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Cage Redeems Himself In The Weather Man

Nov. 3, 2005 – Do you ever fall hopelessly in love with a movie star, only to find him (or her) in one disappointing movie after another?
Such was the fate of one movie goer until Nicholas Cage (be still my heart) once more redeemed himself in October's release of The Weather Man.
Cage has had an erratic career. He has shone brilliantly in the Coen Brothers Raising Arizona; in the Bronx love story Moonstruck with Cher; and as the morbid but compelling loser in Leaving Las Vegas.
Then, look up and you will find Cage starring in action flicks that involve nothing more demanding than jumping out of anything that's handy and on fire (which usually the stunt man does anyhow).
In The Weather Man, Cage has again found use for his melancholic charms, those soulful eyes, his affinity for characters who court personal tragedy. Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe, calls the film, "a long, cold mumble from the heart."
Chicago Tribune critic Michael Wilmington says "Cage, a great oddball movie star who sometimes takes enormous risks, has a good, risky part again. He plays star Chicago TV weatherman Dave Spritz, an outwardly prosperous, inwardly melancholy guy whose family life falls hellishly apart just as his thriving career seems poised on the brink of a national breakthrough."
Spritz is offered a plum of a TV job on a morning news show called Hello America, while his personal life is falling apart. His ex-wife Doreen (Hope Davis) is ready to marry another man, not as famous but reliable Russ (Michael Rispoli); he disappoints his famous novelist father (Michael Caine) who is dying of cancer. His overweight daughter Shelly (Gemmenne de la Pena) and his son Mike (Nicholas Hoult) are having troubles of their own. Mike is the prey of a pederast high school counselor (Gil Bellows). Things don't bode well for Spritz.
It's the kind of role Cage was born for. Spritz's self-esteem no longer exists. In a voice-over, he says "All of the people I could be, they got fewer and fewer until finally they got reduced to only one – and that's who I am. The weather man."
Spritz's father, Robert, has always been disappointed in him. Currently, that disappointment isn't because Spritz is a weather man, but because he is a bad one. He isn't even a meteorologist. He gets weather off the news service wires. Robert Spritz asks his son, "Do you know, that the harder thing to do and the right thing to do are usually the same thing?"
If Spritz knows that, even intuitively, he's not admitting it, or, at least, not right off the bat. His dad tells him "Easy doesn't enter into grown-up life." And Spritz's life on the surface is easy: two hours a day of weather and an occasional personal appearance in costume, say, as Abraham Lincoln. Not the stuff of greatness.
However, critics are sympathetic to Spritz's confusion as to how things could have gone so very, very wrong in his life.
Wilmington, who grades the movie "A-," says "The movie is a downer of sorts, not quite as funny as it needs to be to reassure the audience. But it's also a scathing, often right-on look at the follies of contemporary culture. It's an American media anti-success story, in the tradition of A Face in the Crowd or Network, though it's smaller in compass, more intimate and less daring than either of them."
The movie is directed by Gore Verbinski; written by Steven Conrad; photographed by Phedon Papamichael; and edited by Craig Wood. It is rated R for strong language and sexual content. It runs 102 minutes.
It is playing at Market Square East.

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