According to the critics, that new George Clooney movie about a guy who racks up 10 million sky miles flying all over the country to fire people is “wonderful.”
I have to admit, it left me full of wonder.
I wondered why I ever listen to the critics who are unanimously full of crap. They stuff they call good “cinema” is nearly always pretentious dreck(“Dances with Wolves”) or a caustic attack on our culture (“American Beauty” or “Brokeback Mountain”).
I wondered if George Clooney’s greatest acting job is pretending to be an actor. He is the same guy in every movie, from Oceans 11 to Up in the Air. And that guy is always George Clooney, who is cooler than anyone and thinks he is the hipper, more charming update of Cary Grant. There was not a moment in the movie when I thought Clooney was Ryan Bingham, the hired head-lopper. His characterization was as flat as New Year’s champagne on the morning after. There are actors who can make you believe — like Russell Crowe in Beautiful Mind. And there are actors who are always basically the same character, but they’re good at it — like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. Clooney is not believable as someone else, and not especially interesting as George Clooney.
I wondered how this guy who lives from a suitcase managed to always look as neatly pressed as a GQ photo shoot.
I wondered why they needed so much gratuitous and implausible profanity.
I wondered what was up with that rapper who was shoehorned into the movie — and why they think we don’t catch on to the tacky product placement for airlines, cars and products.
I wondered why movies today so often tell stories about such unlikeable people. Clooney’s character saw the world from a mile high in his first-class seat on an airliner. From that perspective, towns look like computer circuit boards, and the people who live there may as well be electrons for all he cared about them. I get it that it was a metaphor for an increasingly techno-impersonal culture. But if he doesn’t care about anyone else, why should I care about him or the others in the movie?
I wondered if the writers actually thought they could exploit unemployed people for jokes and the plot, then yank on our heartstrings with a winch at the end, by having the unemployed people cry onscreen. Isn’t that crass?
I wondered if this will win armloads of awards and Oscar nominations like so many other crappy movies that the critics love — such as Chicago, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood (“I Drink your milkshake!”) and so on.
And finally, I wondered why I paid for it, and where do I got to get that 2 hours back.