Monday, July 10, 2006

The Weather Man

We've watched quite a few movies recently, and will probably watch more now that we've found a great video store with a much deeper selection than Rogers Video. This weekend's feature was The Weather Man, starring Nicholas Cage.

I liked it. One blogger's review cites it as "the most relentlessly pessimistic mainstream American film that I have ever seen," but Roger Ebert rightly points out that "Every bad movie is depressing. No good movie is depressing."

The story about a weatherman who, despite trying hard to do the right thing and earn the respect of the people around him, continually fails and further sabotages his own life, felt very true. The first critic I referred to writes:

The Weather Man seems to be telling us that over time you become a shell of the person you once were and a pathetic, ever decreasing fraction of the person you one day hoped to be. You will squander potential and become incapable of giving meaningful love to anyone you care about. This doesn't happen as a result of some huge disaster or tragic mistake, no, this happens as a result of hundreds of minuscule failures every day. As you might imagine, this is excruciating to watch.


I've seem some tough-to-watch characters. Most of the characters in Happiness, for example. Crumb has some painful moments. Just because it's uncomfortable doesn't automatically make it bad or unworthy.

Cage's character, David Spritz, learns some things through the course of the film, gaining some insight and traction in his life, even if he doesn't get what he thinks he wants.

"Do you know," his father asks him, "that the harder thing to do and the right thing to do are usually the same thing?" As someone with a job that is among the less punishing occupations on the planet, it rings true to hear Spritz' dad point out that "Nothing that has meaning is easy. 'Easy' doesn't enter into grown-up life."

Spritz has something of an epiphany moment toward the end of the film. He doesn't exactly end up happy, but resigning himself to where he's steered himself through the winds of life, he realizes:

I remember once imagining what my life would be like, what I'd be like. I pictured having all these qualities, strong positive qualities that people could pick up on from across the room. But as time passed, few ever became any qualities that I actually had. And all the possibilities I faced and the sorts of people I could be, all of them got reduced every year to fewer and fewer. Until finally they got reduced to one, to who I am. And that's who I am, the weather man.


To someone whose life has turned out just how they'd hoped, and is able to say and do the right things with a consistency that leads them to the desired end phenomena, it may just seem like a sad story with no point. But I felt a kinship with the lead character, 'cuz, as that blogger said, "One feels at every turn, no matter how disgraceful his behavior, that he's just a guy trying to do what seems right to him in that moment."

To watch soon: Anchorman. I hear it's a little different.

Update on the TV show audition: After the casting call, I made the first cut, down to 120 people across six cities. Went back for a callback on the weekend, including a camera test in front of the panel and interviews with my support team. Next cut, down to 30 people, will be done July 24th. Shout-outs to the production staff who were curious enough to visit here, and kind enough to say nice things about my stuff.

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