The Dog Days of Summer… In the cinema world, though, it’s a time where studios dump movies that are mediocre to bad and advertise them strongly to make a few extra bucks. Is there a reason why a biography about a great technical innovator, Steve Jobs, is put out at this time against Lee Daniels’ The Butler? Jobs is striving to be The Social Networkand that’s true if… it was a TV movie.
We have blamed Ashton Kutcher for films such as My Boss’s Daughter, Killers, and the disaster on TV, Two and a Half Men. BUT! Kutcher is the best part of this film. He channels Steve Jobs to an admirable level, especially his body language where he slumps his shoulders or acts like a child in a candy store when he is inventing Apple products from working on circuit boards in his garage or figuring out how to make the keyboard separate from the monitor. He channels the barefoot rebellion, the frustration, and the egotistical, and at times bellowing attitude that would make the Yankees’ battle with manager Billy Martin seem like a pleasure cruise.
Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak makes the film with his scenes with Kutcher. When they are together, the film is interesting; it’s appealing. It’s a yin/yang kind of relationship that unfortunately is broken in tear-jerking fashion when Wozniak inevitably leaves Apple because of how they grew apart from a partnership to a solo business company. The supporting cast includes Dermot Mulroney, JK Simmons, Matthew Modine, and Lukas Haas. They do their job effortlessly. It was also nice to see James Woods in a cameo as Jobs’ college professor.
SEE? I can act, look how awesome I look in these glasses.
However. This is supposed to be a big screen biography about Steve Jobs, but the script is so full of egotism concerning his rise, fall, and the revival of Apple, that it only skims the surface of Jobs’ life. It doesn’t talk about how he used free love as a part of his hippie rebellious persona and cheated on his girlfriend, then denied that he was the father of his girlfriend’s upcoming child, which was staged like it should be on Lifetime. It doesn’t dive into why he only eats fruit; it just simply states that he only eats fruit. Or how his rebellious but lonely spirit would at times make him unbearable to work with like his work at Atari. That left me with questions. It flat out dismissed the personal and compelling life of the man.
Wrong inspiration, Joshua Michael Stern.
Rivalries. As a rebel, you will not follow the crowd and will not have people pawn off you. Where was the battle between Jobs and Bill Gates? You know how director Joshua Michael Stern wanted to do this? He had Jobs call up Gates’ answering machine and tell him off. That was it. Are you kidding me? That rivalry alone would have been compelling; a flat-out piece of the film that would have made this a hell of lot more entertaining. It also never touched on the on-going rivalry between Jobs and former Pepsi CEO John Scully, who took the company from him; instead, it was all wrapped up with a business meeting with board members raising their hands. Come on.
THE WORLD IS MINE! I miss you Steve, wait, do I?
Musical identity crisis. There were points where you hear Joe Walsh, REO Speedwagon, and Jobs’ musical idol, Bob Dylan. Wozniak even says, “You choose Dylan, I chose the Beatles.” It paid off for Jobs. The music is so fresh that they use actual vintage vinyl recordings, not digitally redone ones, and it felt authentically nostalgic. Then, it had more grandstanding public speeches than an insurance seminar in a Cedar Rapids, IA hotel and corny inspirational music that I swear I thought was done by Rocky composer Bill Conti. I was waiting for “Gonna Fly Now” with Jobs running around the campus of Apple Computers. Jeez.
Jobs is not a bad movie, but it’s not particularly good either. It wastes Ashton Kutcher’s terrific performance as Jobs and the drama of the strained relationship with him and Wozniak, replacing it with an egotistical, narrow-minded script, which skims across his life with simplistic solutions, set to inspirational, overwrought music. At least when someone asks how you like Jobs, you can reply with, “It’s one of the best TV movies of the year.” That alone will start a conversation. Something this film never finished.
RIP: Steve Jobs 1955-2011
Take a Drink: every time you hear the inspirational music
Do a Shot: every time you see a situation ended in the boardroom
Shotgun a Beer: when Jobs loses his temper
Body Shot: when you see Mrs. Jobs for the FIRST time. Yeah, never explained.