Jason Reitman, “pretty good” and pretty dumb


In the doctor’s office today, I picked up the January 18th edition of Time, a publication I rarely read. I made it as far as page ten, for it was there that I read a column titled “10 questions for Jason Reitman“. From what I gathered, this is a regularly occurring item in which readers lob softball questions into a celebrity and (s)he parries them with rapier wit.

Having seen and enjoyed some of Mr. Reitman’s work, especially his latest “Up in the Air” (a film that I enjoyed principally for two reasons: the scene in which Ryan Bingham teaches his young colleague how best to navigate the security line at the airport and the presence of George Clooney).

Softball question, glib answer. Softball question, glib answer. Reitman was nine for nine. It was the answer to the tenth question that caught me.

Q: Have you ever been fired? (Jessie K., WASHINGTON)

A: I have actually never been fired. It turns out I’m pretty good at what I do.

What did he say? Being “pretty good” prevents him from being fired? This is so wrong on at least two levels that I can hardly contain myself.

Jason, son of famous filmmaker Ivan, Reitman appears to have never done anything outside the film industry in which his father is wonderfully successful. Perhaps if he spent 10 years as “Jason Smith” instead, he might have a better idea of the way things work. For this he gets my favorite insult to priviledged people: He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.

Jason, son of Ivan, makes a movie about firing people, yet all he seems to have learned out of the process is that sucking up to American Airlines gets you good perks, not the fact that there are many, many people who were not merely “pretty good” at their job who find themselves fired and out of work through no fault of their own.

In the words of a character in one of his dad’s best movies, “Nice going, asshole.”

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