Movie Review: Up In The Air
|5 out of 5 stars|
I try not to post movie reviews on here because, well truthfully, I use flixster inside of the facebook app for that, however on this rare occasion, I decided to post my official review of this movie. I need to forewarn you that this post may be longer than usual because it really struck a nerve and brought up some great thought points for me--so grab your coffee, water, juice or energy drink, get comfortable and hear me out. I wont talk excessively about the movie and try to touch on points that really stood out to me. Overall it was well done and I think Clooney was a perfect choice for the role so out of 5 stars, I give this movie 5 stars, primarily because it hits so close to home for me.
So a quick synopsis is that Ryan Bingham is a guy who works in corporate America as "downsizing expert". He is a road warrior extreme and lives his life out of a suitcase and rarely spends time at his small drab apartment. His ultimate goal is to hit 10,000,000 miles with American, which gives him lifetime executive status on the carrier. He becomes challenged when his company decides to automate the process and begin doing the firings by web chat, therefore saving the company money and becoming more productive. With his own existence challenged, he decides to take Natalie, the girl responsible for the demize, on the road and show her that her thought process is not clear.
I was able to relate to this movie on so many levels, well because it is my life and has been for 10 years, probably more if I would have found out about it earlier. I am on the road a lot, maybe not as much as Ryan, but quite a bit. It seems every other week it is a new destination or an old one recycled. I live my life out of a suitcase (for the most part). My life is simple and I try to limit the amount of "things" i have in my life. My life really consists of my car, my 3 cats and some replaceable furnishings from IKEA and that is about it.
When I was younger, I really thought the American dream was to have a wife, a house, a two car garage and a few children. I was following in the footsteps of my family and what I thought was the right path for my life. When I turned 27, I got married and had a 5 bedroom 3 bath house, a beautiful wife and 2 amazing dogs (a black and a chocolate lab). I thought that was the goal and I appreciated what I had. In the midst of this, I had landed a job in which I worked hard and showed my value and worth to the company. They liked me and promoted me to an Event Manager/Program Manager postion.
I was quickly hooked and loved the thrill of getting on a plane and going to a new destination, setting up the 3 day conference and then heading home late saturday or possibly Sunday mornings. As you can imagine this began to wreak havoc on my marriage. My wife, at the time, wanted me to become grounded and look for another job because the travel was too much for her. I became torn because I loved what I did, but also loved my wife.
This movie really explored the dichotomy of human relationships and the human experience. It really hit home with me because there really are two main schools of thought when it comes to relationships. One being that we are meant to find the person of our dreams, settle down, possibly have kids and grow old together. The other is that monogamy is a way of life and that we meet multiple people in our journey, have great connections, and enjoy the rush of being on the go. Ryan said something in the movie such as, "We are not swans..we are sharks..." I find this to be true in my life. When there isn't a lot going on, I am down in the dumps. I feel like I am not accomplishing. I need movement in my life to keep me going.
Whether we want to admit it or not, I have no business telling people what life they should live or that their choice is inferior to my own. Should they chose a monogamous life with a secure base, that is their right, however, I would expect the same respect in chosing my lifestyle. I shouldn't be judged because I don't have a house, or because I am not married and have kids, or because I don't have the career that others chose, that is what makes me an individual, a human being, Chad Bordes.
There was an interesting dialogue between Natalie and Ryan in Miami about family and marriage and growing old. Natalie was drilling him on all these questions and it seemed that she was shocked, to say the least at his responses. We are conditioned to believe that one lifestyle is a better choice over the other rather than learning acceptance without persuasion.
The movie also dabbled into the arena of love. Im not going to get into the specifics of it, rather I will say, please go see the film. I will share with you my thoughts on this subject. Each of us is different. I see so much of myself in the main character that it is shocking. As an Events Consultant/Travel Director, I can say that at times on the road, I have fallen in love. The reality is, however, that it is a road romance and I must accept that and be okay with it without the expectation of anything more. Who knows if the women I date are married, divorced, engaged or have a serious long term boyfriend? The truth is that I can't have expectations outside of the "right now" and that I know the rules of the game.
Robert Deniro once said in the Movie Heat, ""Never have anything in your life that you can't walk out on in 30 seconds if you see the heat around the corner" That line is true of the road warriors life. I have great friends and great times. I have limited possessions and minimal amounts of cash at any given time. I am not asking for a pity party because I made the choice to do what I do and I am happy with that. Your life is not my life and my life is not yours. I look forward to the mileage perks, the hotel rooms, the random acquaintances, the late night conversations in the hotel bars about life and the brief time I have at home with my cats as well as my bedroom with all my possessions.
Now with all of my ranting about this movie and how it parallels my life, I must also say there was a part of this movie that made me think. What I am going to say right now is going to piss a lot of my coworkers off, and that is just a day in the office. For those of you longing to get off the road because of the long hours, being away from home, not being able to sleep in your bed, not liking "Vegas" or "Miami", Missing your family, or just wanting to spend more time at home, my words to you, Please get off the road and get a job closer to home. The things I just mentioned above are reasons why I love this job. In this life, find your passion, accept it and move on. Don't keep going on the road, "cause its good money". Take the chance to get off the road, find your passion, be with your family (if that is truly what you want) and give those of us that love this job, the opportunity to do what we do and do it well without competing against you.
I am sure I am going to add more to this blog as I see the movie again. For those of you that ask what I do, well I am Ryan Bingham