I finally went to see the movie “Jobs”, mainly because it was playing down the street from me and I had some time to kill while my Candy Crush lives refilled.
Unlike most people in Silicon Valley, I don’t really have a preconceived notion of what Jobs was like in real life, whether he was a visionary or villain or something in between. The Valley seems to have a love-hate relationship with Jobs. Nearly everyone I know has a “Steve Jobs was an jerk” or “Steve Jobs was a saint” story to share; sometimes one of each. I never met the man, so I am in no position to judge the accuracy of this movie or any other.
“Jobs” is the movie that would result if you said “Siri, find me random anecdotes that Steve Jobs was an asshole” into your iPhone. Siri would likely say things like:
“Jobs denied stock options to most of the guys who helped build the Apple I in his parents’ garage.”
“Jobs initially denied that Lisa was his daughter, but named a computer after her anyway.”
“Jobs was a fruitarian who didn’t like to wear shoes.”
“Jobs lived in a palazzo in Woodside, while he made his parents lived in the same crappy tract house in Los Altos.”
“Jobs had BO.”
Conversely, according to this movie, if you ask, “Siri, find me random anecdotes that Steve Jobs was a nice guy,” you would get:
“I don’t understand your request. Try your search again.”
Overall, the movie was mildly entertaining and had moments that were truly moving. There were a number of jumps in the script that didn’t make much sense, or relied on the viewer to know something about Jobs to fill in the gaps. Characters seemed to appear without much introduction or exposition and then just disappear. Since my only relationship to Apple is the Island of Misfit Macs located in my garage, I had no clue who most of these people were supposed to be.
The most fully realized relationship in the movie was the one between Ashton Kutcher’s Steve and Josh Gad’s Woz. To me, they were like Frodo and Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings, but instead of questing to save the Shire, they were on a quest to sell computers to the masses, most of whom could not operate blenders without injuring themselves. Like LOTR, the real hero of the story, in my mind at least, was never Frodo, but the stalwart Sam. Frodo may have been the chosen one, but he was nothing without the pure-hearted, portly Sam.
When are they going to make “Woz: The Musical“? I’ll be first in line on opening night. As for the upcoming Aaron Sorkin Jobs movie, I’ll probably pass until it’s available on iTunes.