An underappreciated masterpiece

There are a lot of movies out there that I would recommend for people to watch. Hundreds. But there’s a movie that I could recommend to everyone, no matter what their taste is, I know they will at least enjoy it. Up in the Air.

Up in the air has this perfect balance of drama and comedy. It hits you with these truly depressing scenes but then contrasts it with hilarious performances by Zach Galifianakis, Jason Batemen, J.K. Simmons, Danny McBridge. I mean the cast is insane. But Jason Reitman uses everyone perfectly. He seems to just know the right balance with everything in this film.

I feel like this movie doesn’t have enough hype around it. I honestly believe it is an almost perfect dramedy and here is 4 reasons why:

4. The Music

There is one song in this film called “Help Yourself” by Sad Brad Smith that is truly incredible. Go listen to it. It has this weird sense of happiness and sadness, kind of like Hey Jude. When Jason Reitman uses it, it just adds this weird bitter sweet feeling to Ryan’s life. As if even he knows how depressing his world is and just doesn’t want to admit it.

3. George Clooners

George Clooney has this very specific niche in his acting. Something that very few actors have and is extremely hard to master. Charisma. George and Brad Pitt always come to mind when I think about this. George has this ability to make you like him no matter what. Even if he is a complete arsehole, he still makes you care for him. I think it has something to do with his eyes. Every time I look at him, he just looks like a sad puppy dog.

Anyway… His performance in this is so subtly brilliant you may just miss it. At the beginning of the film, we see this shell of a man. No attachment to anyone, no fucks given, no compassion. He is focused on one thing and that is his job. However, throughout the movie we see his shell crack – if ever so slightly. Looks with his eyes, smiles, these little reflections of a man who is beginning to learn what it means to be human. It is not a Daniel Day Lewis transformation but something much simpler and potentially more challenging. A slow and progressive change into someone who cares.

2. The themes.

This may sound weird, but no movie has scared me as much as Up in the Air. Ryan’s life genuinely makes me feel uncomfortable. And that’s exactly how this movie wants you to feel. It presents you with this man who is completely focused on working and nothing else. He doesn’t care about his family or friends. All he wants is some capitalistic and empty goal of 10,000 miles. Jason Reitman shows the audience what’s important in life by presenting them with this sad and depressing life of Ryan. He doesn’t hammer you over the head with the message, but subtly reminds you what’s important by showing you what you are not missing out on.


I don’t know about other people, but I find this film very depressing. There are these 3 scenes in Up in the Air that show this almost nihilistic attitude toward life. That things just don’t matter and there is no point caring about anything. But what makes this worse is that Ryan changes. He transforms to become a proper human and is still beaten down by the people and world around him. Truly heartbreaking… especially when its George Clooney’s puppy dog eyes.

Not to mention that one scene… BRUTAL.

Could I write more about this film? Absolutely, but I need to keep editing my short film so this where I leave you.