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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 brianorndorf

"A pitch-perfect Nicolas Cage in a lovely film"
5 stars

I honestly didn’t think director Gore Verbinski had a decent film in him, yet “The Weather Man” is a delightfully directed slice of character exploration. Nicolas Cage delivers a monumentally entertaining lead performance in the film, basically doing what he does better than any actor around: embracing character flaws. Quirky and profane, but hilarious and rewarding, “Weather Man” is a charmer.

David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is a popular Chicago television weatherman, who doesn't enjoy his fame (his detractors throw food at him on the street), is dealing with the break up of his marriage and family (Hope Davis, Nicholas Hoult, and Gemmenne de la Pena), at the same time assisting his disapproving, literary genius father (Michael Caine) with cancer treatment appointments. On the eve of snatching a cushy network job in New York, David looks to reassess his life, and try to seal the emotional cracks he helped create. In traditional David ways of misplaced anger and foolish ambition, he aspires for the perfect life he felt he once had, only to question if it was even there in the first place.

To best describe "Weather Man," I would say it's a distant cousin to "American Beauty." Not that the two films have much in common storywise, but the stylized, purposefully elongated filmmaking is similar, as is the idea of the perceived erosion of the nuclear family. However, "Weather" is a comedy tinged with drama, and it invites the audience into the mind of the lead character, instead of pushing them away.

Directed by Gore Verbinski ("The Ring," "Pirates of the Caribbean"), "Weather Man" showcases a bold leap forward for the director. Usually content with busy visual schemes and lackluster screenplays, Verbinski has found gold in this material, and he doesn't waste a moment detailing Dave's character arc. This is the best work the filmmaker has put up on the screen to date, and the challenging nature of the script gives Verbinski lots of dramatic and stylistic choices to pick from. Embracing the symbolically frigid, ice encrusted Chicago winter locales, the director develops a world for David where his frustrations percolate, his fame haunts him daily, and the Grand Canyon-like disconnect with his family honestly seems reparable to him. Verbinski basically leans back and lets Nicolas Cage do all the heavy lifting, yet, as a good director should do, he wraps his performers carefully in this invented world, and gooses David's inner monologue with mannered filmmaking and dreamlike asides.

Using Steve Conrad's introspective script as a springboard, "Weather Man" is truly The Nicolas Cage Show. Giving a resoundingly complete, tour de force performance, Cage understands David right away, and digs right into the character's complications and flaws, enjoying both David's matrimonial dark side and his misguided ambitions to properly father his children. Assisted by a narration/thought process that runs throughout the movie (a film highlight), along with some classic reactions to being pelted with fast food on the street, this is remarkable work from Cage, again reminding us why he's one of the most interesting actors around. Backed by terrific supporting work from Michael Caine and Hope Davis, Cage takes the dare and runs with it, giving the film an emotionally potent focal point.

While exceedingly funny, "Weather Man" does contain a rather dark streak as it goes, found in a subplot that has David's teenage son the potential victim of his drug counselor's (Gil Bellows) sexual advances. While necessary to add weight to David's awareness of parental failure, the scenes do stop the movie cold, leaving Verbinski cornered on how to put the production right back on track. He has better luck with the cancer subplot, which manages to avoid dreariness due both to Caine's restrained portrayal and the inclusion of a fascinating, celebratory "living funeral" scene.

A quirky, hilarious, and inventive character piece, "The Weather Man" might be a tough sell to some due to the intimate nature of the story.

Exploring the mind of a failed man looking to better his life might not initially appear welcoming, but the strength of the filmmaking and the performances carry this material expertly, making this a great autumnal surprise.

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originally posted: 10/28/05 15:21:33
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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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