Newest in my venture to watch my movie collection in alphabetical(ish) order. To see other posts in the series, click here. As always, potential Spoiler Alert.
To write one of these movie review articles, I make notes on my laptop while watching the film. Then after the movie is done, I go back through the notes to figure out what tack I want to take for the article. Sometimes my notes are a pretty jumbled mess, but other times a theme appears.
Take Pushing Tin, for example. The quickest glance at my notes showed a clear theme – one that can be summed up in one word.
That word is “dick.”
I have never typed the word dick (or its plural) so often in such a short span of time.
Everybody in this movie is a dick. The main character, air traffic controller Nick (John Cusack) is a dick. His nemesis Russell (Billy Bob Thornton) is a dick. All the other air traffic controllers are dicks. This bosses? Dicks. Their wives? Dicks.
The controllers are the worst. They’re dicks to each other. They’re dicks to random women they meet. They’re dicks to waitresses. And most importantly, they’re dicks to the airplane passengers whose lives they hold in their hands.
I remember a few years back, chatting with a friend who couldn’t wait to get home after work to watch the newest episode of some shite reality TV program. I don’t remember which one it was, but it featured Gordon Ramsay screaming and swearing at people for an hour. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around why people enjoy that kind of show, and while we discussed it, we had this chilling bit of conversation.
Me: Do you like the kind of person he is?
Me: Do you think he deals with problems in a helpful way?
Me: Do you like dealing with that kind of person at work?
Me: So what’s the appeal of the show?
Friend: He’s not doing it to me.
The lack of empathy is mind-boggling. I also think it’s the mindset that’s required to enjoy a movie like Pushing Tin. Because we spend two hours watching Nick pull dick move after dick move after dick move, only for both himself and his marriage to break down. And when he gets to his rock bottom and desperately wants to make his life right again, instead of learning from his mistakes and growing as a person, he ‘fixes’ things by … standing on a runway under a landing plane so he can be thrown through the air by the wash, and then holding his wife’s plane hostage in the landing queue until she agrees to go out with him.
So, a manly dick move followed by a creepy one.
Ultimately, the viewer is left secure in the knowledge that no one learned anything, everything will continue on as it always has, and no one in the Pushing Tin universe should board a plane ever again.