Anthony Sacramone writes: My guess is that the secondary story line, about Lisa, Jobs’s daughter, whom Jobs had rejected, denied having even fathered, is somehow a parallel to, or the catalyst for, the primary story line, which is to say that Jobs “accidentally” fathered Lisa, but intentionally fathered… 59 more words…
“There was an over-inflated sense of how well this film could do. Its only chance now is to gain awards traction.”
— Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations
The strikingly literate biopic about the Apple co-founder was brilliant she noted, but after Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale passed on the title role, it lacked a major star, limiting its commercial prospects. In the end, Pascal, whose job was already threatened by a string of flops like “After Earth” and “White House Down,” couldn’t justify the risk.
Fast-forward nearly a year. Pascal is out of a job, “Steve Jobs” has debuted to rapturous reviews, and the film is a strong Oscar contender. It’s every bit as good as Pascal thought it would be, but the then Sony chief’s wariness also appears to have been entirely justified.
“Steve Jobs” was too brainy, too cold, and too expensive to make it a success. Moreover, Michael Fassbender, the electrifying Irish actor who replaced Bale as Jobs, lacks the drawing power to open the picture.
Too ‘brainy, too cold, too expensive’ to make it a success? Oh, please. I prefer John Nolte’s analysis:
Everything other than the father-daughter story is subplot, and this wouldn’t be terribly interesting even if it were true. But it’s not true. Sorkin made it all up. Also fabricated is the central conflict between Jobs and Wozniak. Missing is Jobs’ legendary ability to inspire greatness from those around him. Jobs was no angel, few successful people are, but this still feels like a smear job.
Basically, Sorkin used the name Steve Jobs and the historical beats of the man’s life to tell a fictional story about a bunch of rich white people, their personal problems and eccentricities and hang-ups….(read more)
After racking up the year’s best per-screen average in its opening weekend and doing strong business in limited expansion, “Steve Jobs” hit a stumbling block in its national release. It debuted to a measly $7.3 million, only a little more than the $6.7 million that “Jobs,” a critically derided film about the iPhone father with Ashton Kutcher, made in its initial weekend. Going into the weekend, some tracking suggested that the picture would do as much as $19 million.
So what went wrong?
Universal believes that the picture can recover. Studio executives note that it is popular in major urban markets like San Francisco and New York, and argue that the film’s A minus CinemaScore means word-of-mouth will be strong. If it can stay in theaters until Golden Globe and Oscar nominations are announced, they believe it can rebound.
“We are going to continue to support the film in the markets where it is showing strength and we’re going to continue to do it aggressively and proactively,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “The critics are there for it and the buzz in these markets is strong.”
It’s still hard to see how the film turns a profit. Read the rest of this entry »
Sorkin, who wrote the screenplay for Danny Boyle’s film about Cook’s predecessor as head of the technology firm, told E! News: “You know what, I think that Tim Cook and I probably both went a little too far. And I apologise to Tim Cook. I hope when he sees the movie, he enjoys it as much as I enjoy his products.”
The Social Network and West Wing screenwriter’s apology came after he was drawn into a war of words with Cook following the latter’s appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this month. During his appearance, the Apple boss described recent attempts to immortalise Jobs on the big screen – he was referring to both Steve Jobs and the current Alex Gibney documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine – as “opportunistic”, adding: “I hate that, it’s not a great part of our world.”
Sorkin hit back at a roundtable junket interview in London last week, suggesting that the film-makers took pay cuts to get Steve Jobs made, and blasting Apple’s own record. Read the rest of this entry »
With Toronto the latest sprocket opera to add episodic programming to its lineup, our critics revisit the old film-vs.-TV debate.
PETER DEBRUGE: Looks like Toronto is the latest film festival to add a television section to its lineup. These days, everywhere from Sundance to SXSW to the Canadian “festival of festivals,” smallscreen content is getting a big push, which is intriguing — and even ironic — for all sorts of reasons (ironic because the state of distribution being what it is, many of the films in Toronto will end up trickling down to VOD, rather than ever getting a commercial theatrical run). On one hand, the trend isn’t exactly new: Classy longform features like “Carlos” (which premiered at Cannes in 2010), “Top of the Lake” (Sundance 2013) and “Olive Kitteridge” (Venice 2014) made their bows at top-tier film fests before going on to air as miniseries on Canal Plus, BBC Two and HBO, respectively.
“There are many, after all, who have argued that the traditional line separating TV and cinema has ceased to exist for some time now, and that the ongoing creative renaissance in television largely puts all but the very best new movies to shame.”
But Toronto’s Primetime program — like SXSW’s Episodics, which launched last year — represents something different: Rather than expanding the definition of “film” to include projects that were “made for TV” (such as Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic, “Behind the Candelabra”), festivals are carving out dedicated sidebars to celebrate this competing medium. Since its invention, television has been luring eyes away from the cinema. And now, at Toronto, audiences can go watch an episodic series pilot on the bigscreen, after which they’ll have to patiently wait until the series arrives on TV to see what happens next.
[Read the full story here, at Variety]
JUSTIN CHANG: As someone who makes too little time for television even outside the film-festival circuit, I confess that the addition of Toronto’s Primetime slate (which, full disclosure, was curated by our mutual friend Michael Lerman) will have little bearing on my schedule this September — or yours, Peter, given that our assignment in Toronto will be to see and review as much in the way of new cinema as we possibly can. Read the rest of this entry »
Universal Studios has just released the first trailer for the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic. The trailer gives us our first on-screen look at star Michael Fassbender as the Apple co-founder, along with Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Mac engineer Joanna Hoffman, and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley….(read more)
Eric Thurm writes: TV is an odd mishmash of a medium. It shares enough qualities with film that we can use the word “cinematic” as a blanket compliment, yet its traditional broadcast model more closely resembles radio. In fact, with the advent of original programming from online-only platforms, it’s increasingly difficult to tell what, exactly, TV is.
“At its core, that self-reflexivity is rooted in anxiety for the future—as well it should be. Because as it turns out, the end of Mad Men is not the end of TV, but rather the end of a particular era for the medium, one that has been repeatedly canonized in books like Brett Martin’s ‘Difficult Men’ and Alan Sepinwall’s ‘The Revolution was Televised’.”
Maybe that’s why, dating back to The Mary Tyler Moore Show, TV is so often about itself. There’s a long history of scripted TV that’s about making TV. Yet, for all the literal examples of it—Sports Night, 30 Rock—Mad Men, which returns for its final seven episodes on Sunday, is the most self-reflexive series of them all.
[Order Brett Martin’s book “Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad“ from Amazon.com]
Mad Men‘s ad firm Sterling Cooper & Partners (né Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, né the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency) is itself a representation of the process of making television. The writers’ room pitches, the long nights, the fights with executives over the creative integrity of material that, with varying degrees of explicitness, is ultimately about selling products. Many of the show’s most triumphant moments come not from interpersonal dynamics, but the act of intellectual conception—being struck by writerly inspiration, often in a room full of people trying to come up with their own perfect idea.
And the show’s behind-the-scenes dynamics become manifest in its characters. Critic Todd VanDerWerff has described episodes as “fan fiction Matt Weiner is writing about his own writers’ room,” something that’s especially apparent in the relationship between Don Draper and his protege-turned-peer, Peggy Olson.
“The writers’ room pitches, the long nights, the fights with executives over the creative integrity of material that, with varying degrees of explicitness, is ultimately about selling products.”
Their tempestuous creative partnership prompts fights over the ownership of everything from ad campaigns to each other’s careers, culminating in the infamous “That’s what the money is for!” scene from “The Suitcase”—an episode in which they argue over what you can and cannot do on TV.
In later seasons of the show, even that layer of metaphor has fallen away; the show has become much more explicit in enacting its own struggle to surpass the limitations of TV storytelling. In particular, the merger between Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and onetime rival agency Cutler, Gleason, and Chaough is a self-conscious solution to the problem of keeping Peggy on the show once she had naturally grown past the point of needing Don as a mentor and professional champion.
“Many of the show’s most triumphant moments come not from interpersonal dynamics, but the act of intellectual conception—being struck by writerly inspiration, often in a room full of people trying to come up with their own perfect idea.”
Don and Betty may have gotten divorced, but their relationship is effectively unchanged from what it was in Season 1—because to send her offstage is to deny Don his true moral foil. Will any of these characters ever change?
Maybe not, but they’ll certainly keep trying, and stay painfully aware of their failures. Matthew Weiner and his staff threaten change, but it’s never real; they’re just daring us to confront what would happen if the status quo ever seriously shifted. And it’s all so artfully done that Mad Men more than justifies the level of Talmudic recap coverage it has historically received.
“Indeed, many of today’s prestige shows feel like the creative efforts of people who watched ‘Mad Men’, ‘The Sopranos’, and ‘Breaking Bad’ and then tried to replicate them without understanding what actually made them so good.”
But at its core, that self-reflexivity is rooted in anxiety for the future—as well it should be. Because as it turns out, the end of Mad Men is not the end of TV, but rather the end of a particular era for the medium, one that has been repeatedly canonized in books like Brett Martin’s Difficult Men and Alan Sepinwall’s The Revolution was Televised. The Difficult Men narrative of “visionary” showrunners provides a picture of what Good TV is supposed to look like, and how it’s supposed to be made: by exacting geniuses like Don Draper. Read the rest of this entry »
Sorkin Movie Quotes Steve Jobs: ‘If a fire causes a stampede to the unmarked exits, it will have been worth it to those who survive’Posted: April 3, 2015
While we haven’t gotten many details about the Aaron Sorkin-penned screenplay based on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, we have previously learned that it will focus on three separate days in the life of the Apple co-founder, with each 30-minute act taking place just before a major product announcement. We also know that Michael Fassbender will star alongside Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kate Winslet, Perla Haney-Jardine, and Jeff Daniels.
Today we got our hands on a copy of the screenplay (or at least a February 2014 draft of it) which reveals what many already may have already suspected based on previous reports: the three products Jobs will unveil during the biopic are the original Macintosh, the NeXT Cube, and the iMac.
[The movie hits theaters on October 9th]
The film opens with the launch of the Macintosh and a key scene in which Andy Hertzfeld and Joanna Hoffman attempt to convince Steve Jobs to cut the iconic “Hello, I am Macintosh” moment from the computer’s demo due to a voice synthesizer problem. “The first rule of a launch is nothing can crash,” Hoffman says.
That’s followed up by a humorous moment in which Jobs tries to convince his team to turn off the exit signs above the doors to totally darken the room during the event. He even offers to pay whatever fines the fire marshal imposes. “If a fire causes a stampede to the unmarked exits, it will have been worth it to those who survive,” Jobs quips. Read the rest of this entry »
Nick Gillespie writes: A show that was once darkly great has descended into prosaic moralism. God save us from fictional pols who are serious about jobs programs.
Is anybody else kinda-sorta done with House of Cards? Not literally but figuratively. Season three is a real letdown, but not because the Netflix series is, in the words of one reviewer, too “bleak” or negative or dark.
“House of Cards is going softer than President Frank Underwood’s gut. The first two seasons were a palate-cleansing, tit-for-tat inversion of Aaron Sorkin’s cloyingly earnest West Wing, where even the bad guys tended to be good-hearted, if ideologically misguided.”
It’s the exact opposite: House of Cards is going softer than President Frank Underwood’s gut. The first two seasons were a palate-cleansing, tit-for-tat inversion of Aaron Sorkin’s cloyingly earnest West Wing, where even the bad guys tended to be good-hearted, if ideologically misguided.
But in just three seasons of House of Cards we’ve gone from Underwood (Kevin Spacey) not thinking twice about shoving under a train the unethical journalist he was fucking to a world where he actually takes seriously the idea of a federally funded jobs program that will—finally! seriously! emphatically!—end unemployment as we know it. He actually seems to earnestly want to do something for people and not simply because it will give him more power. Hell, at one point, he echoes FDR talking about how the “country needs bold, persistent experimentation” to turn the economy around and approaches his “America Works” program as something other than the shovel-ready malarkey the old Frank would have gleefully exulted.
Do we really want the characters in House of Cards to start developing consciences and to grow into moral actors? Please, the whole kick of the show is precisely that its universe is inhabited only by ethical gargoyles.
Even more disappointing is the devolution of First Lady Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) from a ruthless operator who puts Agrippina the Younger to shame into a latter-day Lady Macbeth filled with doubts about her and her husband’s patently unredeemable actions. “We’re murderers, Francis,” she says at one point in the new season—as if that’s a bad thing.
What’s going on here might be called the “Archie Bunker Effect,” and it’s no prettier than when All in the Family’s protagonist would belch loudly after chugging a beer while sitting in his favorite living room chair. When All in the Family started in the early 1970s, its protagonist was supposed to hold up a mirror to America and depict the petty and base racism, sexism, you-name-it-ism of the working class. Bless their hearts, Hollywood big shots such as creator Norman Lear just wanted to ennoble the little people.
“He actually seems to earnestly want to do something for people and not simply because it will give him more power. Hell, at one point, he echoes FDR talking about how the ‘country needs bold, persistent experimentation’ to turn the economy around and approaches his ‘America Works’ program as something other than the shovel-ready malarkey the old Frank would have gleefully exulted.”
“By giving bigotry a human face, Lear believed, his show could help liberate American TV viewers. He hoped that audiences would embrace Archie but reject his beliefs,” wrote The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum in an essay inspired by Saul Austerlitz’s 2014 book Sitcom. But as Nussbaum puts it, “‘A funny thing happened on the way to TV immortality: audiences liked Archie,’ Austerlitz writes. ‘Not in an ironic way, not in a so-racist-he’s-funny way; Archie was TV royalty because fans saw him as one of their own.’” Probably even worse for Norman Lear, in many ways the ultimate limousine liberal, was that the show’s resident liberal mouthpiece, Mike “Meathead” Stivic (brilliantly portrayed by Rob Reiner), was the show’s true laughingstock.
“We’re murderers, Francis,” Claire Underwood says at one point in the new season—as if that’s a bad thing.
But if there’s something more frustrating than fans misunderstanding a character and a show’s dynamics, it’s when producers do. All in the Family quickly became increasingly less funny and more preachy until it finally transmogrified into the godawful Archie Bunker’s Place. That last, comedy-free permutation was set at a bar Archie owned and operated. He still mangled the language (gynecologist became “groinacologist,” for instance) but Archie was now a standup guy who literally took in and cared for orphans.
“For all that, we are reminded time and again—and without irony—that leaders and policymakers are constantly balancing an impossible array of interests and tradeoffs.”
Similarly, the third season of House of Cards spends a hell of a lot of time humanizing the Underwoods and other characters. To be sure—spoiler alerts!—recovering alcoholic and chief of staff Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) is still capable of going on booze-and-sex benders and killing innocent people, but even he thinks twice before finally dispatching the prostitute Rachel, a loose thread whose existence threatens the president’s reelection. Read the rest of this entry »
For Reason.com, Meredith Bragg & Nick Gillespie assemble the worst of the worst, see the whole thing here. And don’t miss the best of the best list from earlier, we’ll include that in an upcoming post, because life is too short for bad TV.
A little while ago, we tallied up “The 5 Best Libertarian TV Shows.” South Park, Penn & Teller: Bullshit, The Wire, The Prisoner, House of Cards: They’re all there, along with your abuse in the comments for leaving out Firefly, Yes, Minister, King of the Hill, and all your other favorites.
Now it’s time to list the five TV shows that are the absolute worst from a libertarian perspective.
5. The Newsroom (2012-2014). To be fair, just about everyone hates this sanctimonious drama created by Aaron Sorkin, who also has the rosy-eyed White House valentine The West Wingin his oeuvre. Its third and final season premieres on HBO in November.
The Newsroom follows the on-air tantrums of Will McAvoy, a preening, self-righteous anchorman who can’t open his mouth without inveighing against capitalism, gun rights, or political speech with which he doesn’t agree. As played by Jeff Daniels, McAvoy is a lot like Ron Burgundy, but unintentionally funny. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Philip Seymour Hoffman’s (Extended) Drug Scene from Sidney Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007)Posted: February 7, 2014
Long version, 6 ms 5s. This is the Philip Seymour Hoffman heroin scene from Sidney Lumet‘s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007) It featues Andy Hansen, an accountant, played by Hoffman, snorting coke at his desk at work between meetings. Next scene, making a drug buy in clandestine apartment in a Manhattan high rise…
Then being injected, by the dealer, in a quiet bedroom. It’s an erie depiction of a sad, troubled character, retreating to an exclusive, private, white-collar drug den, high above the city, in the middle of the afternoon.
Film story summary from Internet Movie Database:
When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents’ jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother’s wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.
The short version — 2 ms 24s — is here.
- [VIDEO] Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Creepy Drug Scene from Sidney Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” (2007)