Air: A shoe is just a shoe until someone steps into it.
It was 1984. Americans were doing the Jane Fonda workout. Prince Charles and Lady Diana became parents to a future king, Mr. T pitied the fools, Clara Peller asked “Where’s the Beef?” and Converse ruled the athletic shoe world. A little ol sneaker company in Oregon was out to change that.
Air is the behind the scenes look at Nike’s building of a billion dollar shoe brand around a little known basketball rookie named Michael Jordan. They did it on a wing and a prayer and with an all star cast including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker and the always incomparable Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan, Michael’s mom and chief negotiator. Her savvy is the reason her son is a billionaire today.
Nike shoe promoter Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) was the architect of the game plan. He knew basketball and had a gambling itch which gave him the guts to fight for what he believed could happen, despite being the low man on the totem pole. Vaccaro drafted a full court press on the Jordan family, boxed out and went in for the slam dunk. There was some double dribbling, traveling and a few fouls along the way, but nothing flagrant. The Nike team wanted to Be Like Mike…before they knew what Mike was going to be like.
Air not only stars Ben Affleck, but he also directed its and it’s a classic Affleck flick…fast paced and fast talking. Hard hitting issues in layman’s terms. Tongue in cheek comic relief and a soundtrack you’ll want to dub onto a cassette. It’s like spending two hours with the bros. Only the costumes are over the top. There’s lots of wind suits and Sansabelt slacks on these Dad bods with bad hair.
Ben and Matt spar on screen like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Off camera the pair from Boston collaborated on Air’s script rewrite and put together a film as fun and inspiring as their original hit, Good Will Hunting.
Air is rated R for colorful language, mostly from Chris Messina as agent David Falk, but it’s a classic underdog story that everyone can get behind and enjoy…even though we know the outcome. Air is a Triple Double of a film.