Tag Archive: national treasure


Celebrate!

Image from IMDb.com

Next week, this time we will be on the second leg of summer. Fireworks will have been spent and the flags will hang while waiting for a breeze.

This week, we need to celebrate. Hang that flag, fluff out those red, white and blue planters. Desserts at picnics will include cookies with red, white and blue icing. My favorite is the coolwhip cake that has strawberries and blueberries making a flag.

So what should you watch if the rain comes and forces everyone in the house?

The first movie on my list (surprise, surprise) is National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage, Justin Bartha and Diane Kruegar. Cage has been following a crazy dream of his family’s that involves a treasure of the ages hidden by the founding fathers who were masons. OK, so the plot sounds a little crazy and convoluted. But think of the places these guys visit. The Smithsonian, Jefferson’s Memorial, the Liberty Bell, Trinity Church. All are treasured historical places, all have deep meaning to the founding of our country.

When Cage waxes poetic on the founding fathers, you know it is something the character truly believes. Plus, this is a movie that all members of the family can watch.

Image from IMDb.com

There are a variety of movies that explore the various fights for freedom. Many of them are not appropriate for younger children due to the level of violence they contain. One example is The Patriot starring Mel Gibson which has an “R” rating. The story is about a retired soldier who is avoiding service in the army as the Declaration of Independance. After his second oldest son is killed, Gibson joins the fight by teaching his group guerilla tactics that were initially disruptive to the Gentlemen warriors of King George’s army.

Jason Issacs is perhaps one of the best villians in this movie as the brutal Gen. Tarlington. But keep in mind that this movie is not historically accurate. Tarlington did not do all of these evil deeds although the real guy was truly hated by his own side.  

Image from IMDb.com

Now for a movie with all of the bells and whistles of Americans standing up to invading forces how about Independence Day? When forces from the sky decide to invade or country, it will take a number of people to take back the country including the president as portrayed by Bill Pullman, scientist Jeff Goldblum and fighter pilot Will Smith. See this movie on the biggest screen you can find and understand that the movie is loud. Very loud.

Would you expect anything less as planes zoom over New York and the ‘rebels’ find their way to Area 51 to fight off the space invaders? I hape not because you know there are spectacular explosions and sad deaths taht will have you crying.

Image from IMDb.com

Finally, I share this last suggestion because I do believe words are as  powerful as action. And I believe that it is ok to hae emotions. You can see The American President for the romantic dramedy that it is. Or you can see it for the serious treatise on American politics that it dips the toes into being. There is a lot to love in this movie. Annette Bening, Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, Richard Dreyfus. They might play the game from different end but they play it for the same reason – love of country.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Do you find that one actor or actress gets to you in the way that no other performer does?

If this was my second oldest child answering, he would say Johnny Depp.

Nicholas Cage who is six day younger than myself; Image from IMDb.com

For me, it is Nicholas Cage.

I have no idea why but I will stop my world to watch a Nicholas Cage movie – good or bad.

Lately one of the stations has been showing Ghost Rider over and over. I have been watching when I get a chance for the pure chutzpah of it all. How Cage will look in a mirror and smack his choppers, making that hollow sound of bones crashing together.

He takes total joy in the pursuit of evil and bringing in those who prey upon their fellow man.

Then this same actor makes National Treasure. The history geek in me loves this movie and all of the facts – or semi-real facts – it presents. All along, Cage’s character waxes poetic about the meaning of the Constitution. When his assistant, Justin Bartha, states that people don’t talk that way, Cage responds with “But they feel that way.” As he says it, I know deep in my heart he truly believes in that line.

There is sincerity in that statement. What Cage has been working for the last few years is creating characters with sincerity.

In his early career, Cage had a tendency to overact. Watch him in Moonstruck. There is a constant  “over-the-top” feeling. He won’t get beyond it for several years. But then he did Guarding Tess  (1994) with Shirley MacLaine and Leaving Las Vegas (1995) with Elizabeth Shue.

His acting changed, he became more real despite some of the outrageousness. Whatever was going on in the story, Cage became the calm inside of the storm. But he also worked to be interesting without being weird.

Adaptation allowed him to play two roles – the blocked writer working on a novel-to-screenplay adaptation and the outgoing twin brother who easily writes a screenplay and sells it almost instantly. The movie is about the creation of movies and a writer’s dip into a deadly underbelly of orchids (of all things).

Another great movie from this period is Matchstick Men in which Cage and Sam Rockwell are con men, making the biggest con of their careers that will allow for retirement. Cage is suffering from OCD which makes doing jobs harder and harder. Then he discovers he has a daughter from his brief marriage.

I love this movie for the highs and lows, the wins and the losses. I love it for Cage’s performance. I feel the same way about The Family Man, The Weatherman, National Treasure and World Trade Center. These performances are about character studies and people going through tough situations in really messy ways.

In the last few years, there have been news stories about Cage’s need to pay off tremendous debt. He has made some incredible popcorn movies, relying on those great acting skills in movies that are B-level. What we don’t always get is that he makes them watchable. How bad could his latest movie, Drive Angry, had gotten if he did not play it serious.

Considering I believe he made The Sorcerer’s Apprentice  better than it should have been, it is my feeling he has saved many of these lesser movies. But the real question is will Cage ever get back to making the better movies he is capable of doing?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.