Sunday, September 13, 2015

Steve Jobs. Again.

Universal Pictures is marketing the heck out of "Steve Jobs," a movie to be released in theaters next month.  

I realized that this morning when the New York Times arrived with an eight-page special "Steve Jobs" section on premium paper with a special double-fold format that was long on pictures and focused largely on names:  "from the director of slumdog millionaire," "from the screenwriter of the social network." 

Later, when the Significant Other was getting ready for the day, there were advertisements on CNN's morning political shows.  

Say this much: Universal wants to be sure that everyone with a functioning brain knows about the movie. It is based on Walter Isaacson's authorized (but unedited by its subject) biography that was published in 2011.  Sony Pictures bought the screen rights that year for $1 million, with promises of double the money to the author based on future proceeds. Then, after some unexplained dithering, Sony released the rights to Universal for a reported $30 million in November 2014.  

(This has been a good year for Universal.  Its earlier releases -- "50 Shades of Grey,"  "Furious 7" and "Jurassic World" -- have racked up sales into the billions of dollars.)

In addition to the major ad campaign, the film, starring Michael Fassbender, is the scheduled centerpiece of the New York Film Festival in an October 3 showing.  It will hit theaters six days later.

The scriptwriter is Aaron Sorkin, known for "The West Wing" on television and the movie, "The Social Network," about Mark Zuckerberg, a few years back.  

(As films go, this is a pretty big deal.  The only more-anticipated 2015 release left is Disney's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" on December 18, which people in the know think could have the biggest opening of all time.)

There was an earlier, 2013 picture, "Jobs," starring Ashton Kutcher that did not find a broad audience.  In addition, a Steve Jobs documentary is due for release later this year.

At the risk of sounding incurious or stupid, I will admit that I don't plan to see this movie.  Here's why:

     1.  I have been reading about Steve Jobs in the news for what seems like my 
          entire life.  I know the story -- building and marketing a computer with Woz, 
          being tossed from Apple for a Pepsi marketer, LISA, Pixar (several of whose 
          creators I knew), the return to Apple, the personality conflicts, the illness, the death. 

     2.  I know the book. "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson -- was released in late 
          October of 2011.  Amazon sold 379,000 copies (one to me) in its first 
           week. Even with its late-in-the-year release, it was Amazon's best-selling book 
          of the year.  I read all 565 pages.  Among people who are curious about Jobs, 
          is there anyone left who hasn't read that book?  Is there anything left to say?

     3.  I'm not interested in the script.  While I enjoyed screenwriter Sorkin's snappy dialog
          in some earlier ventures, his last outing, "The Newsroom," which began its HBO run
          in 2012, was the most awful, embarrassing romcom/noble-newsie/hack story I 
          have ever seen.  It has put me off television to this day.  I'm certainly not willing to 
          buy a movie ticket for to see what might be more of the same.

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