“All hail the mighty Aaron Sorkin. Long may he gift us with his screenplays.
Yes, I’m a Sorkin fangirl (could you tell?). Strangely, I think it was an impulse buy of an irresistably cheap boxset of Studio 60 that turned me onto him. By the time I finally got around to The West Wing (which incidentally is what finally pushed me to get netflix), I had been long converted, and his generally accepted to be best work was like a delicious and decadent dessert.
Up to this point, it was his dialog that most impressed me. Wordy but insightful and clever. Not every actor could handle it, but the ones that could were elevated to an even higher level of awesome (how many Emmys did Allison Janey win?). I love his complex and flawed characters, and the compelling situations he puts them in. They’re always so unapologetic and bold, and able to command such great attention, which is needed for the previously mentioned wordy dialog.
Watching Steve Jobs, I came to appreciate Sorkin’s ability to structure a script. The majority of biopics are these big sprawling epics, trying to fit as many events into 2 hours as possible, cradle to grave, womb to tomb, sperm to worm. Lately, there’s been a trend of going the Lincoln route and focusing on one event or specific time period. Sorkin did something different with Steve Jobs. He chose 3 events, or rather, the build up to those three events. In this case, the events were 3 different product launches throughout his career. The scenes played out in real time (a gimmick I’ve always loved, I mean, I was a 24 fan) with minimal flashback peppered in. Sorkin tied the three together with some common themes, and really focused in on those he could carry out. It worked brilliantly.
Now of course, coming in on the heels (okay 2 years later) of another mainstream film about Steve Jobs, there’s gonna be a lot of comparisons. I’m sure even sight unseen, everyone will feel that this later one is superior, as they should. Danny Boyle directing Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, of course that wins. However, while the two featured most of the same characters and touched on a lot of the same events, they’re wildly different. Jobs did go the full biopic route, starting from the garage whence Apple was started thru the launch of the iPod. One key difference was in how Jobs himself was depicted. Before, while we did see some flaws, he was mostly put up on a pedestal, revered as a god for his contributions to technology. Clearly, some Apple fanboys were behind it. The current film, on the other hand, was not afraid to tear him down and show him as a fallible human. And that, I think is far more interesting. There’s so much more to explore and convey, and even despite its limited scope, gives the filmmakers and the audience so much more to sink their teeth into.
And yes, phenomenal cast. Fassbender is currently at the forefront of the conversations for Best Actor. While I certainly support him for a nomination, I’m not that sold on a win yet (though he would deserve it). There wasn’t quite the emotional arc I like to see in my leads, so I’m holding out to see the rest of the pack before placing my bets. (Plus, I’m holding on to hope that maybe it’s finally Leo’s year). Winslet, despite a little accent trouble (could not catch it at all in the first act), owns her role. Her character is viewed as the only person who can stand up to Jobs, and Winslet may well be the only actress who could stand up to Fassbender. And even though The Newsroom may be over, it’s good to see Jeff Daniels get a little bit more of Sorkin’s crisp dialog to savor. Rumor has it, instead of using the film’s screenplay, auditions were done scenes from The Newsroom. Clearly, Daniels is the current Sorkin champion.
As with the previous film, my favorite real life character in the whole thing was Steve Wozniak. Last time, when played by Josh Gad, he was the real heart of the film, and the only reason I’d ever suggest anyone should bother watching. This time, Seth Rogen decided to follow in the footsteps of his friends Jonah Hill and James Franco, and he took on this serious (for him) role. I loved him. Yes he provided the heart of the film once again, but more than that, Rogen nailed the absolute joy that perpetually emanates from Woz. I say this, having seen Woz on DWTS a few seasons back. The boy couldn’t dance to save his life, but you’d be hard pressed to find a happier guy trying. It is quite a stretch for the usually sarcastic man child comic (and not just because his voice is a couple octaves lower than Woz), but he nailed his spirit and even some of the mannerisms. Woz has stated that while most of the specific conversations depicted didn’t actually happen as such, the general feel and direction of them was accurate for the time. It’s always wonderful for the real life subject of a film to give their approval, if for no other reason than it can lead to some wonderful promotion of the film, besides just the street cred it gives it.
And thus begins the Oscar race! Any bets as to how many this’ll be up for? Screenplay should be a given. Lead actor is a definite possibility. What else?
Steve Jobs – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”