The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)
April 26, 2022 5:25 PM - Subscribe

A cash-strapped Nicolas Cage agrees to make a paid appearance at a billionaire super fan's birthday party, but is really an informant for the CIA since the billionaire fan is a drug kingpin and gets cast in a Tarantino movie.

I really got a kick out of this movie. It's extremely meta and I enjoyed it. It's a version of Nick Cage in which he's broke, divorced from a makeup artist and trying to figure out how to relate to his teenage daughter. He gets offered money to go to this rich guy in Spain's birthday party and it turns out that he and Javi really hit it off, on a bromance/soul mate level, and it's ADORABLE. Javi is adorable and sweet and eager and just as happy to jump into some kind of movie fantasyland as Nick is.

Then a couple of CIA agents tell him that Javi is really some kind of drug lord who kidnapped a guy's daughter, guilt-tripping/forcing him into "working for them." Can Nick go against his new soulmate bestie, or no?


I agreed with Nick that I in no way thought Javi was actually a drug lord--and indeed, he is not, it's his cousin. Whew.

So....Tiffany Haddish and the agent guy were dead by the end of this, right? The last I saw they looked shot/presumably dead and they don't come back again.

The one thing that annoyed me is that I felt like a few moments really skipped ahead and confused me, like how Nick somehow got stoned(?) by touching his forehead(?) in the middle, and then the end somehow skips ahead to "the end of the movie" being the movie he and Javi wrote. I was all "what the heck just went on?"

But other than that, I was amused and enjoyed it very much.
posted by jenfullmoon (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The forehead touching bit was supposed to be some sort of CIA-supplied incapacitating agent, sort of like a fentanyl patch laced with ~*movie magic*~, which Nick was supposed be using to get out of his sticky situation (the forehead touching wasn’t purposeful or part of the plan).
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:34 PM on April 26, 2022

I'm only aware of Nicholas Cage's Internet celebrity thing in the press leading up to this movie. Most fans seem younger than I would assume a Nicholas Cage fan would be, as in I don't know if they were alive when Leaving Las Vegas came out. Is this just the Internet being the Internet or is there a joke there I'm not getting?
posted by geoff. at 9:36 PM on April 26, 2022

I think it is the memes, geoff. Clips from movies like Vampire's Kiss have become extremely popular reaction gifs. I think that combined with a bit of a career renaissance with movies like Mandy and fond memories of the first Ghost Rider or National Treasure have brought a younger audience to Nicolas Cage. The way he has gone in and out and back into favour reminds me a lot of Vincent Price's career.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 10:22 PM on April 26, 2022 [4 favorites]

Geoff: Nic Cage has been in a whole bunch of wackadoo movies since Leaving Las Vegas came out, to the point that that's what he's mostly known for today: action things like Con Air, National Treasure, The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, Willy's Wonderland and the like. These have also been memed like crazy. And he's also done some "weird celebrity shit" in real life, like buying a pyramid-shaped mausoleum for himself in a New Orleans cemetery so it would be ready for him, and naming his kid "Kal-El". That's what the younger fans are responding to.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:28 AM on April 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

There's also the general public knowledge that he's blown through a lot of money, buying houses all over the place until he had to start selling them (sometimes at a serious loss) to get caught up with his taxes. For a while, he had to take literally any and every role that came his way, although he says that he's finally in the black financially.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:40 AM on April 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It wasn't deep, just fun and meta. Pedro Pascal stole the movie completely.
posted by heathrowga at 6:53 AM on April 27, 2022 [6 favorites]

It's also worth keeping in mind just how many movies Cage has made, even before his, "Yes, because I need the money that badly" period.

When I was in film school, a bunch of us were sitting around one day talking about Leaving Las Vegas, and one of my classmates had sort of drifted into the conversation late and I could tell from her expression that she was getting more and more confused. Then someone mentions how his character dies, and she bursts out (in her delightful Caribbean accent), "He DIES in that?!? Is it when he was jumping out of the plane with the Elvises?"

And that was when we all realized that she had thought we were talking about Honeymoon in Vegas, the other Nicolas Cage movie involving odd behavior in Las Vegas with "Vegas" in the title. He's done so many movies that you have to specify things like that. It's not hard to imagine that even younger viewers will have seen him in all kinds of things and be familiar with him as a very prolific Hollywood type.
posted by Naberius at 10:26 AM on April 27, 2022 [12 favorites]

r/movies had an AMA with Mr Cage for this film that was surprisingly cogent and charming.
posted by sammyo at 4:36 PM on April 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

Cage claimed it was his first network TV interview in 14 years, when he was on Jimmy Kimmel last week.
posted by fairmettle at 12:51 AM on April 28, 2022

I thought that with Cage playing scenes with himself, the meta commentary about the difficulties of screenwriting, and a weird shift between levels of reality (from people writing a movie into the reality of the movie itself), this was sort of a spiritual sequel toAdaptation.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:37 AM on June 1, 2022

Definitely worth watching. And not in a slog through it way, there's a ton of good energy and I enjoyed it immensely and will again.

Love that Pedro Pascal is getting some variety in more offbeat roles, like Banderas got later in his career ('The Laundromat' 2019).
posted by porpoise at 8:30 PM on July 10, 2022

It was meta and great.

And, well… just have to drop this here…

Nicolas Cage: Good or Bad?
posted by rozcakj at 8:33 PM on July 29, 2022

I loved this!

The bad Boston accent, the drinking beer underwater, the perfect old/young leather jacket Nic look, everything Tiffany Haddish (“Have you seen Croods 2?”), the superimposed shot of himself on the model of himself so he’s Face/Off-ing himself? Damn.

Full disclosure: You know how when you see movies on an airplane it heightens your emotional response to what you’re watching? This may be the best airplane movie I have ever seen.
posted by Mchelly at 10:13 AM on September 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

I watched this back to back with that unfortunate recent Thor film. This one more than made up for Thor. I expected it would just be ok, but it turned out I really liked it all the way through. The tonal shift near the end was a bit jarring, but the way it echoed the script suggestion earlier was amusing and in retrospect softened the blow a bit. I was glad to find out that Javi wasn't the kidnapper, for sure.

I particularly liked that it was flipped around from a lot of the films I've seen over the past few years where "having some action" means that plot exists only to be in service of the action, while this had things the right way around, where action was in service of plot, even if it was a bit unnecessary.
posted by wierdo at 1:58 AM on October 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

This is funny. We all enjoyed it. And Sharon Horgan! She's always a treat.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:58 PM on December 13, 2022

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