Written by / 8/21/2013 / 1 Comment / , , , , , ,

JOBS VS PIRATES OF SILICON VALLEY

year: 2013 cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, John Getz rating: **
During the first five minutes of JOBS, as Ashton Kutcher – playing Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs – heads a 2001 meeting introducing the iPod, judging by the grandiose soundtrack you’d think he invented the wheel (or created the universe) and not just a state-of-the-art Walkman…

From this meeting we travel back to 1974, where Kutcher’s Jobs is a bearded loafer who doesn’t fit into college life, or anywhere for that matter. After taking LSD he realizes something unclear to the audience and his slacker buddies... But in the blink of an eye he’s working at Atari, screaming like a jerk boss even before becoming one.

His sidekick is Steve Wozniak, the pioneering engineer who built the first Apple computer. Nicknamed Woz and played by short and tubby Josh Gad, he's the intentional audience favorite using witty sarcasm to alleviate the tension of his climbing, and often cutthroat, entrepreneurial partner.
The real life and at that time not-so-fat Steve Wozniak with Steve Jobs
Gad, in playing a goofy sidekick more than a real person, partially redeems himself during the first of two heartfelt pleas to Jobs, who, during the early 80’s when Apple got really big, turned more corporate-minded than artistic.

And just as we jumped from college to Atari, there's an awkward cut from the initial team working out of Steve’s father's garage to the immense Apple building, where several characters are forgotten and Jobs doesn’t gel with the "stiff suits" including Dermot Mulroney’s backer Mike Markkula, his one time confidant and good friend.
Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs and Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak
The best scenes occur in and out of that dusty garage, the rudimentary Apple compound: sadly we’re not in this pivotal era long enough. Much of the film has Jobs desperately battling the powers-that-be in chilly white-walled offices.

Kutcher’s piercing eyes are narrowed intensely, and he's surprisingly effective but otherwise burdened by a contrived imitation of quirky physical mannerisms… Walking with a bent-forward T-Rex posture is distracting and downright unnecessary (the audience was giggling throughout).
Ashton Kutcher's narrowed eyes do the best acting in JOBS
Although there are interesting moments, and we learn some important lessons in tech history, JOBS is hardly a biographical film: Overlong scenes with uncreative CEO’s demolishing each new idea are tedious, repetitive, and overwhelming.

When the bigwigs aren’t around, and Jobs passionately lectures his minions on how to create usable products for the future, the film plays out like a melodramatic commercial for Apple products, which might have been intentional: If Steve Jobs wasn't so uncaring and temperamental, they'd probably have him walking on water... or creating the shoes to make it happen.
year: 1999 cast: Noah Wyle, Anthony Michael Hall, John DiMaggio rating: ***1/2
This thoroughly entertaining docudrama about Apple Computer guru Steve Jobs battling Microsoft mogul Bill Gates is quite good, thanks to a surprisingly effective Noah Wyle as Jobs, the iconic visionary who finds a worthy partner in Steve Wozniak, the reclusive genius who built the first home computer in a suburban garage.

So why isn’t Wozniak more praised than Jobs in the home computer legacy? For one, the naive Wozniak aka Woz would have sold his idea to someone else if it weren’t for Job’s determination to develop it on their own, under Apple, a name inspired from an LSD trip.

Following Jobs and Wozniak from college into big business is a terrific odyssey – but once the proverbial stone stops rolling, moss gathers with a gossipy subplot involving Job’s bad relationship and a child caught in-between.
The original real life Microsoft team Bill Gates and Paul Allen
Flip the coin to Bill Gates, played by an over-the-top Anthony Michael Hall, doing a silly impersonation of the cliche everygeek as opposed to an actual person who, while cutting corners and not very honest, is a genius in his own right.

But it’s the energetic performance of John DiMaggio as Steve Ballmer, Gate’s intense right-hand man whose devotion trumps even the soft spoken Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, that really makes the B-story shine: While Ballmer narrates, he’s standing within his own past and providing the audience with a virtual reality pie chart.

Still, the best moments involve our main characters… As Jobs and Woz struggle to get their home computer on the market, Wyle proves he’s far more than a handsome TV actor, intensely portraying Jobs as a driven entrepreneur with severe mood swings – eventually becoming a tyrannical boss pitting Apple workers against Macintosh like Roman galley slaves.
Orwell-inpsired 1984 Apple Commercial directed by Ridley Scott
But the oars kept moving, and during the crest of the 1980’s, Apple grew along with Microsoft (with a lot of idea stealing and/or swapping)… and while both were incredibly successful, there was one clear winner...

So as the Ashton Kutcher film JOBS begins with the underwhelming introduction to the iPod, this more creative and colorful story starts with the screening of a 1984 Orwellian-inspired Apple commercial and ends with the megalomaniac loggerheads finally working together… sort of...

And the rest is history: being typed on this home computer and read on your own.
Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs and Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates
Fred Flintstone's computer was an Apple
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1 comment:

  1. I have no intention of seeing/watching JOBS. PIRATES OF SILICON VALLEY was pretty darn entertaining (am I wrong to say it was a made for HBO movie? I'm too lazy to look it up - ah a TNT movie - I knew it was some sort of cable tv thing).

    My first computer was the brand new Apple II Plus, the good ole 48K version with the two floppies. The picture you use brings back great memories, what an awesome fun machine.

    Very cool VS. I've always been a big fan of Anthony Michael Hall and Noah Wyle. Good stuff.

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