Oct 23, 2014 · 3 minutes

You may have heard that Aaron Sorkin, the purveyor of verbal acrobatics and thinly-drawn female characters behind "West Wing" and "Social Network," has written another biopic of a famous entrepreneur: Steve Jobs.

Now the upcoming film, which will be helmed by "Trainspotting" director Danny Boyle, has a leading man. Christian Bale will pick up where Ashton Kutcher left off by playing the mercurial Apple founder. Say what you will about Bale  -- the "Batman voice" is still the worst -- but credit the filmmakers for picking an actor based on talent as opposed to "Hey this guy kind of looks like young Steve Jobs," which is about the only possible rationale for picking Kutcher.

But does this mean the movie will be any good? Based on what little we know about the film, let's make some completely unsubstantiated predictions about its quality, shall we?

Why it will be great:

Aaron Sorkin. Although he may recycle his own material from time to time, nobody writes dialogue that's more fun to listen to than Sorkin does. And while Jobs' story is hardly boring, it's going to take a lot of dense talk about computing power, processors and other technological marginalia to tell the story right. And whether his characters are talking about statistical analysis like in "Moneyball," or discretionary budget appropriations in "West Wing," Sorkin can make even the most mundane subjects more thrilling than most movie car chases.

Why it will be terrible:

Aaron Sorkin. The last time he told the story of a tech entrepreneur, he got so many details, big and small, wrong that he made few friends among technology mavens. Then again, it's worth noting that the book that provided the inspiration for "Social Network" was criticized for some of the same factual errors, whereas this time around, Sorkin looked to Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography as source material, a much more respected tome. I mean, at least Jobs actually spoke to Isaacson for it.

Why it will be great:

Look, Christian Bale isn't perfect. He's arguably the least interesting component of Christopher Nolan's otherwise great Batman reboot. But when asked to carry a movie, he makes so-so movies good (like "Rescue Dawn" and "The Machinist") and great movies even better (like "American Psycho"). And judging by what Sorkin told Bloomberg today -- that "there isn't a scene or frame that he's not in" -- the success or failure of "Jobs" will hinge on Bale's performance, so he shouldn't disappoint.

Why it will be terrible:

The biggest reason "Jobs" won't work was best described by Sorkin himself speaking at the D10 conference in 2013:

To be honest, one of the hesitations I had in taking on the movie is that it was a little like writing about the Beatles—that there are so many people out there who know so much about him and who revere him that I just saw a minefield of disappointment. Frankly, that I was going to do something and that people who ... hopefully, when I'm done with my research, I'll be in the same ball park of knowledge about Steve Jobs that so many people in this room are.
Why it will be great:

Danny Boyle might be the most versatile director on the planet. His involvement isn't a guarantee of the film's greatness, but if it sucks, it likely won't be Boyle's fault. He's pulled off massive, visually-stunning setpieces in "28 Days Later" and "Sunshine"; he's captured smaller, more human dramas in "Trainspotting" and "Shallow Grave." And he made watching James Franco for an hour and half tolerable in "127 Hours."

Why it will be terrible:

This may just be a matter of personal taste, but unless you're making a documentary, don't make movies about real people. In my mind, "Social Network" would have been a far better movie had it been about a fictional entrepreneur who merely resembled Mark Zuckerberg -- in the vein of what Orson Welles did by turning William Randolph Hearst into Charles Foster Kane in "Citizen Kane." (Of course the movie wouldn't have been nearly as popular).

Hollywood will always favor the interesting narrative over the truth -- and why not? Why do we even go to the movies if not to escape from reality?

In all honesty, if you want to learn about the life of Steve Jobs, read Isaacson's book. If you want to watch an entertaining film, I don't know, "Casablanca" is pretty cool. But chances are, "Jobs" will sacrifice the truth for entertainment, or vice versa.

[photo by Asim Bharwani]