To say that Nicolas Cage is a deep actor may be a stretch. I mean, he has actually won a few awards. To say that he is a versatile actor would be closer to the truth. Don’t get me wrong, he has made some great movies (“Raising Arizona” will always be one of my favs!). He is definitely an actor not afraid to take a chance on a role, and more importantly, to be able to laugh at himself. Being an actor who is known for his quirky characters, he really does know how to let us laugh along him on any crazy ride.
That being said, when you sit down to watch “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” you have no idea what you are in for, but I have to tell you, it’s a ride worth hanging on to. Cage plays a loose version of himself as a down-on-his -uck actor looking for that next film that will showcase his talent.
His agent (a nice cameo of Neil Patrick Harris) gets him a gig being himself for a rich super fan, the job paying him a cool million just to appear at this guy’s birthday party and even reading a script that the guy wrote himself just for, yep you guessed it, Nic Cage.
The fan is played quite charmingly by Pedro Pascal. He is such a fan that he has his own Nicolas Cage museum, which goes off the deep end but has to be experienced to see what an avid junkie he is.
They seem to be in such a sweet bromance that your teeth start to hurt and you are waiting for a big smooch…no but seriously, they seem to find this perfect comedic timing together and you want them to be best buds.
The antics with these two were fun to watch for sure.It doesn’t seem like it will work, but as the plot moves along it just does. You seriously think it’s a total cheese fest, but it works!
All that gets ruined for you when the CIA (hello Tiffany Haddish, you sure are busy this year!) decide they need need help taking down Nic’s new bestie, who appears to be an arms dealer. Every time you think it can’t get any more unbelievable, it does…but not in a bad way.
Hilarity and LSD take us down the rabbit hole and actually all makes for a silly, but fun movie. And let me tell you, there are so many Nic Cage Easter eggs, you may have to see the movie a few times to catch them all! Not gonna win any awards here, but it was a lot of fun seeing on the big screen.
We all need some Nicolas Cage to get us out of the leftover pandemic fog we have been in. Go have some fun and get those laugh muscles back in shape!
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is a 2022 comedy-action film directed by Tom Gormican and starring Nicolas Cage, Nicolas Kim Coppola, Pedro Pascal, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz, Lily Sheen and Sharon Horgan. It runs 1 hour and 47 minutes and is rated R for language throughout, some sexual references, drug use and violence. It opens in theaters on April 22.
No matter what perception you might have about this film beforehand, “Pig” takes you on an unexpected journey.
Like a shabby hole-in-the-wall joint that surprises you with its elevated cuisine and depth of flavor, this unorthodox drama is a richly textured experience that comes together with tender loving care.
I will be talking about this earthy delight for the rest of the year, for as a debut narrative feature, writer-director Michael Sarnoski has crafted an absorbing original tale with impeccable detail.
Nicolas Cage plays a truffle hunter who lives alone in the Oregon wilderness, and after his beloved pig is poached, returns to his past life in Portland to track down his beloved animal.
On the surface, it seems simple, but oh no – uncommon riches await, and Sarnoski ladles revelations out in due time. He doesn’t dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, expecting his audience to be smart enough to fill in the blanks.
With a minimalist approach, Sarnoski immerses us in pretense and profundity. A hard-to-get lunch reservation is an astute example of both, and a pivotal scene that you won’t soon forget.
Cage’s protagonist is a disheveled hermit known to truffle purveyor Amir (Alex Wolff) as strange anti-social Rob. But out of desperation, he gets the impatient lad to drive him around the cutthroat fine-dining brotherhood of Portland, that northwest hipster mecca. They are in search of the pig but come upon much more.
Amir will get the ride of his life, for he discovers the mysterious grizzly guy is a legendary chef, THE Robin Feld, whose very name invokes great reverence – and curiosity as to what happened to him. Feld knows people, that’s why he figures out where to look and who to talk to underground.
Fifteen years earlier, Feld left his celebrated career behind to live off the grid, his chef knives and cast-iron skillet in tow. We get morsels of information as to the why, and as we get in Robin’s head, we find out he has a philosopher’s intellect and a poet’s heart.
This is a rare and meaty role for Academy Award winner Cage, whose restraint here is admirable. He speaks in hushed tones instead of grander histrionics. No matter how you view his career detours, he subtly pulls off this reflective loner with definitive artistry. It is his best performance in years.
Cage has made so many off-the-wall action films during the past 20 years, a long way from his last Oscar nomination (“Adaptation” in 2002), that he is easy to dismiss, but do not count him out.
The principal cast is playing characters that seem easy to figure out, but again, nope. These well-drawn roles not only gave Cage an opportunity to convey layers of emotional consequences, but also Wolff and Arkin.
Wolff, notable in the 2018 horror film “Hereditary” as the son who unravels, makes the most of his character’s jodyssey. Next up is M. Night Shyamalan’s “Old,” so he is having quite a summer.
Wolff’s sharply dressed brat comes across as this slick materialistic poser who is only looking out for himself, but he becomes as fascinated as we are by Robin’s backstory and sticks around.
Then, we find out about his unhappy upbringing with squabbling parents, a dad he is always trying to please but never quite measures up to, even though he emulated his career path – and a tragic mom story.
Amir is more than meets the eye, as is his self-important father, Darius, portrayed with the right amount of hubris by Arkin.
With a lush forest as backdrop, cinematographer Patrick Scola captures Feld’s tranquil existence, his pig his only companion. Sarnoski beautifully sets up their special relationship, not unlike the subjects and their dogs in the 2020 documentary “The Truffle Hunters.”
When the paid tweakers kidnap the pig, the well-choreographed attack is horrific, and leaves Robin in a bloody pool on his cabin floor.
One of the goofier aspects of the film is that Cage’s character, already unkempt, goes through nearly the entire film with his face pummeled into a swollen pulp, thanks to a “Fight Club” like scene in addition to the assault, blood streaked on his face and matted in his beard and hair. He couldn’t have taken a few minutes to clean up? However, he does wash his hands before he cooks.
The atmospheric story, by producer Vanessa Block and Sarnoski, touches on loss, love, passion, memory, and the quest for the meaning of life. Is it more important to be “somebody” or to achieve inner peace, and why should we crave approval?
Robin is a man of few words, but when he talks, people listen, and his wisdom is a special component of this moving story.
Robin tells someone: “We don’t get a lot of things to really care about in life.” And that resonates.
Sandwiched between the releases of two documentaries on renowned chefs, Wolfgang Puck and Anthony Bourdain (“Roadrunner”), this film should also appeal to foodies – as well as anyone who has spent time meditating during the pandemic.
At only 92 minutes, extra time could have provided more aspects, because I wanted to stay with these characters – but then again, it would likely be another movie, not this hypnotic trek.
“Pig” is a quiet little film with a big impact. The wrap-up may not be as satisfying as the pursuit of the truth, but overall, all the elements are impressive.
“Pig” is a 2021 drama, rated R for language and some violence. It is written and directed by Michael Sarnoski and stars Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff and Adam Arkin. Its run time is 1 hour, 32 minutes. It starts in theaters July 16. Lynn’s Grade: A-
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.