The Weather Man is one of the most flawed and ambitious movies of the year. I’m grading it on a curve because I love risk and innovation. It’s flawed because it never really gets around to a coherent thought, yet ambitious due to its numerous themes mixed with clever biting dialogue. If it comes down to seeing a well executed film that isn’t about much or a mini disaster that shoots for the stars give me the disaster every time. There is a certain beauty to the failure, a certain grace to the fiasco.
Describing the plot is a tough task on a film as random as The Weather Man. If you took Falling Down and crossed it with American Beauty you’d be pretty close. It has rage and anger in spades, but also moments of introspection too. Nic Cage plays David Spritz, a broken and lonely weather forecaster, a man begging for attention at every turn. He’s not a meteorologist; he’s just a guy who reads their predictions.
He’s often wrong and gets things thrown at him such as Frostees or Big Gulps. This is a strange plot device that ranges from absurd to effective depending on how much you are willing to suspend disbelief. Cage plays the role with ample amounts of melancholy and regret. He’s the guy who tries hard to be liked but comes off as selfish most of the time. He’s got a few kids and an ex-wife who put up with his nonsense to varying degrees.
Spritz’s father (Michael Caine) is a literary giant who oozes genius. He won the Pulitzer at 32 (just like Ebert), and in comparison Spritz sees himself as less than zero to his father, which affects his entire life. Nicholas Hoult plays the Spritz’s son and if you remember him from About a Boy you’ll be highly creeped out here no matter how good his work is.
I’d be remiss at this point if I didn’t mention Chris Marrs who kicks off the movie with Cage in a tremendous DMV scene. He hits perfect pitch and starts the movie out with a subtle and effective bang as the personification of Cage’s “not so adoring” fans. Marrs is able to set up the type of weather man we are dealing with. This helps us better comprehend what follows. I hope we see more of this young actor soon.
Where does The Weather Man become unhinged? It’s all filmed rather bleakly, which wears you down emotionally. You often wonder where exactly the point or plot is headed. When it’s good it is really good, and the ending is really something to appreciate.
This is a film about lost potential and forsaken relationships, about a man who desperately wants change on every plain of his existence. You should see it in the next few weeks while you have the chance. It’s better to risk all than try for nothing. For that, The Weather Man deserves some box office love.