Well, that's not entirely true, I suppose. Earlier in my career when I travelled to Paris or Manhattan or even Pennsylvania (which isn't exactly glamorous but at least I was close to one of the largest malls in America, and you don't know me by now if you don't realize how much that DOES work for me...) it was quite a fun time. There were no kids, not as many work commitments and a life partner who travelled as much as I did or even more. But once you have a family, with school aged kids at that, and a life partner who travels even more than he did before, well, things change. Big time.
We watched "Up in the Air" over the Christmas holidays, and it confirmed one thing for me - I would NEVER want to travel that much for work. But I have already started to pack extremely lightly, and have a rhythm of how to handle the security check - just like you see George Clooney deal. I've pulled out my SPG rewards card and started counting miles to see when I will be eligible for upgrades- a sad commentary, I know.
There are a couple of things that I do enjoy on the trans-Atlantic flights, though, and they are both free:
2/ Ear buds.
Both of which, if not used in moderation, will give you a massive headache.
The ear buds, however, are handy to catch up on all the movies that I never have a chance to watch when at home. So after a couple of 7 hour plus flights this past week, I offer you the following capsule reviews of the films I managed to stay awake for. Just in time for the Oscars, too.
1/ An Education: So this was what all the fuss was about - Carey Mulligan. What a find she is. What a wonderful movie. A high school girl in London in the 60's thinks about going to Oxford, but wants to experience life ... and who walks into her life but a swinging playboy played by Peter Sarsgaard (LOVE him). He seduces not just her, but also her family. This was a great movie with some fantastic performances even outside of Carey - Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams, Alfred Molina.
Very deserving of all the Oscar talk.
2/ Love Happens: I was thinking of renting this when it came out on DVD. It's got Jennifer Aniston in it, playing, well, Jennifer Aniston (although she did surprise me in Marley & Me a while back) and the fabulous Aaron Eckhart playing a widower/ inspirational author and speaker who hasn't yet dealt with his own grief.
I thought Aaron was great here (I've always loved him since I first saw him as the total prick in "In the Company of Men" and he continued to impress- see "Erin Brockovich", "Possession", even "Dark Knight" - you really should see his work in "Conversations with Other Women"... with Helena Bonham Carter - a talking movie, but an excellent one, nonetheless).
The plot of this was fairly contrived, but I like him, I really, really like him.
3/ All About Steve: A guilty pleasure, really, just for me to enjoy my latest celebrity crush, Mr. A-Team himself, Bradley Cooper. I usually like Sandra Bullock, but I found her much too annoying in this role (even though she was supposed to be annoying...). She's set up by her parents on a blind date with Bradley (Steve - a news cameraman) and thinks she's found her true love. He takes off on assignment mid-first date, honestly just relieved to be free of her; but she takes what he says at face value and decides to follow him. If I had hot red boots like hers in this movie, I would consider stalking Bradley all over the country too.
Bradley didn't have to do much here other than look good; I thought Ken Jeong was hilarious even outside his Hangover role, Thomas Haden Church a bit wasted in this role of a one-note annoying reporter.
Bradley was pretty cute. Not enough to save it, though. The movie overall - annoying.
4/ Bright Star: A Jane Campion movie about the love affair between John Keats and teenage and aspiring fashion designer Fanny Brawne. I was curious about this film, given the rave reviews about Abbie Cornish. And the Piano is one of my favourite films ever.
Abbie was quite good, but I just wasn't really feeling that passion between the two characters. The different class thing, the poor poet who develops TB, the fact that they can never really be together... or maybe it was the poetry that wasn't doing it for me... or being in the air for 7 hours. I didn't bawl when he died - and I'll bawl over anything. Maybe it's because I figure Abbie has Ryan Phillipe in real life to console her.
A bit of a disappointment for me, really. But perhaps I'm in the minority here.
5/ Lymelife: This was a surprise for me. I'd never heard of it before, but looking at the stellar cast, including Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon (I keep wanting to call her Miranda), Jill Hennessy, Timothy Hutton (oh man, this guy is so good, why did he never make it to A-list?!), the Culkin brothers Rory and Kieran and the gorgeous Emma Roberts, who is giving her Aunt a run for the acting money - I had to check it out. A dark coming of age comedy about life in the suburbs, produced by Martin Scorsese. You follow the lives of these two intertwined families, disintegrating marriages and the devastation that Lyme disease can leave in its wake.
A smaller film, but I loved it. It reminded me a bit of "American Beauty", "The Ice Storm" ... and the music really added to the whole flavour of the movie.
6/ The Invention of Lying: I like Ricky Gervais in small doses. Like as host of the Golden Globes, where he rocked it. So I had to turn this movie off after the first 10 minutes as I didn't think I'd be able to bear hearing people "telling the truth" as in being brutally, insultingly honest, for two hours. I turned it off to watch Lymelife, but came back to it as I had time left. Another 90 minutes, actually.
So I watched and was actually impressed by all the cameos in the flick. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Louis CK the hilarious comic; Ed Norton; Tina Fey; Rob Lowe; Jason Bateman...kinda cool. But the fact that I missed the last 15 minutes as we landed and didn't feel disappointed, told me one thing.
This wasn't a great movie.
And I was so ready to get home.
If you manage to see any of these movies, let me know what you think!