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PUSHING TIN

Directed by Mike Newell

Written by Glen and Les Charles

Starring: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton,
Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie

My advice: A satisfying flight

Rating: out of

John Cusack is, without a doubt, one of the most marvelously under appreciated actors of our time. He's quirky and whimsical in everything he does and if you don't like him, well, get the hell out of my movie review section! Who do you think you are anyway?

This is a movie about the lives of air traffic controllers. Finally, something fresh. Prior to this film I don't think I recall a movie of the past which dealt with a job as complex and difficult as this is.

I found the plot and the characters amusing. Nick Falzone (Cusack) is the star of his air traffic controller field. His skill is unmatched and his excellence is awe inspiring. He's landed more planes, handled more emergencies, well…he's pushed more tin than anyone! Happily married he skillfully handles his job and doesn't seem to fold under the pressures that seem to buckle even the toughtest of his fellow controllers. In fact, he only seems to excel when the heat is on.

All is well for Nick until the arrival of one Russell Bell (Thornton).  Bell arrives as a mysterious controller who brings with him mystery and the general consensus of his past is shadowy at best. He is a vagabond who wanders from town to town and seems beset by emotional problems. Well, that's how the rumor mill has it. His wife (Jolie) is stunning in the biker babe kind of way, complete with an alcohol problem and an overstimulated sex drive. You would think the rigors of air traffic control and a woman like this would be the undoing of Bell. To the contrary.  He marches thru this movie nonplused. No matter how hard it gets, no matter how weird it seems, Bell is at peace within himself. This alone seems to be the catalyst that sends Nick off.

Watching these two fine actors bring their characters to life was actually a joy. I didn't expect much from this film so I was indeed pleasantly surprised. My only disappointment seemed to be in the ending of the film itself. I sometimes tire of Hollywood's overwhelming desire to tie everything up in a nice little bow. Life isn't always happy, you know? Movies shouldn't be, either.

Regardless, I enjoyed this film.  It's recommended viewing.

*Also, recommend listening….try www.policescanner.com where you can listen to the air traffic controllers live as they push their tin!

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