Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Weather Man

There's a lot of reasons why people watch movies. They watch to be inspired, to laugh, to cry, for an emotional release, to see an interesting reflection of life. To witness art.

As I said, lots of reasons.

When I was watching The Weather Man, I went down my own personal list, to figure out what reasons this particular story fulfills in terms of my criteria for watching films.

I couldn't find one.

I guess a story like this might appeal to some people..... actually judging by the box office returns maybe not. The Weather Man is a movie that celebrates how life sucks and then ends. Doesn't that sound fun? Isn't that inspiring? Get in line now or miss the fun.

The story concerns David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) a successful Weather man who's personal life is falling apart. His kids are each in a different kind of social trouble. David is separated from his wife, who he is still in love with, and his father is dying. David plans to try, and pull his life together by excelling in his professional life in an attempt to save his family. But can he do it before it's too late?

The movie actually has a pretty standard, and unoriginal message. It argues that the American Dream of financial success doesn't guarantee a well rounded fulfilling life. In a way it wants to be like a rich man's Death of a Salesman. The problem is screenwriter Steve Conrad waters down the material by using dark comedy to express that point.

It doesn't work.

For one thing the stuff isn't funny. The material isn't nearly witty, or shocking enough to be darkly enjoyable. The situations in the move also don't ring true enough for the viewer to be affected emotionally. So what the viewer is left with, is a unfunny story about an unsympathetic character. Basically two hours of watching a guy we don't give a shit about fail at life.

The acting in the film is solid, yet unremarkable. The direction is competent, yet not interesting. The writing is not especially bad.....or especially good. In short the movie is unimpressive, and forgettable.

It's not surprising that the studio had trouble marketing the film, because it doesn't really appeal to a movie paying audience. I don't think anyone wants to see this story, much less spend money to watch it. The whole time I kept thinking why am I watching a mega star actor in Nicolas Cage whine about the troubles of life. I don't care how much he says life sucks. This is a guy who was born into the Coppola family, was married to Patricia Arquette, and the daughter of Elvis, screwed Paris Hilton and Angelina Jolie makes at least 10 million a movie and has won an Oscar. Shouldn't this guy be playing a character that's won the lotto, or a hero that saves San Francisco from Military terrorists. I don't want to see him whine about how his overweight child gets teased by her classmates, or his naive son gets hit on by a gay drug counselor. I don't want to see any star play that role.

I can watch Jerry Springer for that.

I guess if one is in the mood to watch a movie about a guy whining about how life is hard, they can check out this DVD on Tuesday.


Benson said...

I'm trying to think of the reason I didn't see this movie...hmmm...oh wait, thats right, nicolas cage was in it.

I wonder why they cast him as ghost rider...hmmm we need to cast a daredevil who sells his soul to the devil...I know, lets get a middle aged guy with a receding hairline!

jfals said...

Your analysis of the movie is ridiculous. Weather Man was a remarkable depiction of the consequences of the self-absorbed. However, the ending was optimistic. But perhaps you prefer a Cinderella ending. Check out August Rush; You may be feel a bit more cozy.