Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin‘s Steve Jobs (’15) bothered me from the get-go. It was close to three years ago when I saw it for the first time (at Telluride), and after re-thinking and re-thinking it again, I realized that it didn’t work for two principal reasons.
One, the relentless use of “Sorkin walk-and-talks.” (I don’t remember at what point I flinched in my seat and almost stood up and said aloud, “Are they gonna walk and talk through this whole damn movie?”) And two, Michael Fassbender. I was just starting to realize how much I disliked the guy because of those cold fuck-you eyes of his. From a 8.28.16 riff called “Shorter Steve Jobs Review”: ‘I know this is a class-A enterprise with a sharp Sorkin script, but how much longer do I have hang with this prick?'”
In short, Andrew Saladino‘s “12 Angry Men: A Lesson In Staging,” a seven minute and 41-second video essay, reminded me how much I disliked Steve Jobs. Because of those infuriating walk-and-talks (and how more inventive and confident 12 Angry Men director Sidney Lumet was at shooting straight-dialogue scenes), and, yes, because of that super-prick Fassbender.
The full thing: “It’s taken me almost a full year to fully refine my 2015 Telluride Film Festival review of Danny Boyle‘s Steve Jobs to its essence. To really boil it down, I mean, and come to a clearer understanding of what I was getting at.
“Jobs is a three-act ‘talk opera’ (Sasha Stone‘s term) or ‘verbal action film’ (a guy at Universal suggested that one) or aggressive cine-theatre (my own) but also a film that, for me, feels more impressively conceived and poundingly ambitious than affecting or, truth be told, likable.
“You have to take each film by its own scheme and determinations, and with a film as aggressively verbal and drill-bitty as Steve Jobs terms like “affecting” and “likable” are almost certainly beside the point. With a film like this you either you jump on the luge and submit to the speed and the brain-cell exhilaration…or you don’t. And what would be the damn point of not submitting to it?
“I jumped on, all right, and by the end of the two-hour ride I felt tingly and throbbing and, yes, a bit drained and also a teeny bit sorry that I wasn’t as delighted as I’d expected to be. Which I fully concede is at least partly my fault as I’d fallen head-over-heels in love with Sorkin’s script two or three months ago. Dazzled by it, glad-to-be-alive contact highs, ‘this is what brilliance feels like,’ etc.
“You see a certain movie in your head when you’re reading a highly charged, original-attitude script, and then you see the film’s version and it’s like, ‘Oh…well, okay, this is how they saw it.’ It never bored me, it kept me on my toes, it delivers a kind of hammerhead contact high…but I wasn’t feeling that levitational thing.
“You know what would be interesting some day? To see Steve Jobs performed on stage. I’m not sure that film is/was the best format for Sorkin’s screenplay.”