The Weather Man (2005)

Me and Orson Welles (74)

Nicolas Cage has seemed to become such a joke for his poor movie choices of late, it is often easy to forget that when he wants to, he can be a pretty good actor. The Weather Man is a good example that with some effort, and a great script, Nicolas Cage can actually justify his Academy Award win.

I must say, I love films that have snowy and rainy atmospheres for some reason. For a film about a weather man, the weather is absolutely dismal – just like our lead character’s life. I could say that it is all about his fall from grace (like About Schmidt) or about his efforts to improve his life (like American Beauty), but Cage’s character (Dave Spritz) never actually changes – he is the same irritated, sad and lonely man who has false hopes that something better will enter his life. It eventually does, but only way after a lot of trauma and mishaps. The culmination of Nicolas Cage walking down a New York road in a full suit, carrying a bow and arrow is quite an odd sight, but somehow it works and adds to this film’s strange charm.

I can’t explain why I liked this film. Dark comedies about midlife crises are always fun to watch, but most of all, it was refreshing to see Nicolas Cage, an actor that is so often mocked for his career choices (and deservedly so, because many of his film role choices have been hilariously bad), give a pretty decent performance. He never really overacted, a quality he has become famous for. He plays the pathetic role pretty well, and treads a very risky line, always bordering on just completely losing it. He maintains his composure, and does a pretty good job. I don’t know if we will see this type of Nic Cage performance very often, so I’m just happy he’s made a small handful of good films.

The Weather Man has been compared to other “men in a crisis” films such as American Beauty and About Schmidt. It never reaches the emotional or scathing heights those other films do, and it remains very flawed and contrived, but it is a noble effort, and it is worth it just to see Nicolas Cage give a good performance. Because the next year, he released The Wicker Man, and man that’s not going to be fun…


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