This weekend, PJ and I saw George Clooney‘s new movie, Up in the Air, which is about a guy named Ryan Bingham, whose job is to travel around the country firing people. Here’s the trailer:

As the trailer suggests, Ryan loves the mostly impersonal world of air travel, in which services are rendered in a friendly but non-invasive way. In fact, he’s developed a self-help lecture based on the principle that one’s entire life should fit into a backpack.

The main conflict in the movie revolves around a threat to Ryan’s way of life: he is closing in on 10 million frequent flier miles when he finds out that his boss, played by Jason Bateman, has decided to follow a new business model proposed by the new kid on the block, Natalie, played by Anna Kendrick. She’s proposed that the company fire people via the internet instead of in person, saving lots of money and upping the number of firings each representative can handle in a day. Ryan therefore has to figure out a way to convince his boss that her proposal is wrong before he’s grounded permanently. To make this point, Ryan takes Natalie out with him on a trip, which changes both of their perspectives on life in various ways.

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