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IN SHORT: Not worth standing on line for tickets, but a fairly good sit. [Rated PG-13 for some drug content and brief strong language. 122 minutes]
This is where old farts like yours Cranky reminisce . . . "I could have bought Apple at ten bucks a share . . ." which would have turned a tidy profit, if I was willing to sit on the stock and wait twenty five years for the MP3 format to turn an Apple product into a massive seller. [We sat quietly through our screening of Jobs, waiting for the big revelation that Microsoft funneled massive amounts of cash into the struggling company to keep it, and the corporate competition it represented, alive. That's history, readers. $150 millions in non-voting stock, plus a commitment to publish MS-Office in Mac format for 5 years. The deal went down on August, 1997. Look it up, because it isn't in this film and it may not be in this film because there was a time when Jobs was booted out of Apple, and the company nearly tore itself apart).
Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) may have been a visionary, I don't know. He sure took credit for a lot of grunt work done by Steve "Woz" Wozniak (Josh Gad) and financed by Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney). His people skills were the pits. He burned all his bridges, and there were plenty of them to burn, but he did have vision. In the end, that gets you worshipped like a god.
For those just arriving from a distant planet, Steve Jobs was the heartbeat of Apple Computers. Steve Wozniak actually built the computers but Jobs had an idea of what they should look like and, by extension, how what they look like should dominate how they function. The film makes their partnership appear to be fairly balanced, until it fell apart.
But before that, Steve Jobs was an abandoned child with a chip on his shoulder. Sure, he was adopted into a loving family but he couldn't shake it from his brain how "parents could just throw away their babies" . . . until he did it himself when he knocked up his girlfriend at the very beginning of Apple. As for the friend who covered Jobs' back and looked out for the girl? He was stripped of his portion of "founder's stock," distributed amongst all those who created Apple. Not a dime left to look after the daughter he denied.
Yeah, Steve Jobs was a real peach.
And before worshippers start sending complaints that Steve Wasn't Like That At The End, well, that End is in the film. Not how it happened -- all the events leading to a revelation and personality change are there but not the reason why -- and audiences love epiphanies. That's what happens when a film either runs out of screen time to work within or is written by worshippers who can't see that Jobs was more like Tesla than Gates. He had great vision. He couldn't or didn't get his vision into the hands of the average Joe. [Or, to take the heat out of the discussion: Mercedes-Benz created the earliest automobile. Henry Ford made it into a car that every Joe had a shot at getting]
But that's subtext. The first two thirds of Jobs is a terrific sit, even if you come to realize that the main character is so driven that he becomes the very definition of a back stabbing shmuck. Big business is like that. Go back a century or so and read about the big trusts and the men that made them big and you'll find similar behavior in different times.
Oh, as for the first paragraph, there was a long portion of time during which Steve Jobs has no connection to Apple at all. The company tears itself apart and... we don't have to tell you what happens next. It would sound like a bad Hollywood movie except that it is true and points to the fact that Steve Jobs' skill was in marketing. He saw things that tech could do that others couldn't see. He just needed that one piece of tech that was going to save the day. That tech, MP3, came about just before he died and you know how that turned out. (The tech thing, not that he died)
We will point out that we expect actors to do great jobs in their roles. That's why we spend little time writing about that aspect of any film. But Ashton Kutcher has done some remarkable work with his portrayal of Steve Jobs. The man may have behaved in [unprintable] ways but you can't take your eyes off Kutcher's performance. So, mucho mucho props. Ditto to Josh Gad, as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Jobs, he would have paid . . .
We had major problems with the end of this film. They are based in editing or just lousy scripting but they are there nonetheless, and will be obvious to all who do not bow at the Shrine of Steve. It's a shame because everything up to that collapse is a terrific movie.
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