Who's in It
Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann
The Basics: Cage can turn himself into a skeleton, ride a motorcycle up a volcano, turn his personal spontaneous-combustion switch on and off, navigate treacherous Cher terrain, manipulate his hairline into ever-evolving patterns and collect valuable Elvis memorabilia like Lisa Marie (if temporarily). You'd think he'd rest on his laurels after those sorts of achievements. But no. Now he can see into the future and fight off armed FBI guys and Euro terrorists with super-kung-fu. And he's going to have to do a lot of it to save Los Angeles from being bombed into scorched nuclear oblivion.
What's the Deal? Does a Hollywood career get any wackier than Cage's (not counting Crispin Glover's)? Because he didn't just accept this role. He co-produced it and guided it through to fruition. I like that about him. Back in the bad old days when I took stuff way too seriously, I went through this whole period where I hated his movies and, by extension, him, too. But recently, I turned a corner. I realized that for an Oscar winner to truly come out from under the stifling, haunting specter of "significance" that hovers like a black cloud over so many award recipients, they've got to take drastic action. That's why I welcome products like this into my life now, to teach me how to calmly accept everything life has to offer.
Like, for Example: Why get upset that all the major stunts in this movie look faker than the black panther puppet from Apocalypto? Why sit in a chair and cluck your tongue and sigh when giant computer-generated logs rain down on top of Cage and Moore as they dive under a conveniently uncrushable shelter? Why get annoyed that Biel plays Cage's girlfriend even though there's no good reason for them to be banging so soon into their relationship, and that she's about half his age? It's pointless to reason these things through. Just enjoy the fact that Los Angeles might get blown up any second.
Lessons for All You Young Girls: Biel's character, the movie's resident PYT, goes about her life with this sort of recklessness gives Cage a cross-country ride in her car (moments after they meet), gets it on with him soon after, gets told by the FBI that he's a sociopath and ignores them and says stuff like, "You're not psychotic, are you?" even though he's sitting right there in front of her being twitchy Nicolas Cage, a guy who screams LOON in big neon letters a dumb abandon that would, in real life, get you dumped in a ravine somewhere.
Dear Grown-Up Julianne Moore Fans: You can just move along. There's nothing to see here. The new Todd Haynes movie will be finished soon.