DVD Review #5 : Up In the Air (2009)
The message I took away from Up In the Air years ago was the cliche of 'No man is an island', second time round I believe it runs much deeper than that and my love for this film is far greater than it once was. George Clooney leads this comedy as the cynical, lone wolf, corporate downsizer who's life consists of flying around America to either fire people or give motivational speeches on his own solitary lifestyle. When his occupation becomes modernised and a sexual relationship with another business driven individual becomes emotional, he is forced to confront his existence.
Now Clooney's character isn't the heartless, sleaze bag you'd imagine being portrayed In this role. He is intelligent yet not towards his own desires, caring but chooses not to be for professional reasons and depriving himself of experiences despite his privileged and well traveled lifestyle. He lives in a fantasy world where usual rule of humanity do not apply to him and so certain his ethos is the right way to live. I used to to think this film was about him being wrong, when really it's that there is no right way to live. Through his characters and all the others we experience marriage, solitude, family, career, dedication to life goals and they all have their drawbacks. The grass is always greener on the other side, once Clooney realises this, that all his hard work meant nothing, that it's too late, it's an incredibly powerful moment.
Up In the Air is full of interesting studies on modern ways to live, beautiful metaphors of the corporate hamster wheel and sports a slick style to match all the expensive suits. It will have you laughing through a mild existential crisis with its sharp wit and crushing observations and ideally you'll come out of it wanting to live your life the way you want. Certainly the best thing to come out of Jason Reitman and compared to most 21st century American comedy, it's in a league of its own.
For fans of: Thank You For Smoking, Anomalisa, Lost in Translation, About Shmidt.
As I descended from 30,000 ft above this evening, I was greeted once again by this lovely city. San Francisco was grown on me a lot over the past couple of years (ask close friends of mine - I used to hate it). I’ve had a the opportunity to travel quite a bit recently and I’m super thankful for the experiences each trip provides. Each trip offers a new prospective. New respect. And a new alignment.
Sometimes I end up in small rural places (similar to those that I grew up in) and I rediscover the charm of little cities that dot this country. Sometimes I end up in major cities (like the one I live in today) and I see a different way of life - I find inspiration through the arts, innovations, and organized chaos that is a metropolis.
I guess all of this is to stay I’m happy to be home.
I used to know nothing about flying well. I used to overpay for tickets and silly fees, stand in long security lines, sit around the gate waiting for the last boarding group to get called, and get stuck in middle seats with no hope of an upgrade. Then I went down the points and miles travel rabbit hole... Today, I'm flying DPS-SIN-ICN-LAX in Singapore Airlines First Class. I'm posting this from 38k feet over the South China Sea on an ~$8500 flight that I paid ~$50 and 118k miles for.
Now, I look forward to every flight, every layover, and every airport lounge as much as the trips and vacations that require them. I get to enjoy service and experiences I didn't even know existed; and I do so for laughably little spend. Now, I made a business out of my passion. I consult for companies to help them save tens of thousands of dollars on executive travel expenses by optimizing their credit card spending strategies and points redemptions... and I can do the same for you! Just ping me in the comments to find out more! ✈