Let's Talk - Movies
Episode 37: Air (2023) - Just Watched
Jason Connell discusses Air, the new Nike & Michael Jordan biopic movie, and much more.
Synopsis: Follows the history of shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro, and how he led Nike in its pursuit of the greatest athlete in the history of basketball: Michael Jordan.
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Alex Convery
Cinematographer: Robert Richardson
Cast: Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis, Chris Messina, Damian Delano Young, Chris Tucker
Studio: Just Curious Media
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Whoa, just curious. Welcome to Just curious media. This is let's talk movies. And I'm Jason Connell on the show. Today I'm talking about air 2023 just watched. I know I recently did an episode on the trailer. As I was getting myself psyched up about the movie. Let me just tell you, I went and saw it this week, and I was not disappointed. I was blown away more like it. Let me put the poster on just to get into things here. And the poster does say, some icons are meant to fly air cording of a legend. And that's exactly what happens as I talked about before, but I'll reinstate here. The movie came out April 5 2023. The synopsis is follows the history of shoe salesman, Sonny Vaccaro, and how he led Nike in its pursuit of the greatest athlete in the history of basketball, Michael Jordan. That's right, m j, Air Jordan to greatness. And I didn't know the story of Sonny Vaccaro, but I did know the story of Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, two three Pete champ, Coach Phil Jackson, second fiddle Scottie Pippen incredible run, I've actually read two books about Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, the life and the Jordan rules, the inside story of a turbulent season with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. That one was much older, and took some shots at Jordan and how he pushed his teammates to be great, but it paid off. And the life came out much later. I really enjoyed it kind of a biography on on Jordan himself, but I learned a lot. So I knew some of these things, but I hadn't seen it played out this way. I just didn't know of Sonny So in 1984, Sonny Vaccaro, played by Matt Damon convinced Nike to sign a $15,000,000.05 year contract with Michael Jordan. And it sounds easy. Now Nike, of course, they're all in basketball and all these things, but at the time, they were fledgling, they were losing out in basketball to Adidas and converse, and Michael Jordan loved Adidas. He was going to sign with Adidas, they had recently lost their founder, he passed away. It was run by a family. And it was unclear who was really in charge and that comes into play in the movie. The movie represents that so well, it shows you that meeting the meeting at Converse, converse at the time had, you know Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Dr. J. Julius Erving. So it was like, okay, you'll go there, you'll be fourth fiddle there. You know, you'll be amongst the stars. And it was really about playing up to what Michael Jordan could be in the NBA. Keep in mind, he wasn't even in the NBA yet. So here he is this soon to be rookie. But Sonny Vaccaro was always looking out for talent missed on some but this one he was right on. And then he had to convince everybody at Nike all the way up to do this. And this movie is really about that. And let's go behind the scenes, if you will, directed by Ben Affleck. He plays Phil Knight as well. So he's acting directing, who is the founder of Nike. And I've always liked Aflac. As a director. I mean, Argo Best Picture, the tout gone, Baby Gone. And this is such a great sports biopic, I'd love to see Aflac, try another one, or any biopic for that matter, but he's also an actor. And he's been in lots of great movies. But I just highlighted the ones he's been in with Matt Damon, buddies from way back when they met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which I'm a little close to now, having lived in the Massachusetts area for a year would play soccer at Cambridge when played at Harvard, sometimes in there on the practice fields there. But I've recently moved to Rhode Island but I've taken those little tours where Goodwill Hunting was filmed and all that so I feel a little bit you know, I'm a degree away. But here's some movies that the two of them have been in together. The last duel fantastic movie by Ridley Scott, highly recommend that Jay and Silent Bob reboot, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back dogma Chasing Amy great Kevin Smith film, some of the other ones but that was my favorite at the time. School ties, an incredible movie. I used to live by the school from school ties, which is in Concord, Massachusetts, Goodwill Hunting, where they both also won Oscars for writing the screenplay, Field of Dreams. What I intended dreams, they were both extras. And having made a documentary about movie extras strictly background. I'm partial to that if I ever speak with them that That's something we'll talk about the writer Alex Connery no other credits on IMDb so comes out of the gate with this great script. Cinematographer Robert Richardson. I have mentioned him before on Let's Talk movies. And here's why. This guy works with Tarantino. So many times it's worked with Scorsese. He's worked with Oliver Stone, but here's a few movies. Just see if you've heard of any of these. Once upon a time in Hollywood, Django Unchained Inglorious Basterds Kill Bill Volume One and Volume Two casino Natural Born Killers, A Few Good Men, JFK Wall Street platoon. And so so many more incredibly talented, and it looks the part this movie really captures the era but I'm going to keep going through the hit list of players and then we'll talk about my takeaways but the cast again Matt Damon Sonny Vaccaro, marketing exec at Nike recruiting athletes to sign you've seen him in so many movies, all the ones I just named and a few more that I mentioned in the last episode but the Martian The Departed The Bourne Identity, The Talented Mr. Ripley Rounders Saving Private Ryan, this guy picks great movies. He's a movie star and incredible one at that. Then there's also Jason Bateman. He plays Rob Strasser, and he's the Director of Marketing at Nike kind of over Damon, you know, pushing him to go get people and he's over the budget and everything like that. He's fantastic. Bateman's just so lovable I love him from so many things from my youth when he would pop up on silver spoons or there's another movie that our show that he was on after that. It's your move, I believe, but more recently Ozark. Oh my gosh, incredible. I might have to do the whole Watch again. Arrested Development Horrible Bosses up in the air Juno and so many more Haven directs. Chris Messina plays David Falk, who's Jordan's agent and he is incredible in this movie, he's also an Argo and so many other movies, but he brings such a Umer to the movie, I gotta tell you, I didn't expect it. But that's needed and how he and how Falk and Vaccaro would battle. Because Carl is going off script, he's showing up at the Jordan's home to say, hey, you know, I represent Nike, and here's why you should listen to us. And of course, going around the agent is like, nothing that you do in the space and some funny dialogue between them. Chris Tucker, great to see Chris Tucker, he plays Howard white. He also works for Nike. He actually became real life friends with Michael Jordan forever. I think they're still friends to this day. Of course, he remember him from Friday, many Fridays, the rush hour trilogy, Jackie Brown, so many more kind of took a break for a while. But now he's back and probably taking on roles that he really wants to do. And then I didn't know if we'd see the young actor Damien Delano Young as Michael Jordan, where you really don't spoiler alert. You get more of a silhouette, a handshake here, but the likeness, no one's going to be Michael Jordan. So we represent Michael Jordan, but we really learn and see Michael Jordan through archived footage, which is how I thought they might take it and I'm glad they did. Interesting tidbit I learned was Michael Jordan was not directly involved in the movie, but Ben Affleck consulted him numerous times to get details on how to accurately portray the story. Now according to Affleck Jordan's only two requests were that Viola Davis play his mother, and that his longtime friend, Howard white be included in the film, so I skipped her on purpose because Viola Davis does play Delores Jordan, Michael Jordan's mother. And she's unbelievable. On believable, the gravitas of her performance. She is already a four time Oscar nominated actress. This should be five, no joke, five, and I hope that she is and wins. She has won previously for fences. She was also nominated for the woman King, the help and doubt. And just amazing. The father is great too. And there's a lot of likeness there between him and Michael Jordan's father, who was unfortunately murdered many years ago. quite sad. And you get to know him a little. He's very warm and inviting. He's got a great smile. But you could tell who was running things in the Jordan household. Dolores Rand thinks she's very smart. She knows how special MJ her son is. And she's protecting that and it's just, it's beautiful. It really is. Damon, of course, kills it. And I loved I gotta say, I thought the portrayal of Phil Knight was pretty funny. I didn't know too much about him other than what I've read or seen on TV, but he's a little quirky, you know, and he built something out of nothing and became a billionaire in its own right. But yeah, there's some Funny comedic moments with him as well but Aflac really put this thing together a plus all the way I hope this movie continues to reach wide audiences everybody should see this. I went in with an expectation and like I said earlier it exceeded it. I mean the movie, not just captures the era through visuals but it does it do iconic music. I mean this thing I'm gonna rattle off some of the soundtrack. I'm not sure what will be on the eventual soundtrack, the one that's released, because there's so many songs it's like Vanilla Sky, there's a there's a needle drop every so often but in the trailer and in the movie. You have night Rangers sister Christian. Okay, so, so good. But you have dire straits money for nothing. Billy Squier the stroke, violent femmes blister in the sun. I'm just scrolling down. Of course, Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA, and they were really getting the time, right? You know, this is all like 84. So these things are coming out or they're talking about things like hey, do you hear that new song? The Clash rock the Kasbah. Run DMC my Adidas love it. So I'm like dancing in my seat. Loving it. thinking oh my god, this is incredible squeezed tempted. Cyndi Lauper time after time. And then I have to say, they took a track from another movie that I love. And this might be one of my favorite tracks of all time. Tangerine Dream, love on a real train from the risky business soundtrack. Yes, I started to hear in that play. I'm like, Are you kidding me? And then they took more Tangerine Dream tracks from other movies. So really, you could just be on Spotify going down a deep rabbit hole with that incredible soundtrack. But beyond that, I laughed out loud more than a few times. I got emotional at other parts in the movie, because even though you know what happens? It's to see the underdog because the underdog truly was Nike going up against Adidas and converse, and how they put it all on the line had they failed and been wrong about MJ. There's no basketball division at Nike, right? There's no endorsement deals like we have now someone else would have done them. And maybe they would have evolved. Sure. But it wouldn't have been as we know. And also to see the belief of a Carl has an A young Jordan, and shared belief with Dolores about how special he is. And to know that he's right, right that this warms your heart. I was the biggest Jordan fan. I went up and down into motions when he couldn't get over the Knicks, you know, they just kept banging him and making him pay when he came inside and, and tried to score and then they had to develop the team. They had to get Phil Jackson and build it the right way. And MJ really got his jumper going it wasn't just about taking it in and dunking. And then he became Defensive Player of the Year. And so I just saw that growth. And then when he stepped away after his father's death and played baseball, and then he comes out of retirement and he goes on another run it's it was just you couldn't have written it any better in real life. But it happened and and this movie captures before it all happened. So I am the target audience but I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm sure there's millions and millions of others that will enjoy this ride. But I could sing its praises all day long. I'd love to get someone from this movie, athletic Damon, anybody just to talk more about it. So without further ado, please enjoy air. So thank you so much for listening. And please be sure to subscribe to the let's talk movies podcast and the let's talk movies YouTube Live Channel. You can also really help us by giving the show a five star rating on Apple podcast. And for all you listeners that enjoy sharing your thoughts you can leave us a review on Apple podcast, send us a direct message or post a comment on any let's talk movies social media platform. We also highly recommend checking out our other podcast and visiting just curious media.com