Saturday, October 24, 2015

‘Steve Jobs’ one of just a few movies based on tech industry true stories

“Steve Jobs,” the new biopic about the Apple co-founder and CEO, went into wide release at theaters nationwide on Friday. It has earned mostly positive reviews from film critics, but Silicon Valley insiders have slammed the movie for factual inaccuracies.
Hollywood takes creative license when telling true stories to make movies more dramatic, emotional and engaging. What’s most important with a biopic is capturing the essence of the characters and providing the basic truths about the events portrayed.
Filmmakers are never going to please those who were closest to the subjects. Heck, they can’t even agree with documentaries on their subjects, which also can be slanted to tell a more interesting story.
Steve Jobs has been portrayed in three movies: “Pirates of Silicon Valley” (1999), “Jobs” (2013) and now “Steve Jobs.” But he’s been profiled in at least seven feature-length documentaries, most recently “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine” (2015) from director Alex Gibney.
There have been very few movies based on tech industry true stories. I count just nine to date, with the most well-known being “The Social Network,” the 2010 movie about the founding of Facebook. (Check out my list of IT industry movies based on true stories at IMDb.)
Two more are on the way soon. They include “Snowden,” director Oliver Stone’s take on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and “The Salesman,” a look at IBM’s dealings with Nazi Germany.
By contrast, the information technology industry, including the rise of personal computers and the Internet, has been a rich source of material for documentaries. I count at least 53 feature-length documentaries on the IT industry and its impact. (Check out my list of documentaries about the IT industry at IMDb.)

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