Steve Jobs (2015)

Cast includes: Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds), Kate Winslet (Finding Neverland), Seth Rogen (The Interview), Jeff Daniels (Good Night, and Good Luck.)
Writer: Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network)
Director: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours)
Genre: Drama | Biography (122 minutes) Partially based on a book by Walter Isaacson

Huffington Post

A computer in every home? In the 1970s, you had to be a visionary to believe that. Fast-forward to 1984 and the launch of the first Mac. “We need it to say “Hello,” Steve Jobs demands. The problem is that it keeps crashing. It’s minutes until the big show and Jobs won’t let it drop… 3 days ago they ran an ad during the Super Bowl that blew everyone away. If the Mac doesn’t say “hello,” Steve says, “It won’t sell one million units in the first 90 days, and IBM will capture the market lead.” “It isn’t going to sell one million units in the first 90 days,” says Joanna Hoffman, Apple’s marketing director.  Maybe if Steve hadn’t raised the price… maybe if it weren’t a closed system per Steve’s insistence… “They’ll know they want it when they see it,” says Jobs. “Your daughter Lisa is here.” “I don’t have a daughter named Lisa.” “My dad named a computer after me,” 7-year-old Lisa says, referring to the LISA, a predecessor of the Mac. “Do you know what a coincidence is?” Steve asks and goes on to explain that he didn’t name the computer after her.

In the meantime, Lisa and her mother are struggling to get by on welfare. “How does that make you feel?” Chrisann asks… knowing that Steve’s company has been valued at 48 million. Andy Hertzfeld still can’t get the Mac to say “hello.” So Steve threatens to introduce him as the man who “fucked up the ‘hello.’” Speaking of introductions… Steve Wozniak really wants Jobs to acknowledge the team who built the Apple II. Jobs refuses. “At 9:41, the globe is going to shift on its axis… one of the 2 most important dates of the 20th century… I’m not going to lug a 7-year-old product to the Mac launch.”

This is just a taste of the many rapid-fire issues at the 1984 launch of the Mac. Steve Jobs, the movie, includes the launch of NEXT and the iMac. Each launch is used as a focal point for multiple conflicts in Jobs’ world. The filmmakers have come under criticism because the film paints a very negative picture of Jobs. Their response is that it isn’t the whole picture… just some key moments. Yet, there’s very little to like about the Steve Jobs we see in this film. Aaron Sorkin, who won acclaim with his unusually clever and frenetic dialog in The West Wing, has gone on to write many other audience pleasers… with even more bite. If you’ve ever wondered if there was a limit to the amount of bite that could work in one movie, I believe this film may have exceeded it. By the end, we feel as if we’ve witnessed an exhausting 2-hour argument. Individual parts of the film are quite well done… but the movie, as a whole, is rather hard to watch. In the end, we may wonder if Steve Jobs deserved the outpouring of love and admiration he got when he died, but I wouldn’t recommend this film for shedding light on that question. By the way… Hoffman was right… it took more than the first “Hello” to sell one million units. Steve was right, too… we “knew we wanted it when we saw it.”

popcorn rating

1 popped kernels

Highlights of the most demanding and combative version of Steve Jobs

Popcorn Profile

Rated: R (Language)
Audience: Young Adults
Gender Style: Neutral
Distribution: Mainstream Wide Release
Mood: Sober
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely Varnished Realism
Nutshell: Steve Jobs, key product launches
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Informative

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