Flying High

My wife and I took half a day off today, and went together to see our first movie since our daughter was born. We caught Jason Reitman's Up in the Air.

It was a very forthright and honest movie, and the timing of releasing a movie about someone who's flying around the country firing people was quite interesting. I can't decide if it's low, or genius (at the very least, it led to some quite blunt scenes at the very end, where St Louis people who've recently been laid off were interviewed about the experience).

The firing man, Clooney's Brigman, is on a quest to reach 10M airline miles. Why? Because fewer people have achieved that than have walked on the moon. Of course, those people who went to the moon probably don't have that many miles traveled, thinking about it.

I was thinking about it, he mentioned traveling 350k miles in the prior year at one point; at another point, he said he'd traveled ~320 days in that year. So one would assume that that's a pretty heavy traveling year for him. But it would still take 30 years of that to reach 10M. Yes, yes, he charged pretty much everything to a credit card that gave him miles; that would help. Still seems awfully tough to do.

And I must admit that my first thought when they described his life was that it was about as lonely as I can imagine. I certainly wouldn't be able to do something like that; not even if someone else was paying for it.

But he does meet Alex fairly early on in the movie; their relationship was quite entertaining.

And his biggest challenge in the movie is a newcomer to his company; she's setting things up so that people can be fired via teleconference. Geeze; could you possibly be more heartless than that? It's like breaking up with someone over text message. It's hard to imagine someone that callous.

So he has to show her what the job is like, which is eye-opening for both of them.

Meanwhile, Clooney is finding time (occasionally) to keep up with Alex; they have something like a relationship. How much of one? Well, she shows up at his sister's wedding with him.

Don't want to get too much into details there; suffice it to say that I was surprised with what happened with them. It made sense, but I still managed not to see it coming.

The one weakness with the movie was the ending; in particular, they seriously missed an opportunity by not having him get fired (probably by telecon) about two minutes before the end of the movie. That would have been a perfect full-circle ending.

But despite that omission, it was still a very good movie, and a very insightful look at what "big business" can lead to.

Juno is still Reitman's best, but this was a solid second place.

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