The Weather Man

YEAR: 2005

WRITER: Steve Conrad

DIRECTOR: Gore Verbinski

BUDGET: $35 million (estimated)

DOMESTIC GROSS: $12 469 811

i remember watching the trailers for The Weather Man back a couple years ago and being really interested in seeing the film. it seemed quirky and interesting and looked to have its own take on the typical 'what-is-my-life-all-about-and-what-is-important' storyline. 

having said that, i wasn't able to get to it in the theater and it ended up on my long want-to-see list.  well, this past week i finally saw it, and i really liked it.  While the general impression i got from the trailers was right, it was a lot more interesting and original in its voice then i had anticipated. 

nicholas cage plays a local chicago weather man (david spritz).  he is divorced, has two kids and a father who has won a pulitzer prize and met with presidents.  his relationship with his kids is distant and his job has provided him with an amount of fame that leads to some people asking for his autograph and others throwing food at him on the street.  he is also applying for the job of the weather man on a big network morning show with bryant gumble ala the today show.

like i said.  at this point i know it sounds like a fairly generic piece of hollywood cinema.  however, it really isn't.  the tone of the film is very independent cinema, with characters that aren't as one would expect and laughs that come from a slightly darker place then your normal big hollywood comedy.  as an example of what i'm talking about, let us take a look at david's dad, robert spritzel, played very well by michael caine.

robert is a brilliant, well educated and accomplished man who probably didn't think his son was going to be a weather man.  normally, we would expect lots of talk about how disappointed he is in his son, and how distant and emotionally unavailable he was as a father.  however, that is not what you get in The Weather Man.  in fact, one of the first comments david makes about his dad (via a voice over) is how good a father he was. 

that one statement and how caine's character is portrayed throughout the film was like a breath of fresh air and just one example of how steve conrads script decided to go beyond convention in telling its story.  that also helps in making the real genuine moments between characters feel genuine and not just some sort of manipulative device to make you care.

i have talked about voice-overs before, and about how i don't have the negative reaction to them that some people do, and in this film the v.o. is great.  it isn't used to tell the audience things that they can show us and it is actually pretty insightful into who david spritz is and how he thinks:

The first time I was struck with something, a chicken breast from Kenny Rogers. I was standing next to a garbage pail. I thought it might've been an accident, that they were throwing it out. The second time, it hit me square on the chin, a soft taco. Then, pop. A falafel. McNuggets. Always fast food. Fast food. Shit people would rather throw out than finish. It's easy. It tastes all right, but it doesn't really provide you any nourishment.  I'm fast food.

The Weather Man is a movie about family, about mid-life crisis, about finding out who we are and about making the decisions that need to be made even though, to quote robert spritzel, "Do you know that the harder thing to do and the right thing to do are usually the same thing? Nothing that has meaning is easy. "Easy" doesn't enter into grown-up life."

well i have to disagree with him on this one case, cause in this case the right thing to do is to watch The Weather Man, and given how poorly it did at the box office it probaly won't be that hard to find an available copy at your local video store.