Pass the Popcorn: Up in the Air

 (Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Up in the Air is a must see flick.

Clooney plays a man purposely devoid of attachments, a middle-aged guy with a Peter Pan syndrome. He travels 300+ days a year for his job, rarely speaks to his siblings, and has no interest in owning a home or having a serious romantic relationship. Not only has Clooney’s character made these choices for himself, he evangelizes this lifestyle in public speaking. His spiel involves using a backpack as a prop. Wives, mortgages, kids, pets- these are all heavy burdens in your backpack, he essentially argues, and you want to travel light.

His job? Flying around the country firing people in corporate  down-sizings.

Clooney’s character reminds me of an older, grizzled manifestation of the flawed young men of Kay Hymowitz’s brilliant and biting social commentary. Hymowitz, a colleague of Jay’s at the Manhattan Institute, has written a series of articles lamenting the young men of today. While once it was expected that a man would actually make something of himself before seeking a wife, today sex is widely available outside of marriage. So, thinks today’s bachelor, why get married? Although I can’t find a link, I recall seeing Hymowitz describe the young men of today as “addicted to video games and masturbation.” 

I remember it because I spit my “tea, Earl Grey, hot” onto my computer screen when I read it. Anyhoo, Clooney’s character, a bit more mature, is addicted to the accumulation frequent flyer miles, staying in five-star hotels,  hanging out at the Admiral’s Club at the airport and one night stands.  It’s all going swell, or is it (?), until a young whippersnapper figures out that it is cheaper to fire people by text message and he hooks up with a female version of himself out on the road…

Up in the Air is a great movie that deserves the buzz it is receiving. Drop what you are doing and go see it.

6 Responses to Pass the Popcorn: Up in the Air

  1. Brian says:

    I agree, it is a great film. It did a particularly good job of depicting the type of isolation one feels when travelling alone, especially because the places he travelled were so awful (Omaha, Wichita, Tulsa, Des Moines). For me, this film succeeded where Lost in Translation failed. Ennui is a symptom of boredom, and there’s no excuse to be bored in Tokyo.

    Now, I am going to have to disagree with you on the “brilliance” of Kay Hymowitz. She’s just sounds crabby to me, bitter because she (and other females) are losing their ability to dominate men. She compares all men who decide not ot commit to marriage and family to fictional characters, like the central character in About a Boy, or guys in Apatow movies. She doesn’t give them any credit for making a rational choice that is good for them. She thinks she knows what is best for them, if only they would listen.

    Heck, if someone could invent a video game that incorporated masturbation, I’d nominate them for the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award.

  2. Randy says:

    I’m sorry, but video games are cheaper and more fun than women. Video games are $50 or less and provide hours of entertainment. Dating girls costs upwards of $200 a month and involves talking about ‘feelings.’ You don’t have to romance a video game to get it in the mood to be played with. You just have to hit the ‘ON’ button and it’s ready to go – just the way us men like it. Video games never get ‘headaches’ or have that ‘time of the month’ so you can play with them anytime you want.

    Video games never nag you, or ask you “what do you want to do tonight” followed by “I don’t care, anything you pick is fine” which is then followed up with “anything but that.” No, video games want to do whatever you want, all the time, every time.

    Plus there are tons of books to help you cheat on your video game if you can’t figure it out…AND, you never have to feel guilty for cheating. You can have lots of video games at once too, they never get jealous. You can even trade in your old video games for new ones, with no grief.

    With the advent of the internet you can now get it on with lots of people in your video game. Forget threesomes, World of Warcraft lets you play with thousands of people at once. Another plus is the fact that any viruses you may contract while having an all-nighter with a hundred other gamers can be removed for $50 with MacAfee Anti-Virus software.

    So you know what? If women really want a man to settle down with them, they need to pull up their control-top pantyhose and compete – this is America after all!

  3. Randy says:

    “Heck, if someone could invent a video game that incorporated masturbation, I’d nominate them for the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award.”

    I hear they’re coming out with a Wee-Wii controller just for that.

  4. Matthewladner says:

    Speaking as a guy who has a Robotron arcade game in his office, you guys are frightening me.

  5. MFP says:

    Randy and Brian: Thank you for reminding me I’m single. On behalf of 29 yr old women everywhere, please feel free to stay in hte house and “play video games.”

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