Up in the Air

A couple of movies came to mind after I watched writer/director Jason Reitman’s wonderful Up in the Air. The first was Jerry Maguire, another funny drama about a man very comfortable in his career who faces an existential crisis. That film, like this one, features a display of movie star acting that will never get the acclaim heaped on showier method roles but is every bit as deserving.

The second film was Broadcast News, James L. Brooks’ classic about three TV journalists and their professional and romantic entanglements. It’s not so much plot or technique that invited the comparison but an overall tone of realism and respect, a sense that these are movies made by adults for adults, a Hollywood rarity.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox

I’m intrigued by the critical reception to Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel, Fantastic Mr. Fox. It currently sits at 92% on the Rotten Tomatoes scale, with 100% of the ‘Cream of the Crop’ critics reviewing it positively. It is by far the best-reviewed film of Anderson’s career.

I don’t disagree with those critics — on the contrary, I love the film — but I wonder why it’s this film and not, say, Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums that has garnered such praise. Is it because of a built-in forgiveness toward quality animated films or children’s films that elevates any of them that are different and better than the norm?

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