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Up in the Air

Up in the Air is the Benjamin Button of this Oscar season. That is, it sucks – hard – but for some reason everyone loves it and it will win all sorts of awards. Basically, it’s a buddy movie, which prejudiced me against it from the get-go. I hate buddy movies almost as much as I hate wearing pants.

More than that, though, Up in the Air is nefarious. Ironically, it tries to do exactly what its main character does for a living, which is distract us from the fact that we’re all getting fired. Don’t worry about losing your job: The guy who canned you is miserable, and anyway you’ll get to spend more time with your family and indulge your love of French cooking, and isn’t that what life’s really about? Hmmm? Now run along.

It’s disappointing because this would have been a perfect moment for a poignant movie about the Great Recession. People are hurting. People believed in America, they believed that if they worked hard, saved for retirement, and paid their taxes, they would be rewarded. They were wrong. Now they have been fucked, and the people who fucked them continue to have all the money. You can almost taste the outrage. What a great time to make a movie, right?

But Up in the Air is not that movie. It almost entirely punts, even ending with a 23-year-old getting a job, as if that were happening somewhere in America. The fact that so many Americans love Up in the Air says a lot about the lack of respect we have for ourselves. Frankly, I doubt the French would ever put up with a movie like this.