Up in the Air

By Bob on July 1, 2010 6:00 AM

As anyone who travels for a living will tell you, Up in the Air doesn't just capture the world of the business traveler. It nails it. Or, as Dan Jenkins might say, "It's dead solid perfect."


Up in the Air follows the travels and travails of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) a flying mercenary on a singular mission: firing people. It's not something he particularly enjoys, but he's good at it. What he's best at, however, is getting from point A to point B on an airplane.


Ryan's a ROCK STAR when it comes to travelling. He negotiates airports, Admirals' Clubs and TSA checkpoints with ease. In short, he's the guy you pray you get behind at the next security screening. He's THAT GOOD.

His life rolls along like the very best travel luggage until his company grounds him.


Director Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking) keeps the film from becoming a travelogue. Instead, he packs this cinematic carryon with a story about compromised people and what's left in their vapor trail.


You'd think with all this baggage it might crash and burn. Don't worry. This baby has plenty of lift.


What makes Bingham's spirits soar is female road warrior Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) whom he meets (not surprisingly) in an airport bar. Before you can say "return your tray tables and seatbacks to their upright and locked position" Bingham is boinking Alex and life looks pretty darned good.


Even after Bingham's airport assignation his life remains uncomplicated. He travels 322 days a year and gets all of his assignments while on the road. One week he's in Detroit. Next week Duluth. All with a stopover in Dallas. He has his firing speech down pat. He's a cool, emotionless, downsizing demigod.


His life rolls along like the very best travel luggage until his company grounds him. Thanks to Al Gore and that infernal internet, Ryan and his road warrior comrades are summoned home to learn how to fire folks via the web. His boss (wonderfully played by Jason Bateman) has this brilliant idea thanks to spunky, ecommerce consultant Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick).


After shooting holes in Keener's online firing squad (the scene where he critiques Keener's presentation is exquisitely painful,) Bingham convinces his boss to send Keener out to see the firing process up close and very personal.    


Bingham's personal life gets a little more personal thanks to his road trip with Keener and his road warrior romance with Alex. Hookups, breakups and family commitments threaten to send his life off course, but he's been on the road long enough to know where to land. 


Brilliant cameos dot his fly-over country thanks to Danny McBride (Pineapple Express,) Melanie Lynskey (Away We Go,) J.K. Simmons (Juno) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover). By the time this movie checks in (109 minutes) you'll be wondering if you've reached your destination or if you're just changing planes.


It doesn't really matter.


Up in the Air is grounded in the belief that every trip is worth taking. You'll be glad you came along for the ride.


The Boomer Brief recommends Netflix for your movie rentals. The monthly rental packages start at only $4.99 - and you can cancel at any time.


Here's a DVDelicious Bonus 

I don't get on an airplane without thinking of Emmylou Harris' classic, Boulder to Birmingham. My only gripe with Up in the Air is that they didn't use it in the soundtrack. Here's the opening verse: 


Boulder to Birmingham

Emmylou Harris/Bill Danoff


I don't want to hear a love song
I got on this airplane just to fly
And I know there's life below me
But all that you can show me
Is the prairie and the sky...


For all of my Boomer friends who love this southern songbird, here's Emmylou's rendition of the song she made famous on her album Pieces of the Sky


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Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

Continue Reading »

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Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

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