After finishing my latest read on Sunday, I knew that there was only one option for my Throwback Thursday film this week. I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I watched View From the Top but it must be about 15 years. It was one of those late nights at my friend’s house. I’m not sure why we picked it but it was an experience that I never forgot. Seriously, Gwyenth Paltrow in her purple and orange uniform, shiny purple boots, and massive hair are really difficult to get out of your head. Although, after reading Ayoade’s fantastic analysis, it does worry me that I’m tackling this film too. There is no way I’ll be as shrewd or as funny as he is. I should have done something else. Watched Airplane or something. Maybe a different Gwyenth Paltrow film? Sliding Doors? He does mention Sliding Doors in the book too. Although, I have a bit of a soft spot for that film and I wouldn’t want to have to admit it’s rubbish.
It’s difficult to imagine View From the Top being made today. It’s difficult to imagine it being made when it was but apparently, somebody thought it was a winner. The film was initially held back because it was scheduled to be released at Christmas 2001. In light of the September 11th terrorist attacks, it was put off until 2003. I guess nobody thought that a shitty comedy set on a load of planes wasn’t what America needed to help them get over the events of 9/11. Who knows why? You would have thought that the story of a young woman trying to get away from her dull town and becoming the best flight attendant she can. It’s a feel-good story anyone can get behind.
This film has it all. Studying, romance, friendship, deceit, misogyny, planes. It’s amazing that it could all be fit into one 87 minute long film. But, thankfully, the editing takes away any pesky narrative development and only leaves us with the bare bones of a plot. Director Bruno Barreto doesn’t make the silly mistake that others might and dwell on the story. He knows that we everyone watching this can see where this is going. Might as well make every scene as short as possible and make as many huge jumps forward as possible. Context? Who the fuck needs context.
This film certainly isn’t a long haul flight. More Royalty Express. You’re not getting the choice or caviar and champagne here. It’s cheese or bologna all the way. Thankfully, it is a short flight so you don’t have to worry about cabin fever setting in. From what we’re shown in this film, it really doesn’t take that long to go from your first job as a flight attendant to being the best of the best. All you really need to do is befriend a celebrity. Also, are we really supposed to believe that an ex-flight attendant got a book deal that becomes that huge? Even back in 2000, people didn’t have that much love for flying. Yet this film talks as if it’s still the height of sophistication. It’s just a disgusting celebration of commercialism. First-class is all that matters. Money matters.
I always knew this film was bad but it was tough going back. There are no real positives to this film. Not even the romance between Paltrow’s character and Mark Ruffalo’s nice guy isn’t that great. I understand that you don’t have to like people to enjoy a film but there have to be some high points. It can’t all just be Mike Myers reusing that one gag where he has to turn his whole head to read something. This film relies on Gwyneth Paltrow’s massive hair to get by. I don’t really want to talk about this film any more because it makes me so angry and sad. So, biggest takeaways here: Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t understand comedy; Mark Ruffalo is doing something weird with his mouth for this entire film; people should stop giving Mike Myers free rein to do whatever he wants; and fashion really wasn’t great in the early 2000s.