now, even as i type this, i am vaguely aware that i am probably the only person that feels this way and that i probably won't be changing any minds or forcing anyone to reexamine their opinions, yet still i must try. even while situated amongst all the critical and public ballyhoo, i find that the film up in the air really left me cold. while i could quibble about the small stylistic things that made me want to puke (i.e. the slick, soderbergian montages of rolling luggage,) i have decided to eschew the details to delve right into the ugliness of what i see as the big picture. and the big picture is this: jason reitman's crass little slice of cynicism is terribly insulting to the same audiences that are gobbling it up.
up in the air positions itself in a world where the only loyalty left is the loyalty between companies(corporations)and their consumers. in this world people will fuck you over time and again, but it's okay because you can jump line by becoming a loyal customer of any random service. c'mon, really? this film was obviously made by someone that has never had to deal with a cable or insurance company, for if he did he would realize that these money making entities don't give a shit about the individual. unless of course, they are the first class, elite status, money men. this film just rings so false in this way as i find that the only real loyalty is that which comes with freindship. i guess it comes down to the fact that, like most real people i know, i will take my boys like zach,shane, phil, jared et al over my toyota service agreement or my blockbuster card any day of the week. and to portray the human race as putting their loyalties elsewhere is just an insulting affront to my sensibilities.
yet as is, these characters take pride in their car rental perks, even going so far as to begin to develop superficial emotional bonds over them. i remember sitting there growing quite agitated at the notion of modern romance being linked to the status of a hilton rewards card as if it were the only common ground we selfish, shallow humans could ever find. i mean, i've never even come close to snagging a member of the opposite sex with my subway fresh card, frankly i've never even thought about it as membership in the subclub holds little to no value as a cultural signifier. but hey it works for them, i guess. until of course, everything changes...
i absolutely hate it in films when one cataclysmic event brings about a complete 360 degree change of character. as if after spending two hours with this mile grubbing egoist, i am somehow to believe that the revelation that his female opposite is a duplicitous cheater is going to drastically alter his character. and all of a sudden his ten million miles are going to be spiritually deflating to this guy who has invested so much in them. and he's going to write a recommendation for someone who basically just annoyed him. i just don't buy it. i'm sure neil armstrong meeting all his goals and landing on the moon would have just been soul crushing if his girlfriend had just broken up with him, or that donald trump would suddenly become a philanthropist were he to go bankrupt. fuck off with that shit mr reitman.
but the most insulting thing about the whole deal is that even if i were to buy that old george had undergone this amazing and drastic change in character the film has positioned him in a way that the "new, improved, humanistic" guy is just a depressed sad sack shell of his former self and actually makes us long for the free-wheeling, airport scenery chewing cool guy that he started as. this film basically goes out of its way to make selfishness, vanity, and materialism look as hip and as cool as possible, while rendering interpersonal loyalty and thoughtfulness as the recipe to a sad sack existence. the only character left emotionally unscathed is the adulterous mom. and it really makes me want to puke. i hate how the downbeat ending has become the new happy ending. it used to make films seem fresher, somehow more realistic, now it just rings as hollow and as empty as the director's heart.
that, in a nutshell, is why i hated jason reitman's newest film. it just reeks of someone who has never ventured out of his millieu of rich hollywood powerbrokers and experienced the real citizenship of america. i have heard it described as "a portrait of modern america." if this is the case can we just bring on nuclear armagddon now, because clearly, for the rights to a bill of goods, we have clearly sold our souls, you know the thing that used to make us distinctly human.