Cage is a tough cookie to figure out. He’s worked his way
from the bottom up, careful not to reveal his secret identity
as Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, taking small parts in
even smaller movies. He worked his way up the Hollywood
food chain through a series of impressive performances in
equally impressive films before winning an Oscar for Best
Actor back in 1995. Then it started going downhill with
Cage. Con Air, The Rock, Gone in 60 Seconds.
Oh sure, there’s been Adaptation and Matchstick
Men since, but he named his newborn son Kal-El (Superman’s
Kryptonian name), and if you read an interview with the
man, you’ll get a manifesto on how to blow sunshine up someone’s
ass – a truly magnificent experience if you get the chance.
resume is two parts Hollywood crap and one part artsy splendor.
Luckily, The Weather Man falls into the second category.
It’s the story of a weatherman whose life and career are
on the skids. Cage is such a bad weatherman that his audience
throws food at him out of contempt. He’s got a not-mad-but-disappointed
dad who’s terminally ill and wants to see Cage turn it all
around before he kicks off.
liked The Weather Man because I really identified
with Cage’s character David Spritz. He’s a depressing guy
who lives a shell of a life and is all but a consummate
professional – he’s not even a real weatherman so much as
a studio correspondent who reports from newswires. He does
a terrible job based on the absolute minimal amount of effort
as he rides a haggard wave of his own creation – with just
a hint of mellow smoothness.
you bear witness to this, you’re forced to consider that
maybe Cage isn’t so hard to figure out at all. He’s a raving
nut that could live on HuFu (see the Samantha Bee report
“Flesh in the Pan” from the October 27th episode
of The Daily Show) and gnaw on trees and live chickens in
the countryside while his maddening and expensive neuroses
demand that he make sequels to National Treasure
and otherwise expensive action movies. But he still has
enough of a soul to do something good once in a while.
Weather Man also stars Michael Caine and Hope Davis
and is directed by Gore Verbinski. You know Mr. Caine and
you might know Davis from American Splendor. But
Verbinski’s work you’ve seen before if you’ve caught the
first Ring movie and Pirates of the Caribbean.
He’s put out a reasonably nifty body of work so far
for an aspiring popcorn salesman. He’s simultaneously filming
parts two and three of Pirates, so it’ll be interesting
to see if it turns him into a burnout for awhile like every
other director who took on the same daunting task. (Except
you check it out on a rainy Saturday and you forgot to load
up on antidepressants when you woke up you should probably
hold out on seeing The Weather Man for awhile. But
otherwise its worth checking out if you want better odds
at the track.
was the big friggin’ deal?
pretty sure that was the only thought in my mind when the
credits rolled on the original Saw movie this time
last year. It was the one that you couldn’t go anywhere
without hearing about. You couldn’t work anywhere around
here without hearing about how fuckin’ awesome it
was. Every school had at least two students in every class
that had seen it and just had to tell you about it, bro.
and when you got around to seeing it, you realized just
how fucking awesome Saw wasn’t. It was a low budget
byproduct whose villain was miserable because he didn’t
get the role in Seven. So we’re trapped in a twisted
maze of his design for over an hour and a half. We watch
desperate people make painful choices. As we suffer with
them, we know when they make wrong choices, they’re doomed.
when I saw painful choices, I mean not having to
cut off a foot in order to live – I’m talking about the
decision as to whether or not to see the sequel, cleverly
enough named Saw II. It’s basically the same thing
as the first one, except with a bigger budget and more actors
to torment. Saw II reminded me a lot of another movie
that was a sequel to a little shoestring budget horror picture
that turned out to be a big hit. Book of Shadows: Blair
Witch 2 ring a bell? The truth is that a heightened
budget can hurt just as much as it helps. As a result,
the sequel looks more like a big budget version of a Nine
Inch Nails video as opposed to the snuff film recreation
that the original passed for.
like the original, Saw II is impressively unimpressive.
The overall quality of the movies makes you feel like they
were left, forgotten, in somebody’s trunk for at least a
few weeks – both of them. Here’s the bottom line: I can
sit here all day and go on about how Saw and Saw
II are basically the same movie, but if you liked
the first one and liked it enough to deal with it again,
then you should go see it. However, if you’ve finally figured
out that you don’t want to step on the same pile twice,
then congratulations; you’ve taken your first step into
a larger world.
Legend of Zorro
it’s 1998. You’ve just made a pretty decent Zorro movie.
You’ve made a star out of your leading actress, you’ve raised
the bar for action scenes in the future, and of course there’s
plenty of room for a completely unnecessary sequel. The
time between sequels works in a very similar way to statutes
of limitation. You wait more than a certain amount of time
to act on something and you’re – let’s skip it.
Legend of Zorro really sucked. Actually, it truly sucked.
The problem with it stems back to what was done in the ‘98
movie. Zorro gave up enough screen time to open a portal
to another world, a terrible terrible place that is showcased
in the newer movie. It left open the seldom-asked question:
what will happen to Zorro and Catherine Zeta-Jones? Well,
she became a fucking nag and gained twenty pounds. She knew
what he was when she married him and carried his seed. He’s
fucking Zorro! It’s like being married to a cop or a firefighter
you dumb shit!
son doesn’t know his father!”
mother’s coming to live with us.”
sorry sons of bitches responsible for this Lifetime-tinged
turd turned Zorro, the quintessential avenger who inspired
Batman and numerous other vigilantes, into a human being,
taking away his bigger-than-God status and handcuffing
him to a whining bitch. Can you imagine having to deal with
that shit on top of trying to thwart some vicious prick’s
evil plot? Mary Jane gave the same look at the end of the
second Spider-Man film. Yeah, you knew what you
were getting into, didn’t you? So they get themselves
into a be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenario and woe-is-them.
It’s enough to make you puke. I go to the movies to get
away from this shit! And now it follows me here? Come on!
movie reminded me of a situation I came across when I worked
retail. I had to leave my “zone” to go take a dump. So I’m
sitting on the can, and this brain-dead, socially retarded
coworker come in, drapes his big stupid head over the stall
and tells me I have a customer. Violated in my only sanctuary,
the Big White Throne. I don’t know if I was more shocked
by the new lows that general etiquette had reached or knowing
that the process of excretion was no longer a social ejector
seat for me. Either way, the incident served as an emotional
anesthetic – allowing me to handle any emotionally battering
situation that would come my way throughout the following
no emotional catharsis or life lesson came with The
Legend of Zorro. All it really did was make me realize
that I have a perfectly good Zorro movie at home which I
would recommend any day of the week over this one. It’s
called The Mark of Zorro and it originally came out
in 1940. If you want to see another great Zorro movie, check
out Batman Begins.
an Oscar can do funny things to an actor or actress. Take
the case of Charlize Theron. She’s that cute blonde who
used to star in a good movie once in a while and would get
naked sometimes. Then she won the Best Actress Oscar for
getting completely skanky, showing off her versatility and
gaining 30 pounds. So very much like any other actor in
the past who won an Oscar for doing a particular thing,
Theron does something similar for her new film, North
Country. She plays a mentally handicapped woman, or
retard if you prefer.
that I think about it, everyone in North Country
plays a mental case. Theron’s parents, her kids, her co-workers,
everybody! It takes place in a magically back-dated place
– I want to say North Dakota or Minnesota. They’ve got this
really mutated way of talking. I think these were the same
people who were in the Coen brothers classic Fargo.
There’s a lot of you betchas and dontcha knows.
I think they were in some prison camp where there’s
a dominant gang of men and barely enough women to start
a bowling team. Naturally, the man-children don’t like the
competition (but are secretly afraid of women), and that’s
when things get ugly. The men get jerky through meticulous
sexual harassment and eventually it gets to the point where
a big courtroom drama ensues.
finished product is one of unparalleled comedy. I haven’t
laughed this much since I saw The Sorrow and the Pity.
I know (or at least suspect) North Country is trying
to be a serious film that demands respect very much like
its predecessors Norma Rae and Silkwood, but
it’s nearly impossible to pay attention to every intricacy
and subtle nuance this film attempts to emanate when you’ve
been hyperventilating and sharted yourself 45 minutes ago.
This movie is truly a treat! The Rocky Horror Picture
Show is about to pass the torch.
God for North County! I was really starting to get
depressed about going to the movies there for awhile. You
know what I mean. You get your W-2s together and start getting
your taxes ready before you hit the theater even though
the year’s not over for another two and a half months. I
see people paying their bills and doing their homework at
the movie theaters. To think there was once a time when
you’d be able to say at least you got to see a couple of
good previews out of the whole thing. Now it’s getting to
the point where I see senior citizens snorting lines off
of the headrests in front of them. Things are so bad at
the multiplex that reviewing movies is turning into every
other miserable job I’ve had over the years. This gig used
to be fun, goddamn it! I used to walk out of theaters feeling
exuberant and alive. Now I just feel like I’ve been violated
by a postulant scabies-ridden redneck sheriff in some backwoods
county where the local economy consists mainly of dollar
store and gas station chain revenue.
with North Country I got a little of that moviegoing
joy that I desperately needed. There’s a lot of Oscar buzz
on this movie, but I don’t know about all of that. True,
there are great performances. Was it visually stunning?
Absolutely. Or absolutely as much as a prison picture can
be. So what will become of North Country? I can’t
say. I think it will be best known with an audience of bored
crystal meth-addicted housewives who need a really good
bellylaugh when they run out of gas 15 minutes before their
kids get home or when they’re sick of obligatorily humping
their meal ticket.
Gildea, Film Critic, 30, Buffalo, New York
something sounds too good to be true... run.
tastes enrich your life. They’re like finding a twenty in
the pocket of that jacket you’re wearing for the first time
in six months. That e-mail you get from that old college
schoolchum you haven’t heard from in a while. It’s like
knowing that you just paid your bills and that’s one less
thing you’ve got to worry about.
emotionally coddling sayings are piles of steaming crap.
travel should be invented for, if nothing else, the sole
purpose of being able to go back ten years into the past
and beat the living crap out of yourself for being a complete
and total retard. Make chaos theory work for you.
the number of your past sexual partners exceeds your age,
you’re doing something seriously wrong. Or something seriously
right. Pick one.
you graduate high school not knowing what to do, get the
crappiest job you can find. Burger King, tanning salon,
whatever. Work it full time for a year straight and get
as many hours as you can. You’ll have a lot of time to think
you’re on the post as to whether or not to stay with someone,
play them your favorite movie or listen to your favorite
album with them. If they don’t get it, if they don’t like
it, if they don’t even pretend to be interested, walk away.
Washington did with energy sources what Hollywood does with
movies, you wouldn’t have to pay three bucks a gallon.
feel much better now that I’ve lost all hope.
used to cannibalism.
been nearly twelve minutes since there’s been some major
tragedy or natural disaster. We’re falling behind on our
timetable to the apocalypse. Somebody do something!
people shouldn’t lie. Certain people shouldn’t try, but
these are usually the ones who wind up pulling it off.
actor reaches a point in their career where all they do
is safe dogshit that’s barely worth the storage space in
a Tivo or a DVR. And Ewan McGregor has reached that phase
with Stay. Ladies and gentlemen, your next Peter
at first you don’t like Bob Dylan, step back for a couple
of years and try again later.
speaks volumes, more than actual words. Try it sometime.
chef spit in your food.
4.32% of lesbians are actually attractive (or ‘lipstick
lesbians’ as they’re called in the community) where as the
remainder look like they can, and probably can, kick your
have no business dyeing their hair black.
aren’t for everybody.
is a stage in your life where you will realize that you
are no longer interesting and never were interesting.
You feel so much better afterward. God help your soul if
you never come to this conclusion.
nice to know there are a few things left in the world to
which the what you see is what you get philosophy
still apply. If you date a girl who smokes Marlboro reds,
you’re going to be a prime recipient of some top-notch fellatio
in the not too distant future. Or if someone starts a sentence
with the words, “There once was a man from Nantucket,” you
know you’re about to get pretty uncomfortable if your grandmother
is in the room. And if a movie is based on video game, viewing
it is going to be a fate worse than death.
seen Hollywood shit the bed with video game movies before.
There’s been Resident Evil (twice), Tomb Raider
(again – twice), Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, Street
Fighter, Mortal Kombat (twice again), Wing Commander,
House of the Dead, and some other movies I don’t care
to remember. Add Doom is now added to that list.
the game was a landmark in the video game world because
it was the original first-person shooter. It puts you more
into the game emotionally and the train’s been a’ rolling
ever since. But the thing that the makers of video game
movies fail to realize is that these are two different media
that, when combined, make for a wasteful parasite that bleeds
time, money and essential energies required to make it to
the credits without your genitals fearfully crawling up
into the gaseous oven known as your body cavity. Video
games involve an ever-mutating and evolving technology which
almost guarantees that they get better as a series progresses.
If you’re a fan of the Resident Evil games, you know
what I mean.
movies don’t work this way. They tend to get worse with
each installment. Matrix, anyone? They’re usually
redundant rehashes of the previous episodes that have been
known to inspire 3-day benders in middle school students,
insurance salesmen and football enthusiasts. It’s almost
like watching the Discovery or National Geographic channels
when the programming is replayed again two hours later.
the video game was fun because it was like porn without
plot. Straight action and killing! You didn’t even have
to really think unless you were in some random puzzle, but
it spoke to that primal part of you that needed to blast
the shit out of something and couldn’t pass the background
check to buy that pair of nickel-plated .45s.
as for Doom the movie, there’s really only one way
to describe viewing it: Remember the first time you went
to a buddy’s house after they got their PS2? The pizza boxes
on the floor? The reek of body odor? Bad 5 O’clock shadows,
pit-stains and greasy hair? Admittedly, you’ll say that
was nothing new, but when you asked if you could play? You’d
have better luck if you asked if you could ball his girlfriend.
Well, that’s kind of what like seeing Doom is like
– being at someone’s house and watching them play Doom.
When I run into that kind of situation, I usually just overflow
the toilet in retaliation, or leave my car in the driveway
and report it stolen.
it takes an appearance on a late night talk show to make
you realize how good an actor or actress actually is. Take
Dakota Fanning, the child star who’s honing her chops up
against Hollywood’s biggest players. Miss Fanning has gone
toe to toe – girlo a mano – with Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington,
Robert DeNiro, and Sean Penn. Pretty impressive roster for
an 11-year-old. You watch the kid in a movie, and she’s
got icewater flowing through her veins – a veritable machine
that was engineered for the sole purpose of making her parents
rich or crashing hard and ending up in rehab before she
hits sweet 16. Maybe both.
one of the many things that the movies have a tendency to
do is to make you lose all touch with reality as far as
realizing that these are real (some of them are) people.
I saw Fanning on Letterman last summer plugging War of
the Worlds. She was animated, goofy – the average 11-year-old
girl. I shrugged off her tenacity and dismissed her as a
was until last week. I saw some footage of Fanning before
she was about to meet Madonna and I was convinced of one
thing and one thing alone: The kid’s a fucking werewolf!
Her teeth became pointed and she looked like she was just
bobbing for apples in a tub full of pharmaceuticals! It
was like that episode of The Flintstones where Fred fell
off the wagon and became a gambling junkie again (betbetbetbetbetbetbet!).
The kid was on PCP, MSG, LSD, THC and NBC. A living example
of everything wrong with the US today – a miniature behemoth
that could be taken down with nothing less than three shots
to the chest from a .357 Magnum and a steady rotation of
Kim Possible. Seeing that was like unintentionally
catching your paperboy schtupping his grandmother in her
when watching Dreamer, Fanning was a consummate professional.
She oozed all the sweetness and sunshine her role demanded
and for a moment I saw a delusional look in her costar Kurt
Russell’s squinty eyes, when he wanted to call her baby
and burst into tears. Fanning is a miniature Svengali
who manages to hypnotize her audience with puppydog eyes
and an adorable presence. To tell the truth, she almost
made me forget to play Russian roulette in the back row
of the theater. Almost...