The Weather Man
Release year: 2005 • Posted March 30, 2014
“Whenever the weather is cold, Or whenever the weather is hot, We’ll be together whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not.”
Edith Skinner, Speak with Distinction
The Weather Man is a highly personal film. Surprisingly, it was directed by Gore Verbinski, who is more often associated with movies like The Ring, Pirates of the Caribbean or the 1997 classic Mousehunt, all very different from a crushing story about a man waking up to the superficiality of his life set against a bleak Chicago winter.
It’s notable that Nic Cage took a role this intimate. Playing David Spritz, a weatherman at a Chicago affiliate who’s on the brink of the national stage, Cage starts out doing his Droopy the Dog thing but quickly finds something much deeper. It’s possible that Nic Cage saw some of himself in this character. Both are notable personalities and awkward fathers. Throughout the movie, Cage either unconsciously or fearlessly taps into the authenticity of a man struggling with public isolation. Regardless of whether Cage is aware—and I like to believe he is—it’s very good.
This film also goes farther than any other in Cage’s oeuvre to justify his role as an action hero. Despite being a bland womanizer with a borderline anger problem who continuously has food thrown at him, it’s hard not to root for David Spritz. You want him to put his family back together, and you want his father to accept his vapid career. You want satisfaction for him, and not just for the simple relief of a western-style denouement. Likeability is not a learned trait (unless psychotics are involved), but Cage has it. To top it all off, this movie doesn’t even end with the expected resolution. Spoiler alert: Spritz’s father dies, his wife gets married to someone else, and he moves to New York to advance his dead-end career and make more money. He at least gets a couple of good punches in on the guy who tried to molest his son. It’s fairly bleak.
This movie was made in the wake of Adaptation (a film not yet reviewed on this site but which is inarguably one of Cage’s finest performances). The Weather Man could be emotional fallout from that acting experience, like having mind-blowing sex and then perfectly negotiating financing on a new car an hour later.
This is a good movie where everyone involved challenged themselves. Its mixed reviews all seem to come from people uncomfortable with handling material so dark and cold. One person called it “a bleak, messy midlife crisis drama as unsure of itself as a weather forecast.” The Weather Man can hit you where it hurts, but it was worth the effort—especially for Nic.
- Very good
- Nic Cage’s acting?
- Very good
- Did his performance make the movie worse?