Air is the first film from Artists Equity, a production company founded by director Ben Affleck and actor Matt Damon. The sports movie premiered at the 2023 South by Southwest festival.
Nike talent scout Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) is searching for a new spokesman for their basketball division in 1984. After several failures, Marketing VP Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman) warns him that Nike CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) may close down the basketball division if they cannot increase sales. Consulting with Coach George Raveling (Marlon Wayans), he decides to recruit rookie Michael Jordan (Damian Delano Young). Jordan’s agent David Falk (Chris Messina) tells him that they are going to a different company. Nike exec Howard White (Chris Tucker) tells him to go to Jordan’s parents Deloris (Viola Davis) and James R. Jordan Sr. (Julius Tennon). Betting it all, Sonny and Rob work with shoe designer Peter Moore (Matthew Maher) to convince Michael to join Nike and make history.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have collaborated several times before to varying results. When I saw the trailer for the movie, I was honestly bored. I could not fathom a movie about shoes made by former Harvey Weinstein wingmen being that interesting. I will admit, I was wrong.
The story is very compelling and told in a good way. Affleck has a lot more talent as a director than many realize and it definitely shows in this feature. He put together a very poignant tale of how a long shot can lead to an epic collaboration. It weaves in the story of Michael Jordan’s rise, the American entrepreneurial spirit, and themes of creativity. It was wrapped up tightly and made for some good ol’ fashion movie-watching.
As for the acting, the cast did fantastic. Everyone captured their roles with precision and I was impressed with everyone. I can honestly say it was so cool to see Chris Tucker in this sort of role. While it was a serious movie, he brought in some comedic moments with ease and I loved it. Damon was on point as ever and he brought a calm focus to his role that helped keep the movie grounded.
Bottom line, Air is an excellent sports film and it definitely keeps your attention the whole time. The cast is awesome and it provides a glimpse, albeit a slightly fictional one, into the early days of an amazing basketball player.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: Forget about the shoes, forget about the money. You’re going to make enough money, it’s not going to matter. Money can buy you almost anything, it can’t buy you immortality.
Check out the trailer below:
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