Tag: Aaron Sorkin


Steve Jobs

October 25th, 2015 — 2:17am

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 10.25.41 AM***

Steve Jobs- rm

We came to this version of Steve Jobs’ story, Apple’s iconic founder, having seen the recent documentary film of Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine and also having read Walter Issaacson’s 2011 biography of Jobs. We are not so sure that we would have appreciated the nuances and the depths of how the relationships were depicted in this current movie, had we not experienced the two previous pieces. For example, we see a recurrent theme, which defines Jobs’ relationship with Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) as he pleads with Jobs to give him and the Apple-2-team credit during the new Apple launches. Jobs refuses because he says he wants to emphasize the future. In fact, Jobs has treated his friend Wozniak, the real inventor of the first Apple computer, very poorly. They had been friends working in Jobs’ garage when they were in their 20s. While not shown in this film, it has been previously documented that one of the first projects that they worked together was designing a game for Atari where Wozniak did all the work and Jobs dealt with the interface with Atari but grossly short-changed Wozniak when they were paid for their work, a pattern they apparently continued later in life. .

Perhaps the most important and revealing relationship shown in this film and well described in the previous book and movie is the one with his daughter Lisa. Early on Jobs consistently denied his paternity of Lisa. When it was eventually proven by genetic test, he reluctantly paid minimal support for the struggling mother and child despite the fact that at that time he was worth at least $440 million. We see Jobs wrestling with his feelings about Lisa in this film and his ambivalence towards her and her mother.

The dialogue written by Aaron Sorkin was typical of his fast-moving style in both the words and the physical movement of the characters. The film did not attempt to be a biography of Steve Jobs. Instead, the storyline showcased three specific product launches of the Apple computer. It revealed the behind-the-scenes interactions of Jobs and other important people, particularly with his daughter Lisa played very well by three different actresses, Mackenzie Moss when she was five, Ripley Sobo when she was nine and most significantly by Perla Haney-Jardine when Lisa was 19. Lisa’s mother was played Katherine Waterston.

There was one very interesting foray in trying to show some psychological insight of the origin of Jobs’ self-centered personality. This occurred when Jobs was interacting with John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) the Apple CEO who was originally hired by Jobs and then participated in firing Jobs at a later point in time. The discussion was about how Jobs was treating his daughter and how it might be related to his own childhood relationships. Jobs related how he was adopted as an infant but his new mother wasn’t sure that she would be allowed to keep him for certain complicated reasons, so she withheld her love during his first year so she would not become too attached to him. If that were true, it might explain Jobs’ apparent defective ability to relate to others despite his genius, unusual vision and talent in bringing his products to the world.

Credit has to be given to Michael Fassbender in his role as Jobs and to director Danny Boyle. A key role was also well done by Kate Winslet who played Joanna Hoffman an important member of the Mac team. The film will give the  moviegoers the experience  that they are transported back in time, and are seeing this iconic figure up close during some of his historic moments in the birth of the Apple computer. (2015)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, History

Jobs

August 14th, 2013 — 5:40am

***Jobs

Jobs-sp – Steve Jobs has to be one of the iconic figures of our time. Any attempt of a film to get into his head and show what makes him tick would be of great interest. This movie directed by Joshua Michael Stern, with screenplay by Matt Whiteley and starring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs certainly held our attention but it provided no particular insight into the dynamics of Job nor did it provide a clear understanding  of  the life of this man who is one of  founders of the company that makes the computer, iphone and ipad that so many of us hold in great esteem. We see a young man who is intensely interested in innovation,  who over and over again insists upon perfection and appears to have a clear deficit in his ability to have empathy for other people. Had he not met Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad), we might still be using typewriters and even Bill Gates wouldn’t have had a model to rip off for the  IBM PC. It was Wozniak who designed the workings of the  personal computer but it was Jobs who had the vision how it should look and how  people would use it . It is Jobs who we see in the movie ruthlessly demanding what is seen as the impossible from his designers and computer geeks. The film follows Job’s through the founding of Apple , development of Apple 2, Lisa and the early  Mac. While his expulsion and his return to glory is shown, the several years away from Apple including his time with Pixar pictures is not covered  However the journey that is depicted is choppy. The other characters from the original scruffy band of developers , Mike Markkula (Dermott Mulroney), an executive from Intel who joined Jobs early on,  to  Jon Sculley( Matthew Modine) the honcho from Pepsi, one of several CEO’s who replaced Jobs for awhile,  may be difficult to to appreciate exactly who they are and their significance. Unless, of course, you have read the official best selling biography by Walter  Issacson which the movie is not based upon but may be the basis of another  future movie being worked on by Aaron Sorkin. Job’s personal life is particularly confusing in this film . He is not accepting responsibility of the pregnancy of his girl friend and then later in the film he is briefly seen married to another woman with this first child visiting him as a teenager (named Lisa which is the name of  one of the Apple computer  models which appeared after the Apple 2). The film is carried by Ashton Kutcher who mastered Job’s mannerisms as well as projecting his narcissistic characteristics.  In addition the actor is known to have shared Job’s love of technology and innovation which may have added to his successful portrayal. (2013)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Biography

Moneyball

September 24th, 2011 — 7:07am

****

Moneyball- rm  A major movie which deals with the complexities of baseball stands a good chance of capturing a big piece of the American pie. When you add a star such as Brad Pitt you have the recipe for a perfect dessert. However, this film which emerges on the scene as major league baseball is gearing for the playoff season, deals with more than just our national pastime. It is a metaphor for the problems facing so many businesses today as they realize that in order to win in today’s competitive world, you have to be more than the biggest guy around with most bucks. You have to be smart, understand modern technology and be creative. That is exactly what Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics and his trustworthy Assistant Manager and computer nerd, Yale graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill)  set out to prove when he realized that the meager salary cap that his owner gave him for his team couldn’t hold a candle to the one that the  New York Yankees had available to them. Baseball fans, most of whom understand the fine points of the game will appreciate the logic of the idea that three guys who all together get on base as often as the big gun who makes several times all their salaries combined might be better value to draft or hold on the team. This thesis based on real events is played out with drama, humor and much realism assisted by very realistic actors playing baseball, real baseball video clips and the voices of real baseball announcers. Brad Pitt infuses into Billy Beane the determination, inner confidence and likeability that holds the attention of the audience. We shouldn’t forget a very strong  (as usual) supporting role played by Phllip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe, the A’s manager. The movie is directed by Bennett Miller and the screenplay co-written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, the latter being  well known for producing riveting dialog which also characterized this production.  (2011)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Sport

The Social Network

October 3rd, 2010 — 6:13pm

*****

The Social Network-rm – Every aspect of this story and film is handled just about as well as it could be done. The subject matter has to be of interest to the 500 million people who are on Facebook or the millions who are not and are wondering how did all of this ever get started. The captivating story comes from a book titled Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich but the brilliant dialogue comes from the screenplay of  Aaron Sorkin who also wrote the great TV series West Wing. We get a very realistic trip back a few years to the Harvard campus where the very contemporary version of the great American dream is being hatched in a college dormitory. Mark Zuckerberg somewhat of a social misfit himself, is developing this idea for what will ironically become the greatest social networking concept of all time. He is played extremely well by  Jesse Eisenberg whom we remember as the older son in The Squid and The Whale, plays Zuckerberg. The fascinating part of the story is that a bunch of other guys  at Harvard also had some roles in stimulating and developing what was to become a world wide phenomena. While Zuckerberg clearly is the genius here, the Winklevoss brothers and Divya Naregra provided some of the nuclei of the ideas and Eduardo Saverin one of Zuckerberg’s friends actually started off as the business manager and then CFO of the fledgling enterprise. Saverin initially invested the $1000 to start it and then another $18,000 before several the big venture capitalists found it.  In contrast, this movie, about their story cost $50 million. But we digress here because the essence of the story, which will suck you in, is how all these Harvard students plus Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake), a Stanford dropout who himself invented Napster, became entangled ultimately in a multimillion lawsuit at the time that Facebook was worth billions of dollars. The film is directed by  David Fincher, who knows how to transition episodes of time, having directed The Strange Case of Benjamin Button. He cleverly moves back in forth from the high stakes deposition of a law suit being waged about who owns Facebook and how much do they own, back to the events of their college days a few years previously. Zuckerberg is the center of attention here. This film is successful in giving us a good glimpse under the hood of this determined person who is one of those 21st century people who is changing the world as we know it.  (2010)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama, History, Uncategorized

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