Sacrifices the small details for the big picture
Just like the man that the movie is immortalizing on film, “Jobs” is imperfect. That’s not to say it’s bad – on the contrary, I quite liked Jobs and considered it a solid step above the sort of chaotic, stupid summer blockbusters we’ve all become accustomed to seeing around this time of the year. It’s witty, it’s smart; it’s intelligent, and it’s extraordinarily well acted. Yet as close as it comes to if not perfection, then excellence, something is missing.
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Like Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs says in one of the movie’s key moments of character development, for a movie to really succeed it “needs to make the small things unforgettable,” and I think that’s really where “Jobs” fell short. The movie does everything it can to make you believe that you’re watching these things really play out, and not just imitated on screen – Ashton Kutcher absolutely nails the role of Steve Jobs in what will likely be considered one of the highlights of his career, nailing Steve Jobs’s speech pattern, the way he moved, his glare, and so on and so forth – much to the relief of would be moviegoers everywhere. All of other actors and actresses seem perfect for their roles as well, particularly Matthew Modine as Apple CEO John Sculley.
But there are scenes here and there that last just a couple of minutes too long, moments that are dragged out for no other purpose than to fill time that could have been spent telling more of Steve Job’s amazing story. An early scene in the film that showcases Jobs and co taking a hit of LSD and then proceeding to frolic around to the background tune of classical music sticks out like a particularly sore thumb to me. I understand the filmmaker’s desire for the scene, to represent Steve Jobs’s early days of drug use, however the scene could have been easy cut in half with the remaining time spent on further development of other aspects of the story.
The LSD scene also represents one of the other biggest issues “Jobs” faces. Instead of connecting to the overall story of Steve Jobs and the creation of Apple, it instead serves as a single disconnected scene separate from the rest of the movie, never pertaining to anything of relevance ever again. A great way to incorporate Jobs’s drug use into both his persona and Apple would have been to show Jobs’s tendency of refusing to hire anyone who hadn’t done drugs before, a well known piece of Jobs lore. Another issue that stems from the scene is when Jobs sheds a single tear and expresses his longing to know why his paternal parents put him up for adoption. Instead of revisiting this issue later in the movie and showcasing this as one of Jobs’s many demons, we don’t hear anything of the subplot for the rest of the movie’s nearly 2 hour run time. Likewise, I would have loved to see Jobs’s relationship with Microsoft and Bill Gates fleshed out a bit more instead of just being portrayed as a single one sided phone call.
Truly however, these are minor issues that really didn’t impede my enjoyment of the movie too terribly much. Steve Jobs was a complex man who lived for 56 years, and at the end of the day there’s only so much you can possibly fit into a two hour movie. And what the movie does focus on, it does exceedingly well. Steve Jobs’s relationship with Lisa, both the person and the product, is established perfectly. Likewise the creation of the Mac, his rocky relationship with the Board of Directors in the 80’s, and his return to Apple were all enjoyable to watch and handled with ease by Kutcher and the rest of the cast.
So at the end of the day, a movie review is supposed to tell you one thing – is it worth spending your hard earned $15 on a movie ticket? The answer, whether you’re an Apple geek, Steve Jobs fanatic, or even just a casual movie goer with an interest in the genius that was Steve Jobs, is an unequivocal yes. Don’t buy into the negative press, but don’t quite look for perfection either.
Rating: 4/5 Apples