The just released movie "iSteve" is a creative spoof satirizing the life and times of Steve Jobs, in a way that not only takes liberty with the historical facts but also ironically casts in the title role the actor that helped make "Mac" a household name. That's right, while Ashton Kuthcher's portrayal of Jobs is still a way's off, Justin Long of "I'm a Mac" fame has assumed the role of iSteve in this online mockumentary, available to any and all, on a computer near you!
While Funny or Die touts their movie as "the first Steve Jobs MOViE," it plays fast and loose with the truth, while painting iSteve as a lovable but maniacal figure. On the one hand, he's robotic (literally) and cold, while on the other, he's guided by a burning passion to break the mold. This Apple leader struggles to make sense out of a life of genius, drugs and power while almost single-handedly leading the charge of a computer revolution that would change the world.
Early on in the piece, Long as Jobs gives a seemingly off-the-cuff nod to Socrates's "unexamined life" as he anticipates a sojourn to India to seek out a Hindu guru and the mysteries of life. However, director and writer Ryan Perez purposely added Socrates' bon mots as a set-up. While the world has had glimpses of Steve Jobs' reflection on the meaning of life (e.g., his famous 2005 Stanford commencement speech), we never really got up close and personal with the man. And yet, we have to believe that introspection had to have weighed on this man measurably.
Socrates' bold statement that "the unexamined life is not worth living" is the unequivocal belief that in order to grow, one must take the time to examine and reflect upon one's raison d'être. With that premise, in this movie, Steve Jobs' soul-searching becomes a rollicking lampoon of a ride that lasts for 78-fun-filled minutes.
At times, one has to wonder if we're privy to some first-time-told backstories. From the origin of the infamous 'turtlenecks' to whether or not Steve Jobs coveted Bill Gates' wife, from Job's obsession of calligraphy to whether or not his Dad was the first to point out the importance of beauty found on the inside as well as the outside -- viewers are constantly scratching their collective heads as to the fact and fiction of it all. But that's the beauty of this storytelling ... where all of Jobs' sacred cows are permitted to tarnish right before our very eyes.
If introspection is the underlying theme of this movie, it's a stroke of genius that Justin Long while playing the role of Jobs gets to direct a commercial with an actor that plays the role of himself. For all those that remember the now classic commercial series that pitted "PC Man" played by John Hodgeman vs "Mac Man" played by Justin Long, this ad became a staple Apple ad for years.
John Hodgeman and Justin Long
In the iSteve movie, Anthony Gioe is cast as Justin Long and Joe Farrell plays the role of John Hodgeman.
Joe Farell and Anthony Gioe
So Mr. Long not only gets to parody the genius of Jobs, but he's also allowed to poke fun at his former self and his acting ability (or lack thereof).
The "Socratic" dialogue of speaking to a spiritual advisor was advised by the great philosopher. He urged this type of interaction to help gage and reveal those blinds spots we too often miss on our own. With out giving too much a way, iSteve comes full circle by the end of the movie, when he sends off this postcard to the fictional Kobun Otogawa, the spiritual leader that put the 19 yr-old on a path of self-discovery.
Today, many believe our lives are too busy for self-reflection and that we constantly fill the emptiness of our existence with the consumption of new products. According to Socrates, that was one of our fatal flaws. Perhaps had he lived the same era as Steve Jobs, he would have thought differently - as I think our lives are so much more enriched by all those "shiny new things" Mr. Jobs left for us, before his genius departed for the great iBeyond. -- and hats off to a comedy that shows us the whimsy side of one of our most revered icons! A life well examined, indeed!