The High-Flying Tale of Michael Jordan's Sneaker Legacy
Hold onto your seats, folks, because Ben Affleck's latest drama "Air" is a slam dunk of a movie. It's like watching Michael Jordan soar through the air with his tongue out, except it's Ben Affleck's superbly crafted film that's doing all the soaring.
This captivating tale, set in the 1980s, is more about the business of sports than the game itself, and it's a shoe-in for the best movie of the year. The deep bench of talent, including Matt Damon and Viola Davis, is just the beginning.
The film follows Nike's desperate attempts to sign a rookie basketball player to an endorsement deal after the NBA draft, and the ticking clock adds just the right amount of tension to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Sonny Vaccaro, played by Damon, sees something magical in the third pick, a skinny kid out of North Carolina drafted by the Chicago Bulls. But Jordan is set to sign with Adidas, and Vaccaro must risk his job and go rogue to convince Jordan's parents, played by Davis and Julius Tennon, that Nike is the way to go.
The journey to signing Jordan is a thrill ride filled with dramatic scrambling within Nike, with Knight weighing happy shareholders against being a shoe company maverick. Meanwhile, Deloris maintains her steely facade as the Jordans meet with all the potential suitors. The competition between Converse, Adidas, and Nike is tantamount to a Lakers vs. Celtics playoff game, and Affleck leans into it in crowd-pleasing fashion.
Affleck's bare-footed honcho, Knight, is one of several colorful supporting turns that lift the film, including Jason Bateman as a snarky Nike marketing man and Matthew Maher as the shoe-designing mad scientist. Tucker brings a comedic side to the movie as White, who along with assistant Olympic coach George Raveling, played by Marlon Wayans, are key figures in Jordan's ultimate choice.
Damon and Davis together are phenomenal, with Sonny refusing to take no for an answer when it comes to this once-in-a-lifetime player, while Deloris is clear-eyed and honest about her son's future and how valuable he truly is.
Affleck presents Jordan as a mostly passive participant, a character whose face you never see, instead focusing on the wheels turning around him. It's an underdog story with the greatest basketball player of all time at its heart, and Affleck's directorial record is pretty impressive.
In short, "Air" is a shoe-in for the best movie of the year. It's a captivating tale that oozes 1980s style and finds something to say about the value of athletes that's still true to this day. So grab your popcorn, sit back, and get ready to soar with "Air."