of flying paper airplanes and toilet paper rolls continued to make their appearance throughout the communal theater experience. 

FLiCKS will return on May 5 to CEMEX Auditorium.

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