A critic from “Globe and Mail” wrote about “Jobs”, saying, “If Jobs had been a producer on Jobs, he would have sent it back to the lab for a redesign.” Well congratulations, Mr. Lacey. Screenplays aren’t written in labs, so jokes on you.
I don’t truly fancy myself as a film critic, only that I wish to either be making films or professionally critiquing them one day. I write this to say that I find myself at odds with the majority of critics again. This is taking me back to “The Lone Ranger” days, friends.
I first heard of “Jobs” it was from friends who were going to be attending Sundance Film Festival this past January. Why would a film that was selected for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and subsequently purchased for national distribution fare so poorly with critics? A whopping 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. Again, I found myself fighting for Ashton Kutcher, playing the public beloved Steve Jobs.
Now, I didn’t know Steve Jobs. I can only assume 99% of the viewing audience of “Jobs” was in the same boat I’m in. I was completely unaware of his perfectionism–which makes total sense now–and I also didn’t know he was this temperamental. That being said, Kutcher is very strong here. In fact, I haven’t seen him at this level since 2004’s “The Butterfly Effect” a depressing film about the impact of cause and effect. Kutcher plays an extremely convincing Steve Jobs; the highlight for me was simply watching him walk about the workplace, hunched over shoulders and all.
After viewing ‘true story’ films like this, I am immediately forced to the internet to read the real life account of the situation. In this case, writer Matt Whiteley seems to have done quite reasonably here. I read stories of Whiteley reading through countless transcripts and interviews with Jobs, as well as conducting plenty of interviews himself. Rookie as he may be, without another script to his name on IMDB, Whiteley does his darndest to portray Jobs as well as possible.
“Jobs” follow Steve through his early days in college and up until his reinstatement as CEO of Apple. The film opens with the original unveiling of the first generation iPod. Sure it looks like metal brick that could bludgeon a skull open, but the audience has never seen anything like it. More than that, the audience is mostly inspired simply by Steve’s presence at the press conference. This is a man who demands respect from his peers and employees without even asking for it. This is a man who has never given a single rip about what anyone thinks and is absolutely determined to get an idea formulated in his head onto paper and then physically created and defined. Kutcher is truly awe-inspiring to watch on-screen. Sure he’s an ass, but for some reason, we really enjoy him, and to another extent, we feel as if we might know the real Steve Jobs at some basic level, and as a result of that, we really start to miss him.
Kutcher is surrounded by a wonderful supporting cast including Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak, Dermot Mulroney as Mike Markkula, and plenty of other wonderful actors. Granted, “Jobs” doesn’t quite make the mark at some areas, and we are left wondering what happened over the five-year time period we missed out on. We want to know more about his family life. We want to know how he dealt with having a child.
Overall, “Jobs” is incredibly inspiring. Even though Steve seems more like a tool factory than only a tool, his constant hard work is thrilling to watch. I could only hope that audiences feel a slight nudge to pursue their dreams after viewing “Jobs.” If the quality of the film deters your inspiration, the least “Jobs” can do is to remind you that Steve was a man who stopped at nothing to complete his goals. Steve was a real man, not just a movie character, and despite his unfortunate passing, he has left a huge impact both the world of technology, but also in marketing and business as well.