A Con Air Movie Critique: Presented as a Conversation Between a Man and an Imaginary Irish Gnome

By: Jacob Lewis

I love movies, but I have never been able to write a passable movie review. I have thoughts about movies…brilliant thoughts actually, but I can never get them into a form that translate well to the written word. So, when I began pondering a certain theme from the movie Con Air, the Oscar award winning (citation needed) tale of the follies of our criminal justice system, I knew I had two options. Either sit down and work on my writing until I could produce a coherent and concise statement on the film, or frame my opinions as a discussion between myself and a magical Gnome that lives in my brain.

So, without further delay:

INT. METRO BUS – NIGHT

Jacob is sitting on a seat in the middle of a crowded bus. He suddenly speak to no one in particular.

JACOB

Do you know what has always bugged me about Con Air?

Glimber Feather, the elderly Irish Gnome who lives in Jacob’s brain and is forced to answer all his rhetorical questions after losing a bet with a Genie, sticks his head out of Jacob’s ear. Nobody else can see Glimber Feather because he isn’t real and Jacob is obviously bat shit crazy. The people sitting next to Jacob, begin wondering who he is talking too.

GLIMBER FEATHER

That it’s a terrible movie?

JACOB

No, not that…that’s never bothered me about any movie.

GLIMBER FEATHER

Is it the fact that they turn a child murdering psychopath’s escape from custody into a humorous punchline at the end of the movie?

JACOB

What? No…Jesus no! That’s hilarious! Steve Buscemi is at that poker table smiling. That’s classic. My only disappointment is that they don’t have a funny zinger at the end of the credits where he is dancing around in the skins of a seventh grade volleyball team!

GLIMBER FEATHER

Are you joking?

JACOB

Yeah…sorta.

The passengers on both sides of Jacob begin slowly scooching away from him. A nearby mother with two young children holds them closer and angles them away from his seat.

JACOB

Anyway, it’s the part where Nicholas Cage kills that guy outside the bar and then gets convicted and sentenced to jail.

GLIMBER FEATHER

Oh, you mean the whole unrealistic part about a soldier being sentenced to 5 years in jail for defending himself and another against a group of people who were obviously trying to kill him and possibly rape his girlfriend?

JACOB

No, I dont care about the realities of the legal system. Just shut up for a moment and let me answer. It’s the fact that the movie’s protagonist is a prisoner in a maximum security prison, but the movie can’t have him be, not just an actual bad guy, but anything less than the greatest most decent hero ever.

GLIMBER FEATHER

I don’t get it?

JACOB

Well, let me explain. They make him a prisoner who not only did absolutely nothing wrong, but was sent to prison for his act of selfless bravery. He stands up against three guys to protect his wife. Also, the attacker he kills is shown as a complete scumbag probable rapist. It’s basically a fight between good and evil, and the good guy gets sent to prison.

The Bus is still crowded, but the seats next to Jacob have been left vacant. Passengers overt their eyes from Jacob’s location, glancing up only to nervously check to see how soon their stop is coming up.

GLIMBER FEATHER

Wait, why does that piss you off? You love it when awful things happen to good people.

JACOB

Yes. I do. More than I love oxygen. But the movie doesn’t treat his situation like a travesty of justice. Even Nicholas Cage isn’t that pissed off about it. He just misses his family. The whole thing insinuates that the movie going audience can’t accept anyone other than a morally perfect person as the protagonist. There is no reason why Nicholas Cage couldn’t have been a guy who did something wrong and got sent to prison. I don’t think it would be unreasonable for such a person to still be able to find moral objection to a group of psychopaths murdering a bunch of people and taking over a plane.

GLIMBER FEATHER

Oh.

JACOB

Also, it assumes that anyone who is in prison for any reason, other than an absolute abortion of justice, would be perfectly fine with the major criminal crimes being committed in the movie. As long you’re in the prison system, murder, kidnapping and hijacking is all fine and dandy, doesn’t matter if you’re a drug dealer, gang member, chicken molester, murder, rapist, shoplifter, pet rapist, con artist, or bestiality enthusiast.

OTHER BUS PASSENGER

Sir, I don’t know if you realize this but you just mentioned an uncomfortably disproportionate amount of animal sex crimes.

Jacob ignores the other passenger’s frightened attempt to bring reason into his soliloquy of madness.

JACOB

Only Jesus Christ reincarnated in Nicholas Cage form has the goodness to object to everything. It would have been more compelling if Nicholas Cage was someone who had gone to jail for a legitimate crime, making the whole saving the hostages a story of redemption. Instead, it’s just a way to have an action hero be a prisoner on the a prison plane without having done anything wrong. Bullshit. Just complete bullshit.

GLIMBER FEATHER

Hmmmmm. I don’t think anyone has put as much thought into this as you have.”

JACOB

Into this aspect of the plot?

GLIMBER FEATHER

Into Con Air in general. Most people feel their intellectual assessment of the film should stop with – hey, this film is a steaming sack of dead donkey farts and I should be spending my time on earth doing something else – and then go on to watch a better film.

JACOB

Well, I must be a little deeper than most people.

GLIMBER FEATHER

Must be.

JACOB

You know what Glimber Feather? You’re pretty fucking sarcastic for an imaginary gnome. Also, aren’t you Irish? Where the hell is your accent.”

GLIMBER FEATHER

I was born in Fresno, Asshole. My grandparents are from Ireland. An Irish gnome doesn’t even make sense. Why didn’t you just make me a leprechaun?

JACOB

Leprechauns aren’t real. In fact, Ireland’s existence has always been suspect to me.

GLIMBER FEATHER

Whatever….goodnight.

JACOB

Wait!

GLIMBER FEATHER

What?

JACOB

Do you know what really bugs me about Gone in 60 Seconds?

GLIMBER FEATHER

That it’s a terrible movie?

JACOB

Yes…goodnight.

END

Done. Wow, that sure was a lot easier than learning to write.

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