Peter Suderman Reviews Jobs

Open Road FilmsOpen Road FilmsIn today's Washington Times, Senior Editor Peter Suderman takes on the first-out-the-gate Steve Jobs biopic, Jobs, which casts Ashton Kutcher in the title role:

Over and over again, as I watched “Jobs,” the new biopic about the founder of Apple, I was reminded of the company’s immense influence on technology, the economy and especially my own life.

Sadly, this was not because of the movie, but because of the iPhone I kept discreetly checking the time on in order to see how long before the film’s ending — which couldn’t come soon enough.

At best, “Jobs” is a tasteful TV movie of the week, bland but competent, inoffensive but inherently forgettable. At worst, it’s a superficial, lackluster gloss on a man whose life deserves far better treatment, and far more scrutiny.

The movie, which stars Ashton Kutcher in the title role, seems content to recount the well-known highlights from Steve Jobs’ extraordinary life. But it adds nothing in the process, and ultimately ends in a failure of nerve.

Read the whole review.

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  • John||

    Aston Kurchner is one of the dumbest people on earth. If he is in any way believable playing Jobs, who everyone agrees was very smart, Kurchner is a hell of a lot better actor than anyone knew.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    dumb enough to earn Millions of dollars.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There are tits that earn that. Just for being tits. I mean, there are more than a few "singers" who are paid for horrific singing but tits.

    In other words, brains and income don't go together in entertainment.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Just so.
    "singers" who know their getting paid for being tits are smart enough to know where the money is.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I bet you Katy Perry has her chest encased in a protective polymer when she's not displaying it to the public.

  • John||

    Mary Hart had her legs insured. I would imagine Perry's boobs have at least a fifty million dollar policy on them.

  • ||

    What do you think her skin tight rubber dresses are for?

  • Almanian!||

    What do you think her skin tight rubber dresses are for?

    For giving me boners. OHHhhhh - you meant.....riiiiight.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oh, I see. Those are polymer tit protection units or PTPUs.

  • John||

    Since when is your income necessarily a reflection of your intelligence? Matthew Yglesias earns some kind of paycheck doesn't he?

  • π-e||

    He's actually very smart and articulate, before acting he was getting a degree in biochemical engineering and I was actually able to catch an interview with him on Charlie rose and he's quite intelligent from what I could gather. Also you gotta give him props for what he said at the teen choice awards the other day.

  • John||

    Then maybe he is a great actor and did an incredible job playing dumb in all of these interviews over the years.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Getting a degree" means jack. Finishing a degree is something else, especially a real degree. Dolph Lundgren has a masters degree in chemical engineering and got a Fulbright scholarship at MIT. He must break you.

  • Brandon||

    What did he say at the teen choice awards?

  • Faceless Commenter||

    The most memorable lines were "Opportunity looks a lot like hard work" and "I was never better than any of my jobs."

    Generally, a word hard, don't quit one job until you have another, all work is respectable whether it's cleaning floors or flipping burgers (which he claims to have done), etc.

    I have the feeling he's sick of groupies and hangers-on wanting free stuff from him.

  • Faceless Commenter||

    oops, 2nd para: "Generally, work hard" etc.

  • Zeb||

    Maybe he is really smart and is just good at convincing people that he is the dumbest person on earth. His acting strengths are certainly in that area. He seems to have done quite well for himself in either case.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, it almost seems like this is a role he really wanted to break out of typecasting.

    But if he is actually smart, you're going to have to explain Demi Moore.

  • John||

    Yeah. I could see banging her just to say you did it. But why someone in his position would have married her is rather unexplainable.

  • ||

    But if he is actually smart, you're going to have to explain Demi Moore.

    I think he just likes having a beard.

  • JW||

    I think I'd rather sit through a double feature of Planes and Elysium, than watch this.

  • Timon 19||

    The promos for this movie make me want to shove an icepick in my ear. It looks, from that aspect, like a hagiography.

    From the review, there isn't much to make me want to see it. I have zero desire to see a series of "highly polished phrases" coming out of Kutcher, but I reckon there will be a lot of fanbois and girls who will eat it up.

  • Timon 19||

    Oh, and them using Baba O'Riley just straight annoys the shit out of me.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Should be Yakkety Sax

  • Pro Libertate||

    If you don't show Jobs' dick side and willingness to take total credit for the work of others, you're missing the best part of the story. He was a smart guy and a great marketer and deserves credit for that, too.

    On the other hand, I didn't see Ben Kingsley banging teenaged girls in Gandhi, either.

  • John||

    And it was less of a movie for it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That movie screams for a sequel. About Gandhi faking his death and becoming a personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas. Banging show girls two at a time, that sort of thing.

  • ||

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, that's more violent than I was thinking, though since we have him in Vegas, there's no reason he couldn't be tied up with the mob.

  • John||

    It is another example of Hollywood making a good movie that could have been a lot better had they not insisted on it being a polemic. The fact that Gandhi was really a weird guy who did some not good things makes his story more interesting not less.

  • Pro Libertate||

    To be fair, he did something really remarkable, and the movie was forever long as it was. I don't need all of the dirt.

  • John||

    Yeah. It is a good movie. I just think a lot of times movies like that are made to beat the audience over the head than tell the story of the protagonist. I was flipping channels the other day and Philadelphia was on. It is not a bad movie. But it really isn't about AIDs or Tom Hanks. It is about straight white people. Tom Hanks really isn't a fully formed person in that movie. You learn nothing about him or much about how he got the disease (other than some BS he only did it once anonymous blowjob story). For all of the acclaim it go, it really sold the gay community and the HIV epidemic totally short. It reduced the whole thing to a club for Hollywood liberals to use on the rest of the country so they could feel better about themselves.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...other than some BS he only did it once anonymous blowjob...

    That reminds me of Basketball Diaries, where (DiCaprio as) the Jim Carroll character took money to get a blowjob from some guy. Yeah... sure. Whatever you say.

  • John||

    Yeah. Men and women both run around paying to give blowjobs all of the time. Heroin addicts especially are known to take advantage of people who pay to give blowjobs.

    Wow. I guess the studio people didn't want audiences seeing Leo giving head.

  • grrizzly||

    Women, perhaps, would never consider paying to give a blowjob, but some men would certainly do.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Didn't John Buck get paid to GET a BJ in midnight cowboy as well, or am I remembering that wrong?

  • ||

    On the other hand, I didn't see Ben Kingsley banging teenaged girls in Gandhi, either.

    Yeah, they left this part out of that movie

  • Pro Libertate||

    I mean, what do you expect from some attorney? I bet the whole "freeing India" thing was just to drum up business for his practice.

  • Timon 19||

    Oh, of course he should be credited for his marketing prowess.

    A biopic that is hagiography, though, is useless. And something that will rile up the cult should make anyone not in that cult very, very annoyed.

  • ||

    I don't think it's a stretch to say that as soon as it was announced that Kutcher was playing Jobs, many of us immediately assumed it was going to be a pointless and dull movie.

    Jobs would need someone like Milos Forman for a proper "biopic". The guy who did ones about Larry Flynt, Mozart, Goya, and Andy Kaufman might be able to pull it off.

  • John||

    From the people I know that read the biography, David Mehmet needs to write it. Jobs was a first class asshole. He seems to have been a real life Black from Glenngary Glenn Ross. Hard to imagine an amiable doofus like Kurchner playing one of the most unpleasant people in American industrial history.

  • ||

    David Mehmet

    David Mamet?

  • John||

    Yes. Not his cousin who was an Ottoman Sultan.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "You know what it takes to sell computers? Brass balls."

  • ||

    "Chai lattes are for closers!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's funny, I read that as Ottoman State. I'm sorry, The Ottoman State University.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Going on ninety years of probation now, it's been a tough century for them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, well, their recruiting violations with the Armenians were pretty severe. They're lucky they didn't get the death penalty.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That wasn't a biopic for Mozart. Almost everything in it was total fiction. Good movie, though.

  • ||

    Yes, but it was fiction written by Peter Shaffer and is therefore awesome. Besides, they don't know enough about Mozart to do a biopic without a lot of shit made up.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They know enough to know that the play/movie was bullshit, from a factual perspective.

    Though it's really a good movie, anyway. It doesn't get enough love, if you ask me.

  • John||

    Neither does Tom Hulce. What happened to him? Animal House, then an Oscar for playing Mozart and then he dropped off the face of the earth.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He's an attorney in Vegas, banging show girls two at a time. He inherited Gandhi's practice.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yeah, he did The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Disney, and then it was like he fell off the face of the planet.

  • ||

    I saw it in the theater as a kid and was blown away. I have watched it many, many times since. Forman is a fucking amazing director.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Agreed. Amadeus was brilliantly cast with many people who initially seemed odd for their roles, too.

  • John||

    Speaking of underrated actors...F Murry Abraham. He was fantastic in that movie and a lot of other things.

  • Pro Libertate||

    He got Best Supporting Actor, I think, for that role. He did some stuff after that but faded.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    "Danny said not to trust you. He said you killed Moe Zart"

  • BakedPenguin||

    F Murry Abraham. He was fantastic in that movie and a lot of other things.

    I was watching the director's commentary for The Name of the Rose, (Abraham's next movie after Amadeus) and the guy who directed it said he was a complete shit. He said Abraham was bitter as hell over every piece of dirt he'd received in his career as an actor, and thought it was now his time to make other people's life miserable.

    In a way, I can believe it, because he was so good as the bitter artist in Amadeus.

    Also, Salieri's music wasn't that bad. It just wasn't that good.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've heard he was an ass, too. Too bad.

    Salieri's music wasn't as hopeless as the movie suggests, and I believe some of it survived him by a while.

  • ||

    Yeah, Pinto as Mozart? Yet he was amazing.

  • John||

    Mozart kind of was Pinto. Immature guy, thrown into the giant frat party that was Imperial Vienna.

  • kinnath||

    I had no fucking clue that Hulce was in Animal House. Never made that connection.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You need to go watch it right now to refresh your recollection.

  • John||

    The connection I never made for decades was that the actress that played the hot 14 year old that Hulce knocked up in Animal House went on to play the annoying Irish love interest in Caddyshack. She was smoking hot in Animal House and just fucking average and painfully annoying in every scene in Caddyshack. I never had any idea it was the same actress. Who shortly after had some kind of a mental break down, went to rehab, changed her name and disappeared forever. No kidding. Her name was Sarah Holcomb. And last I heard no one knows where she is.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Never knew that. Huh.

  • PapayaSF||

    Here's a story by someone who encountered her.

    Me, I had the hots for Verna Bloom as Marion Wormer.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Are you trying to tell me Barton Fink wasn't a biopic?

  • ||

    It's a biopic in the same fashion that Action Jackson is a biopic.

    "How do you like your ribs?"

  • ||

    I'd like to see what Werner Herzog would do with it, or Darren Aronofsky.

  • John||

    Wim Wenders. Jobs would be utterly evil and brooding the entire movie.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Werner Herzog is working on a gritty reboot of Captain Kangaroo. This time, in German. The Captain has a strange past, with hints that he was in the SS, though never confirmed. Moose is a Jew.

  • ||

    Go on. Tell me about Mr. Green Jeans.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Herr Green Jeans is a Frenchman, who was scarred during his time as a POW in Vietnam. His son is a musical celebrity in the United States, but they are hopelessly estranged. He is a talented though haunted painter.

  • ||

    Did you know that The Banana Man was created by a guy named Adolf? It's true; look it up.

    (I'm not kidding it's really true)

  • ||

    Interesting choices, but Forman has proven he can do this very well. I love Man on the Moon. I miss Andy.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I told you, he's either Obama or the guy who runs the teleprompter. He'll never admit to the goof or to being alive, either.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    My Andy Kaufman conpiracy theory is that he got a sex change and is now Ann Coulter.

  • creech||

    Consider the source, but someone was on Fox and Friends this morning praising Kutcher's acting ability ("he's come a long way since 70s show) and what a great impersonation of Jobs he did.

  • John||

    He looks a lot like him. And who says Fox can't review movies?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njos57IJf-0

  • kinnath||

    The real irony is that Steve Jobs was one of the most ruthless capitalists ever to walk the face of the planet. And yet he is idolized by all the statist, hipster fucks that can't figure out how to pay off their student loans.

  • John||

    But his stuff was so cool. Hipster fucks are too retarded to have a coherent ideology. They are only capable of fashion.

  • kinnath||

    Part of Jobs brilliance was creating beautiful products and then convincing people that should have been appalled by his business practices that they couldn't live without those products.

  • John||

    He understood the appeal of brand and exclusivity. Owning an Apple was a way of communicating something about yourself. I have to give him credit, he really understood a certain type of douche bag.

  • kinnath||

    Yes he did. By the way, that is what empathy really is, and why con artists have it in spades.

  • John||

    People always assume that having empathy means you will have sympathy for someone. It can mean that. But it can also mean that you know what people want to hear.

  • kinnath||

    You can totally relate to what someone else is thinking and feeling, and still not give a shit about that person's well being.

    And caring about someone's well being isn't all that conducive to getting 500 bucks out of him or her for a device that never existing before yesterday.

  • Faceless Commenter||

    Isn't the irony also that Jobs was a statist, hipster fuck himself? Exported his manufactures to China while helping to install Democrats in Sacramento and D.C.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Jobs was admirable in that he worked his ass off turning his talents into a real skills, and actually managed a company in a meaningful and knowledgeable way when his peers were aspiring to be high-rolling parasites. But one of the first things you notice about him is that he's an asshole with huge personal problems. I wonder if these people who claim him as a role model actually know anything about him.

    He was right about LSD, though.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If someone did a film about the real Steve Jobs, the marketing genuius who made himself famous taking credit for other people's work, and somehow making himself a hero while being an unmitigated asshole to everyone he met, I'd go see it. Especially if it considered the internal contradiction that allowed him to become a liberal icon while basically running his company like a stereotypical 1920s evil businessman.

    What I have no interested is this movie, in which Kutcher sucks Jobs cock so much it's practially gay porn.

  • John||

    And the irony is that Jobs, for all of his genius, was such an asshole and so greedy and proprietary he managed to lose out to Microsoft even though he had the better product. That is a pretty good trick when you think about. You made the better mousetrap but still got your ass kicked. And that is exactly what happened to Jobs and Apple in the 80s.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    His COMPANY had the better product. That's the thing that annoys me about Steve Jobs revisionism. He had no technical skills whatsoever, yet he's constantly credited as having "invented" things. Telling Steve Wozniak to go design something and then taking credit for it doesn't make you an inventor.

    He was actually quite contemptful of actual engineers and scientists, because the ability to actually do something held no importance to him. It was all about appearance.

  • John||

    But Wozniak is not good looking and doesn't do talk shows well.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Yeah, Jobs basically never invented a damn thing. What he did well was, he had a thorough enough understanding of his field that he could make good estimates about what was good and what was going to turn out to be crap. For a technology executive, that's practically a superpower.

    He was contemptuous of most of his engineers because he only knew how to relate to extremely assertive people with strong opinions. So he was contemptuous of humans in general, really. There are some interesting parallels between Jobs and Ayn Rand.

    About half of what was good about the original Macintosh was that it was Jobs' vision of the ideal computer incarnated into this frail world of becoming. The other half was good despite him.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, that's not the whole story. People forget, but the real "killer apps" on the Mac that really got them going were Word and Excel (and, to a lesser extent, Pagemaker).

    MS did far more to get PCs into homes and businesses with useful, if annoying, applications, and they were the most important applications on Macs for a long time. Not really close.

    Where Apple succeeded was in mobile devices, and it's done a very good job there. Far better than it ever did in personal computing. I think it's about to be crowded out in tablets like it is in phones, but that'll take a while, and they have plenty of time to work on some new marketing and technology angles.

  • kinnath||

    The killer apps on Mac were MS applications.

  • kinnath||

    The killer app on PCs was Lotus 1 2 3. And it took MS along time to get Excel into widespread adoption on the PC.

    I remember making the transition, Excel sucked for quite a while.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Me, too. In the late 80s, I was using the Lotus commands in Excel (which MS quite smartly provided) and bitching about it not being as good.

  • kinnath||

    DOS, Word Perfect, and Lotus. Standard desktop computer in the 80's. Windows was nice when it came, but the transition to Office sucked for some time. It did get much better eventually.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I still miss Reveal Codes.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Word Perfect 5.1, baby!

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I had a job in the mid 90's that actually entailed using Super Calc. It was like using an etch a sketch

  • Pro Libertate||

    VisiCalc.

  • PapayaSF||

    PageMaker and the Apple LaserWriter were HUGE. They created desktop publishing.

  • JWS||

    What I find interesting about this film is that it wasn't created to stroke the ego of its subject (he's dead, duh), it was created to stroke the egos of those who believe the subject is deserving of their sychophantic love and adoration.

  • kinnath||

    Ah, the "first" Barack Obama then.

  • Faceless Commenter||

    Thank god it's lousy. I didn't want to pay to see the successfully capitalist Democrat propagandist Ashton Kutcher play the successfully capitalist Democrat propagandist Steve Jobs.

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