The slight, genial history of Jason Cohen’s “Silicon Cowboys” looks back to a forge of creativity in the personal computer industry, dating from the 1982 decision of upstart Compaq Computer to challenge then-industry-leading IBM. The spunk of the young bucks from Houston entertains, and the slick telling is largely upbeat entertainment. (The AMC cable series “Halt And Catch Fire” is based on events in the same era.) It’s amusing to see the archetypes of David versus Goliath and the Wild West, appropriately applied, as well as to see a history of the age of computers that does not fall at the feet of a Jobs, a Gates, a Zuckerberg. With a range of figures that computing cognoscenti might recognize, including Jim Harris, Bill Murto, Bill Fargo, Hugh Barnes, David Cabello, Gary Stimac, Steve Flannigan, Mike Swavely, Karen Walker, Bill Aulet, Bob Jackson, Howard Anderson, Chris Cantwell, Roger McNamee, Alec Berg and Mitch Kapor. 78m. (Ray Pride)
“Silicon Cowboys” opens Friday, September 16 at Facets.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.