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Wick's Review

Created May 03, 2012 09:24PM PST • Edited May 03, 2012 09:24PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Surprisingly strong biopic of Steve Jobs & Bill Gates, circa late 90s, when Gates was the more prominent of the two. Now that the legend of Jobs has eclipsed that of Gates, the story has new resonance.

    The movie portrays each entrepreneur’s unsavory sides, especially that of Jobs, who is shown in full vindictive and narcissistic flower. Gates is depicted as a scheming competitor, more opportunist than innovator, which seems right. Just as The Social Network portrayed Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as unattractively unbalanced, so does Pirates of Silicon Valley with the previous generation of Valley icons.

    Poor social mores aside, both legends burn brightly with competitive fire, an often unattractive force that nonetheless fuels many ultrasuccessful people.

    The movie ends just prior to Jobs introducing the iMac. IOW, the best was yet to come. Wow.

  3. Very Good 3.5

    Noah Wyle steals the show as Steve Jobs, playing him as a cross between John Lennon & Charlie Manson.

    Anthony Michael Hall is too manly to play Bill Gates, though his inverted stoutness does come through.

    Amongst the secondary players:

    • Joey Slotnick as Steve Wozniak and Josh Hopkins as Paul Allen nail the essential nerdiness of these two technical whiz kids.
    • John Di Maggio eats the scenery as Steve Ballmer, though from what’s written about the real Ballmer, it might not be far off.
    • Jeffrey Nordling is suitably commanding as Apple’s first professional executive, Mike Markkula.
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Good 3.0
  6. Female Costars Good 3.0
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5
  8. Great 4.0

    This made for TNT film has strong production values. Perhaps the most notable scene is the zoom-out-from-reality narration of when Bill Gates negotiates IBM into allowing him to license MS-DOS to other manufacturers, the Big Bang moment that triggered the world’s largest fortune.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Very Good 3.5
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Tame 1.5
  15. Sex Innocent 1.5
  16. Violence Gentle 1.0
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.9
  18. Glib 1.1

    The movie is packed with historical highlights from the PC industry.

    • Gates getting IBM to cede his right to widely license MS-DOS.
    • Jobs turning from hippie to selfish capitalist, one loath to share equity even with major contributors.
    • Jobs and Woz introducing the Apple II.
    • Jobs cribbing the GUI innovations of the Alto at Xerox PARC that he later deployed in the Lisa and especially in the Mac.
    • Etc., etc.
  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.4
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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Aug 24, 2011 9:20PM

Godspeed Steve Jobs.