This is a story about a man named Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) whose job it is to travel around the country firing people. Last year he was on the road over 320 days, and he hated the 45 days he was at home in Omaha. On the road he lives in nice hotels and collects perks, at home he lives in a frumpy, empty one bedroom apartment with an empty refrigerator.
American Airlines and Hilton must have paid a fortune to be featured. This movie hit home like none in a long time. He is a frequent flyer on American Airlines. I am. He has a membership in the Admirals Club. I do. He is a Hilton Honors member. I am. He uses Hertz 1 Club. I do. At one point he speaks in front of a group at the Hampton Inn and Suites at the airport in Columbus. I have stayed at that hotel, as a matter of fact, I am scheduled to be there on January 6. There were many airports, hotels and cities he visited that I recognized. Ryan Bingham is a road warrior, and he loves it. He is happy when he can live out of his suitcase. I am a road warrior. He spent 320 days on the road last year, I did about 80.
So I was able to get into this movie perfectly. It made sense to me and it rang home when he was able to cut the line to check into a hotel as an elite member. It made sense when he was able to use the priority access lines to board planes. There were many shots of the trusty American Airlines MD-80 planes, their workhorse. I sit in seat 21F most of the time.
Other than being able to identify with the character as a road warrior, the movie had a timely message, about losing jobs and careers, and what it means as a new beginning rather than an end and a death. I am sure that is easier said than done, and it’s easy for Ryan and for me, who have jobs, to sit on our high and mighty horses and lecture to the rest of the world.
Here is a good story without a villain, without stunts, without exploding cars and without a single shot fired, but eminently entertaining and uplifting all the same.