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Air’ review: Michael Jordan sneaker movie


Air’ review: Michael Jordan sneaker movie

Air’ review: Michael Jordan sneaker movie

“Air’ review: Michael Jordan sneaker movie

Could a new movie about Air Jordan shoes, of all things, become the year’s sneaker hit? 

Amazon Studios’ robustly entertaining, real-life drama definitely has the makings of one. It’s far and away the most likable film released so far this year.

There’s a starry cast led by Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck, who also directs his best movie since “Argo” 11 years ago. 



Running time: 112 minutes. Rated R (language throughout). In theaters April 5.

And since “Stranger Things,” viewers have been falling hard for retro 1980s settings.

“Air” takes place in 1984 Beaverton, Oregon — Nike’s far-flung Pacific Northwest headquarters — where Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” blares and new wired phones in cars are straight out the“The Jetsons.”

Matt Damon plays Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike executive who dreamed up the Air Jordan shoe in the 1980s.AP

But most appealing is the story of the scrappy way a bona fide piece of modern Americana came to be — it’s a retail tale of tales — and how much quirky fun “Air” has with dramatizing what is essentially a series of events at an office building.

Much like the way 2021’s “King Richard” explores the origins of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams through the struggles of their coach father, “Air” explains Jordan’s nascent fame through his now-iconic footwear. 

So, “Air” is really an underdog sports movie masquerading as a shoe movie. Call it “Shoosiers.”

Our hungry team is the schlubs at Nike, the athletic clothing company that in 1984 was a distant third to Converse and Adidas in the shoe market.

Hardly cash-rich, the company struggled to sign promising rookies to wear its shoes, so executive Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) came up with a revolutionary idea.

The new movie “Air ” is technically about a shoe. There is nothing especially extraordinary about this shoe. As the Q-like Nike designer Peter Moore (Matthew Maher) explains, the last significant change to footwear was made some 600 years ago when the decision was made to differentiate the right and left feet. The Air Jordan is, at the end of the day, just another shoe.

No one coos about how comfortable it is. No one waxes poetic about its performance enhancing abilities or how many podiatrists recommend it for sporting purposes. No one even tries it on.

That’s because “Air,” directed by Ben Affleck from a smart script by Alex Convery, is not really about the shoe at all. Nor is it about Michael Jordan, who has exactly one line in the film and is mostly seen from behind and in silhouette. It is about the men – and they were all men – of Nike who defied the odds and signed the rookie despite being a very distant third to Adidas and Converse in the basketball sneaker game in 1984.

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