Jason Reitman

 

Young Adult

Up in the Air

Juno

Thank you for Smoking

 

 

In only 4 feature films Jason Reitman has directed 4 actors in Academy Nominated Performances and has directed movies that have accumulated a total of 6 nominations and one Academy Award.   

Born into a family of film makers, Jason Reitman was only 4 years old when his father directed the movie hit comedy stating Bill Murray and John Candy, Stripes.  Just a few years later when Jason was only 7, his father Ivan Reitman, a Czechoslovakia native whose family moved to Canada as refuges in the 1950’s teamed up once again with Bill Murray and made the supernatural hit Ghostbusters.  Growing up with a filmakng father and an actress mother, it is no doubt that Jason Reitman would be interested in show business.   In the late 80 and early 90’s as a teenager he began acting in some local commercials and would help on major productions alongside his dad learning the process of making a movie. 

It did not take long for the industry executives to understand the gift that Jason had as a filmmaker and start to offer him jobs for major pictures.  He perhaps wisely declined offers in the 90’s including the opportunity to direct Dude, Where’s My Car? And decided to further his education in English/Creative Writing at the University of Southern California.  Throughout and after school Reitman dabbled as many filmmakers do in short films, one of which titled Operation which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998.

He developed a novel by Christopher Buckley titled Thank You For Smoking which would become his first full length feature film of the same name.  The critically acclaimed and commercially successful satire staring Arron Eckhart was unlike most mainstream comedies but is exactly the type of movie that will give you staying power in Hollywood.  The movie was nominated for 2 Golden Globes, one for best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, and also for best actor. He followed up that 2005 release with cult classic turned huge box office success in Juno.   The teenage hipster pregnancy saga written by Diablo Cody was made with a budget of 7.5 million dollars and was released on only 7 screens in its opening weekend.  By the end of its run the breakthrough hit had grossed over 143 million dollars.   

Two years later he adapeted another novel for his next feature which he wrote and directed titled Up in the Air.  This movie staring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick went on to be his most successful yet earning six Oscar nominations.   His fourth and most recent film titled Young Adult was again written by Diablo Cody and stars Charlize Theron as a hopeless teenage fiction writer who returns to her hometown in Minnesota. 

Despite multiple requests from the studios, and rumors, he will not be directing the highly anticipated Ghostbusters III.  He publicly denied this to Howard Stern in 2008 saying “Looking at my career so far… I would make the most boring Ghostbusters movie. It would just be people talking about ghosts, there wouldn’t be any ghost-busting in it.”  Fortunately the third installment with hopes to start shooting in the summer of 2014 will be in good hands with the original director, Jason’s dad behind the camera. 

Popcorn Movie Reviews Take. 

Jason Reitman wrote and directed one of my favorite movies ever made, Thank you for Smoking.  For that reason alone his name is automatically in the conversation for one of my favorite directors.  However I would not let him stand alone on just that, but as I look to his other movies he does not disappoint.  Up in the Air  is one of my Top Ten Movies of 2009 and although I prefer him when he is directing his own screenplay, when he teams up with Diablo Cody I have still found his movies and choices as a director entertaining and fresh.   He is a rare director who has the combination of likeability and desire to make mainstream films about subjects that aren’t of the usual mainstream variety.  I am glad that he had the resources and connections at a young age to become the big time director that he is today.  If not, he would still be making great movies somewhere but like many other talented filmmakers in the world might never be noticed.

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