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Breathing Air into sports genre

Sports stories come with different approaches in current and upcoming projects about superstars like Yogi Berra, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan for the one you can watch right now on Amazon, Air. Jordan himself appears only in replays, and his character shows up on screen from the back, in shadows, and silhouettes as the spur to action accomplished by others. Working with a screenplay by Alex Convery, director Ben Affleck explores the marketing and promotional aspects that happen around sports superstars; instead of the rush and excitement of a close call game, he presents the talk and …uh…more talk…involved in strategizing negotiations. In this case it comes with Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro working at Nike to push its division of basketball shoes. Focused more on the sport of Nike co-founder Phil Knight—played by director Affleck in suit and running shoes—the company trails far behind the brands loved by basketball stars. A gambler by nature, Vaccaro comes up with an idea that most of us already know about, giving director Affleck the challenge of stuffing intrigue into a familiar story. He does so mostly through his cast. Affleck’s Good Will Hunting buddy Damon remains appealing and believable, backed by the always excellent Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, and Chris Tucker. With the chance to yell, scream, and act like a total jerk sports agent, Chris Messina takes a good shot at stealing the show—though his co-stars do enough excellent work to prevent full out grand larceny. Good acting along with absorbing insider information keep Air afloat despite a few missing plays.

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