Sunday, March 27, 2011

NIC CAGE MONTH: Bad Lieutentenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer
Director: Werner Herzog


Okay, before we get to...this...let's do a little introduction to director Werner Herzog. I'm not too familiar with his work, but I know that he is capable of doing very well-crafted films such as "Rescue Dawn". But then he pulls a stunt by making the documentary "Grizzly Man", which is to this day the funniest movie I have ever seen which was not suppose to be that funny. I do not know whether this is accidental or if he just has a weird sense of humor. Either way, that vibe can definitely be felt in this picture.

Sort of, but not really, based on the 1992 film "Bad Lieutenant" (haven't seen it, so I can't be sure), the film is actually for the most part a fairly gritty police drama. Terrance McDonagh, played by, you guessed it, Nicolas Cage, is a police officer in New Orleans who is injured on the job which gives him chronic back pain. This eventually leads him to become a drug addict, stealing from the evidence locker of his department and committing other immoral acts. In one particularly disturbing scene, he confronts a couple coming out of a club, confiscates their drugs, uses them, and then has sex with the woman right there in the parking lot. Yeah...he's not a very nice guy.

Anyway, he takes on this case involving a triple homicide, which he has to juggle with a number of other tasks, like paying off his bookie, dealing with his alcoholic father's dog, as well as his hooker girlfriend, played by Eva Menedes.
No, this is not that movie...Thank God...

None of this appears to be too unusual...until it gets to this one part where they zoom in on and alligator on the side of the road. Why? I don't know; its never really explained. This is when the film starts to get a little weird.

And by weird, I mean...this:

What the fu...really?! Almost full minute of iguanas?! WHY?!!! I mean, the obvious exclamation is that McDonagh is really high and is having a hallucination. But it does not take place from his point of view! Sure, there have been other films that have done this, but this doesn't seem to match up: it literally just looks like the camera man zooming in and out on the iguanas for no reason at all!!! What have you been smoking, Herzog?!

Ok, after...that...McDonagh volunteers to take care of a kid who witnessed the triple homicide. How does he do this? By snorting coke while driving the car they are in, getting into argument with a some douchebag who beat up his girlfriend, and then taking him to a casino. WORST. POLICE PROTECTION. EVER!

So after the kid runs off (can you blame him?), McDonagh confronts witness' grandmother at a retirement home where she is taking care of an elderly patient. Tired and stoned out of his mind, he proceeds to harass them, putting a gun to the grandmother's head and pulling out the old lady's oxygen tank. I know this sounds really awful, and it kind of is, a sick, dark, twisted way, it is actually really funny! I love the lines he says at the end of the scene about...well, I won't ruin it for you.

I will not get into too many more details because I do not want to spoil the rest of the film. Let's just say he gets into a lot more mischief, and yet somehow things seem to work out okay...sort of. Oh, and if you have seen the trailer for it where McDonagh says "Shoot him again...Because his soul is still dancing. HAHAHA!", definitely watch out for that part; it is hilarious! The last two lines of the film, particularly the last one, are great as well.

Overall, I would say that this is a decent movie. Aside from Val Kilmer not doing anything (he can't help it, he's Val Kilmer), the acting is pretty good (Cage has his fair share of his trademark "freak outs" in this one), and most of the subplots seem to come together pretty well. It is very slow paced and so it kind of drags during some parts. And as I have said before, despite most of the stuff I focused on, its a bit of a downer. Still, the scenes that I will always remember are the weird, trippy ones. They appear out of nowhere and just leave you bewildered and laughing. I don't know what Herzog was thinking when added those scenes, whether it fit with the character's mindset or to lighten the mood or some other reason. Whatever it is, I am glad they are in there.

I recommend this movie. I know it has gotten a lot of critical acclaim and some people are probably going to get annoyed with me for not taking it that seriously, but hey, I'm not trying to bash it; I'm just praising it from another prospective: the perceptive of the iguanas. Anyway, it's a good film by itself, but even if you don't feel like watching the whole thing, at least download some of the clips from YouTube. It's totally worth it.

Well, NIC CAGE MONTH is almost over. I don't know if this will be the last entry for the site, but it is for me (granted, it's also my only one, but, what can you do?). And so, I leave you with a few magical moments from Cage...when he did five commercials in Japan for a company called Pachinko. Enjoy:

These images and videos are not mine and are for entertainment purposes only. Please don't sue me.