More North Texas Film Critics Pick Up in the Air

Last month the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association named Up in the Air the best film of 2009. This weekend the North Texas Film Critics Association followed suit. Having now seen the movie myself, my response is “eh.” It’s pleasant enough to watch, but it ends up telling a story of rather conventional ideas. Why can’t George Clooney just happily go on and on with his empty backpack?

As others have noted, American Airlines is like another character in the movie. I figured they paid a pretty penny for that privilege, but apparently the Fort Worth-based carrier provided access rather than money.


  • Glenn Hunter

    The NTFCA blew it in the Best Actor category. Didn’t they see Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”?

  • Haven’t seen “Crazy Heart,” yet, but I agree that they blew the best actor pick. I can think of a number of a performances stronger than George Clooney once again playing George Clooney in “Up in the Air.”

  • Bridges is fine in “Crazy Heart,” but the film fell a little flat for me — loved the music, couldn’t buy the romance. I agree about Clooney playing Clooney. Although like Bond movies, I could watch that all day. I do, however, have a higher opinion of “Up in the Air,” both as representative of a Clooney-driven desire for more smart, heart-driven comedy-dramas in the style of old Hollywood, and of what seems like an increasing number of films coming out of- or set-in the American Midwest that reassert apple pie, red state values through the off-beat portrayal of darkly comic, modernity-afflicted characters. It’s almost becoming its own sub-genre (along with Reitman’s “Up in the Air” and “Juno,” add Alexander Payne’s stuff to this). One stylistic element that unites all these films is they are plain and un-showy. They don’t drip high-drama or great performance (how very Midwest), but that is where their subtle power is.

  • bill holston

    I haven’t seen Crazy Heart yet, but it seemed so like Tender Mercies from the Trailer, that I guess I was deterred. I’ll see it and probably like it though.

    I loved Up in the Air. I thought it was funny and poignant. I also thought it was quite stylish.

    My favorite scene from any film was the first 5 minutes of UP, wonderful commentary on marriage, love and growing old, without any dialog.

    I also found Serious Man, quite under rated. I thought it was the most thought provoking movie of the year, unsettling really.

    I’d probably make Up in the Air best picture, Kathryn Bigelow best director.

  • Jason Reitman isn’t fit to shine Alexander Payne’s shoes. “Juno” and “Up in the Air” aren’t in the same league as “Election” or “Sideways.” They’re not in the same league even of Payne’s segment in the short film collection “Paris, je t’aime.”

    I think Clooney does a terrific job of being Clooney, and I enjoy watching him at work. I liked “Up in the Air” well enough. But to rank it among the year’s best? It’s not nearly as good a movie as “Up” or “A Serious Man” or “The Hurt Locker” or “Inglourious Basterds.”

    @bill I agree with you 100% about the silent montage near the beginning of “Up.” Movies don’t get any better than that segment.

  • Glenn Hunter

    @Peter Simek: Agree that “Crazy” wasn’t the greatest film, mainly for the reason you mention. And the music was outstanding; kept thinking how it put today’s Top 40 country to shame.

  • @Jason – The only solution is to reserve the conference room for a viewing of “Election,” a seriously underrated flick (though some of those lovely images of Matthew Broderick will probably never go away).
    Anyway, Payne is likely better than Reitman. I’m just saying their stuff seems to come out of the same place, and “Up in the Air” is a good movie, even if it isn’t a really good movie, like “Basterds.”

  • @Peter: Reitman, indeed, plays some of the same notes as does Payne, but the music isn’t there. Otherwise, yep, I heartily agree, on all points.

    Anyone who seriously thinks “Up in the Air” is the best film of 2009 is in need of an intervention. And “Election” is a great example to show those people.