Review by Victoria Alexander
Nic Cage serves up a terrific movie. Cage sets the career procedural for pariahs Mel and Armie: Make a ton of VOD movies, student films and vanity movies that will never be released until something hits and it's back to a theatrical release movie.
Nicholas Cage is on the April 2022 cover of GQ. Going over the public history of Cage’s films and private life, the article enumerates all the big, silly purchases that drove him into financial ruin. The only way to get out of the enormous debt was to make any movie that was offered. GQ says: “In the years since going broke, Cage appeared in 46 movies, an experience he likens to “a conveyor belt.” (By comparison, in that same time, Brad Pitt made 19, Tom Cruise, 11, and Leonardo DiCaprio, 9.) Cage is matter-of-fact when he speaks about how he went from headlining blockbusters to going straight to VOD.
Then last year Cage did PIG. And now he has resurrected his career with a terrific comedy. His co-stars are his younger self and Pedro Pascal. We are all fans of Pascal since he galvanized GAME OF THRONES as Oberyn Martell and temporarily stole Jaime Lannister’s sex appeal reign.
“The man's infamous, and not just for poisoning his sword. He has more bastards than Robert, and beds with boys as well.” Jaime Lannister to Tywin Lannister
Pascal has had a terrific career since GAME OF THRONES but he really needs to bring back the lust and indifference to death of Martell. Though MASSIVE TALENT should make Pascal a very hot talent while ignoring his stupid complete face helmet role as The Mandalorian in Seasons 1 and 2. Why hire an actor who no one can see? Doesn’t facial expressions matter in acting?
Nicolas Cage plays the public version of himself. He plays a great actor who made tons of films and now is not getting any roles. He is still a movie star in his own mind and to his fanatical fans. Hollywood is not interested in him. It’s clear he still believes he is an in-demand star even though his personal life is in shambles. He’s recently divorced from Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and is having trouble with his disinterested teenage daughter Addy (Lily Sheen).
Cage has his younger self as a sounding board and Young Cage keeps yelling at him that he is a movie star! These scenes of the 2 Nic Cages are terrific! What a fabulous idea and so well executed.
Cage’s agent Richard (Neil Patrick Harris) has to tell him he lost a role he desperately wanted, but faced with a huge six figure bill at the hotel he’s been staying at, he agrees to attend the birthday party of olive entrepreneur Javi Gutierrez (Pascal) in Spain. The fee offered is one million dollars.
At least Nic Cage doesn’t have to sing but just be available to the host and chat up the guests. This type of gig is hardly a surprise: Michael Jackson was paid US$17 million to perform at the Sultan of Brunei’s 50 birthday party. Hilary Swank was shamed by human rights groups when she took part in a lavish concert for the brutal Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
It’s well known that if you can pay the price, Beyoncé Knowles will perform, as she did in 2010, a one-hour set of songs for a fee of US$2 million. The tab was picked up by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's son Hannibal.
For the lavish 2018 $100 million wedding of the daughter of India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, Beyoncé was paid US$3-4 million for a 45-minute private concert. Jennifer Lopez charges $5 million per performance and the Rolling Stones were paid $7 million in 2002 to perform for an hour at a Texas billionaire’s 60th birthday party.
Javi worships Cage and can quote every movie he has been in. Javi is so enamored with the actor that he has built a room as a shrine to Cage. He also has written a screenplay he wants Cage to star in. Cage is enchanted by Javi’s lifestyle and the gorgeous setting. They hang out and start to really like each other.
The love fest is ruined by the appearance of CIA spies Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz) who demand Cage does his patriotic duty by spying for them. They believe Javi is a drug kingpin and Cage is in the perfect position to canvas Javi’s compound.
We will be seeing more of Nicholas Cage now but hopefully he will retire his tics and mannerisms as they have been featured so extravagantly here as “Cage’s acting repertoire of faces.”
Pascal is charming and genuinely likable. He holds his own while Cage plays up every trope he has splayed over his films. Pascal can now design his career any way he wants but I hope he decides to use his Hollywood currency to revisit the House of Martell.
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