My wife and I went to see the movie Air on Saturday and I highly recommend it. If you follow this blog closely and have read the post about my Wall Street Journal op/ed, co-authored with Don Boudreaux, on Air and ESG, you might wonder how I could write an op/ed without seeing the movie. The answer is that Don saw it and I took his word for it. The good news: he got it right.
But I want to talk about something else: how good a movie this is. To review quickly, it follows Nike employee Sonny Vaccaro as he tries to make Nike a player in the basketball shoe market. Multiple spoilers ahead. Vaccaro makes some gutsy moves, going around Michael Jordan’s agent to talk directly with the real decision maker: Michael Jordan’s mom.
Why do I like Air so much? It’s a good old-fashioned movie. There’s no sex or romance. It’s about one man’s determined moves to get Deloris Jordan to the bargaining table and to get his two bosses, played by Jason Bateman (Rob Strasser) and Ben Affleck (Nike CEO Phil Knight), to back him.
Beyond that, my wife and I loved the 1984-era music. I always stay and watch the credits and there was a lot of music credited, more than the usual. Also, I’ve seen the movie Jerry McGuire at least 4 times and I swear that some of the background music in a couple of scenes was very close to the background music in a few Jerry McGuire scenes. Coincidentally, it was some of the music I liked most in Jerry McGuire.
I also had a very personal reason for liking the movie. It all took place, as far as I could tell, in the summer of 1984, when Jordan was about to start playing with the Chicago Bulls. That summer was eventful in my wife’s and my lives. In August we moved from Arlington, VA, where we had lived when I was working with the Council of Economic Advisers and she was working as an editor with the Center for the Study of Market Processes (later the Mercatus Center) at George Mason University, to Monterey, CA. There I began a job as a temporary member of the faculty at the Naval Postgraduate School. My wife was 5-months pregnant with our daughter and so she didn’t drive with me. She flew, and we rendezvoused at her sister’s place in Chicago, and then I drove on to San Francisco, where we rendezvoused, picked up our cat Max, whom I had had a friend ship from Washington, and drove down to Monterey, where we had rented a house. Exciting times, and the movie’s music brought back my feelings of fear and excitement as we started a big new chapter in our lives.