OSCAR NIGHT PREP | “Up in the Air”

The first title to get crossed off my list of 17 movies to see before the Oscars was "Up in the Air." George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a corporate lay-off professional. He flies in, sets up in a conference room, delivers the bad news, and sends ex-employees on their way. He also delivers motivational talks on the side encouraging participants not to get bogged down by the "baggage" of their lives with his "What's in your backpack?" seminars.

His own career starts to travel towards elimination once a new, young executive proposes to take their company of transition specialist "Glocal" by making their global presence more local. Instead of traveling many miles to lay off workers, Bingham and his peers can simply phone it in by Skyping the "You're fired" message. Bingham's road warrior way of life with his empty backpack is in serious jeopardy.

Along the way, Bingham begins to appreciate the value of connections in his life as he attends his sister's wedding with a woman he's allowed to enter his "backpack." But fortunately, like an airplane barreling down the tarmac for take off, the movie manages to pull up just in enough time to avoid the sappy love story at the end of the runway. Add in a dash of quirkiness, and a heaping of excellent acting, and you've got delightful movie.

So, to meet my compulsive need to rank order everything, here's where "Up in the Air" falls in the list of the six movies I've already seen in my Oscar prep. Better than "Up" for it's superb acting and display of touching emotions, but just under "(500) Days of Summer" which is the better anti-love story of the two.

Here's my latest ranking:
1. Inglorious Basterds
2. (500) Days of Summer
> Up in the Air
3. Up
4. Star Trek
5. Avatar
6. Julie and Julia

Which movies have you seen so far? What's your ranking?