The Grouches were again fortunate enough to see a sneak preview of an Oscar contender.  Unfortunately, our extremely rigorous editing standards prohibited posting our initial thoughts on Up in the Air until now.  You may have heard of the film, it is the one currently beginning to romp its way through the awards circuit.  Looks like we too think that you should go out and see the film, once it makes it way to a theater near you.


I think it is safe to say I liked this movie more than the other Grouches.  I will have to think about it some more before I make the decision of whether it makes my current top 5 for the year, but it has the potential to.  I think my greater enjoyment of the movie came from so many aspects of the movie being familiar – the constant traveling, living out of a suitcase, coming from the middle of nowhere, not really liking people all that much, etc.  Added to that, I thought the script was smart.  It wasn’t overly funny, but the comedic elements were spot-on when they were used.  It wasn’t overly dramatic, but it was able to inspire some emotional involvement and draw the audience into the storyline without being overly sappy.  None of the acting was Oscar-worthy, but I thought the acting was strong across the board – with some of the cameos and all of the smaller parts being some of the most noteworthy parts of the film.  I actually also liked cinematography – the plethora of bird’s-eye shots of cities and random parts of the countryside, the very simple block-lettering displaying where each scene’s drama was unfolding, the various locations they chose for the action to take place.  All of these added to the feel of the movie for me.  Looked at individually, no one piece of the movie was spectacular.  However, they were all very strong – with only minor flaws – and so, as a whole, the movie worked for me and I found myself enjoying it quite a bit.

I’m sure the other Grouches will be less kind to the movie, but if anyone has read anything written on this blog before, you’ll know that their opinions are wholly suspect


Up in the Air is a very likable film: George Clooney plays a hybrid of his on- and off-screen personas, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga are both very charming, heck, it even got me to not hate Danny McBride.  And in lesser hands, I think the story could have devolved into something cutesy.  The movie is consistently entertaining, and I found myself smiling throughout.  It is unfortunate, then, that the ending (by which I really mean the last maybe 20%) prevented the film from achieving something greater.


Up in the Air is a very good film in the odd position where I felt it had a lot of specific and not insignificant problems. Things like characters’ actions not making sense based on what we’ve seen from them, plot contrivances, and a general sense of the parts not adding up to coherently say what the film wants to say. But it is consistently very funny, entertaining, and thought-provoking and its tone is astonishingly pitch-perfect. It’s stuck around in my head since we saw it and I’m looking forward to seeing it again. It may well be one of those films that benefits from further viewings. So in the end it’s a clear ringing endorsement from me.