Film Thoughts: Steve Jobs

To avoid confusion, any mention of SJ refers to the film in question. ‘Steve Jobs’ refers to the man himself. No one thinks of the bloggers when they title movies, do they?

SJ is proof that, in the right hands, many subjects can be interesting. Ignore who the main character is, and imagine you’re pitching this idea to a studio executive:

“What’s it about?”
“A guy who makes computers”
“And what else?”
“Not much”
“Okay, so it’s succcess story. We see him make a fortune, right?”
“He’s already rich”
“Okay, so where does this all happen?”
“At keynote speeches that he gives”
“Okay. Are the speeches good?”
“Yes. But that doesn’t matter. Because they won’t be in the film”

Yet, Aaron Sorkin’s capable hands, which also made Facebook’s origin interesting in The Social Network, delivered an engaging script that became an impressive film.

Going from writing a story about Facebook to one about Steve Jobs suggests that Sorkin has an increasing interest in tech. I instead like to think of it as Sorkin inflating his ego, challenging himself to mine entertaining stories from relatively mundane topics

Don’t get me wrong, I think both Jobs’ and Facebook’s stories are worth telling. I just didn’t think either was well-suited to a visual medium like cinema. As usual, I was wrong. Mad wrong

“John was John because he wrote Ticket to Ride” is the whitest/Sorkinest line in recent times

One signpost of a Sorkin script is characters repeating each other’s lines. If you removed that repetition, how much shorter would his scripts be?

Contrast Michael Stuhlbarg’s slick, debonair Arnold Rothstein in Boardwalk Empire with his messy Andy Hertzfeld here. I spent so long trying to figure out how I recognised the Hertzfeld that I was getting distracted from the film

Every actor gave a solid performance here, particularly Kate Winslett. While that’s impressive, it’s slightly less so when you consider how small the cast is. There are really only six characters: Jobs, Winslett, Woz, Andy, Daniels, and Lisa

Lately I’ve been batting around a theory: nowadays, audiences don’t care about or relate to rich people unless their wealth is played down. I believed it at the time I watched this film. When it finished, I realised I’d been repeatedly told that SJ was worth $441 million. Yet I still cared that he cared about which shark photo was used

One scene is overly loaded with bombast: Scully’s confrontation with Jobs. I’m sure it was a tough time for both of them, but with the film’s tone hear you’d think it was world-ending, not Jobs getting fired from his own company.

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