A comedy about losing control
Two air traffic controllers who thrive on living dangerously compete to outdo each other on several levels.
Two air traffic controllers who thrive on living dangerously compete to outdo each other on several levels.
Alto Controle, Fuera de control
I think a very bleak comedy about the insular, cliquish lifestyle of air traffic controllers and the effect of the incredible stress of their job on their personal lives would be really interesting but this is not that, because it strains for any kind of narrative trajectory and settles on the dumb contrivance of a marital infidelity. This was written by the creators of Cheers, which makes me think the material probably would have been better served by television but is also surprising because it's not very funny.
"If you are looking for a snooze in the middle of an overcast Sunday afternoon, Pushing Tin will knock you the fuck out." -John Oliver, philosopher, 2016
Part of my 5 Directors x 5 Unseen Films (16) challenge.
The inspiration for director Mike Newell's dramedy about air traffic controllers was an article in The New York Times Magazine by Darcy Frey entitled "Something's Got to Give." Frey spent five months observing Long Island controllers as research for his story. The New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility portrayed in the film is located in Westbury, New York, providing approach services for several large airports, including LaGuardia, Kennedy, and Newark, to name a few.
The film opens with Nick "The Zone" Falzone (John Cusack) ending his shift at TRACON, another day of safely guiding planes to their destinations. Outside work, Nick treats every activity with the same…
I hadn't heard the best of things about this before watching this but it actually wasn't bad. It's way too long and the third act really loses a lot of steam but I enjoyed the performances and chemistry of the cast particularly between John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton. A decent little watch.
Not gonna lie, Pushing Tin kinda slaps a lot harder than it should. The air-traffic controller sub-culture depicted here looks wild as fuck, man. I mean, John Cusack’s character’s name is Nick ‘The Zone’ Falzone for fucks sake. He’s a cocky, assured fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants cowboy who finds his masculinity and alpha position amongst his peers threatened by the sudden appearance of Billy Bob Thornton’s Russell Bell on his radar.
There’s not a whole heap more set-up to the plot than that, but I’ll be damned if this movie doesn’t turn it into something entertaining. The script is tight, Cusack is in great form, and I found myself genuinely invested in his character’s development, as flawed a person as he is. Cate…
Sully for alcoholics.
Pushing Tin offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of an occupation scarcely seen in cinema: air traffic control. It spins an entertainingly antagonistic rivalry between two air traffic controller hot shots (Cusack and Thornton) as they seemingly try to one-up each other and see who can keep their cool when watching the skies (so to speak).
This could have been great film given the unusual world it explores, but for the final fifteen minutes. The film ultimately succumbs to a risibly typical Hollywood ending that feels so contrived and unearned that you'd have thought the pages of the script were lost so another ending had to made up on the spot.
What we're left with is an unusual, quite unique and well acted semi-misfire with a great score.
I can't think of many films that deal with the lives of air traffic controllers, so this was a cool insight into the craziness of what looks like an incredibly difficult profession. The film is unfortunately populated with irritating characters though, that make me scared to fly if that is what people in that job are like.
John Cusack plays a laid back guy who begins a rivalry with Billy Bob Thornton, the new guy at work. The rivalry is really quite petulant and childish, and I'm not sure if we are supposed to sympathise with either of them or not because I didn't. It was hard to take them seriously as it was kind of over the top. Thornton plays a good smarmy guy at least.
The ending is especially ridiculous as Cusack abuses his powers to try to get his wife back. He probably should have been fired after all.
My one brother used to love this movie. He would replay the scene where the plane flew over Billy Bob and he'd go flipping and flying off the tarmac into the ditch. He loved that scene and thought it was hilarious. The scene in this movie and the one in Something About Mary with the hitchhiker and his 7 minute abs were played over and over again by him. I guess thinking about that made me want to re-watch this movie, not that it's particularly good, but the memory was there.
I have a question though: Did John Cusack make it part of his contract to always wear the same kind of long overcoat in all his movies?
I totally thought this was a golf movie. Whoops! That’s Tin Cup. What’s the deal with the late 90s and tin?
Weird little pre-9/11 1999 movie about air traffic controllers and marriages. It’s crazy because the opening shot is airplanes zooming around the twin towers in NYC. Yikes! Great cast but this was largely unfunny. Billy Bob is really boring too. Angelina Jolie married Billy Bob right after this movie.
High Fidelity is totally the way to go for this era John Cusack.
Viewed on Hollywood Suite
Based on an article by Darcy Frey published in New York Times Magazine in 1996, Pushing Tin (1999) has a lot of talent on the screen and behind it as well.
Starring John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie and directed by Mike Newell, Pushing Tin (1999) looked like an automatic hit, but tanked at the box office when it came in at #4 in it's opening weekend and earned $8.4 million in North America. That's not good when the film cost $33 million.
I guess no one was excited to see a movie about air traffic controllers, no matter who was in it.
There is even a scene where 2 young ladies ask…
Starts out with some promising specificity in the world of air traffic controllers, but quickly devolves into unbelievable nonsense. Billy Bob Thornton appears to be playing himself just based on that ‘Q’ interview of him that I’ve watched 2000 times. Cusack brings a great deal of energy to the movie, but Jolie and Blanchett are criminally unwritten and wasted. Maybe watch if you’re really sick and/or on a plane.
Cate Blanchett really is one of the greatest actresses around. Even in a small(ish) role like the one she plays in this movie, she manages to completely embody her characters and brings so much depth and detail. I often forget just how good she is, but when you see her in action, there's no doubting her talent for a second.
That and I do enjoy John Cusack quite a bit, even if it's a little disturbing how well he manages to portray a bit of a wanker. This is one of my favourite little dumb movies that flew under the radar, not least because of the excellent casting.
Everything from the script to the setting manages to achieve everything it sets out to achieve. There really can't be anything wrong with that, even if it's not the be all and end all of film making and story telling.
It's just really solid. Plain and simple.
Pushing Tin, directed by Mike Newell, is a reminder that our popular culture wants it both ways. On the one hand it thrives, as entertainment has always done, on the competition of macho men to see who is stronger, smarter, quicker or more dexterous. On the other hand it feels constrained to deplore such competition — and, indeed, such a version of masculinity — as somehow not quite in keeping with the progressive, feminine spirit of our times. Thus Newell presents us with dueling air traffic controllers — the concept is not, it has to be said, a very promising one — for the sake of mere excitement and then proceeds to resolve their competition in a touchy-feely, feminized display…
it's been a minute since i enjoyed a film this much
Mary Bell crying over her Fuchsia Hybrida Voodoo is literally the reason i am into plants to this day
I picked this up as a bargain bin VHS 15yrs ago and never watched it. Now I have no VHS player so it’s streaming to the rescue. Imagine Top Gun set in the air traffic control tower instead the jets. Hard to imagine, but that could’ve been the elevator pitch. John Cusack basically plays himself as you knew (and maybe) loved him in the 90s. Billy Bob Thornton plays laconic and unpredictable. Iceman to Cusack’s Maverick. Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie are both appealing as the wives in this sea of male bravado. It becomes preposterous fairly quickly and the script loses it’s way badly in the end.
“Do you play sports Russell?” “BBT “I used to bowl when I was an alcoholic.”
This movie has everything: the tense and fragile nature of air traffic control, John Cusak trench coats, "He pushes tin," planes flying past the World Trade Center, bomb threats, Best Friends at Work, BBQ's, donut runs, plant death, grocery store meltdowns, JFK portraits, marital affairs, funerals, free throw contests, Cate Blanchett, JETWASH - which is that thing where dudes finally understand their place in the universe by being propeled across runways by landing planes, marital affairs, Italian Ristorante Karaoke, French tapes, trying to break into a pilots cabin, first wives, second wives, third wives, funeral procession limo meltdowns, self-pity viewing of Asian game shows, reading your own order to the short order cook, CGI inserts of planes, "The Zone," driving to Colorado, closure.
Angelina Jolie crying in the grocery store with a cart of 3 bottles of vodka and a head of lettuce is the fattest mood. Also please take this rating with a grain of salt because I was not sober when I watched this lmao
Should have been titled PUSHING SHIT.
Saw this at the NoHo Century 8 back in the day of release. Didn't really care for it much then (as a teen) then completely forgot about it, so decided to revisit, and my god is it AWFUL.
First, the opening credits show a commercial airline flying over Manhattan right past the World Trade Centers.
I can only think and wonder if the 9/11 hijackers saw this film and got the idea implanted in their brain.
As for the movie, it feels like an aborted pilot that Glen and Les Charles just couldn't make funny, yet somehow Mike Newell thought, "Yes! This is The One! We don't need to change a word! It's pure…
good movie , with some good performance and good quality production.
although there are some stupid thing which doesn't fit in movie plot. otherwise the movie is good.
so russel's wife (anjalina jolie) , her role was too short or there is no story of her later even nick slept with her.
2nd and most stupid thing is. nick's wife (connie) who slept with russel..
why? . it was not revenge sex . also she slept with him BY CHOICE.
and in the end, when she was on plane for vacation or something, she left her son n happy about it to be alone n single . no regret. but later her husband wants her back . and they reconcile.. start of bad marriage.
As an Air Traffic Controller this was one of my best movie watching experiences, even though it may not be that good of a movie, but I really enjoyed it
Christopher Faust 423 films
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