The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Review: The Cage at his most meta


   Many people know Nicolas Cage as “that one terrible actor that will star in almost every movie.” However, in my opinion, there’s a lot more to him than a lot of people think. Cage is either loved or hated by both fans and critics alike. When talking about Cage, actor Ethan Hawke, who co-starred alongside Cage in Lord of War, said “He’s the only actor since Marlon Brando that’s actually done anything new with the art of acting…” Cage has become one of the most well-known movie stars (or thespian if you want to get a little bit more Cagier) in history. His most recent movie, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, makes references to his other movies, pokes fun at him, as well as his career, and is Kick-Ass (that’s a reference).

   The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent stars Nicolas Cage as Nick Cage. In this movie, Nick is struggling with his acting career, constantly being denied the roles that he wants. Nick’s manager, Richard Fink, tells Nick about a birthday party offer that someone proposed to him. They requested that Nick show up for a birthday party for a man named Javi Gutierrez in Majorca, and in return, he will pay him $1,000,000. Nick accepts this offer. At first, Nick is annoyed with how much of a fan Javi is of him, and he gets tired of him quickly. As the movie goes on though, the two of them start to become friends. They start to form a bond over films they enjoy, and after Nick reads Javi’s screenplay he wrote, he loved him even more. After the two become friends, Nick meets two CIA agents named Vivian and Martin. Vivian and Martin have been following Nick ever since he arrived at Majorca. They have reason to believe that Javi is an arms dealer, and that he kidnapped a girl named Maria, the daughter of an anti-crime political candidate who is running for president. Nick doesn’t believe that Javi did this, but he agrees to help the CIA anyway. 

   One of my favorite parts about this movie is the amount of Nicolas Cage film references that are in it. The biggest reference is a Nicolas Cage museum (a part of which can be viewed using AR technology at Javi is a Nicolas Cage superfan, and he has a shrine dedicated to him. This room features hundreds of pieces of Nicolas Cage merchandise including a wax figure of Castor Troy, a character that Cage played in Face/Off, the chainsaw from Mandy, and even a Nicolas Cage pillow that actually exists. At the beginning of the movie, when they show Maria getting kidnapped, she was watching the movie Con Air. Throughout the movie, Nick is sometimes confronted by his alter-ego named Nicky Cage. Nicky is based on a character that he did on a talk show called Wogan. Cage performed as this character when promoting his movie Wild at Heart. In the movie, he even wears a Wild at Heart t-shirt. The interactions between Nick and Nicky are based on a movie called Adaptation., in which Cage plays both Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman, and the two interact with each other on-screen. 

   There are many references to Cage’s real-life actions as well. At the beginning of the movie, Nick meets with a director named David Gordon Green, who previously worked with Nick on the movie Joe. Nick insists on doing a reading in front of David for the character that Nick wants to play. David declines, but Nick goes into a monologue in character anyway. This is similar to something that happened in real life. Cage was considered to be cast in a movie that Seth Rogen was writing. Cage wanted to play a Bahamian man. Because Cage isn’t Bahamian, and he wanted to do an accent similar to a Jamaican accent, Rogen was uncomfortable with this. Cage, along with Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who co-wrote the movie, met at Amy Pascal’s house, who was the head of Sony Pictures at the time, to talk about the movie and the character. Cage did an entire monologue in character in front of Rogen despite him not wanting to hear it.

   “I remember driving there with Evan, my partner, and just being like ‘I just don’t want him to do it in front of us. I’ll just be so uncomfortable,’” said Rogen. “I remember Evan being like, ‘He’s not going to do it. Like, obviously he’ll talk about it, but he won’t launch into it.’ Literally, we show up at the house, and within sixty seconds we were all seated in the living room as he stands in front of us reciting a monologue in a Jamaican accent. A monologue, I should add, that is not in the script! Nor did it have anything to do with the script! I don’t think he’s even read the script honestly,” (The Howard Stern Show). 

   To prepare for this movie, over the past two weeks, I have seen at least fifteen Nicolas Cage movies. You don’t have to watch that many, as it may make you go crazy, but I would suggest watching a few movies starring him just to see how he is as an actor. To get the full experience, I would suggest at least watching Adaptation., Leaving Las Vegas, Wild at Heart, Face/Off, Raising Arizona, and Vampire’s Kiss just to name a few.

   My only complaint that I had with this movie was that it seemed so short. That may be a good thing to some because the movie is so good that it goes by quickly, but for me, I wanted more. As soon as the movie reached around the one hour and twenty-minute mark, I got sad because it meant that there were only twenty minutes left in the movie, and I was having such a good time watching it that I didn’t want it to end.

   Overall, I thought The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was a clever, humorous, and fun ride that many people, especially fans of Cage’s work, will get a kick out of. 

   The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is currently only in theatres, but it will be receiving a Blu-Ray release in late June.