Ashton Kutcher is Computer Jesus
Have you heard Bill Burr’s take on Steve Jobs? If not, you can watch it here. Burr can be pretty incendiary, but I’m kind of with him on his assessment of the Jesusification of Steve Jobs. I do think Jobs was a true visionary and that it was his point of view that guided Apple over the years more than any other—just look how badly the company floundered without him when he was forced out in 1985—but I also get his point about the way Apple was marketed. The Tesla/Edison comparison is actually really apt. (The fact that most people barely remember Tesla is maddening.)
The jOBS trailer does little to dispel the myth of Computer Jesus. In fact, with some blatant Christ imagery at play, it doubles-down on the legend of Steve Jobs. This is not the story I’m interested in seeing. Partially because casting Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, despite a surface resemblance, is an immediate handicap, but also because there’s nothing new about this version of Jobs. The Social Network found a way to compel by focusing on how Mark Zuckerberg’s usurping of Eduardo Saverin blew up in his face on several levels, but there’s no such conflict here. This is just the hero’s journey of Steve Jobs, Computer Jesus.
jOBS premiered at Sundance and reviews were middling at best. And given that Kutcher-handicap and the feeling that we’ve seen this story before, it’s no surprise jOBS has an August release date. August is a soft month, home to the tail end of summer’s blockbuster season and the character dramas too weak to compete in the high Oscar season of October-December, like jOBS. A more intriguing story would be how Jobs built the dream team that made everything Apple accomplished possible, even more specifically how he dragged a dying business back from the brink when he returned to the company in 1996. That has to be more compelling than The Adventures of Computer Jesus.