Monday, September 11, 2023

Movie Monday: Air

Last weekend, we decided to watch a movie, and I suggested Air. My husband said, "I really don't have any interest in a movie about sneakers." I told him I didn't either, but I'd heard it was a good movie. So, we popped some popcorn and watched it! We both enjoyed this entertaining movie with an all-star cast very much.

Air is based on the true story of how the concept behind Air Jordans revolutionized the athletic shoe industry and changed Nike from being last among its competitors in basketball shoes to the undisputed leader (not to mention earning many millions of dollars). In 1984, Rob Strasser, played by Jason Bateman, is working in marketing in the lagging basketball division of Nike. Sonny Vaccaro, played by Matt Damon, works in a unique position in the group, as a talent scout, going to high school and college games around the country, looking for upcoming new talent to convince them to wear Nikes on the court. Nike is losing this race, though, with most pro basketball players wearing Converse or Adidas shoes. Then Sonny spots a young Michael Jordan and sees something special in him, something that no one else has noticed yet. The basketball team at Nike usually chooses three or four players to sponsor, but Sonny goes to Nike CEO, Phil Knight, played by Ben Affleck, and convinces him to spend their entire budget on this one young, inexperienced player. When Jordan's agent won't work with him, Sonny goes right to the center of power: Michael's mom, played by Viola Davis. Sonny shows up at their house and talks with Michael and his parents, just asking them to hear him out. They agree to come into Nike to hear their pitch (over the complaints of a very angry agent!). Now Nike needs something spectacular to lure the Jordans to Nike. Sonny comes up with the wholly new idea of designing a shoe around Michael Jordan and works with shoe designer Peter Moore, played by Mathew Mayer, to make it happen. The rest is sports and pop culture history!

In case I wasn't clear up front, I have absolutely no interest in televised sports, basketball, sports icons, or athletic shoes. But I loved this movie. That top-notch cast is paired with great writers (and the incredible true story) to create an engrossing, gripping drama. In spite of not really caring about the subject matter, my husband and I were both rooting for the team at Nike and got caught up in the excitement of their ground-breaking approach. Sonny, with his enthusiasm and vision, is an especially likable character. And the nostalgia here is wonderful! The 80's clothes, cars, TV ads, and setting are backed up by an awesome 1984 soundtrack. We were thoroughly entertained by this compelling movie.

Air is now streaming, available on Amazon Prime.

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