‘Air’ Review: “The Greatest Sports Story About The Greatest Shoe”
1984: the year George Orwell warned us about. It was also the year that Ronald Reagan was reelected, Adidas and Converse were the top shoe brands, and the greatest draft class in NBA history arrived. This is also the year that Ben Affleck’s Air takes place. We know the story of Michael Jordan, it’s one of the greatest sports stories ever. In addition, we know the story about his shoe line. It’s the greatest sports story about the greatest shoe. The Jordan brand is the most recognizable and undeniably greatest sports brand in the entire world, and it all started in 1984.
Air follows Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), the godfather of sponsored high school basketball tournaments. He’s a legend in amateur sports, but one of his greatest achievements was being the machine behind the push for Jordan. Vaccaro is hired by Nike’s basketball division to pitch players to Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman) and Howard White (Chris Tucker). He also has to answer to Nike CEO Phil Knight (Affleck). While Strasser wants to stretch their $250K budget over three players, Vaccaro has other plans, signing only Michael Jordan.
Vaccaro talks to Jordan’s agent David Falk (Chris Messina) and gets rejected. However, David tells him that his only hope may be talking to Michael’s mother Deloris (Viola Davis). Vaccarro breaks all the rules and goes to visit the family. He upsets the balance and basically puts his career on the line for what he believes in. Vaccarro bets on himself, and well we all know the history afterward.
80s films are winning in 2023, between Cocaine Bear, Spinning Gold, and now Air. The score takes definite inspiration from the 80s. Charlese Antoinette Jones was also spot-on with the period-accurate costume designs. The cinematography from Robert Richardson has the feeling of something filmed in the 80s. Also, the editing is great. Especially during the montage scenes, William Goldenberg does a wonderful job.
The cinematography and writing play some of the most important parts of this film. Capturing the beauty of Oregon and Carolina, and the gold halls of the Adidas building. The Converse meeting room scene is also excellent because of the posters and just how iconic that brand was at the time, The writing is amazing because Vaccaro has so many great lines that we have heard in real life. Yes, there’s also an Adidas World War II joke that is absolutely great.
Air tells a story previously told in documentaries, but never in an actual film. Ben Affleck is a genius for this, and this cast is beyond amazing. If you’re a fan of the Jordan brand, it’s definitely something you’ll appreciate. These shoes and the man behind them are surrounded by controversy, but you cannot deny the impact that they’ve had on the culture. Carolina-raised and Chicago-made, Air is for the people that chase their dreams. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Rating – 10/10
Air is now exclusively in theaters!
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