21 March 2008

I'm Finding it Harder to Call Nicolas Cage a Talentless Hack

I have seen a lot of Nicolas Cage movies. This is not because I think he's special and I seek him out in whatever vehicle I can find him. Au contraire. Cage is one of those ubiquitous actors that shows up in lots and lots of movies. He's sort of the male Renee Zellweger, a somewhat ordinary-looking person who, for some unknown reason, keeps getting cast in starring roles.

So, I've seen "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", "Peggy Sue Got Married", "Raising Arizona", "Moonstruck", "Honeymoon in Vegas", "Guarding Tess", "It Could Happen to You", "City of Angels", "The Family Man", "The Weather Man", "Matchstick Men", ... I even tried to slog through "National Treasure". And nobody would call me a "movie person" but there it is. How can you NOT see Nicolas Cage movies, as they are everywhere?

Recently we sat down to watch "Next" on Pay-Per-View. Yeah, we paid to see yet another Nicolas Cage movie but we only paid $3.99 (Do you all know the price of movies in the theater now?! OH MY GOD! But I digress...) I gotta say, Cage, who is front and center in this movie, didn't suck. His acting, or overacting, as I would have said in the past, is now a lot more nuanced. I liked "Next", the story of a man who is pursued by the government to help them stop a terrorist attack because he has the gift/curse of being able to see a few minutes into the future. This is an entertaining film with a great premise and enough action and twists to keep you engaged until the end. I give it 3 jujubees out of 4.

We also watched another movie recently that Nicolas Cage wasn't in. I know, I was shocked, too. Maybe it was because it was made before he was born.

We watched "Gaslight" on Turner Classic Movies (i.e., free. Have I mentioned the price of movies in the theater these days?!?! Oh, right. Anyhoo...) The movie was good but that's not what I want to talk about. It IS a classic and if you haven't seen it, do so, because you are now the last person on earth who hasn't seen it and, you know, that's just awkward.

What I wanted to mention was a peeve of mine that this movie exemplifies: why cast an actor with the wrong accent?! In "Gaslight", Ingrid Bergman, perhaps the most famous Swede of all time with her thick Swedish accent, is cast as a Londoner! But, wait, it gets worse. They cast Charles Boyer, the quintessential French man, as an Italian! His accent is so famous as the epitome of the French romantic that Mel Blanc based Pepe Le Pew's voice on him!

Yes, Bergman and Boyer were great actors and did a fine job in this film but please! Why not change the locations or cast people that can at least approximate the right accent? Hearing Ingrid's natural accent was at least preferable to hearing her perform a very bad impression of a London accent, which happens quite a bit in movies, too, and is way more distracting.

On the plus side for this film, a very young Angela Lansbury has a supporting role and displays her quite authentic London accent!

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