Nicolas Cage in: Zandalee


Released in 1991 ▪ Review posted May 25, 2014

“Took 45 minutes to get all dressed up

We ain’t even gonna make it to this club

Now my mascara running, red lipstick smudged

Oh he so horny, yeah he want to fuck

He popped all my buttons, and he ripped my blouse

He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown”


Zandalee, a 100-minute movie from 1991, was mostly an excuse to see Erika Anderson naked and objectified by men. It was supposed to be her breakout role, but she only went on to do Red Shoe Diaries, Silk Stalkings, and various other soft-core pornographies. This movie has a desensitizing amount of fucking. Call me crass, but I do mean “fucking.” Sex, foreplay, and making love are not to be found in Zandalee.

Normally, I’d haul out my soapbox and and scream about how misogynist Hollywood is, but it so happens that Zandalee was written by Louisiana State University professor and Treme staff writer Mari Kornhauser. Her limited number of produced works, in combination with a section of Zandalee where the title character pleasures herself, contradicts most anti-feminist accusations. Female masturbation is rarely seen in mainstream cinema, since women are almost always portrayed as objects of pleasure and not as humans, capable of attaining pleasure in the absence of a man.

Even without its anti-woman undertones, Zandalee is a miserable movie. It’s disjointed. It’s shot on low-quality film. It’s a bad representation of New Orleans. Its source material is basically taken from other works. Its foreshadowing and metaphors are obvious and heavy-handed. Judge Reinhold is a terrible actor. The whole affair (as it were) is exhausting.

But Nicolas Cage isn’t bad.

And there’s not much more to say about his performance, which was decent within the boundaries of the terrible dialogue he was assigned to deliver in an equally terrible piece of cinema. At first I thought Nic was doing a horrible job, but I see now that I was just fooled by his hair length. Then, suddenly, Joe Pantoliano showed up as a sympathetically flamboyant queen, inauthentically written yet capably performed, and I was fully convinced.

Nic does fine here. I sincerely believe the inelegant things he was paid to say. I believed his irrational passion for his art, his lustful cravings, and his mighty, repeated humps. The movie may be terrible, but aside from having to watch awkward Nicolas Cage sex a few times, his performance doesn’t offend.

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