The Weather Man (2005)
“Who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand.” —Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat
Pros: Phedon Papamichael ‘s cinematography
Cons: piling on frustrations
I found it very hard to get into “The Weather Man,” a 2005 box-office bomb written by Steve Conrad for Nicolas Cage, who plays the title role (with the “stage name” Dave Spritz) and directed by “Pirates of the Caribbean” money-maker Gore Verbinski (who went on to another commercial disaster that was also a critical disaster in “The Lone Ranger” in 2013). Dave is frustrated by the silliness/meaninglessness of his job as a Chicago tv weather announcer with no meteorology education. People in passing cars keep hurling fast food products at him, perhaps not liking the weather or frustrated at its unpredictability or not liking him. Analyzing it, he concludes that food is thrown at clowns and that that is how he is seen.
I find it difficult to believe that a national broadcast could be considering hiring Dave. Nicolas Cage is undeniably a movie star despite his odd look, but a national tv weatherman?
Aside from “professional” “success,” he doesn’t really have the tribulations of Job. He alienated the wife he wants back, Noreen (Hope Davis), feels rejected by his successful novelist father (Michael Caine), and his children are somewhat troubled: his overweight daughter Shelly (Gemmenne de la Peña) whose peers call her “Camel Foot” and insists on clothes that maker her look absurd and attempting ballet with a totally unballerina figure, and Mike (Nicholas Hoult between “About a Boy” and “A Single Man”) who is in some kind of rehab for some kind of antisocial behavior. One of his counselors (Gil Bellows) wants to bed Mike, who does not respond positively.
Dave takes over the bow and arrow he bought for Shelly, when she expressed an interest in archery, which leads to some striking images of ice-encrusted targets. In the last half hour, there are a number of beautiful images and Dave’s father makes an attempt to reach out to the son who continues to disappoint him (not for his job, but for inappropriate behaviors of various kinds).
Dave is not likable, especially when he is recognized by autograph-seekers (I think he should be flattered, not least considering what a low opinion of his “profession” he has.) Nicolas Cage is good at puzzlement and at having difficulty keeping his temper; Michael Caine is capable of underplaying. I eventually had to sympathize some with Dave, if more with Noreen, whose irritations with him seem amply justified both before and after their divorce. The acting was good all-around, the writing less so, and the cinematography of Phedon Papamichael (The Descendants, Nebraska, 3:10 to Yuma) exceptionally good.
I think “Quiz Show” with similar father-son dynamics is better, but “The Weather Man” is better than many (probably most) Nicolas Cage movies.