Culture

From the Vault: 'Up in the Air' by Walter Kirn, Starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga

George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air © 2009 Paramount Pictures
George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air © 2009 Paramount Pictures

For most, there is very little joy to be had while flying. From security lines to layovers, flight delays to jet lag, the actual miracle of flight is second to the oh-so-human aversion to it all. (Louis C.K. actually addresses this in a particularly hilarious bit that is certainly worth watching if you haven't already; we felt compelled to include it at the bottom of this post for your viewing pleasure. Note that it's NSFW.) But we digress; for Ryan Bingham, the airport terminal is home.

Walter Kirn's Up in the Air tells the story of Bingham (played in the adaptation by George Clooney), who works for the conscience-free at Career Transitions Corporation, traveling the country to fire employees so the companies they work for don't have to. Of his profession, Bingham says, "We are here to make limbo tolerable." A clear response to an economically flailing America, Kirn's novel depicts a kind of  uprooted culture, in which technology reigns (though not without consequence) and human relationships are just extra baggage that will eventually be paid for. So it's no surprise Bingham is played by Clooney, Hollywood's notorious bachelor. Though the film is filled with all sorts of human despair and depravity, it is ultimately a comedic and perceptive look at an America waiting for take-off. If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, consider it recommended.

In 2009, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner adapted Walter Kirn's 2001 novel Up in the Air. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film stars George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride, Zach Galifanakis, and J.K. Simmons.

 

And because we couldn't help ourselves, here's Louis C. K. on humans in flight.

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Uncensored - Louis C.K. - The Miracle of Flight
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  • Nicolas Savvides

    Not sure if you could label this 'From the Vault'. The film is only a few years old.

    'From the Vault' implies something made at least 25 years ago.

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