I myself am a frequent flier. Certainly not to the extent of Ryan, but I fly enough to be able to tell you that you don't put your shoes in the gray tray as Ryan did. That's a big no-no because it leaves the tray dirty. The security people don't care, but it's traveler courtesy. And I've flown enough to earn an A-List ranking with Southwest which means that I get to skip the long lines and I'm automatically checked in to every flight with an A boarding status. I take pride in the way I pack my backpack so that I know where everything is come time to unload it and reload it on the security belt. Why does this matter? Why does Southwest A-List status matter? Because it means I have to deal with fewer people. It means that I go in shorter lines which means less human contact. Our lives are filled with things that make it easy to avoid eachother. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Voicemail, automated voices. They describe it as "being connected", but in an effort to be in the "know" we've lost contact with eachother. Where Up In The Air is timely has less to do with the current state of our economy and more to do with the fact that we've all become comfortable with being alone. With being anonymous. With being void of any true emotional connection. One of the greatest lines in Up In The Air, is also one of the simplist. When Ryan's boss Craig Gregory (Jason Batemen) tells him that Natalie (Anna Kendrick) has just quit, Ryan says "you should call her."
If you have any kind of history with this blog, you know that I was not a big fan of Juno, because it was too caught up in Diablo Cody's witty dialogue to feel real to me. But where I feel Juno missed, Up In The Air completely hits. As far as I can tell, this is a near flawless film that will surely be missed come Academy time because of the shock and awe that is Avatar, which is truly a shame, because it is a complete movie, deftly written and directed by Jason Reitman.
I didn't find this movie depressing. Or too timely. Instead I felt uplifted by it (no pun intended). Glad to be married. Glad to have children. Glad to have all the things to stick in my backpack and haul around, no matter how much it hurt to hold it up. My alone moments on the plane watching my movie, or sitting in front of my computer in my quiet hotel room writing this piece are rich for me, because unlike Ryan, I know that I have so much waiting for me when my plane finally lands. This movie made me happy to be alive and if that's not worth high praise, then I don't know what is.