In Flight Entertainment – Chicago, January 2015

When The Cinnamon Girl and I travel, we like to download and watch movies that take place in the cities we’re going to visit. Most cities have movies set in them or, at least, most cities to which we travel do.

I had a very quick trip to Chicago this week – literally a 25 hour trip – and watched a couple of personal favorites. I wouldn’t venture to call them “classics,” but I really enjoyed seeing them again.

In Flight Entertainment Denver to Chicago: Backdraft

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Image from

Directed by Ron Howard, Backdraft tells the story of Chicago firefighters in a way that only a movie from the early 1990s can: with characters loaded by father issues, slow motion sequences, montages, big supporting actors (Donald Sutherland and Robert DeNiro) and a smooth soundtrack (hello, Bruce Hornsby and the Range!). What makes the movie better than average is Kurt Russell. He’s really terrific here and I’ve always felt that he was underrated as an actor. What makes the movie worse than average is William Baldwin. He’s really not very good here or anywhere. So… it’s an average movie, but fun nonetheless. It also inspired an word-play game I used to engage with when I was in college with some like-minded morons. At one point, Scott Glenn pleads (in slow motion VOICE!) “Let me go, Bull.” My friends and I would stay up late at night conceiving other hundreds of other important things that Glenn might have said to Russell’s Bull like “Take it slow, Bull” or “Let it snow, Bull” or, my personal favorite “Worship Apollo, Bull.” I don’t know which one of us came up with that one, but it’s my blog so I will say I did!

In Flight Entertainment Chicago to Denver: Nothing in Common

Oh, Tom Hanks… are you good in everything? I think the answer is “yes” and I think he’s very good in Nothing in Common where he plays Jackie Gleason’s estranged son. Hanks is an ad executive living in Chicago who has nothing to do with his family until his mother leaves his father after 36 years of marriage. It’s shocking that, today, Hanks would be cast as the father here. The movie has many of the same tropes as Backdraft (a montage, big supporting actors – though not as big as Backdraft [Hector Elizando] and a smooth soundtrack [hello, Christopher Cross!]). It also has more heart and, though it’s pretty much by-the-numbers for this type of film, it still brought me to tears. Never a good thing on a plane.

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