Saturday, November 21, 2009

I saw it, Up in the Air #uita

I hate movie reviews. I'm going to see the movie anyway and all the review will do is possibly delay my chance to see it or spoil some of the good parts. What I love most about movies is the conversation around them, and last weekend instead of just chatting about movies around a table, I boarded the conversation, Up in the Air.

It started on November 10th when Stephanie from American Airlines said I needed to follow her so she could send me an exclusive invitation. After having Direct Message spam issues weeks earlier I was leery, but I went ahead and followed her twitter profile and later received an email that said Paramount and American wanted to fly me to LA so I could watch a sneak preview of Up in the Air.

At a time when we are aching to tell people on the ground that we are connected while flying, 'The story of a man ready to make a connection' makes a lot of sense. For a man that gets miles for firing people, Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) the philosophy is 'The miles are the goal'. While we struggle to put a value on the points we get for checking in, whether we are looking at corporate miles, or weekly foursquare points, or activity in our facebook and twitter streams, it's something that we all have to face as points become a currency to replace human connection, and the more connected you are, the less likely you are to require a human connection.

Our evening up in the air on November 14th however was a time to make human connections. This was an entirely new experience for all of us, and since the plane was only to take 60 people, it was one of those times when it made sense to talk to everyone, roam the aisles and butt-in where the single-serving friends of Fight Club fame would not dream of intruding.

The night before our flight I checked into the 59th street apple store and bought a Kensington auto/air inverter so I would be able to plug in my laptop and iPhone on the plane. Having extra power on a blogger junket that was like being able to pass out bottles of suds in shawshank prison, because I immediately made friends with Just Jared, The Product Guy, and Samantha Ewers from I'm not Obsessed. They have all done great reviews of Paramount and AA's service, the food, the free WiFi from Aircell and even photo-blogged the whole experience from JFK to LAX. Also, Sherri Smith who sat behind me will soon do a proper review of the Bose Noise Canceling QC15's that were supplied to us by Coca-Cola. I've been wearing them around the city all week and feel like I haven't landed yet.

I chose to wear my gnome tee shirt on the flight, which was fortuitous, because Jason Reitman's Up in the Air creates an homage to Amelie's faux-photo gnome-napping meme. Up in the Air added a crowd-sourcing element to it where the cutout of Danny McBride (who you know as kenny powers) and Melanie Lynskey's is scaled across a massive network of nearly notable spots across the US.

I was inspired tonight to post just such a faux-photo where I've added Jody and me in front of the Up in the Air billboard in Times Square.

To make sure we were all seated for landing, they had to cut the blogger interviews down to a minute, so here is my best impression of "Between Two Ferns" with Anna Kendrick, star of Twighlight and now Up in the Air. I'm now a fan of hers because she confessed a love for Karaoke, and in fact fought for her favorite karaoke song, Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper.

and now with English, Dutch and Chinese Subtitles!

The conversations with the movie crew and the AA crew were great, I learned all about the culture of miles, the perks and we discussed the card with Ryan Bingham's #7 that he's awarded in the movie for elite mileage status. I thought that the coolest way to commemorate the movie would be to pass out Ryan Bingham #7 cards that were MiFi enabled. I checked on Linkedin to see if there was anyone offering white label MiFi cards that could be personalized, but seems from the answers like that's a bit too early of a technology to turn into tchotchkes :)

After the movie Sad Brad Smith who performed some of the songs on the soundtrack sung for us. Once that was over we continued to chat in the aisles and I wasn't paying attention and was still standing while we landed, a first for me. It was kind of like surfing. As we headed for the Hilton LAX our gracious AA hosts indulged us as we took photos of everything we saw and did, and I couldn't resist staging this one with the AA cutout and Chris Vary. A big thanks to Chris, as he is the one who helped me get the above interview with Anna from Betamax format to something youtube-able!

Up in the Air debuts December 4th in select cities - go see it and check out the chatter on Jason Reitman's site, Up in the Air Tweets. Or if you're really cool, check in on opening night in HotPotato.

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