The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

"Pushing Tin."

Sounds dirty, doesn't it?

"Me and the wife spent a couple hours pushing tin last night."

"That Betty, she can push tin with the best of them."

"They caught Congressman Billocks pushing tin in an EconoLodge in Dayton."

"God, I haven't pushed tin in months."

"Mommy, did you and Daddy ever push tin?"

See, it sounds dirty. Thing is, it isn't. And I want it to be, I really, really want it to be. But it's not. And I just have to learn to deal with it.

So what is Pushing Tin? Besides being the new John Cusack/Billy Bob Thornton movie (and the subject of this review), Pushing Tin means directing large numbers of airplanes through a defined airspace and getting them onto the ground in a short amount of time. More or less. Exciting, huh?

Luckily, the movie is a bit more exciting than its title. It's about a bunch of air traffic controllers, and the women they marry. It's not bad. It's not great, it's not horrible, it's not incredibly eye-opening, it's not worse than pulling teeth.

The main attraction is John Cusack. He's the lead, and he's fun to watch, as usual. Although he still looks like he's about 19. No matter how old he gets, no matter how old his characters are supposed to be, I feel like he's just skipping Home Ec. They even give him kids in this movie. No really, he's got a couple of little brats that get mentioned and show up in a scene and everything. But it doesn't work. It just seems like he's babysitting them or something.

Luckily, John having children isn't the pivotal plot point in the script, so it doesn't really matter. Any of you who like John, will like this movie. That's all I have to say about that.

Billy Bob Thornton is another matter. When he first burst onto the scene in Sling Blade (I know he had a long and successful career before Sling Blade but as far as I'm concerned, he burst onto the scene in Sling Blade, and that's that) he was neat. He seemed like an actor's actor that had worked hard to create a unique character. Then he did Armageddon with the bum leg and A Simple Plan with the weird hair and teeth and now he's just starting to scare me.

In this film, he plays another weird guy. An air traffic controller who is creepy but good. He sticks a feather in his hair when he works because he's one quarter Indian or something like that. Whatever, he's weird. And he's married, in the movie, to a total babe!

The babe in question is Angelina Jolie. When I say she's a babe, I mean...she's a babe. Like 19 or so (Billy's in his 40's in the film). And she's supposed to be this hot sexpot. Which, if you know who Angelina Jolie is, you'll know that that's not much of a reach.

In the end, that might be the main problem with this movie, it doesn't really reach. There are hints of things that seem really interesting that never get explored. The characters live during the time of the film, and not before or after. Except Billy Bob, who could probably spout off his character's entire lineage back to the time of Christ.

The best scenes in this film are in the control tower. There is a lot of controlled chaos going on as a small group of over-worked people try to safely direct hundreds of planes a day. And these people have their own codes, their own way of speaking (like the phrase "pushing tin" for example) and they can crash and burn. All of this is well explored and I want to personally thank each and every air traffic controller who may be reading this. In fact, if you know an air traffic controller, hug him or her. And don't let them near any sharp objects.

Oh, I also have to point out that Vicki Lewis is totally wasted in this movie. She's the red-headed secretary on NewsRadio and in this film she plays an air traffic controller who is also a body builder.

Yeah, I didn't get it either.

All told, Pushing Tin gets 3 Babylons. Middle of the road score for a middle of the road film.

Editor's Note:

Has the SMC ever used the phrase " doesn't really reach" in any of his reviews? Since when does the SMC care whether or not a film "reaches"? I've gotten email lately saying that the SMC is getting too cerebral. What do you think? Do we have an impostor in our midst?

Special Note:

A while back we held a "Beat The Self-Made Critic at the Oscars" contest or something like that. Well, although we dragged our heels for a while, we finally dusted off the entries and WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

First of all, In order to be eligible to win, you had to do better than the Critic. Since so few people were actually better than him, we opened it up to people who did as well as the Critic. The final totals, out of 94 entires, 13 people did as good as or better than the Critic. It seems that while The Critic had his money on Saving Private Ryan, most of you did as well, so his loss was everybody's loss. Plus he somehow picked James Coburn.

Anyway, we randomly chose a winner from the 13 qualifying entries and the lucky winner of a Brunching Shuttlecocks T-shirt is...NATE PERRY.

Congrats Nate, you are a true winner. Email us your address and what not so we can send you your booty. Thank you all for playing. Cock On!

Pushing Tin
Rated: R
Directed By: Mike Newell
Starring: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Vicki Lewis and the Sacred Feather of Hopi Indian Chief Pushes-With-Tin.

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