“Air,” Ben Affleck’s most recent film about basketball ambitions, was a smash hit at South by Southwest on Saturday.
Initial reviews of the movie, which relates the history of how Michael Jordan, then a rookie, collaborated with Nike to create his ground-breaking Air Jordan shoe brand, were overwhelmingly positive. As Nike CEO Phil Knight, Affleck directs, produces, and performs.
Affleck told the USA TODAY Network’s Austin American-Statesman on the red carpet prior to the movie’s debut on the final night of the Austin festival, “That was the most delightful professional experience. There is some magic, and perhaps Michael Jordan is responsible for it, you know. I spent my entire life believing that I would be a successful director if I could cast Viola Davis in one of my films.
On the SXSW red carpet, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were reunited.
The “Good Will Hunting” co-star and friend Matt Damon, who plays Sonny Vaccaro, the Nike executive who convinces Knight to try Air Jordan, and Affleck reconnected at the SXSW premiere. Davis and her husband Julius Tennon, who play Jordan’s parents Deloris and James Jordan, as well as other actors Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, and Chris Messina joined them on the red carpet.
Davis referred to Deloris Jordan as belonging to a generation in which having children was a dream. People in the Black community “weren’t allowed to dream since we weren’t given any possibilities for years,” according to one observer. So this was a woman who did value education, but she also believed in making the most of her son’s chance to play in the NBA and treating him with the utmost respect.
What reviewers had to say about ‘Air,’ the newest Michael Jordan film starring Ben Affleck:
Overall responses were favourable, both on social media and in movie reviews:
The Hollywood Handle tweeted, “Entertaining, amusing, hopeful, and the best movie of the year thus yet.
In her review for “The Hollywood Reporter,” arts and culture reviewer Lovia Gyarkye said, “The film applies – magnificently – the poetic reverence normally reserved for portraying the sport in these types of plays. “Scores enough points, but isn’t a slam dunk.”