Booze Revooze: A Drinker’s Skewed View of UP IN THE AIR

[Click here for a guide to Booze Revooze and the rating system used]

From the juiced-box and the soundtrack: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – This Land Is Your Land

[Press ‘Play’ to get your Dap on]

Ramblings: Up In The Air Is Down To Earth

Final Proof: 3 1/2 Shots

You know how you get drunk in airport bars? It’s not as old-school as train stations and less depressing than bus stations because the people you meet are more varied. For example you got your business people and it’s hard not to look on them with a little envy as they skirt lines with VIP cards and sit down before you in seats better than yours to get comped drinks. They’re the ones paying sky high prices in the bar because they’re saving the receipts that’re all gonna be reimbursed by their companies. But they pay for it in other ways like the families they leave behind to suck jet fumes, and smiles as cold and conditioned as the air they recycle when they’re flying. Airport bars are designed to make you feel at home even when you know you’re not and they’re polished and professional but often full to the rim with humanity: talkative help cleaning the floors who address you like they know you, happy couples high on the idea of traveling together and those looking on with only one dry eye because they were once sitting in Business and now they’re on Economy and even if they realize they’re better off in some ways, they still need that next drink they can’t afford but are ordering anyway. Airport bars are cool because of the contrast between the shallow depth of the decor and your closest strangers making it real. Up In The Air is kinda like that.

George Clooney and Vera Farmiga In The Airport Bar None

You want a metaphor? Up In The Air is the story of a man who’s happy as hell drinking imported beer and thinks champagne is for wussies. Then he gets a taste of what he thinks is champagne and loves it. Until he finds out it wasn’t champagne at all and so he wants to get a bottle for real but no one’s there to give it to him and in the end he has to go back to beer.

i’m a big Jason Reitman fan. i thought Thank You For Smoking was cool as hell and even if i thought Juno was a tad overrated, i was with him all the way on that one. UITA didn’t disappoint. It’s funny and tender in all the right ways because it steers around the storm clouds of romantic-comedy and the turbulence of forced happy endings.

Another cool thing about UITA was how Reitman dealt with the subject of unemployment. In Ryan’s (played masterfully by George Clooney) own words: “I work for [a] company that lends me out to pussies like Steve’s boss who don’t have the balls to sack their own employees.” So yeah, Reitman coulda just chosen to use that as kinda a backdrop for the story but he chose to move it into the forefront by hiring real unemployed people who’d been laid off to recreate the moment they were fired. Very cool and very meaningful and a great idea because those 25 people add a lot of depth to the movie.

The normal actors do a decent job. George Clooney (Ryan Bingham) gives his character a lot of character and Vera Farmiga is believable as jet setter, Alex Goran. Anna Kendrick is getting a lot of attention for her role as young exec Natalie Keener and the girl is golden. It’s nice to see her in a role that’s more of a stretch than Kristen Stewart’s high school friend in Twilight, and man can Anna stretch.

Basically, if you’re tempted to see this, you pro’lly should. Up In The Air is a trip.

Before we get to the talent, here’s another song from the juiced-box and soundtrack. i like it because, if you listen to the words, it makes sense for us drinkers: Sad Brad Smith – Help Yourself

Buzz Kills (Watch Out for Spoilers)

Sex: 2 shots

There’s only one partially nude scene, and that’s of Vera Farmiga’s body double who’s got a nice butt and shows a little side boob. i knew right away it was a body double, ask Miss Demeanor, because they never showed Vera’s face during the naked part. That’s a tell tail sign right there. The UITA Trivia Section on IMDB has Vera saying she doesn’t mind being naked in a movie but that she’d recently given birth and “the breast milk running down would have been inappropriate”. Hell, i don’t know about that but i guess it woulda been distracting.

So anyway, here’s some shots of Vera Farmiga (36) i didn’t already exposé in my Orphan review.

Got Milk?

Vera Farmiga In The Bar None

Anna Kendrick (24) was super cute in her role of Natalie Keener, especially in the party scene when she lets her hair down, literally, and rocks out. i also already exposéd her in my Twilight: New Moon review so here are some different shots of her.

It’s getting harder and harder to exposé Melanie Lynskey (32, who plays Ryan’s sister Julie Bingham) after doin’ her twice already, once for The Informant and another time for Away We Go. Still, i dug deep and found these:

There were also a slew of those fleeting beauties who flit across the screen in the blink of a wink. Here are those Silken Butterflies i hope to see lots more of…

First up, Adrienne Lamping who plays Tammy, one of Julie Bingham’s Bridesmaids. Click on the photo to visit her Agency.

There’s also Meagan Flynn (29) who plays a flight attendant (and wouldn’t we all like to, at least once). My exclusive Bar None interview with her is here.

And it would be a mortal sin not to mention Erin McGrane, who is adorable as Ryan’s neighbor / ex-love interest. If UITA lacks credibility, part of it is that in real life George Clooney would do everything in his power to win back this young lady’s heart. Yes, there was also some Booze Talkin’ with her as well.

There’s also Lanette Fugit (39), another flight attendant, though tragically uncredited. Clicking on the photos will take you to her web site.

Finally, and certainly not leastly, i give you a postage stamp photo of Kelly Bertha, one of the recently unemployed who plays herself in the movie. Not only is she gorgeous, but she’s another famous person who knows me and let me interview her.

To wrap this bad boy up, here are some shots of George Clooney (48) for those who prefer fuselage to hangar.

George Clooney At The Bar None

A Smoke

Drink: 2½ Shots

i should probably go a little higher here as there were enough drink references, but i’ve limited it to 2½ because booze didn’t play a key role in the film.

When Ryan (George Clooney) and Alex (Vera Farmiga) meet in the hotel bar, he’s drinking a gin & tonic and she’s got a martini.

Natalie (Anna Kendrick) gets drunk with Ryan and Alex after her boyfriend dumps her by text message. They drink martinis, scotch & sodas, and then there’s more drinking at the Tech party they crash. Hats off to Anna Kendrick who plays drunk with a believable amount of understatement.

The next morning, Natalie apologized for getting carried away, which i liked because i’ve had to do the same kinda post-binge groveling more than once.

There’s also beer from mugs at the rehearsal dinner for Ryan’s sister Julie’s wedding.

When Ryan’s sad, he drinks minibar bottles of Southern Comfort that he keeps in his own fridge in his apartment.

Finally, when Ryan hits the 10 million mile mark, the flight attendant (i’m pretty sure it’s Meagan Flynn from above) gives him a glass of champagne.

A Smoke

Rock & Roll: 1 Shot

The soundtrack is pretty folky but not so bad even if it isn’t rock.

What’s also not rock is the cameo by Young MC at the tech party, singing his hit “Bust A Move”.

Boring Technical Crap

Written by:

Walter Kim – Book

Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner – Screenplay

Directed by: Jason Reitman


Vera Farmiga – Alex Goran

Anna Kendrick – Natalie Keener

Melanie Lynskey – Julie Bingham

Adrienne Lamping – Tammy

Meagan Flynn – Flight Attendant

Erin McGrane – Dianne

Lanette Fugit – Flight Attendant

Kelly Bertha – Terminated Employee

George Clooney – Ryan Bingham

Bottom Line

See it, Up In The Air won’t let you down.

The Bar None Bonus Round

Here’s the last song in the movie, recorded on a cassette by Kevin Renick, an unemployed guy who gave Reitman the tape after a talk in a university in St Louis. (You can read Reitman’s interview about the exchange here.)

Even better, you can read my cool interview of him right here.

Kevin Renick – Up In The Air

11 thoughts on “Booze Revooze: A Drinker’s Skewed View of UP IN THE AIR

  1. I have to admit that while I admire the hell out of Clooney, I have avoided many of his movies for reasons other than him. This one I’ve been looking forward to seeing. There are to other actors that Clooney brings to mind. Long before he got ahold of the Ocean’s franchise, Sinatra comes to mind because George transitions smoothly from funny guy to serious actor by giving the impression of a “regular Joe”, but he is also the suave sophisticate in the image of Cary Grant. I am sure that this movie will not disappoint.

  2. “That’s a tell tail sign…” *groan* You and the puns!! 😀

    And this one… “…here are some shots of George Clooney (48) for those who prefer fuselage to hangar.” Heh heh!

    Great review and great writing to go with it. I like how your words centered around themes – all the stuff about storm clouds and turbulence in the third paragraph, for example, as well as the above. Good stuff.

    I really like how this came out, too – I know you tried to explain it to me, and I did not quite get it when you did so verbally, but I got exactly what you meant when you wrote it here: “Up In The Air is the story of a man who’s happy as hell drinking imported beer and thinks champagne is for wussies. Then he gets a taste of what he thinks is champagne and loves it. Until he finds out it wasn’t champagne at all and so he wants to get a bottle for real but no one’s there to give it to him and in the end he has to go back to beer.” Nicely played.

    Thanks for the Jumpin’ George second-to-last photo!! Wheee! Too fun! :d

    I hope the interview with Kelly Bertha goes well! Looking forward to the post on that one. 🙂

    • Whoa!

      *Another* famous person knows me!

      Meagan, babe, how ’bout an interview for The Bar None? Whaddya say?

      It would be good for both of us, swear to god.

      Al K Hall

    • Aaaacckk!

      i don’t know how i missed this! i couldn’t read or remember the ‘neighbor’ reference i’d scribbled in my notebook in the dark. A thousand apologies!

      i’ve rectified the situation and included some of your shots. Can you ever forgive me?

      Thanks for patronizing me,

      Al K Hall

    • Yeah for the Erin love!!!! (In case you didn’t know Al, me and Erin are friends!) Real life not just George Clooney world!!!!

  3. I’m kinda thinking maybe Erin and Megan should interview *one another*. You know, a little Girl on Girl? 😉 TEE HEE! (just being a little “punny” there, lol)

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