Well, tonight turned out to be an impromptu double feature.
After a late day at work (Pop Sci's February issue is closing this week, so it's all push, push, push), I decided to go see “Up in the Air,” the new George Clooney movie about a man whose sole purpose in life is to ruin everyone else's. His job is to travel from corporation to corporation to rid them of pathetic souls. The first minutes of the film feature a series of poor dopes getting the ax (shot from Clooney's point of view), and I must admit I found it a little unnerving—it brought me back to the morning when I was the poor dope, and the Blerg was letting me go.
No matter how much I hated that job—and, oh, how I hated that job—the indignity felt from being told to leave instead of leaving on my own volition ... well, I suddenly remembered the rush of tears and expletives that fell from my face and spilled from my mouth.
I imagine that millions of Americans will feel a similar sting once they see this film (if they can afford it—zing.)
Clooney's character is Ryan Bingham, a wry, cynical (if devilishly handsome) man who prides himself on being able to live out of a figurative backpack (or carry-on). Possessions are baggage, weighing one down (“Moving is living.”); personal relationships are burdensome anchors, to be avoided at all costs. (I'd heard from a colleague that Clooney plays a pretty despicable, unlikeable character, but, in truth, I rather liked him, and one day aspire to be him! I digress.)
Bingham considers the sky his home, airports a refuge, and his permanent residence in Omaha, NE, a veritable hell. He averages 300,000 miles of air travel a year and loves the elite status it affords him at hotels, car rental places, airports, etc. And while he doesn't delight in ruining people's lives—he's not evil—he seems to think that on the whole people are better to be cut loose from their shit jobs to pursue some latent passion; and, a job's a job, and his affords him the ability to be accountable to no one (Sweet.).
Of course, old Bingham's every-man-is-an-island world gets rocked by two ladies. First, he meets Alex (the beautiful Vera Farmiga) in a hotel bar; she's his female equivalent, and they start a steamy little romance that they manage to find time for by arranging meetups in airports across the country. Second, there's the young Cornell grad who's begun to work for Bingham's company. The little go-getter (Anna Kendrick) has hatched a plan to save the company millions of dollars by conducting layoffs remotely via the Interwebs.
This would obviously ruin Bingham's ideal existence. He'd be grounded.
Bingham's boss (Jason Bateman) decides it'd be a good idea for the new kid to join Clooney on the road. He and Alex carry on.
I really liked this movie. While there were some predictable elements, all does not end hunky-dorily for everyone; it feels realer, and sadder, in a somewhat refreshing way. I loved Farmiga and Clooney, and this Kendrick kid was quite good as a neurotic square.
By the end, I was feeling super lonely and sad, imagining my ultimate fate of dying sad and alone—something that usually doesn't trouble me as I think of how I'll be able to watch 18 hours of movies a day in peace when I'm old, without fear of social reprobation.
As I was walking out of the theater, I glanced over my shoulder just to see what some of these happy couples surrounding me were going to see … and I saw that “Brothers” was playing in 10 minutes.
So, I somehow decided it'd be a good idea to tend to my uncharacteristically-aching heart by going to watch a movie about the tumult and suffering war bestows on families.
More on that later or tomorrow. Needless to say, I feel like someone just broke my heart, then water-boarded me. Must fall asleep to something uplifting before I toss myself out of my fourth floor window.