The movie career/trend with Liam Neeson continues. Momentum from the strength of the extremely good movie Taken, released in 2008, Neeson has made around 50 movies since then, and none of them come even close to the quality of Taken. One way of looking at this is that so many movies since Taken that are average or below average makes everyone appreciate how good Taken was 14 years ago. Another way of looking at this is, why is Neeson making so many average and bad movies? He has probably made more movies by far, than any other actor in Hollywood. Is it better to wait and then make a high quality production or risk damaging your career by making so many movies that are lower quality?
After seeing “Memory” – about a hit man with Alzheimer’s involved with a complicated series of hit man contracts – I was wondering how anyone who read this script would understand it, much less greenlight it. So why was this movie made? In this blog I have cited many times my theories of Hollywood deals, paybacks, favors and deals with friends. Quite simply this muddled and bad script should never have been made into a movie, because it is far from good enough. Unfortunately it seems that Neeson is involved in some kind of movie assembly line, where he just continues to act in bad productions (with 4 more in the pipeline) with total disregard to quality. Quantity over quality is never a good idea, within any industry.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Memory is a very low 30% and unfortunately I agree with this very low number and cannot recommend this mostly bad film.
In the history of Hollywood, there has probably never been a more unusual acting career than that of Nicholas Cage. On the top of the world, with a best acting Oscar in 1995 for “Leaving Las Vegas”, to some high profile and money making action movies, to some very bad real estate investments over several years, leaving him bankrupt and an acting career that was over, except for some very bad B movies that went straight to DVD. Then add 4 bad marriages, including even Lisa Marie Presley and Cage is now married for a 5th time as of February 2021.
The new movie with a strange title “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is the first time since 2009 and the release of “Knowing” that a Nicolas Cage movie has actually been released to theaters and not to DVD. Since 2009, Cage has made no less than an incredible 45 DVD movies that have never been released to theaters.
Ironically this film stars Nicolas Cage as himself along with the realities of his acting career and his huge financial debt, and his entire acting career dependent on the ever changing opinions of producers and directors that he has to sometimes beg to get an acting part. At one point in the early stages of this story, Cage actually tells his agent that he has decided to “quit acting”. Considering how bad things have been going for him for so long, is an easy decision to believe. The problem with acting in Hollywood is that even if you were at the top, it never means that you will stay there, and all it takes are a few huge financial bombs for other people in charge to consider you a losing proposition. If that happens, coming back can be almost impossible. Another example of this is Bruce Willis, who has been making bad B movies for almost as long as Cage.
With Nicolas Cage, he had to continue to make movies, to continue to pay off his debts caused by over spending and overleveraging himself into buying too many houses that eventually left him bankrupt. The brilliance of this film is that it shows for the first time, what it can be like to be someone like Nicolas Cage, coming to accept that his career in acting might never be close to what it was. We all like to see a success story from someone who has fallen and hopefully this new movie will mark a new beginning for Cage. However like Mickie Rourke proved in 2008 with “The Wrestler”, just because you make a comeback does not mean that your new success will last.
As far as this movie being funny, it is at certain points, but never laugh out loud funny. The premise is somewhat funny. “Cage is invited to visit the Island compound of a known Weapons dealer who is a huge fan, and before he knows it it is forced to work with the CIA as an informant”. What works here is the growing friendship between Cage and the Weapons dealer, played by Pedro Pascal and some of the scenes between Cage and the CIA agent played by Tiffany Haddish (who also has an incredible hardship story herself, before making it in Hollywood). This movie can be slow in certain areas, but there are enough interesting points that connect and ultimately keep your attention throughout the whole two hours.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this movie are a too high 89%, with my rating around 80% and a solid recommendation with the hope that Nicolas Cage has in fact made a major comeback.
In the world of producers and movie making, its all about buying that hot story before anyone else does, so down the road, if your lucky it might be made into a movie. True stories are always the best when it comes to movies, especially if the story is great and the film is made with quality. The surprising thing about “Father Stu” is that the story, which is good, does not seem strong enough to make a movie about. “A former boxer, down and out on his luck, tries to be an actor in Hollywood, and then a butcher in a Super Market, finds the right woman, only to get into a major Motorcycle accident where he is almost killed. While in a coma he sees a vision and wants to become a priest – only to get a rare muscle disease that robs him of most bodily functions”.
Not to give anything else away, most of this story is engrossing, although boring in too many areas, making what could have been much better just an average movie. The acting is good throughout with Mark Wahlberg as Father Stu, and Mel Gibson (who seems to have survived as an actor) as his father. The most interesting aspect of this production is the extreme weight loss and weight gain Mark Wahlberg had to do within the timeline of this story, that has to be very dangerous to anyone’s health.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Father Stu are an understandable 41% with a much higher audience rating. My rating is a passable 65% with no recommendation to see this film.