Air: The Best Two-Hour Commercial for Jordan’s You’ll Ever See


If you take a walk around Saint Joseph High School or just about any public space these days, chances are you’ll see a pair of some of the most iconic shoes known to mankind: Air Jordans. Yet how did these shoes come to be so ubiquitous with basketball, streetwear, and quite frankly, America? This is the story that Air, a just-released film from the direction of Ben Affleck (yes, that Ben Affleck), aims to tell. It’s a near impossible task to detail this story out in just a few hours, but quite honestly, Air takes a cue from Jordan himself and truly comes in clutch.

The first thing to know about Air is that, while he may be at the center of the film, this movie is not a Michael Jordan story. It’s not about his greatness as a basketball player or a cultural icon – for that, I recommend The Last Dance, a phenomenal Netflix and ESPN series – but it’s instead about the chase for a down-on-their luck sports equipment company to land a great star for their struggling basketball shoe line. Don’t expect much basketball court wizardry, as the action here is much more focused on classic 1980’s courtroom drama. The heroes of this story? A high school basketball guru with a gambling addiction named Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), the somewhat hippie-esque CEO Phil Knight (Affleck), the somewhat anxious Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman), and the perpetually energetic Howard White (Chris Tucker). It’s a story more reminiscent of 80’s nostalgia like The Goonies more so than the towering titans of Chicago Bulls lore Jordan’s come to be associated with.

Speaking of nostalgia, Air is chock-full of it. And when I say chock-full, I mean like absolutely overflowing to the point where at times it’s a little overbearing. Admittedly, some of the 80’s references or shots feel forced, reminding you constantly that the setting is 1984 no matter how important it is or isn’t to the plot. The film is much better at nostalgia purposes when it’s less heavy handed, such as through the cinematography reminiscent of 80’s filmmaking, or a killer soundtrack that doesn’t feel forced. Still, the blatant nostalgia-driving is perhaps the movie’s one weakness.

Outside of this, however, Air is undoubtedly a knockout film. The acting is all stellar, which can sometimes be a challenge when recreating relatively recent events on screen. Hollywood A-listers like Damon and Affleck share great chemistry as their underdog characters, and you genuinely feel that the characters believe in what they’re saying. It’s a movie that just feels real, beyond the fact that it’s based off of real-world events. You feel the triumphs, the losses, and most importantly, you start rooting for the good guys along the way.

Even if you’re not particularly into sports, or basketball, I’d certainly recommend catching Air in theaters or when it soon lands on streaming services (it was produced by Amazon Studios, which is admittedly still a little strange to see before a movie in my opinion). It’s rated R for a reason, as there’s certainly a good bit of cursing, but at the end of the day, it’s a story that a lot of people can find something to like about. I’d overall give it a solid 9 out of 10, Jordan better than Lebron, stars.