Back in 2013, I won free tickets to the first Hollywood Steve Jobs film, the critically panned 'JOBS' featuring Ashton Kutcher. Before I went in to see that movie, I only knew about Steve Jobs from the news and friends. In fact, I used to go to a church that brought up Steve Jobs a few times during sermons around the time that he died.
I went in to the movie because the tickets were free, but came out inspired, not because of the life of Jobs, which was certainly not something to model oneself after, but his ideas on life which are perfectly summed up in his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address. Having been influenced by him, I would introduce myself to others as "Steve, like Steve Jobs."
When I heard that Aaron Sorkin, writer of 'The Social Network', another one of my favorite movies was going to write a biopic based on Jobs, I was immediately intrigued. Like most things, the script leaked, and being the curious person I am, I downloaded and read the entire thing in one sitting. The script itself read like a stage play; three acts taking place 30 minutes before three product launches: Macintosh (1984), NeXT Computer (1988), and iMac (1998), and focused on his relationships with a few key people in his life (Woz, his daughter Lisa and her mother, John Sculley and a journalist from GQ), albeit fictionalized. After having read the script, I knew this was going to be one of my favorite movies.
I first saw Steve Jobs on October 22nd at a late Thursday release with my brother. My initial reaction was much like when I read the script. It left me impressed with the experimental style presented in the screenplay, but at the same time felt too much like Birdman, which wasn't my favorite movie ever. Something that I couldn't get over at the time was how little Michael Fassbender resembled Jobs, but he played the part well enough.
The second time I saw it on October 24th. This time I saw it with a friend I worked with who shares my passion for design and marketing, much like Steve Jobs. This time, I was particularly excited to see my favorite scene in the film again - a shouting match between Steve Jobs and John Sculley (played by Jeff Daniels), the former Pepsi CEO who joined Apple and ousted Jobs from the company. The crescendo of dialogue and music made for a compelling 10 minutes of cinema that feels just like a Michael Bay scene if Bay replaced explosions with words. It was also this screening that I noticed Fassbender resembled Jobs; but only during the scenes where he wore a turtleneck, if I squinted , and Fassbender's back was to the camera.
Screening three took place a few weeks later on November 5th. My good friend of 9 years agreed to see it with me. Since we are both film students, we took note of cool camera angles, different technical aspects and memorable lines, including "You didn't have seconds, you had three weeks, the universe was built in a third of that time." As I watched I compared the relationship between Joanna Hoffman, member of the original Macintosh team, and Steve to the relationship I had with my friend, which was ying and yang like in most aspects. To me, this connection made the film much more personal, and it was after this viewing that 'Steve Jobs' was solidified as one of my favorite films of 2015, and one of my favorite films in general.
The last time I saw the film was November 13th. This was after Universal announced that it had pulled the film from 2,000 theatres due to low attendance. I saw it at a small theatre that plays mainly indie films, and I saw it with my family. It was at this screening that I realized many of the historical inaccuracies with the film, such as the fact that Joanna Hoffman wasn't an Apple employee at the time of the iMac, but knowing this was a sensationalized history of Jobs, I wasn't bothered too much. After all it is just a movie.
Afterwards, I became sad. All of the theatres in my city no longer showed the film, and neither did this little art house. The sadness didn't come from not being able to see the film, as all good times must come to an end, but rather knowing that the early exit from theatre could mean a longer than usual wait for the DVD. However, like ying and yang, there is good that comes with bad, and I can take pride that I'm likely one of the very few people that saw 'Steve Jobs' four times before it disappeared from the big screen.