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Nick and the other boys (and Vicki Lewis) working the hotspot of air traffic control in New York are impressed with themselves, to say the least. They thrive on the no-room-for-error, fast-paced job and let it infect their lives. The undisputed king of pushing tin, "The Zone" Falzone, rules his workplace and his wedded life with the same short-attention span that gets planes where they need to be in the nick of time. That is, until Russell Bell, a new transfer with a reputation for recklessness but a record of pure perfection shatters the tensely-held status quo. The game of one-upmanship between the two flies so high as to lead Nick into Russell's bed with his wife. His sanity slipping just as fast as his hold on #1, Cusack's controller is thrown out-of-control when Thornton's wanderer quietly leaves town. Nick must now find a way to regain his sanity and repair his marriage before he breaks down completely. Written by
Billy Bob Thornton's character (Russell Bell) states in the movie that he is half Irish (his father) and half Choctaw Indian (his mother). In real life, Mr. Thornton's father is of Irish ancestry, while his mother is half Choctaw Indian and half Italian. See more »
In the scene with the kids visiting the TRACON where they all work, a plane departs that doesn't call the controller and this ends up causing a near collision. The airport image on the radar scope is of Newark Liberty International (you can tell by the two lines running essentially North/South that represent the two parallel N/S runways 4L/22R and 4R/22L). However, when the scene changes to the actual plane on an actual runway departing North, you see it pass over simply the number "4" and then immediately over water. This can only be LaGuardia Airport as it is the only airport of the three in New York (JFK, LaGuardia, Newark) that has only one N/S runway (4/22 - both Newark and Kennedy have 4L/22R and 4R/22L and are marked with the "R" and "L" on them) and has water immediately to the north of it. See more »
Mr. Falzone, what's the fewest number of words you can use to get out that door?
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Okay, several parts of this movie were a bit far-fetched; (the wake turbulence from a heavy jet being one of them)but from a technical standpoint I can say that the phraseology, hazing, harassment, and ego trips are very accurate. Why? In a word, pride. Perhaps false pride at times, but pride nonetheless. The U.S. air traffic control system handles more traffic in a single day than any other country does in a week. Check the numbers, kids. It's true. The training is rigorous and relentless, and, at the risk of sounding like a commercial for the Marines, if you happen to be the one out of about a thousand who makes it through training to become a full performance level controller, it becomes a badge of honor. Very few people can do it. It is a close-knit family, which was also displayed in the film. If you'll notice the scene where a particular departure didn't "tag up" and one controller didn't notice it, several others jumped in to help out, and all joking and hazing stopped. Forgive my preaching, but this is the first movie that actually gave a somewhat accurate view of my profession, so hopefully I can be forgiven for being protective. (By the way, if I was married to someone who looked like Angelina Jolie, I'd keep her in the woods away from the slugs I work with, too.)
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