Carolyn and I rented another film last night. That’s two in a row, and I have to say that it’s been a welcome change from the nightly binge sessions which have caused us to rapidly deplete our entertainment regimen. It’s been a long time since film has called to me as it did in high school when I wrote my first DS9 spec scripts for Lolita Fatjo at Paramount Pictures. But the feeling is new again, so who knows where this might lead?
First, I will start by conceding that if you don’t like Nicolas Cage, or if you are on the fence about him, you may not like this film. Cage plays himself, but with a fictitious family, and an “every man’s dream” CIA recruitment debacle that nearly derails his career. (Not really. Suspension of disbelief is also important with this film!)
Carolyn was quick to point out the irony in a movie that centers around what is essentially a megalomaniac who shares the screen with other actors who are nearly all, at present, more famous than he is. Arguably. I love Nicolas, so clearly I disagree with that statement. But my wife does have a good point. His ultimate fan boy in the movie is played by Pedro Pascal, also known as The Mandalorian. His agent is played by Neil Patrick Harris. His CIA handler? Tiffany Haddish.
I’m not suggesting that if you compared any of these stars’ IMDB pages to Nick’s that they would have anywhere near the depth or breadth. Carolyn also pointed out, as I was searching for the inspiration for his bad boy alter ego in Unbearable Weight on his filmography, that I was “[…] going to be doing some Sam Jax scrolling” to find what I was looking for. And she was not wrong. The fact that it wound up being from a single appearance on an obscure talk show in 1990 called “Wogan” made my search a complete waste of time, in the end. But that is neither here nor there.
The movie gives a Nicolas Cage fan like myself exactly what we want. Nick’s ego, and constant self-verification as the world’s most important cultural savant ever (read with an appropriate level of sarcasm and/or facetiousness), along with action, well timed but not overdone comedic relief, and the most memorable lines ever uttered from the depths of a drug fueled, waking lucid dream. (I have no proof of this. I am assuming.) Yet somehow, Cage makes me believe that the older, “now” version of himself has in fact grown and matured. Even Hunter S. Thompson could never convince me of THAT!
As a founding investor at Legion M Entertainment, I have a vested interest in the film “Mandy.” I loved that film, and instantly recognized it as a cult classic. My wife did not like it so much. With that said, I was grinning ear to ear when the chrome axe that Cage forges in Mandy makes a cameo appearance at the height of tension between Cage and Pascal, the super fan concedes and opens a locked door that the CIA has ordered Nick to gain access to. The hidden vault is filled with Nicolas Cage movie memorabilia, and the two haggling over a statue of the actor was a particular high point in the movie for me.
I won’t say any more about the plot, because I don’t want to spoil any surprises. I will just say this: Nicolas Cage entertained the shit out of me last night, and kept me in a good mood until I went to bed. That’s a huge “W” in my book!
Stand by to stand by! –Mad Squid