NETFLIX AND ILL: The Weather Man

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NETFLIX AND ILL is a monthly dive into the thousands of movies and documentaries available on streaming home media services. We’ll do our best to stay away from well-known classic films masses have already consumed. Think of our NETFLIX AND ILL features as swap meet finds, forgotten gems, if you will. Enjoy.    THE WEATHER MAN Theatrical release 2005 Directed by Gore Verbinsky Starring Nic Cage, Michael Caine Budget 22 million Box Office 19 million Flop Level: Medium to High Streaming Service: Netflix It’s hard to answer the question honestly: “Is Nicolas Cage a bad actor?” Has he done some terrible movies? Absolutely. Is he one of the easiest celebrities to imitate and/or make fun of? No question! Regardless, he’s either the hardest working actor in Hollywood, or he doesn’t really care about the quality of movies he puts out (see: huge paycheck). But I guess the answer to the question we started with would have to be no, I don’t think he’s actually a bad actor. He’s a really good actor who's diluted any sort of legacy with layers and layers of pure shit. In 1995 Nicolas Cage (real last name Coppola, the nephew of the great director) went from being a droopy-faced, malnourished king of leading roles in good films only diehard movie goers would have seen (most of which have since turned into cult classics, Valley Girl, Rumble Fish, Birdy, Peggy Sue Got Married, Raising Arizona, Vampires Kiss, Moonstruck, and my personal favorite, Wild At Heart), to an Academy award winner for his turn as an alcoholic who moves to Vegas, determined to drink himself to death in Leaving Las Vegas. From Leaving Las Vegas, Cage went on a monumental box office tear with The Rock, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Face Off. Safe to say a combination of over-saturation and repetition played a big part in the general public's disenchantment with Nicolas Cage, his crazy eyes, and weird haircuts. In 2005 Gore Verbinsky was coming off of directing one of the biggest hits of the decade that would spawn four sequels, Pirates Of The Caribbean. I’m guessing he wanted to try his hand at something a little less... I don't know... pirate-y. Less Johnny Depp and CGI being added bonuses. Most big-time filmmakers reach a turning point in their careers when they have the opportunity to make literally anything they want. The catch? If it’s a fuck-up, your back to making pirate movies. This is purely speculation, but the numbers don’t lie. So we're in 2005, Cage is still considered a movie star — a bankable actor — and Verbinsky, coming off his wild pirate success, make Steve Conrad's bleak but touchingly written The Weather Man. The story of a weather forecaster for a local Chicago TV station navigating the waters of a mid-life crisis, struggling with self respect, a strained relationship with his ex-wife, and total disconnect from his over-weight daughter and high school-aged son. To bring the plot to its boiling point, his father (played by Michael Caine), a revered, successful writer whose shadow Cage's character can never quite escape, is diagnosed with some type of fatal cancer. The Weather Man is without a doubt one of those “and you find yourself in a beautiful house” scenarios,  the meaning of life, et cetera. WeatherMan1 I probably haven't sold this movie based on the above description and as I'm writing this I realize it's probably why it didn't fare at the box office proportionally to the quality of the film. It's a very hard movie to market and a prime example of a story not grainy enough to be "indie" and not P.C. enough for the big box market . But this movie is cool as shit! Cage is great, the tone of the film is fantastic, and it has Bob Seger in the soundtrack in one of the most touching father-son scenes in memory. So, yes, absolutely — Nicolas Cage is a treasure. This film is just another brick in the house of a very large, uneven career. Gore Verbinsky? Well... you've still got your pirate movies.       Words by Michael Cherrito

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