Many years ago when I was still practicing law representing major
corporations, I met a young $20,000 a year bookkeeper working for one of
the corporations I represented in Chicago. We became fast friends. He
was eventually transferred to Los Angeles, quit to take a CFO job with a
small company that was then taken over by a huge conglomerate. The CEO
of the conglomerate met him, liked him, and eventually promoted him to
Chief Operating Officer of the entire corporation. He wanted me to
become General Counsel but I declined. The point of this is that during
most of our friendship he was a nice guy, a lot of laughs, who was very
successful with women. However, as he obtained more power in the
Corporation he would regale me with stories of how he was
psychologically abusive to underlings who didnít perform up to his high
expectations. As his personality changed, we drifted apart. I mention
this because watching Steve Jobs in this movie reminded me a lot of him,
especially in the abusive way he treated underlings.
Unlike some recent movies claiming to be biopics but are sheer fiction,
this tells the story of now legendary Jobs (Ashton Kutcher), the founder
of Apple, by graphically capturing his mercurial personality. Jobs, who
died young, transformed world society by developing a personal computer
that was user-friendly and worked. While Bill Gates and his Microsoft
get most of the credit for the spread of the personal computer, all they
did was develop (or obtain from others) the software that runs what was
originally the IBM PC (which hit the market half a decade after the
first Apples), Jobs created the industry from scratch, actually building
both the computers and software with no model from which to work. IBM
and Gates basically stole the concept from Jobs and took credit for it.
Masterfully directed by Joshua Michael Stern from an effective script by
Matt Whiteley, Jobsí character is established at the beginning when he
dumps his high school sweetheart when she becomes pregnant and continues
to deny paternity. This establishes a puzzling dichotomy in his
character. He is portrayed as constantly bothered by his being
abandoned at birth by his birth parents, but as someone who goes around the world to seek spiritual
enlightenment, on the one hand, but on the other he has no sympathy for
someone he caused to enter the earth being abandoned by him, her parent, just
as he was. Why wouldnít he be Łber-sympathetic to a daughter he fathered
out of wedlock instead of making her go through what he when through?
Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad, in a sensitive performance) gets sort of short
shrift here. He was the technical expert who actually designed and built
the first Apple Computer, but he takes a back seat to Jobsí volatile
temperament. However, the movie is right on here because there are lots
of great ideas. The ones that succeed are the ones that are driven by a
leader with vision and the ability to market, manufacture, and deliver.
movie barely touches on what Jobs did after he was summarily dismissed
from Apple and started NEXT. It also virtually ignores Jobsí development
of the Ipod and Iphone, and I would have dearly loved to have learned
more about these periods of his life. But it is very good in showing how
Jobs drove the initial startup of Apple, how he put the entire thing
together, and created today's world that is dominated by the personal
really nice thing about the movie is that the scenes of Jobs and Wozniak
building the first Apple Computer in the garage of Jobsí adoptive
parents were shot in the real garage where they actually did the work.
Knowing that is like watching history as its being made.
are also fine performances by Dermot Mulroney as one of the first
investors who becomes a Benedict Arnold to Jobs, Matthew Modeine as John Sculley, recruited from Pepsi by Jobs
himself to take over as CEO of Apple, only to take a big part in Jobsí
ouster, the always impressive JK Simmons as Chairman of the Board Arthur
Rock, and Kevin Dunne as Gil Amelio, the Apple CEO who brings Jobs back
on board, only to be dumped by Steve.
My cousinís husband started and ran BBDO Mexico. Hereís what my cousin
says about Jobs, ďWe
had Apple as a client and introduced Apple II and Macintosh in Mexico.
We went to an Apple event in Hawaii and met Steve Jobs. I remember him
in a white shirt, red suspenders and jeans. We danced...... He was cocky
but who wouldn't be......... A cool a--hole!Ē And thatís the way Kutcher
gives an award-quality performance and looks so much like Jobs that when
the cast is shown at the end of the film in side by side photos with the
people they portrayed, itís hard to tell which one is the real Jobs. Not
only that, his walk is stunning similar to the way Jobs walked. In fact,
each member of the cast looks remarkably similar to the people they
played except for Gad, who really doesnít look too much like the real
Highlighted by Kutcherís compelling performance, this is an entertaining
and educational movie, capturing Jobsí irritating personality marching
to his own beat.