It doesn’t take much – sticky tables at restaurants, laundromats, Train albums – to make us angry, but there’s just something about Nicolas Cage that really burns us up. Maybe it’s his weird obsession with comic books, or his awful accent in Con Air, or the fact that sometimes he just goes by “Nic” – but ultimately it boils down to the movies that he makes. Maybe our hatred burns so brightly because there are actually some really good Nicolas Cage movies, like Raising Arizona, Adaptation, and Leaving Las Vegas, but aside from his small but kick-ass role in last year’s Kick-Ass, he hasn’t been in a noteworthy film in about ten years. And with recent news that he’s massively in debt, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting anymore, anytime soon. Case in point, Drive Angry, which opens up in 3D this weekend.
Boy, where do we start? With a storyline that’s Gone in 60 Seconds meets Ghost Rider, it doesn’t bode well, as the former movie was a brainless crotch ride, and the only awards won by the latter was for “Worst Use of a Hairpiece in a Motion Picture.” From what I can gather from the trailer, “Nic” Cage comes back from hell to try to protect his baby granddaughter from being taken in by a cult, and makes use of a ’71 Chevelle to do so. With the help of a Denise Richards look-alike (Amber Heard), he battles the cult, and Satan’s right hand man, a William Fichtner channeling Christopher Walken from The Propehcy. Now don’t get me wrong, this could easily be a movie that people want to see – fast cars, guns, explosions – but given the pedigree of Cage and My Bloody Valentine director Patrick Lussier (who curiously directed Walken in The Prophecy 3…), and the fact that they keep reminding us that the film is shot in 3D, doesn’t bode well come Oscar season next year. My prediction is that unlike Cage’s latest Season of the Witch, which was just a bad movie all around, Drive Angry might have legs on cable and DVD as this generation’s Road House. But as far as Cage goes, we’ll have to concede it’s a love/hate relationship; yes, we can’t stand him, but we just love this clip of his best freak outs.
Switching gears, Hall Pass, the other movie opening up this weekend, is a comedy about a couple of hornball mid-lifers (Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis) who get a hall pass from their wives (Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate) to do whatever they want for a week, without consequence. A throw-away joke starring some decent names in comedy, you could write this one off except for the fact that it’s brought to you by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the pair behind Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary, who single handedly resurrected the gross-out comedy genre. Always good for a couple laughs, the Farrelly brothers have quite a following, and with the upcoming high-profile Three Stooges movie, they’re due for a resurrection. Overshadowed this past decade by the Frat Pack and Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen’s monopoly over crude humor, Hall Pass is a pretty funny premise, in what we can only hope is the second coming of the Farrelly brothers. Or with a cameo by Joy Behar, it could just signal the coming of the Apocalypse.