Friday, March 4, 2011

NIC CAGE MONTH: Amos and Andrew (1993)

Director: E. Max Frye
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson

Welcome to Nic Cage Month, everyone! All Nic Cage, all the time and our first movie is an interesting little comedy from 1993 called Amos and Andrew.

The movie’s title is a sort of pun on this old radio sketch comedy show that eventually evolved into a TV sketch comedy show, Amos and Andy. The show revolved around the comedic exploits of two guys wearing black facepaint named Amos and Andy – big shock. The movie…is a little different. In this film, Samuel L. Jackson plays a wealthy black writer who comes to a small island to relax and enjoy his summer when he gets mistaken for a burglar in his new house. Two dipshits alert the police as well as the fattest, nosiest reporter alive and then all hell breaks loose.

But wait! When the corrupt chief of police, striving to get elected yet again, realizes he messes up, he consults a very special prisoner in his ranks…Nic Cage! Yes, the first time you see Nic Cage in this movie, he’s in prison; is anyone really surprised? The corrupt cop tells Cage to go pretend to be a house-robber, but things go wrong when he breaks the deal he made with Cage and Cage starts taking his role a little too seriously. What follows is pretty much your standard Comedy of Misunderstandings, so snugly fit into that role that it could be trademarked.

The good thing about this movie is that it is a well constructed, by-the-books comedy with some dramatic elements to make the audience all teary eyed. It pretty much checks all the boxes for what these kinds of movies have to do. Our two main characters are vastly different – Nic Cage is brash and spontaneous, without much regard for the law, and Samuel Jackson is uptight with a chip on his shoulder about his race. Yeah, doesn’t that kind of sound like his character in Die Hard with a Vengeance? Did he just have some kind of contractual obligation to play characters like that in ’93?

"I reserve the right to remain silent." 

But anyway, yeah; the characters get into various tiffs and get their panties in a bunch a few times, they bond with one another and there are several scenes where they point out what is so different about them. It’s pretty much everything you would expect out of a comedy like this. The bad side is that while the movie doesn’t do anything wrong, it also doesn’t really go the extra mile and blow the audience away, either. It’s not a movie you’ll really look back at and remember as a great piece of poignant cinema. It’s enjoyable while it’s on, but Amos and Andrew won’t really stick in your head afterward.

The movie is mostly carried by the two actors, because honestly, could you tell me you would watch this movie if it didn’t have Samuel Jackson or Nic Cage in it? Anybody? No? I thought so. Jackson is good as the prestigious, indignant Andrew Sterling, but it’s really Cage who is the more interesting character. You get a lot of sympathy for him because the cops screwed him over, and I think my favorite moment in the entire film is his speech about sea monkeys somewhere in the movie’s second act. It’s really poignant and will make you want to cry.

"You better not."


So, yeah, check this movie out; it’s got some good moments here and there and certainly is at least a little bit of a gem. But there will be more outrageous discoveries to come in Nic Cage month…just you wait, readers.

Just you wait.

Pictures not mine, copyright of their original owners.