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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.79%
Worth A Look34.48%
Average: 32.76%
Pretty Bad: 6.9%
Total Crap: 12.07%

6 reviews, 22 user ratings

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Weather Man, The
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by Erik Childress

"Starring Life As The Perfect Storm"
4 stars

The Weather Man uses a very simple metaphor to speak to a universal truth. Life is unpredictable and no matter how hard we try to understand it or predict it, there is a storm just around the corner ready to knock us to the ground. Much like director Gore Verbinski’s resume, its impossible to pin down. Here is a guy who started creating the Budweiser frogs, moved into theatrics with the light slapstick of MouseHunt and someone I was almost ready to write off after the disastrous Brad Pitt/Julia Roberts vehicle, The Mexican. Then he shifted gears into remake land with The Ring, one of the best and most copied horror films of recent years and exploded with the giddily fantastic Pirates of the Caribbean. This is the same Verbinski now delivering The Weather Man and it only confirms his status as one of our most diverse filmmakers working today.

Nicolas Cage stars as Chicago weatherman David Spritz, a divorced father of two just trying to go about his own business without being bothered by those who recognize him from TV. He has lived his life in the shadow of his father, Robert (Michael Caine), a Pulitzer Prize winning author now facing a battle with cancer. David has never been angry with his father; in fact he looks up to him a great deal and now wishes to show him that he can set things in his life right and hopes he can hold on long enough to see it.

This starts with personal success. A Bryant Gumbel morning show is looking for a new weatherman and David finds himself on the short list which would more than triple his current salary. Next is the family. His overweight daughter, Shelly (Gemmenne de la Peña), can’t hold an interest in anything. Attempts to teach her archery and a trip to the company party are further failures in bonding. His son (Nicholas Hoult) fresh out of rehab is forming his own questionable bond with his counselor (Gil Bellows) and ex-wife Noreen (Hope Davis) is getting cozy with new friend, Russ (Michael Rispoli) much to David’s chagrin.

David is an alternative personality – in that he alternates from quietly reserved to verbally (and even physically abusive. Anyone approaching him for an autograph would agree, but those who have only seen him on TV also have prejudged him a smug celebrity with a cutesy name (shortened to Spritz because it seemed “more refreshing”) who “only does the weather.” No wonder he’s often pelted with food on the street. Although he does wonder and rightfully so. Robert becomes a reluctant witness to his son’s humiliation and appears more clueless at the objects being pelted than the marks they leave, as if he’s avoided the go-go culture that the generation of television viewers have molded for themselves.

The Weather Man is, by and large, a character study but works its way into becoming a sly dissection on television. David doesn’t understand the weather but yet sells it to the morning viewers; thus paraphrasing not being a meteorologist but playing one on TV. If the medium nowadays is nothing more than a commercial box with shows wrapped around it, than the idea that Dave has such products thrown back at him might be symbolically justified to less-satisfied watchers. Dave’s subtle explanations to his father of what’s dripping off his coat or floating in his car make him sound like such peddlers in the downtime of the show of his life.

When not in action hero mode (and even sometimes during those phases), Cage is one of our best actors in sweating out the quirks of a character. For better or worse, he never shies away from the behavior that Dave is destined to commit to in any given situation. He tries minding his own business and it leads to frustration. He overcompensates for his daughter’s well-being and he can’t get her to commit to anything until she’s showered with a NY shopping spree. Dave Spritz is one of Cage’s most interesting characters and Steve Conrad’s script cleverly spins him off from Papa Spritzer who carries the same quiet, outspoken demeanor but Caine plays Robert as a distant father who has kept many of the answers away from his son. And now that he is near the end of his life, he’s more willing to part with those answers, but like Dave, can never be clear if they are the right ones. Their relationship comes to a head during an exceptionally touching conversation in Dave’s car that deserves placement as one of the great father/son moments on film.

Like the consistent nippers that the beautifully filmed Windy City is under attack from, Verbinski uses the weather (much like Ang Lee did in The Ice Storm) as a worthy metaphor for the clouds slowly being lifted from Dave’s life. The Weather Man certainly isn’t as depressing as Lee’s film, in fact it’s very funny in that peculiarly uncomfortable way when watching pathetic people unable to get themselves out of a funk. David is always a day late and always a dollar short (as he’s apparently too lazy to look for an ATM.) He personalizes the general melancholy that we have all felt when infected by the virus of life and the weight of the expectations that it brings with it. Sunny one day, hailing the next, a wise man once said that life’s a bitch. But with three terrific outings in a row and a pair of Pirates sequels on the horizon, Verbinski has looked on and found the bright side of life.

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originally posted: 10/28/05 14:06:20
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User Comments

12/09/12 Joe Smaltz turned it off, bored, needed something stimulating 2 stars
1/09/08 Servo Cought me off guard, hughly recommended. 4 stars
8/24/07 Steve Newman Turned this off 60 minutes in - what a pile of crap. Slow, unfunny and boring 1 stars
7/06/07 Total Crap It's just so boring... 2 stars
6/10/06 Dan Quirky, funny movie. I enjoyed it (and I especially enjoyed the beer girl!) 4 stars
5/20/06 Christine Wilbik A very depressing movie and not up to Nicolas cage usual movies. 2 stars
4/23/06 Jim Interesting character study 4 stars
4/15/06 Indrid Cold Unusual and fairly interesting, but unfocused and ultimately, unsatisfying. 3 stars
4/04/06 Valerie Kind of strange, but still good. 4 stars
3/13/06 Monday Morning I'd like to throw Slurpees at everyone who was involved w/ this pc. of shite 2 stars
3/08/06 Tanya very good it seemed like a real family 4 stars
12/15/05 jerriprice Unbelievably bad 1 stars
11/15/05 Jeff Anderson A big letdown for Cage & Caine. Very depressing & it quickly goes nowhere. A REAL SHAME!! 1 stars
11/14/05 rob henie fantastic! 5 stars
11/09/05 jeff strange humour, cage's acting awsome as usual. 4 stars
11/06/05 Agent Sands A very engaging slice of life that shares my sense of humor & has a great tearworthy scen 5 stars
11/01/05 jcjs fne 4 stars
11/01/05 Beth Whittier Nicholas Cage is one of my favorite actors, but bad movie 1 stars
10/30/05 john john stone 1 stars
10/30/05 Elaine Hochbeg Once again, Chicago serves as a fine backdrop. Cage presents a stellar performance. 4 stars
10/27/05 tom dolfin bad movie. no redeeming social value. sucks 1 stars
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  28-Oct-2005 (R)
  DVD: 21-Feb-2006



Directed by
  Gore Verbinski

Written by
  Steven Conrad

  Nicolas Cage
  Michael Caine
  Hope Davis
  Michael Rispoli
  Gil Bellows
  Nicholas Hoult

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