Tag Archives: the mind-numbing horror of the status quo

The Weather Man

The Weather Man has been advertised mostly as a bunch of people throwing stuff at Nick Cage, not because of his naturally depressed expression or because his movies can be overbearing, even the actions ones, but because he sometimes predicts the weather wrong, and people apparently like to dress appropriately more than they like to hold onto their food. Although this has a bigger place in the theme than you might initially expect, it is nevertheless a very misleading portrait of what the movie is actually about.

It’s slice of life, just like Sideways that I saw early this year. Which means that I found the conclusion ultimately unsatisfying; as is nearly always the case with this kind of thing, the end result is an internal change in the character irrespective of the presence or (more likely) absence of a change in external circumstance. It’s not that I want the “good guy” to win or be happy or whatever; he could reach his lowest low instead, but the mind-numbing horror of the status quo terrifies me a lot more than Jason Voorhees ever could, whether he lived on to kill another teen or died to be resurrected later on (and, okay, still kill another teen).

However: the acting is pretty good all around, and my early without-seeing-the-nominations prediction is that Michael Caine can get Best Supporting out of it. The themes are not just adult, but uncomfortably adult, the kinds of things that could end up causing a divorce even in people who were compatible emotionally but not strong enough to get through bad times, never mind people like weatherman Cage and his ex-wife. It’s not exactly black comedy, and it’s not dark enough to be black drama, but it is certainly an oppressive piece of visual fiction. See it for the acting, but wait until you can afford to be introspective and quiet for a little while, to shake off the gloom; or, if you’re a death row inmate, or Saddam Hussein, or Scooter Libby or someone like that, see it to feel better about your circumstances. (Worst of all: I say all this fairly secure in the knowledge that what the weatherman got was a happy ending.)