3 Big Things on ‘Air’ — A SPOILER-FREE Review
The Do You Like Apples boys have probably died and gone to heaven. Ben & Matt? In the same movie? On-screen together again? Somebody needs to do a welfare-check on those guys.
It would probably be best to preface this review with a quick disclaimer: I liked ‘Air’ and do recommend it. I don’t know if I fell victim to my own expectations, but it doesn’t feel forever-rewatchable the way other sports movies such as ‘Moneyball’ are. Here’s the thing though, for a mediocre movie, it’s exceptional.
So, if you’re on the fence as to whether or not to see ‘Air’, here are 3 Big Things to consider:
1. Ben Affleck directs it.
“State the obvious why don’t you, Ken?” Okay look, its a very generic point, but I think it’s important to consider. Ben Affleck is an excellent filmmaker. He has a solid track record that includes being the director of a film that won Best Picture. He knows what he’s doing, and he certainly does not phone this one in. It is by far his most fun film. He handles this new direction with care and attention, and it’s truly entertaining.
The direction does unfortunately lean into cheese-ball territory at points, and the movie in and of itself just doesn’t do anything unique enough to catapult it into “all-time classic” territory. Although it doesn’t soar, it’s clear that Ben Affleck has surrounded himself with people he loves to work with and the energy really comes off the screen.
2. Come for the movie, stay for the needle-drops.
You want to get my ass in a theater? Put 80’s music in your movie. It’s that simple. One of the things that gives ‘Air’ its infectious energy is it’s soundtrack. Ben takes a page out of the Scorsese playbook and isn’t afraid to let the music be another character in the story. Is there any more perfect way to start a film than with the low, slow intro to “Money for Nothing”? It’s fantastic! It rips into a expositional montage that just gets you ready to party.
3. You’re gonna want to go back and watch “The Last Dance”
The most important thing to realize about ‘Air’ is that it really isn’t a movie about Michael Jordan. It certainly centers around him, and there is a great monologue that highlights his impact not just on sports but also on modern-American society. Truly, the spotlight is more on the story of the people working at Nike and how they were able to land this monster deal.
All I could think about though? How badly I wanted to go back and watch ‘The Last Dance’. My wife echoed the same sentiment on the way back from the theater. The thing that ‘Air’ does very well is quantify how big of an impact Michael Jordan made on sports. We know very much about the accolades, and the championships, but to see the astronomical numbers surrounding this deal for Nike shows us much much more.
All in all, ‘Air’ is an easy, feel-good, fun movie. It doesn’t take any meaningful swings, but it keeps you invested the whole time. Ben Affleck gets to make a movie, full of infectious energy, with people that bring out the best of him…and it shows.
3.5/5 Swedish Fish…..yah, we’re doing that now. (I still think Swedish Fish are just ok, BTW)
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