Sunday, March 12, 2006


Nicholas Cage The Weather Man Directed by Gore Verbinski
Starring Nicholas Cage
Reviewed by Byron Merritt


It takes a lot for me to turn a film off. I feel obligated to finish what I start, not to mention losing the hard-earned money I spent on renting a movie or going to the theater and paying up. But I didn’t have to turn off THE WEATHER MAN. It was a close call, though. My finger hovered over my remote’s "stop" button several times.

For me, a film has to have some sort of message (be it of happiness, despair, anguish, social/political, family value ...something), but THE WEATHER MAN appears to have none. For those of you who love pessimism, you might find some enjoyment in this flick. But not me. I have a bit more upbeat look on life.

I’m actually a fan of Nicholas Cage (loved him in LEAVING LAS VEGAS and LORD OF WAR), but in this film Cage and director Gore Verbinski go over the edge and over the top.

Nick Cage plays David Spritz, a weather man for a local Chicago TV station. Living in Chicago and having this kind of a job is not what it’s cracked up to be. Illinois’ weather is some of the most unpredictable in the nation, going from below freezing one day to 80-plus the next. So David gets picked on regularly by citizens of the windy city (mostly they throw things at him sodas, shakes, hot apple pies, etc.). To add to his sour life, he’s in the process of a divorce with his wife Noreen (Hope Davis, THE MATADOR, 2005) and having to deal with his two children who are rushing into adulthood — his 12-year-old daughter smokes and his 15-year-old son just came out of drug rehab. And now, to put icing on the icing, his father (played by the estimable Michael Caine) is dying of lymphoma.

All of these terrible things swirl around David Spritz, similar to the unpredictable weather. But all doesn’t seem hopeless. He’s gotten a job offer on a national TV show (think Good Morning America) but he can’t see the good in it. With life in Chicago falling apart, David is ready to shoot somebody. Anybody. Oh yes, did I mention that he’s been practicing archery and carries around a bow and arrow now? Don’t mess with the weather man.

Labeled as a "comedy/drama," the focus is definitely more on the drama than the comedy. Black comedies do appeal to me (I gushed over THE MATADOR), but they need a pretty defined center that an audience can identify with. You’re not going to find that here. And it’s really a shame, because I felt THE WEATHER MAN could’ve been an excellent film, but as it stands now it’s just a mesh of depressing scenes with no focal point.

Click here for The Weather Man movie trailer!


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