Action-Comedy Meta Movie Features Nicolas Cage’s ‘Massive Talent’
I try not to pay much attention to box office numbers because any kind of reflection on how good or bad a movie is. Opening weekend numbers often better reflect hype and marketing efforts.
But one thing I pay attention to is which movies have power. If a movie isn’t dropping as much as usual in the weeks following its release, that’s usually a sign that it’s got good word of mouth.
Case in point: Nothing has made me happier this year than seeing my favorite movie of the year, “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once,” sticking around and getting people talking. It’s even expanding to more theaters in Columbus this week.
After:Discover the absurd and deep of “Everything, everywhere, all at once”
Likewise, does it bring me joy? The disappointing numbers from the disappointing new movie ‘Fantastic Beasts’.
I say this because Hollywood executives take notice, and if we vote with our wallets, we can get more good movies and less bad movies.
I especially love supporting the kind of quirky movies that aren’t surefire hits, which brings me to this week’s pick, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” I made an embarrassing blank when I received my ticket and called it as you may know: “that Nicolas Cage movie”.
Director/co-writer Tom Gormican’s bonkers action-comedy stars Cage as “Nick Cage,” a fictionalized version of himself. This cage feels creatively unfulfilled – there’s a big scene where he meets director David Gordon Green and gives him an unsolicited read for an upcoming role.
He’s also in a financial rut, forcing him to accept a million dollar offer to meet an overzealous super fan (Pedro Pascal) at a luxury retreat. It turns out that this fan may have nefarious connections. Cage is recruited by a CIA agent (Tiffany Haddish) to channel his action star roles and go undercover.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is an apt title for the winking tone of a film that pretends to take itself seriously but clearly doesn’t, an energy that matches Cage’s performance.
The meta nature of things makes the tone light and airy even as it goes through the pace of its action story (which is actually fun on its own). It’s a parody that leans into every silly moment, but does it in a serious way.
And Cage is so committed to having fun with his own personality that it’s one of the most adorable roles of his career. He takes on a role that was written specifically for him (a la “Being John Malkovich”), although Gormican has stated in interviews that he would consider Daniel Day Lewis if Cage refused.
This desire to have fun with himself becomes literal in the scenes where Cage plays with a younger version of himself, scaled down in CGI.
Pascal, however, is the real star trick. The “Mandalorian” actor is ridiculously charismatic, embracing the basic bromance that makes it so much fun.
Though they lean into comedy, the action sequences scratch that big-screen itch, albeit on a relatively modest budget.
All in all, this is exactly the kind of movie I’d rather see than another sequel, reboot, or superhero origin story, so go ahead and vote at the box office this weekend. .
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”
Showing in theaters
4 out of 5 stars