(2007) dir. Lee Tamahori
I used to live across the street from Golden Gate Park for a few years, across from the San Francisco County Fair Building, where seemingly at least once a month there would be posting for a “psychic fair”. And, according to my incredible sense of wit, I would always, always say to whomever I was with: “I knew there was a psychic fair today!”
So, that pretty much sums up my sense of humor.
The few people who know my film diary enough (or simply me talking about the movies I see) know that I was a Nicolas Cage fan from his days in Valley Girl (1983), Birdy (1984), Racing with the Moon (1984), and on into his amazing performance in Raising Arizona (1987). He was unironically my favorite actor. But times have changed. He now makes a lot of films like The Wicker Man (2006) and Ghost Rider (2007), and now, Next, which just looked real silly.
Adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story, as is wont to happen to Dick these days, writer Gary Goldman, among others, takes who knows what and turns it into a sci-fi action film. In this case, Nicolas Cage plays a guy who can see two minutes into the future, enough to jack the casinos in Vegas and to dodge bullets like Neo in The Matrix (1999), not to mention falling logs and flipping cars, ad nauseum. And a stolen nuclear device has both the terrorists and the government after him to either help stop a major explosion or to help stop him from stopping a major explosion. There are plot holes large enough to not need to see two minutes into the future to know that you could drive a Mack truck right through them without hitting anybody.
Interestingly, Cage is still kind of the best thing in the movie. He adds lots of little characteristics to the character and narrative, as he is well-known for doing, and while some of them are becoming typical, some other elements become the best parts of the film, such as the more comic elements of the movie.
I don’t really care if Nicolas Cage ever makes a great movie or not again. He makes a lot that I won’t go see, such as World Trade Center (2006) and National Treasure (2004)…(okay, maybe I would see National Treasure even though it looks like an incredibly poor man’s mix of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and The Da Vinci Code (2006).) I kinda like his bad movies.
It’s funny. I’ve gotten on these kicks before, mostly with actresses: Drew Barrymore (back in the 1990’s when she was starting her comeback in movies like Poison Ivy (1992) and Doppelganger (1993) and particularly my personal favorite who I’d still see anything she was in: Natasha Gregson Wagner. Drew now makes bigger movies, not the camp crap that I enjoyed. Natasha seems to have dropped out of film to an extent. So now I’ve got Nicolas Cage making relatively big budget hokum action films with brows significantly lowered to less than half-mast.
We all have our little things, I am sure.