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Eight Reasons You Should Definitely Not See ‘Jobs’ This Weekend
Ellen Cushing | Photo: Jobs | August 16, 2013
We watched it so you won't have to.
1. Ashton Kutcher is just…not good at acting. Which is a problem when you are in 90 percent of a movie’s scenes. Imagine watching Kelso dick around on a computer for two-plus (!!) hours, and then think about the fact that the same person who made Dude, Where’s My Car? is ostensibly portraying one of the Great Minds of Our Generation, and then imagine paying $15 for the privilege. Yeah.
2. In the opening scene, an iPod is described, 100% unironically, as a “tool for the heart."
3. Over at The Dissolve, Nathan Rabin described Jobs as a “hagiography of an asshole,” which is exactly right—though whether it’s by virtue of Kutcher’s performance or the writing, Jobs isn’t even shown to be a very interesting asshole. At two separate moments, he sheds a single tear (first over his parents giving him up for adoption, second over his own decision to abandon his daughter), but beyond that, it’s just a parade of extremely obvious signals telling you how petty and selfish he is, but giving absolutely no motivation. Here's a scene where he fires someone over a font! Here’s another one where another character just straight-up calls him an asshole, in case it hadn’t been clear enough before! Here's a scene where he yells into the phone! Where he yells at an employee! At the sky! At his bosses! To himself, in a car! Here’s one where he tricks his cofounder, Steve Wozniak, out of payment for an early project (because: foreshadowing). And here’s a gratuitously lingering shot of him parking in a handicapped spot (because: symbolism). And another where he’s told “You need to learn to work with others.” (because: asshole). Would you be shocked if I told you the movie was written by a first-time screenwriter?
4. The takeaway of the movie is that Jobs is horrible because he's too busy innovating to be nice. See, the reason he fired a longtime employee for basically no reason is that he just cares too much about quality. And even though he kicked his crying, pregnant, baby-mama out of the house and denied paternity for decades, it's okay because he named a computer after said baby. Besides, great minds don't have time for babies.
5. The movie suggests that Apple was invented as the result of an acid trip in Jobs’ youth. Which would actually be pretty awesome had the scene not involved a disembodied, booming voice telling Jobs that “there’s no time to waste!" as he rolled around in the grass wearing a dashiki.
7. What's with movies doing that thing with the end credits where they show the real people next to the actors that portrayed them, as though we're supposed to be COMPLETELY MIND-BLOWN BY ALL THE MOVIE MAGIC?
8. It’s basically a very long infomercial for Apple. Except you have to pay for it. And its production values are actually worse than a lot of infomercials. When the movie ends (spolier alert, but whatever) with Jobs delivering the voice-over for the iconic “Think Different” advertising campaign as a literal violin swells in the background, we’re truly meant to find this an emotionally satisfying—inspiring even—message, not just, you know, marketing swill that’s been focus-groupped to death and then fed to us by a massive corporation. And when the character of Jony Ive drops in for a few minutes to reveal his design for the iMac, the heavens all but open up, as though he's come up with something closer to a cure for cancer than just a new way to fit plastic together and sell it to people. The personal computer is described, in utter seriousness, as "the wheel! This is freedom!" And that, really, is the problem with Jobs: Apple is the hero of this movie—not exactly Jobs himself, even though all of his behavior is entirely redeemed in the end, and sadly not Steve Wozniak, who could have been the film’s conscience but is ultimately abandoned both by Jobs and Jobs. It’s Apple—the multi-billion-dollar, multi-national megacorporation with an insane market share, an elite user base, and highly questionable ethics. Which isn’t an entirely compelling thing to root for, as much as the film wants us to believe in heart tools and wheels and freedom and assholes. We know how this story ends. Apple may have been an underdog at some point, and it may have beaten the odds, and it's certainly made our lives easier, but it’s not like it’s the Jamaican bobsled team, you know?