There are three things you need to know if you have yet to see Up in the Air:

  1. It is the best movie you will see this year. Listen, I know. I too loved Where the Wild Things Are. And while I’m sure Avatar is awesome and I know that Robert Downey, Jr. is going to be absolutely sensational in Sherlock Holmes (I can’t wait to see that movie), Up in the Air deserves all of this the hype. I was nervous going in to see it last night because I feared my monumental expectations couldn’t be met. I was so psyched for the movie that I’d gone out and bought myself the book to help tide me over. And it still exceeded my expectations. Cast, cinematography, script? Love.
  2. “Loose adaptation” is the understatement of the year. Reading Walter Kirn’s novel on which the film is based, I realized that I’d discovered the 180 to The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, the Michael Chabon novel I’d read earlier in the year. That novel was adapted into a movie I absolutely refused to see, based on the way the basic plot was butchered for the sake of…well, I don’t know why they did it, I just know that it wasn’t something I was willing to see. Up in the Air, on the other hand, is a smart and compelling literary work, but as written would make a pretty terrible movie. So why not strip the book down to its bones and create a smart and compelling cinematic work? Done and done.
  3. Calling Up in the Air lightweight is like saying Marley & Me is just a hilarious romcom. Sharp, yes. Funny, absolutely. Sexy like you wouldn’t believe. But lightweight? I call shenanigans. “Seriocomedy” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but Lisa Schwarzbaum’s got it right.