PSA: Nicolas Cage Has a Serious Movie Coming Out. It’s Called ‘Joe.’
I was all ready to pull up Nic Cage’s IMDb and do some good movie/bad movie accounting to try to deduce if his recent work has been less goofy and insane than his reputation might suggest. Then I stopped, because at least on the Internet, that reputation is just too mighty. Cage needs to make some big moves. He needs what my colleagues call, in regard to Matthew McConaughey’s suddenly ridiculously vital career, a McConaissance. Is David Gordon Green’s Joe the vehicle? (There’s even a bonus “back to the heavy stuff” narrative for Green, who started out directing dramas like George Washington and Snow Angels before going on to helm Pineapple Express and almost half of Eastbound & Down.)
In Joe, based on a 1992 novel by Southern writer Larry Brown, Cage smokes and has a beard and drives a honking GMC. There’s not one whiff of national treasure or ghost riders. The plot is one of rural poverty, which, for better or for exploitative worse, has lent itself to strong films lately. Joe costars teen actor Tye Sheridan, who maybe-not-coincidentally appeared in 2013’s Mud, a key part of the McConaissance and another story of a boy’s bond with a grizzled man.
Most importantly and rarely, Cage looks like he’s underplaying the role without mentally checking out. Don’t just trust the trailer on that, though — The Playlist saw Joe at the Venice Film Festival and said Cage indeed “goes easy on the high volume and bug-eyes that have been something of a crutch of late.” Our own Wesley Morris, on the other hand, saw the film in Toronto and likened the viewing experience to getting cancer. But I think the trailer makes me feel feelings. So can we just plan, or at least hope, that this kicks off the ReCagening and brings us a few solid years of work as good as Adaptation and Bad Lieutenant?