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Pushing Tin

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Pushing Tin

Starring: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thorton
Director: Mike Newell
Rated: R
RunTime: 124 Minutes
Release Date: April 1999
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Jake Weber, Vicki Lewis, Kurt Fuller

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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

"The current (air traffic control) system is 99.4% reliable," according to an FAA spokesman, but how do the air traffic controllers, who have the ultimate high pressure job, let off steam? The title, "Pushing Tin," refers to a phrase that air traffic controllers use to describe their work - and that's the theme of this dark romantic comedy in which John Cusack plays a vain, fast-talking "jet jockey" at New York's Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) center on Long Island that handles up to 7,000 flights a day into and out of LaGuardia, Kennedy, and Newark airports. He's the manic, self-absorbed, dominant "top dog" until the arrival of Billy Bob Thornton ("A Simple Thing"), a mysterious, motorcycle-riding, half-Indian cowboy from Oklahoma with a laconic demeanor and a wild reputation ("Did you really stand on a runway and let a 747 part your hair with weight turbulence?"). Fueled by caffeine and machismo, a fierce, obsessive and disruptive rivalry emerges. It's a contest of wits and wills, where stress is the great equalizer and bravado is the lowest common denominator, a game where the winner - not the loser - could lose it all: his marriage, his job, and his mind. Cate Blanchett ("Elizabeth") and Angelina Jolie (TV's "Gia") are the wives who serve as the escape routes in their husbands' emotional and psychological lives. Director Mike Newell ("Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Donnie Brasco") keeps the chaotic comedy fast-paced, while Glen & Les Charles's (TV's "Taxi," "Cheers") relationship-oriented screenplay is based on a New York Times Sunday Magazine article, "Something's Got to Give," by Darcy Frey. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Pushing Tin" is a frantic, funny 7. It's an inventive, intense, irreverent look at the prevention of mid-air and mid-life collisions.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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