Up in the Air trailer, you guys:

I never read Walter Kirn’s book when it came out, because the story of a businessman who’s like some kind of Sonic the Hedgehog of frequent flyer miles (i.e. he is trying to get all the frequent flyer miles) did not seem like an interesting book to me. And also Up in the Air came out the summer before 9/11 (in case you don’t know what 9/11 is, here is a link to the Wikipedia entry). It just wasn’t a time where people were interested in the comings and goings of a frequent flyer miles addict. Or at least I wasn’t. But apparently that is exactly what people are interested in now. And fair enough! We have to be interested in something! It’s either this or 50 Cent’s investment strategies.

But this movie looks pretty good!

George Clooney is really good at acting, and this isn’t even a military farce. Plus: Danny McBride! Zach Galifianakis! Jason Bateman! And a shark backpack!

Now, the writer/director, Jason Reitman, is 1-2 these days. He directed Thank You For Smoking, which was pretty good. And he directed Juno, which is absolutely the worst. So I am going to give him a pass. And as you know, my decision to give a Hollywood movie director a pass is a real thing that exists and is important and carries weight somewhere (it is not areal thing, it is not important, and it carries weight nowhere).

“It’s complicated.”

It’s not that complicated! I’m moving Up in the Air from a Do Not Buy to a Sell.

Comments (33)
  1. There are WAY too many awesome people in this for me to not go see this.
    Then again, JK Simmons and Allison Janney also got me to pay money for Juno, so… you know.

    • My thoughts exactly. And I’ll always pay to see anything with JK Simmons and Allison Janney.

      • Well you’re about to pay to see JK Simmons get fired. Cause from the looks of the trailer (Simmons showing his wallet pics of his family) and from the description of Clooney’s character in the movie it seems like that is bound to happen. Spoiler alert?

      • and you will never be wrong. both of them were awesome in juno, which i know it’s uncool to like, but which i enjoyed because apparently, according to videogum, i have the lamest taste in movies ever.

        why can’t allison janney be my friend and talk to me on the phone about stuff?

  2. This moved way up on my Can’t Wait List. Moody, introspective tone? Promising filmmaker looking to step it up a notch? Clooney in full charm mode and Vera Farmiga in full hotness mode? Check, check, check. McBride, Zach, and Bateman will hopefully just be icing on delicious, nutritious cake.
    Fandango. Seriously.

  3. A frequent flyer miles addict? Does this mean George Clooney’s gonna get tracked down by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s phone sex thugs?

  4. They made a whole movie out of that scene in Jerry Maguire where he’s on the walking escalator and that scene in Out of Sight where they’re in the hotel bar? I’m far more interested in this than I should be.

  5. Wes  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 -2

    “50 Cent said tough situations in his life, like the death of his mother, helped him develop a fearless approach to investing.”
    My god. I know he made some good choices with that Vitamin Water deal, but do people really take this guy seriously? I assume he manages his stock portfolio between cappin’ asses and slappin’ ho’s?

    • You’re just jealous you didn’t get rich rapping about yourself rapping and selling hundreds of thousands of bottles of water every day to hungover people who don’t really understand hydration! *small pah*

    • Oh my God, I’ve been slappin’ asses and cappin’ hos! No WONDER my portfolio is in the toilet.

  6. I think Jason Reitman is a pretty good director, who was dealt a bad deal with Diablo “Im a former stripper, did i tell you i was a former stripper, by the way im a former stripper” Cody (to give her her full name).
    Thank You For Smoking is awesome and, well, he’s a Reitman for gods sake! If the script is good, this film will be good.

  7. Wow, apparently Goerge Clooney is going to be in every movie that comes out his year.

  8. This actually looks better than the book, which was pretty terrific.

  9. Can we add a “LIKE” button to Videogum?

  10. Oh cool, a movie based on The Sunscreen Song.

  11. Well as long as I keep confusing Jason Reitman with Jason Bateman, I suppose I will keep seeing his movies for better or worse.

  12. With all this talk of how to pack a backpack, I thought this might be a movie about The Business Card Guy.

  13. I felt like Juno was one of those movies that was good/bad. You feel like it’s good until you realize it’s bad. It tricks you with having good people in it and cute credits and lovely music and heartfelt performances. But then you’re like, oh whoops, you are bad even though you have those things.

  14. I’m not sure that the trailer has particularly sold me, but the film (and in particular Clooney’s performance) have already drummed up enough pre-release hype that I’m excited anyway.

    But, seriously, Juno is really great. It’s better than Thank You For Smoking.

    I know, I know. Crucify me, right! I’m like a martyr for Junoism.


      i thought that movie was charming when i saw it in theatres and i didn’t revise my opinion when i saw it on dvd, which i did by choice.

      speaking truth to power, my brother.

    • But, seriously, you really like Juno. You like it better than Thank You For Smoking.
      And that’s okay.

  15. Ziggy From Toledo  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 -4

    Ivan’s spawn is definitely stepping up. Jason does have a decent knack for the Zeitgeist (he was about 10 years too late on Thank You for Smoking, but the young brat can be forgiven for misjudging things on his first big go around). Juno was perfectly situated by Fox Searchlight to be a big winner but a lot of its success was due to the lack of any real competition (a better autumn/holiday slate would have made its mediocrity much more apparent – hey, sometimes movie distributors get lucky!

    My feeling is this wins, because the media will soak up the theme of Clooney’s character firing people for a living. The NPR Terry Gross vomit parade will eat that shit up at how “timely” and “profound” it is, just like they tried to make Juno’s “I’m keeping my baby” seem like a revolutionary act.

    But let’s not mistake this for art. Reitman is already talking about how personal this film is to him (yes, Jason, we know that to truly enjoy life you need close friends and family to really enjoy it rather than just having access to really nice airport lounges). Slick it is though and Jason will get proper kudos for it.

    The wild card is if the economy continues to spiral downward this fall (and it will, bigtime), then many may be too depressed by the subject matter.

    • I’m not sure your “this wins” is referring more to B.O. than any sort of quality, but if it is, you’re overthinking casual moviegoers far too much. This is only the first teaser we’ve seen, so it’s unclear where the marketing will lead, but I’ll be it’ll boil down to “Starring George Clooney, From the Director of Juno” that’s what Joe Popcorn will remember. Throw in a rising alt-comedy hero from a huge summer hit (Galifianakis) and “a bunch of other people that I’ve seen in stuff that I like”, and you’ve got a very strong contender for at least the first weekend, and something tells me that the quality of the film well give it legs.
      If Paramount decides to stick with this tone, which is (hopefully) indicative of the finished film, they could run into some problems. Your average couple looking for a night away from the kids might not go for it. My guess is as the TV spots start hitting, they’ll be selling this more as an adult comedy. That’ll get butts in seats – not minor thematic elements concerning economic downturn. The financial failure of Iraq-themed films pretty much proves that.
      But you seem conflicted on the actual quality of the film. You say Reitman’s stepping it up, and in your final graph you try to take him down a notch by stating this isn’t art. I won’t get into a complicated fucking debate on what constitutes a work of art, but based on an (IMHO) incredible trailer that perfectly lays down theme, character and tone, I think it’s safe to say that Reitman is striving for something more. I don’t know if you’ve read the script so I’ll assume you haven’t, so I’ll just say “Can we wait to see the film?”.
      Because after this trailer, I can’t.

  16. Has anyone seen Thumbsucker? I like Kirn’s writing but never seen a movie adaptation of it. (He’s not the best prose stylist and his subject matter isn’t appealing usually but his stories stick with you, which counts for a lot.)

  17. Paul  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 +1

    Clooney: There are two kinds of people, sheep and sharks… Who is a sheep?
    Someone Else: Excuse me… which is the one people like to hug?
    Clooney: Gutsy question. You’re a shark.

  18. I think it’s funny when Gabe tries to like something that might be fairly popular. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Gabe’s unabashed adoration for indisputably great things like Louis CK and Eastbound and Down prove that he doesn’t just hate the universe. But when a much-buzzed movie like this tweaks his fancy, I always feel like he is pushing back against some deeply embedded programming. Like “must….hate….but…like..how…justify?” These sentences knows what I’m talking about:

    It just wasn’t a time where people were interested in the comings and goings of a frequent flyer miles addict. Or at least I wasn’t. But apparently that is exactly what people are interested in now. And fair enough! We have to be interested in something! It’s either this or 50 Cent’s investment strategies.

  19. Dr. Ross: Motivational Speaker,
    Living in a plane down by the river.

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