It’s Oscar week DVD releases and this batch includes one film that went home with two statues and an honorable runner-up that went home empty handed and deserved better. But, to quote an Oscar winner (albeit in a radically different context), “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” (That mantra is how I watch the Oscars without getting aggravated.)
Precious came away with two wins but Up In The Air (Paramount) is, in my opinion, the superior film (it is certainly the more subtle and nuanced film) and should have taken the Adapted Screenplay award. It’s also a refreshingly mature movie about grown-up characters and serious issues, handled with a light touch with a depth of character and great intelligence behind it. George Clooney stars as a 21st century traveling man who has trimmed his existence down to what can be packed into carry-on luggage and turned business class seating and airport lounges into his comfort zone. He’s spent so much passing through life that he treats relationships like layovers: a brief, impermanent stop on a never-ending journey. Which makes it easier to do his job: he’s the man that companies bring to fire employees that they don’t want to face themselves, and he’s just been assigned to show the ropes to an ambitious young professional (Anna Kendrick) fresh from business school who finds that the human equation can be a tricky factor in putting theory into practice.