By now you've probably heard about the movie Air, whether because of Jennifer Lopez's premiere look (it's her husband Ben Affleck's film), that NBA legend Michael Jordan requested Viola Davis play his mom in the movie, or from the countless promos on TV, social media, and just about everywhere. And I'll be honest, when I first heard about the story—about the game-changing partnership between a then rookie Michael Jordan and Nike’s fledgling basketball division—I wasn't like, get me to the theater now.
I love a good sports movie (The Natural, Field of Dreams, and Rocky among them), but growing up without a local NBA team or an obsession with Nike meant I wasn't totally sold. Still, I was interested enough that I made the trek to Amazon Studios for the press screening. Two hours later, I left feeling like I could take on the world. As Jason Bateman (terrific as Rob Strasser, a Nike marketing exec) told Variety's Marc Malkin at the LA premiere, it's not a sports movie or a fashion movie. It's “about being recognized for your value and being properly compensated, and a mother's love for her son.”
That's exactly why the movie succeeds, though having a stellar cast led by an incredible Matt Damon with a hilarious supporting turn from Chris Messina helps. Even though it's a predominantly male-heavy cast, Dolores Jordan (played by EGOT-winner Viola Davis, already getting Oscar buzz for the role) is the heart and star of this story. Without the Jordan matriarch, there's a good chance the sports business as we know it would be completely different. She single-handedly changed the game; if that doesn't uplift you at the end of the film, I don't know what to say.
Quite simply, Affleck has made the kind of movie that doesn't get made anymore. It's a crowd pleaser (with one of the best '80s soundtracks) and my favorite in years. Stay tuned for a revealing interview with Messina about it all coming to Glamour this Tuesday.
On the TV front, there's Brooke Shields' incredibly powerful and moving documentary about her life, Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields. Ali Wong will rock you in the intense Beef opposite Steven Yeun. And Kathryn Hahn will devastate you in Tiny Beautiful Things. There's also Gillian Jacobs in the period piece series Transatlantic, which is sweeping and moving and worth your time.