Up in the Air

Alternate Title: Going Nowhere Fast, with George Clooney
2009 Nominee

Everyone in this movie has straight, white teeth and false smiles and the whole thing feels like it’s an elaborate ad encouraging you to stay at the Hilton.  They even make a big deal about Ryan Bingham (Clooney) being a Hilton Honors member, but you know what? It’s free to join.
I know.
I’m a member.

Ryan Bingham is the unrealistically handsome guy who makes a living by firing people. Yes, that’s correct. He takes away other people’s livings for a living. You know who else does that? The Grim Reaper.
He does his due diligence by using money paid out by his own company to fly around the country and fire people whose bosses can’t seem to fathom the cojones to do so themselves. He’s acquiring miles and membership points and has a hard-on for loyalty and status the entire time.

Toothy McHandsomePants meets a lady named Alex (Vera Farmiga) who’s equally smarmy on one of his trips, but the movie catches a second wind with the appearance of Natalie (Anna Kendrick), who although she’s a member of the Hollywood Dental Delights club herself is at least a teeny, tiny bit believable because she’s intimidated by George Clooney and actually cries once in the movie. She’s trying to learn how to do what Bingham does, but has the brilliant idea to involve the internet so that people can get fired over Skype or FaceTime.
Who can’t resonate with wanting to ruin someone’s day with the help of the internet and get paid for it?
I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t get paid to write this blog. (Yet).

Bingham decides to go to his sister’s wedding in Omaha with Alex. That part almost feels like a different movie entirely because one outburst from Natalie and one fun romp around his old high school with Alex turns Bingham into a softie who wants to settle in Omaha and abandon his status. It’s a sickeningly fast character change and I don’t buy it for a second. He’s still George Clooney, who for as handsome as people say he is, I would still rather listen to him read me a bedtime story than look at him because he always looks vaguely bored, like it’s not a challenge to show up and be George Clooney every day.
I don’t understand that kind of life, dude.

The whole sorry mess culminates with random shit collapsing in on itself like a dying star. Natalie quits via text message and Alex, as it turns out, is even scummier than Bingham.

The moral here? I don’t know. It’s about a bunch of sad, sorry beautiful people pretending they’re not empty inside. The characters that are most relatable are the characters who are getting fucking fired.

It’s an unrealistic movie trying desperately to make you feel for characters that have no soul.

Now it’s Your Turn…
Up in the Air was nominated for Best Picture in 2009, but did the Academy get it right?

Lady Bird

Alternate Title: I was a High School Weirdo
2017 Nominee

Fuck high school.

I think the only people who really liked it were the people torturing me and people like the title character, Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan). Her real name is Christine, but you know how you made up a weird name for yourself and had everyone call you that because you were mad at your mom? A lot of people won’t admit it, but girls are mad at their moms for a pretty substantial portion of their teenage years.

Lady Bird is mad at her mom (Laurie Metcalf), but also she dates this boy who turns out to be gay. You totally don’t see it coming because he’s really good as the lead in the school musical.

Our beloved title character is simultaneously trying to go to college on the opposite coast from whichever coast Sacramento, California is on because she love/hates it and thinks New York is cool even though she’s never been there. This is why high schoolers shouldn’t be allowed to decide which institution they get to send all their parents’ money to for an education that really consists of learning how to have sex without getting pregnant and how to drink lots of alcohol without barfing.

It all boils down to a lady (bird) and her mom. I have to say, I teared up more than once. The movie is passionate and disjointed – kind of like a high school girl. There are a lot of lovely moments that make the movie feel a little like you’re flipping through a photo album, but also fighting with your mom, which makes sense because who the fuck else ever has the idea to look through a photo album?

It’s a movie that might even make you want to visit Sacramento…and  then immediately fly to New York.

Now it’s Your Turn…
Lady Bird was nominated for Best Picture in 2017, but did the Academy get it right?