Steve Jobs was impatient, demanding and abrasive — but it was nothing a good nap couldn’t fix.
That’s the takeaway from Tiny Tyrant, a major motion picture debuting Friday, which focuses on Steve Jobs’ early years.
Based on the bestseller, The Boy King: The Making of Steve Jobs by British author Regent Altschiller, this new Steve Jobs biopic zeroes in on the Apple founder’s formative years — when many of his world-changing behaviors were just taking shape.
In the same way it was fun to see Darth Vader grow up in the Star Wars prequels, it’s easy to get drawn into this film.
Steve’s ability to lead is established early in the film, during a play date with three other toddlers. His parents are delighted by his crayon drawings — but they fail to notice that he’s directed the other kids to do the work for him. Watching those kids fume as Steve basks in the limelight is pure cinematic delight.
Encouraged by his parents to set up a lemonade stand on the front lawn, toddler Steve ends up creating a “walled garden” of lemonade stands throughout his neighborhood, taking a 30% cut of all sales.
But most of Tiny Tyrant’s action takes place in nursery school.
Here, little Steve perfects the ability to make other children cry, forcing them to do their finger-painting over and over again until it lives up to his standards.
He terrorizes his teacher, repeatedly telling her that she’s fired. And when she sends him to the nursery school owner to be disciplined, he ends up negotiating a better financial deal for his parents.
Most impressively, little Steve finds a way to poach the smart kids from the adjoining class, swapping them for several of the kids in his own class — the ones he calls “bozos.”
It’s a joy to see a film that finally explores some new territory in the Steve Jobs saga. Thanks to great acting and writing, the young Steve comes across as a cute, fun, energetic kid — with just the right amount of The Omen mixed in.
The movie is rated R, so don’t bring the kids. It contains sexuality (there’s one graphic diaper-changing scene) and “threatened violence.”
Universal Studios sees gold in a series of Steve Jobs movies, and has already green-lighted a prequel to this prequel. The next film, yet untitled, will examine the even earlier life of Steve Jobs — including his conception, gestation and ultimate journey through the birth canal.
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