Saturday, November 3rd. 2012

I don’t bother with moviegoing much any more. My time is taken up with real life things, and I don’t need to escape into worlds of action, horror, fantasy, and in-your-face scatology, and I fear that the same might be said for the general population, as the new economic/political scene gets under way.

However, partly to celebrate my 80th birthday, and partly to see something I could relate to (I have a pilot license and owned 2 planes), and as a SAG member for the past 50 years, I decided to accept Paramount’s invitation for actors to see a special screening of this movie yesterday at the Writers Guild Theater, and interact with the makers at a Q & A afterwards.

There was writer John Gatins, director Robert Zemeckis, supporting star John Goodman and star Denzel Washington. I mean, where else would one get the chance to see them all sitting together and talking informally with a bunch of us actors?

I have no intention to review the film here. Suffice it is to say that it is fiction, based on no real persons, and yet based on all real persons, especially those in the airline industry. I will make a prediction though. That it is headed towards the 2012 Academy Awards.

It follows the rules of good story telling, so you know what is happening to people you can relate to, but cannot predict the outcome. It deals with an aircraft event at the beginning, and how a hero pilot dealt with it, saving lives. That should more than satisfy the action hungry audience. We then get into the personal life of the pilot, onscreen throughout in a bravura performance by Denzel Washington, but since the movie is being released this week, I am sure the story will be out everywhere in no time at all.

It touched and deeply moved me, because it dealt with divorce, alienation from family, love of flying, and sex. Also areas I’ve had to deal with in the lives of people close to me, including alcohol abuse, drugs, lawyers, mistresses, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the courts, and government regulatory authority.

The writer explained that he got the idea from the 1989 crash of Alaska Airlines Fl. 261 in the Pacific, just off Los Angeles. The producers created their own airline and their own mockup plane, and we all know of Zameckis’s way with the Digital Arts. Maybe they got some ideas from reading this site too, who knows. I never got to fly my plane upside-down, but I did have a couple of close calls.

Meanwhile, this is a film that should be seen by all in the airline industry, who will recognize the temptations which abound. My son Benjy, a Delta Captain, (who also doesn’t talk to me any more), will benefit, of that I am sure. He didn’t follow his mother and me into showbiz, and in a way I was relieved to see him in a more secure job, without the loose life of the actor. This film has destroyed THAT particular fantasy of mine.

My prediction for this film? Nominations for Best actor Denzel Washington: Best director Robert Zameckis: Best writer John Gatins: Best supporting actor Don Cheadle (what an actor! He just is. He plays the lawyer perfectly.) And, just maybe, Best Picture. Let’s see how it goes during this awards season, up to and including the Big One at the Academy.