Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in 48 Hrs, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street… every great action-comedy needs a couple of unlikely buddies at its centre and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is no exception!
In the hilarious meta-comedy, legendary movie star Nicolas Cage, no stranger to the action genre having dominated the mid-nineties with a string of high-octane hits including The Rock, Con-Air and Face/Off, pairs up with The Mandalorian himself, Pedro Pascal. Joining forces to first write a movie and then square off against an international crime syndicate, the duo of Javi (Pascal) and Nick Cage add a heart-warming and hilarious dose of bromance to the white-knuckle action.
With a career stretching back to the early eighties, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Nicolas Cage buddy-up, so to celebrate the release of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent on digital 8 July and SteelBook, 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD 11 July, we’ve taken a look back at Nicolas Cage’s best movie bromances!
RAISING ARIZONA (1987)
One of Cage’s most endearing characters, ‘Hi’ McDunnough is a small-time criminal who becomes motivated to turn his life around after falling for ‘Ed’ – the mug-shot taking police officer at the jail he gets to know a little bit better every time he’s thrown in the slammer.
While his regular stints in the big-house aren’t easy, Hi manages to get by thanks to the friendship of hulking brothers Gale (John Goodman) and Evelle Snoats (William H. Forsythe). When Hi gets out of jail and swears to live his life on the straight and narrow, he sets up a happy trailer-park home with Ed but the complicated living arrangements – unable to have kids themselves, Hi and Ed have stolen a baby to raise as their own – only get worse when the Snoats brothers escape from prison and turn up on Hi’s doorstep. While Hi is pleased to see his big-house buds, Ed’s patience runs thin and soon asks the beer-guzzling brothers to leave. Not taking kindly to this request, the boys soon start eyeing the reward offered for the return of the baby… Hi is about to suffer much worse than a hangover from his prison pals… An early highlight in his off-kilter career, the Coen brothers provided a platform for one of Cage’s key early performances in their madcap and much loved comedy. With one of his strongest looks (the moustache, wild hair and colourful shirts is a solid look for any Cage-cosplay!) Cage adds humour and heart to a character who just can’t help finding himself on the wrong side of the law. Raising Arizona is also notable for instigating a real-life bromance – John Goodman would get along so well with the Coen brothers on this first collaboration he’d become a regular on their sets for years to come!
THE ROCK (1996)
After a string of performances in critically-acclaimed character-driven features including Peggy Sue Got Married and Moonstruck, The Cage would head on an explosive new trajectory cementing himself as the biggest action star of the 90s. To do this he needed a little help… enter James Bond himself, Sean Connery! Master of the big-budget action spectacular Michael Bay would put the pair together in The Rock, with Cage playing chemical weapons specialist Dr. Stanley Goodspeed and Connery as John Mason, an incarcerated criminal and the only man to escape the infamous Alcatraz prison alive. When a group of well-trained terrorists take over Alcatraz, now a tourist spot, and threaten the nearby city of San Francisco with deadly gas-loaded rockets, it’s up to Mason to lead the mild-mannered Goodspeed onto the island to diffuse the situation. Unsure of each other at first, Goodspeed soon begins to understand the ageing escape artists’ chequered past, and the two eventually put their lives on the line for each other. With Connery adding grizzled charm and action chops to the senior role, Cage brings his quirky persona to the action blockbuster. The film was a huge success and we’ve been able to see Nicolas Cage continue to bring the action to this day. It could have been very different however, Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally approached for the role… luckily he didn’t like the script!
CON AIR (1997)
Ok, we’ll admit that Nicolas Cage and the bunny from Con Air might not be a classic movie bromance… but hear us out! When audiences think of Con Air they will remember Cage’s beautiful long hairdo, John Malkovich’s wicked villain and of course the cuddly bunny that goes along for the wild, action-packed ride. In one of his most iconic roles, Cage plays Cameron Poe, an incarcerated US Army Ranger who’s just been released on parole and is being flown home aboard a prison plane from San Quentin. Poe is due to see his young daughter upon landing so has brought along a cuddly bunny toy for her as a gift. However, when the plane is hijacked by a group of vicious convicts, the outlook for both Poe and his long-eared friend is less than… fluffy. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, a hijacker goes through Poe’s belongings discovering the bunny and prompting the enduring Cage line ‘put the bunny back in the box’, before he’s brutally killed by an enraged Cage. Much like our hero, the bunny is put through wringer in Con Air. Bedraggled and filthy after just about surviving the explosive carnage, Poe’s plush companion pulls through to the end and is received warmly by his young daughter. It’s been suggested by some that the bunny is the most important character in Con Air, because of what it represents. We’re not 100% sure about that but we do know one thing… Cage sure loved that bunny!
SEASON OF THE WITCH (2011)
Sporting a luxuriant hair-do to match Con Air, Cage teams up with fellow Hollywood veteran Ron Perlman in Season of the Witch, a magical, mediaeval adventure about two Teutonic Knights on a mission in 13th century Austria. Our two heroes are Behmen von Bleibruck (Cage) and Felson (Perlman), who are battle-weary after years of fighting in the Crusades. Although they bonded during the bloody heat of the battle, they are starting to fear their actions may not have been as righteous and just as they first believed. When they are asked by a plague-riddled Cardinal (played by horror legend Christopher Lee) to escort a woman accused of witchcraft to a remote monastery where she will be tried, all hell literally breaks loose! The film is anchored by the infectious bromance between von Bleibruck and Felson, complete with dodgy accents and plenty of infatuated glances between the pair – Season of the Witch is about as cheesy as they come. A fantastically fun romp packed with magic, mullets and many a vintage Cage moment.
THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT (2022)
In this wildly entertaining, action-packed comedy, Nicolas Cage plays… Nick Cage! Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalised version of Cage accepts a million-dollar offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous superfan (Pedro Pascal). Bonding over their love of old movies, sharing a hair-raising drug-induced road trip, and a visit to a surreal Nicolas Cage memorabilia room, the pair become fast friends and decide to make a movie together… only for their plans to take a wrong turn as the unlikely duo find themselves on the run from crazed gangsters, with the lives of themselves and their families on the line! While we all know what to expect from a wild Nicolas Cage ride, Pedro Pascal proves a delight as his superfan friend and the pair form a match made in buddy-comedy heaven!
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is on digital, SteelBook, 4K UHD, Blu-ray & DVD now.