The sneakerhead subculture has always been a topic of interest to me. Its participants tend to also be members of hobbies including sports such as basketball or skateboarding, fashion, cars, anime and manga, as well as the multitude of other collection-based interests. That being said, it was only natural for me to form my own excitement over the release of the film AIR. On one hand it would be telling the origin story of Nike’s Air Jordan shoe line while also catering to my admiration of the Ben Affleck-Matt Damon bromance. Simply put, the film delivers on all cylinders – grit, inspiration, humor, triumph, and heart.
The year is 1984, and everything about the film from the cars to the fashion oozes retro and nostalgia to take audiences back to that point in time, without being too much at the risk of taking away from the film.
Matt Damon plays Sonny Vaccaro who comes off as optimistic in his role as head of the basketball division at the company. He also has a quick wit and hilarious German accent that will have everyone cracking up (besides Adidas). But he’s able to strike audiences to their emotional cores when he has these more intimate one-on-ones that allow him to portray vulnerability and honesty within this world of sports apparel marketing, which on the outside looking in can be seen as full of fluff with flash and glitter. When the plot reaches a point when Sonny Vaccarro interrupts his colleagues in order to make an impassioned speech, that’s the moment that everyone will remember from AIR.
Not enough can be said about Viola Davis. When she makes her appearance, she steals the show as she plays Michael Jordan’s strong mother Deloris who proudly shares the love and faith she has for her son, which led to this industry-shaking deal behind the Air Jordans. While the men wheel and deal, her character stands film, advocating for the best offer for her son.
Whether you’re a sneakerhead, a curious moviegoer, or somewhere in between, AIR is my pick for this year’s memorable feelgood biopic that brings together sports, fashion, and incredible performances.
AIR will be available in theaters on April 5, 2023.
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