The Boldest Movie of the Decade Stars Nic Cage
A Nasty But Riveting TV Show; An Audacious Mystery Novel; Plus More
Friday is here and I have some exceptional treats for you to devour this weekend. The movie I’m recommending is such a good time—it’s funny, thrilling, and boldly goes where other films haven’t. The TV series is a throwback to the Spaghetti Westerns of the Clint Eastwood era. The novel is a mystery with a very compelling but naughty protagonist. The album is haunting but insistent. The graphic novel is unlike anything you’ve read before—unless you’ve read Scott Pilgrim.
I’m get very excited when I have so many great works to share. So let’s get to the sharing part.
[Update: Last week I called Pearl by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos the best graphic novel of the year. This week Pearl Volume 2 was released. You can get it here.]
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Directed by Tom Gormican
Written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten
There have been movies and TV shows before in which actors or celebrities play themselves, most notably John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich), Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), and the groundbreaking It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. I also took a shot at playing myself, kinda, in Airplane! But never has a movie or TV show been as committed to the concept as The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent in which Nicolas Cage plays a fictionalized and very flawed version of himself.
I don’t think you’re going to find a funnier, more fun, more absurd movie for a long time. Even when I wasn’t laughing aloud, I was smiling with pleasure.
The premise is that a broke, down-on-his-career Nicholas Cage tries to make ends meet by being a paid celebrity at a rich man’s birthday party. Cage’s character is self-obsessed, a removed father and ex-husband, and a man devoid of any insight into his own life. Throw in some CIA/kidnapping/shootout stuff and you have pure entertainment. Surprisingly, Cage’s bromance with Javi (Pedro Pascal) isn’t just funny, it’s also actually touching. The two of them are so charming and delightful together that, even though you know it’s all over-the-top crazy, you care about them.
I couldn’t help but admire Cage throughout for his willingness, not to just poke good-natured fun at his image, but to delve deeper. Not many celebrities would have the courage. I know that on paper this film seems like a drug-induced fever dream, but it is wonderfully inventive entertainment you’ll remember long after the lights come up.