The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 47m
Director(s): Tom Gormican
Writer(s): Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish, Sharon Horgan, Paco León, Neil Patrick Harris, Lily Mo Sheen, Alessandra Mastronardi
Where To Watch: In theaters now
Let’s start with the fact that I wanted to love this; I’ve been a Nicolas Cage fan for as long as I can remember. I’ve enjoyed many of his films, even some that aren’t highly rated. I thought it would be some low-budget addition to his canon when I read about this months ago. Little did I know that it would gain the traction it did.
Cage has recently defended himself about his long list of straight-to-video releases stating that he did them to pay off debt and still gave his all in every film. I found that incredibly admirable; the more I thought about it, the more I realized that no actor should have to apologize for taking roles. If they are being offered work and are in the right state of mind to accept it, then they should go for it!
What made this film unique is its almost autobiographical nature; it stars Nicolas Cage as Nicolas Cage, which I loved. I thought the concept of the entire meta (referring to itself or the conventions of its genre; self-referential) was brilliant. I remember seeing the movie SCREAM when it came out and loving the idea of a movie that could poke fun at itself. THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT does that to the next degree, and I was all about that concept.
Some of the best scenes in the film occur when Cage and Pedro Pascal (THE MANDALORIAN) are playing up their friendship on-screen. There’s nothing better than getting to see an actor play a fanboy, and in this case, it’s done wonderfully. The best moment that wasn’t ruined by the trailer was a scene between them where they’re being incredibly paranoid, and it plays out as pure enjoyment.
My only real knock on the film was that I don’t think it leaned hard enough into what its concept could’ve been. I wanted to see the multiverse of Nicolas Cage; what we got was the potential for an incredible idea. Sadly it was watered down further by a weird back and forth relationship with his family. Although I loved Lily Mo Sheen playing Cage’s daughter, she has so much charisma, and I hope she continues to get more opportunities in Hollywood.
I honestly doubt the film will be successful enough to warrant a sequel. Still, I would love to see them lean into the crazy and do something similar to EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE or even SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME and introduce the multiverse idea into the film. Seeing Cage meet up with previous versions of himself would be incredible. I’m sure that there are a lot of rights issues that would need to be overcome before going this route, but I can guarantee that it would be a smash hit if the right story were found for it.
I’m hoping this is true; I saw this in the trivia section on IMDb. “A sequence involving Nicolas Cage reprising some of his most iconic roles like Face/Off (1997), Con Air (1997), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), and Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), in a long black-and-white fight sequence between him and his younger self in a Surrealist German Expressionist set evoking of 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' (1920), was cut from the film as the studio thought it didn't fit the third act. According to Cage, the deleted scene will be released on home media.” That’s almost exactly what I wanted! I hope Lionsgate does a great home release with this!
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