Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
Dave Spritz is a local weatherman in his home town of Chicago, where his career is going well while his personal life -- his relationship with his perfectionist writer father, his neurotic ex-wife, and his now-separated children -- is spiraling downward. Despite being both loathed and loved by the local masses, Dave is a guy who doesn't seem to have it all together, and in this film, he begins to feel it. An attractive job offer presents Dave with a major question: to pursue his career in New York City, or to remain at home with his family.Written by
While shooting the film in February, Gore Verbinski was surprised to find that the weather in Chicago was warm, as it didn't produce any snow. The Production Designers had to recreate snow from scratch, as the film takes place during the winter. See more »
When David is at Robert's house, we see Robert's Pulitzer Prize, a piece of carved engraved glass. Individual Prize winners actually receive a certificate. See more »
Yeah yeah, I get it, film snobs. This is high art. It's an homage to melancholic French film noir, with lots of drab snow and blue filtered lenses. "You just don't understand tragic comedy," some of you may suggest. Oh, I understand it all right. Only "The Weather Man" makes a dog's dinner of that particular genre, if that's indeed what they were going for. I'm not sure.
If awards are given for such things, Nick Cage might get an award for maintaining the same long monotonous hang-dog facial expression in nearly every scene for two hours of screen time. Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton perfected this bit. The sad, luckless clown, wondering through life getting beat down, but winning our hearts because they persevere. Cage can't bring it on like Keaton. About half way through this mess, I was hoping he'd get hit with a brick, not a sandwich.
But I have to hand it to Paramount Pictures for the most shameless product placement I've ever seen in a film: They literally throw their products, logos and all, right at Cage, making the image stick in your mind while it sticks to Cage's suits and overcoats.
Splat! McDonalds. Splat! Big Gulp, 7-Eleven. Splat! Splat! Taco Bell. And it case you were too dense to pick up on that, you could see the McDonalds golden arches reflected in window glass and slightly out of focus in the background of a half dozen shots. I mean, come on! If this was supposed to be Haute Ciné, it must be some kind of cynical inside joke to have the lead character covered in advertising like a NASCAR hot rod.
I won't spoil it for those of you who like to wallow in excruciating maudlin muck. I know some people are uplifted watching other people morbidly depressed. But for the rest of us who may be less enlightened to the entertainment or artistic value of watching some unloved schmendrick stumbling along in misery, this film will make you want to have a drink, or several. Or worse, jump off a tall building or stick your head in a gas oven.
In short, this film doesn't deliver any truth you didn't have already. It's just a depressing mess.
It was only when Michael Cane's character delivered the line: "In this sh*t life, you have to chuck some things" pretty far into the picture when I suddenly realized I should have chucked this thing after the first twenty minutes. Take his advice, and mine, and leave this one on the video rental shelf.
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