The Air Up There

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The Air Up There
Air up there.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul Michael Glaser
Produced by
Written by Max Apple
Starring Kevin Bacon
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Dick Pope
Edited by Michael A. Polakow
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • January 7, 1994 (1994-01-07)
Running time
107 min.
Language English
Budget $17 million
Box office $21 million

The Air Up There is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Paul Michael Glaser and starring Kevin Bacon and Charles Gitonga Maina with Yolanda Vazquez as Sister Susan.


Jimmy Dolan is a college basketball assistant coach who wants to find a new star for his team since he believes this will get him a promotion to head coach at the school. He sees a home video of a prospect named Saleh and travels to Africa to recruit him. Upon arriving in this continent, Dolan finds himself confronted not only with the challenges of basketball but also with the challenges of adjusting to and learning how to live in the midst of a brand-new culture. Though Dolan is initially opposed by Saleh's father who is also the leader of the village, he later agrees to let his son play. Dolan and Saleh both teach each other life lessons before they take the court for one final game with everything on the line. One of the most dramatic scenes in the film involves the instruction of Saleh by Dolan regarding the "Jimmy Dolan Shake and Bake."



For scenes taking place in the United States, the film was shot in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Copps Coliseum stood in for the University's arena. Scenes in Africa were shot in Kenya and Hoedspruit, South Africa.[1]


The Air Up There received negative reviews from critics.[2] The Austin Chronicle mentions its "timeworn formula" and "cultural imperialism".[3] The New York Times review points to a plot similar to several other Disney movies.[4]

In 2014, the movie was one of several discussed by Keli Goff in The Daily Beast in an article concerning the white savior narrative in film.[5]


  1. ^ "Internet Movie Database - Filming locations for The Air Up There". Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  2. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW : 'The Air Up There' Is Pretty Thin". Los Angeles Times. January 07, 1994|KENNETH TURAN |
  3. ^ "The Air Up There". The Austin Chronicle.
  4. ^ "The Air Up There (1993) Review/Film; Basketball As a Bridge Between 2 Cultures". New York Times. By JANET MASLIN January 7, 1994
  5. ^ Goff, Keli (May 4, 2014). "Can 'Belle' End Hollywood's Obsession with the White Savior?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 

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