Sunday, January 24, 2010

Up in the Air

So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us,
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) racks up miles flying around the country firing employees on behalf of companies. But he faces losing the job he savors to recent college grad Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) -- and losing the ability to escape emotional ties to anything. A connection he builds with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), however, might change his outlook on the future. Golden Globe winner Jason Reitman's smart comedy also stars Jason Bateman.
It should probably more accurately say "the ability to escape emotional ties to everything" because that is what it really seemed like he was trying to do. To be an island. (Also, I frequently mistake Jason Reitman and Jason Bateman, I know who both of them are...but their names are just too, too similar!)

And how much did I pay to watch?
For all those times my mother has treated me to movies, I treated her. So I paid $14. Interestingly enough, if we had gone to Cinema DeLux instead, that is what I probably would have paid for only one of us. Thank heavens for locally owned, independent theatres ;)

And what did I think?
When I see television ads for this movie they use a trite description that declares "Up in the Air is a movie for our time!" Except that is really, really, really is! It is an absolutely correct statement. Whether it is that I have never seen one, or that now I am much more aware of, well, everything, I have never seen a movie that so wholeheartedly encapsulates the zeitgeist of a point in time--specifically "these times".

Everyone in the film is so desperate for a connection. Isn't that sort of what popular culture is consistently selling us? All these dating reality shows--where 500 women fling themselves at one man because all of them so badly want that connection (or maybe they just want to be on tv...who knows?)--and the commercials for and and, isn't that what they are telling us? That in today's world of go-go-go and digital communication instead of face-to-face communication, that we are really all very desperate to connect with people in a very real and authentic way? It seems like if someone wants to make a connection, they can't. And then those that are alone and like being that way, will realize that they actually don't really want to be alone.

So what does any of that actually mean? Well, as far as movie things go, the acting was excellent. Why? Because you really start out not liking the characters, or not caring about them. But at the end you are so wrapped up in them and their issues. It is funny and poignant and affecting. Everything about it was excellent. I don't know if America wasn't suffering from a recession, and the auto industry wasn't in the toilet, and people are trying to blow up airplanes on Christmas, that the movie would have been as absolutely spot on as it was. If the movie had been made in 2002 when Reitman started writing the screenplay it wouldn't have been nearly as excellent as it was when it came out in 2009.

I guess that can be the theme of today's entries. Right place, right time.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
The movie was absolutely crushing. Just the way I like them. It was exactly, exactly, exactly the sort of sad I like, because sometimes it feels like the sort of sad that my life is when I get to thinking about it. (I am actually a pretty happy person, not really emo at all, but I understand Ryan Bingham's dealy).

This will likely win Oscars--and probably whatever other stupid awards they do before the Oscars--and it will deserve them. But it isn't so stupid and simplistic that it is like the typical Oscar formula (at least, I don't think so). I'd love to read the book, because I love to see the way movies slaughter good books--but I don't think this one was really close to the book, rather more of an adaptation--and then see the movie again.

But for now, I will give it a 10. It is certainly my choice for awards this year. Not that Precious movie... I swear...*shakes head*


sickboy said...

Spot on.

To me it was exactly that. Society telling us how we should be living in terms of relationships. But there's George, enjoying his existence and it's only when he lets his guard down or thinks that he should be doing something else that things get tricky. But it's others judging him that made him question himself.

I'm babbling...

E said...

If I hear the word "connection" come out of another reality TV star or one of my friend's mouths one more time, I'm going to seriously implode. No bang. Nothing. I will cease to exist. You're completely right, this idea has really defined our generation, which is why this movie is intriguing me, despite my dislike/distrust of George Clooney.

this is not a joke said...

sickboy- that is exactly what it is! Its like "hey, man, do your thing!" and as soon as he became concerned with what other people thought and what other people were doing it totally wrecked him. Isn't that just like life?!

E-I think I said connection 230974290 times in this review. Don't you long for the days when a girlfriend would just say "i wish I had a boyfriend"?