Mr. Bill George Presents

‘Up In The Air’ (And Other Movie Talk)

In Film on January 1, 2010 at 5:31 PM

I think it’s fair to say I see a lot of movies.

And to be honest, I like a lot of them. As I get older, I find myself liking what I see more and more and there are a few reasons for that. One, I’m starting more and more to look for value than for criticism. I feel no need to validate myself by pointing out flaws. Focusing on the positive is much more productive. A.K.A. I’m going soft in my old age.

Secondly, I select what I see based on what I’m interested in and what I’m predetermined to like. I used to see movies just for the sake of seeing them and being able to review them, which lead to a lot of wasted time and unnecessary aggravation.

Finally, I think movies are getting a bit better as well. It just feels like more things are coming out that I’m into than before. (Obviously I have no way to substantiate that claim or back it up, it just feels that way.)

With all that being said, only a few movies (out of the many hundreds that I really like or love) have truly spoken to me. Only a choice group have affected and actually changed me.

Don’t get me wrong, Casino Royale, Star Trek and Sherlock Holmes are entertainment of the highest caliber and I adore them, but I don’t think differently or live life differently because of them or their message.

But there are some movies that once you see them, you cannot picture a time before them. I can’t imagine what life was like when I hadn’t seen Batman Begins or Vanilla Sky. Those are just two examples and they may seem like odd choices but I’m sure you have your own. I’m not saying Vanilla Sky deserved Best Picture, I’m merely saying that I, Bill George, connected with it. There are some others (Apollo 13, A Few Good Men, About Schmidt, Cast Away) but today, I am adding another one to the list:

Up in the Air

I would write a straight review for it but I’ll spare you the pure gushing that would ensue. In a nutshell: not only was the movie technically sound, scratch that, flawless, but the script was astounding and Clooney’s performance was masterful. I hung on every word, every image, every sound, every cue.

But the best part is: I can’t really explain why. It just spoke to me. I’m sure it had to do with the brilliance of all the aspects listed above combined with my general personality and everything that has happened in my life leading up to the point of viewing. But it isn’t worth pinpointing, sufficed to say the film is now a part of me. A part of my life.

I don’t know how others have reacted to it or will react to it, and I certainly can’t guarantee the same results, but it earns my highest recommendation. See it as soon as possible.

  1. I thought it was pretty wonderful, too. Many of the developments in the story surprised me and the characterizations were ridiculously well crafted. I started to the read the screenplay (which you can find here, if you’re interested: and was simply blown away. It’s beautifully written.

    I took away a very positive ‘message’ and considered it a ‘happy’ ending. Do you agree?

  2. WARNING: Some of my response may contain minor SPOILERS.

    Yes, I certainly considered the message positive. But at the same time, I don’t know if I left particularly happy about it. The reason being that as a single guy, I resonated very much with Clooney during the first half the film. Being independent, on the road, living the dream so to speak. So when the message came back at the end that love/family are more critical than anything else, it depressed me in the sense that I’m not in a relationship right now and I’m (somewhat) far away from my family. It was a powerful reminder. Positive because it reminded me of what’s important, but sad because it forced me to reflect.

    But that’s it right there, I mean, how many movies can I say have that kind of impact?

  3. Good points, Bill. And read the script. It’s a bit different from the produced version.

  4. I loved this movie. Of course granted, I love just about every movie that has managed to secure the name “George Clooney” on the credits somewhere. I found that in defending the movie to my parents (who saw it and complained for YEARS – or at least what felt like years – that it was a chick flick just because George Clooney was not the Danny Ocean character and expressed certain sentiments) I liked it all the more.

    Secondary oh-man-my-parents note: My mom complained that my dad had taken her to see a chick flick and that her life was awful because of it…..she had actually wanted to see “It’s Complicated” and I quote, “not some chick flick” (IRONYIRONYIRONY..)

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