smart spending

The Oscars: Money lessons from the movies

'Up in the Air'
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Nomination: Actor in a leading role, actress in a supporting role (Vera Farmiga), actress in a supporting role (Anna Kendrick), directing, best picture, writing (adapted screenplay)

Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick

Synopsis: Clooney plays a professional hatchet man who accumulates 10 million frequent-flier miles while crisscrossing the country firing people and trying to convince them that they're somehow better off for it.

One of the most memorable lines from the movie, nominated for six Oscars, comes from Lamorris Conner -- one of 22 real-life laid-off workers appearing in the film -- who laments being a man "who can't even take my kids to Chuck E. Cheese's."

"In movies, we so rarely get to see the human side of being laid off," Martin says. Some people may dodge spending a Saturday at the noisy children's indoor playground, but dad Conner's sadness -- and the candid interviews with other laid-off workers -- sheds a different light on the situation, Martin says.

Director Jason Reitman has been praised for including the human perspective that comes with corporate downsizing, a timely topic. Introspective filmgoers can see the importance of having money in savings to handle expenses in the case of a layoff.

"In movies we typically don't talk about that sort of financial struggle," Martin says.




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