Notes on Films #2

So I just got off a nearly 13 hour plane flight, so naturally I watched a bunch of movies on the plane. Not entirely unexpectedly I had some thoughts on them.

Up In The Air (Somewhere over the pacific a fair way north of New Zealand)

George Clooney plays a convincingly detached middle aged man who spends all his time flying. So much in fact that he’s accrued 10 million miles, joining an elite cadre of ultra frequent fliers.

Quite a good film, and quite a sad one too, but I’m going to suggest that it should never be shown on planes. Quite simply, the lie that is Ryan Bingham’s ‘enjoyment’ of doing so much commercial flying is shown up most vividly when the plane on the screen and it’s smooth, quiet, and spacious trip is compared to the noisy, cramped situation that is your real and present environs. It kind of ruins the illusion also when an outside shot shows all of Clooney’s upper torso and head, when the window next to your own seat barely accommodates your entire face when it’s squished right up against it.

The Blind Side (Indeterminate location over the pacific)

A film about a black American near-homeless boy and his adoption by a white family when he gets into a private Christian school on something like a football scholarship. Early overtones of a misguided white effort at atoning for wider social ills through personal action would undoubtedly appeal to ‘down to earth’ folksy types. However too much viewing of The Wire has left me extremely critical of any such simple solutions as simply taking the boy into your own home. Why just one boy, why not 2 or 10, and so on.

Also curious is the game’s seeming inattention to the specifics of actual football playing. For a film that starts with a football play, broken down and narrated second by second by Sandra Bullock’s character, the rest of the film really shows very little actual football being played. Just seemed weird, y’know? Clearly aimed at the Republican heartland.

The Invention of Lying (Indeterminate location over the pacific slightly closer to San Francisco)

I heard from one of my best friends that this “wasn’t that good” but I quite enjoyed it. It’s really an allegorical treatment of religion, and not really about lying at all. Ricky Gervais’ character invents lying in a world completely devoid of deception, and eventually resorts to fabricating the comforting lie that there is an afterlife of paradise when faced with his scared, dying mother.

It’s about life, it’s about death and religion and Gervais paints a picture of religion as convenient lying that is meant to reassure us about the great unknown that is death. An interesting film, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it’s overarching thesis.