Finally, after far too long (although it hasn’t been as long as the Hatstand would have you believe, as apparently there was a bromantic movie night between this one and that one in 2019, I just haven’t written a review for it and apparently I was too drunk to even remember that we did the sequel to The Babysitter), Messrs dreameling, Pas and Hatboy met at the House of Fahrenheit for … well, a bromantic movie night, as I kind of parenthetically spoiled there.
This time, it was to watch … well, a pair of Nicolas Cage movies, as I kind of spoiled in the title of the post. Look, this one isn’t a book review and I’m a bit out of practice, okay?
First up was Cage’s dramatic masterclass, Pig.
“If anything happens to that pig, Mr. Fahrenheit, I will be inconsolable. Inconsolable, Mr. Fahrenheit.”
– me, before things start happening to the pig.
In this decidedly strange mash-up of John Wick, The Black Cauldron and The Fisher King, Cage plays “Rob”, apparently a woods-livin’ hobo of positively The Pasian calibre. He lives in the forest and collects truffles with his piggy pal, selling said truffles to classic yuppie Amir (played by the kid who turned into The Rock in the new Jumanji movies) in exchange for boombox batteries and low-key yuppie abuse. It’s a life of quiet dignity and definitely something I can see myself cosplaying at Ropecon.
I might not even have to take a pig, just print out a bunch of “Have You Seen My Pig?” signs or cards, and shamble around sticking them up or handing them out. And the cards could then have my blog and book details on the back. Yeah, this idea has legs y’all.
Anyhoo, the pig is pigletnapped (points to Mr. Fahrenheit for that one, although I have to deduct a half-point for the absolute butchery of his delivery) and Rob insists that Amir take him on a quest to find said pig. You know, hence the Black Cauldron reference. Work with me here.
Anyone expecting this to turn into a John Wick-style revenge bloodbath, though, will be … I don’t want to say disappointed. I was more than half-expecting it even though I’d learned ahead of time that this isn’t what happens – and I wasn’t disappointed. A lot of the fun was in waiting for it to happen, because the last Cage movie I think I’d watched was Mandy. But no, this isn’t that. The only violence that really happens is strictly to Rob, and the rest of it is given over to amazing food porn and little character-study dialogue vignettes that were pretty stunningly put together.
Rob, as it happens, is a fancy big-city chef of glitzy-restaurant and famous-dishes renown, who gave it all up to go and live as a wild woodsman – but is still remembered as a legend by customers, employees and peers alike.
And anyone who’s going like this at the screen and yelling “HE’S ADAM FROM NORTHERN EXPOSURE” at this point: 1) you’re right; 2) you’re at an age where it would probably be a good idea to book a colonoscopy for yourself.
I won’t go further into the plot from here. I will say that the Northern Exposure thing? The lampshading of that similarity is one of the best shadings of lamps I have ever seen in popular culture (right up there with Robert Englund delivering the “Vecna kills you in your dreams” exposition in Stranger Things). And overall I was left nonplussed but impressed by the whole movie. It’s well worth a watch. I give Pig seven Numb3rs out of a possible Serenity. That’s a pretty deep-nested one right there, I’ll award Hatstand bucks to anyone who gets it … but basically it means the movie was good. Cage did a great job. Who knew?
Who knew, indeed? Well strap in, because in the red corner of our Cage Match was Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascale and Nicolas Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
Pictured: A movie that actually got made. And I’m glad. Glad, I tell you!
This action comedy drama blockbuster busted nary a block, but it was still a whole ton of fun. Everything Cage had been bottling up through Pig is released here – indeed, it’s very easy to do my usual trick of combining our bromantic movie choices into a single unified cosmos because in this case the connective tissue is Nick Cage.
It might have been a little more difficult if we’d gotten to our third movie for the night which would have been Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, which to my knowledge doesn’t have a single Nicolas Cage in it, but it was All Saints’ Eve and public transport from Kauklahti was shot and so we finished early. Still it could have worked because Everything, Everywhere, All At Once is a multiverse type movie. But I digress.
The effort of subduing his crazy side in order to film Pig caused a personality schism in Nicolas Cage (played by himself). The result is a Tyler-Durdenesque imaginary-friend version of Nicolas Cage, Nicky, who manifests as a kind of amalgam of the wilder Cage characters (also played by himself).
And the funniest thing is, this is a really minor part of the movie and they only lean on it two or three times as a Bit – it’s just seasoning (to borrow some imagery from Pig).
But yeah, that’s really not what the movie is about, that’s just me tying it into an expanded universe. Pretty easy, since The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is about Nicolas Cage the actor, and thus all of his movies fall into that universe.
It was kind of like this, except “I’m not Poe. I’m Nick Cage.”
Based on that premise, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a comedic misadventure action story about a washed-up actor and deadbeat dad, pulled into a situation by a wealthy super-fan and forced to embrace his movie personae in order to win the day. So, yeah, basically Galaxy Quest but for action instead of sci-fi.
With many a laugh-out-loud moment, some decent fight and chase choreography, good tension and surprisingly well-delivered moments of drama (although it’s hardly fair of me to say ‘surprisingly’ after Pig), The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was a solid movie and really entertaining. The bromance between Cage and Pascale was real, and the family dynamic between Cage, Horgan and Sheen (oh snap, she’s a Sheen / Beckinsale kid) was nicely tropey and agonisingly cringey without being … unbearable?
The folding of movie into reality into movie was – paradoxically – jarringly smooth, and overall it was very enjoyable. Definitely worth a look. I give The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent a The Rock out of a possible Con Air. Nick Cage is back.
Not that he ever went anywhere ♥