Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shitty Movie Review - The Wicker Man (2006)

I have been well aware of "The Wicker Man"'s reputation since it's theatrical release in 2006, and I had been meaning to watch it, but somehow just never got around to it. With many of the highlights of the film floating around the internet, I caught a mere glimpse that only whetted my appetite, but still I held off. That was until yesterday, and now I know how empty my life has been not having seen it. Colors are wore vibrant. Food tastes better. In short, "The Wicker Man" has changed my life.

I have always had a fondness for Nicolas Cage. On my list of actors whose movies I've seen the most, he ranks fourth (second if you only count starring roles). He deserves his own write-up, and I'll get to it eventually. In "The Wicker Man," he gives one of, if not the most memorable performances of his career. Delivering a bravura performance replete with classic Cage-isms and questionable acting decisions, the movie is further augmented with equally questionable direction by Neil Labute (who also wrote the screenplay) and inspired editing by Joel Plotch.

The plot of the movie follows Cage's character Edward Malus, a California police officer who, after witnessing a traumatic auto accident, finds himself called to the Washington state island of Summersisle by his estranged ex-fiancee Willow Woodward (played by constantly red-ringed, teary-eyed Kate Beahan) to investigate the disappearance of her daughter, Rowan. Once there, Cage is sucked into the mysteries of the island's community of predominantly female, lookalike beekeepers. There are numerous twists and turns as Cage learns that pretty much everything is not as it seems, and that everyone is in on the joke but him. The action and inadvertent comedy ramp up with stomach-pain-inducing laughter as Cage's character goes completely wacko in the end with some of the strangest dialog and set pieces ever committed to film.

Even the Youtube highlights don't do this film enough justice, as, in a rare case, the context of the clips actually makes them even more amusing than without. This movie really has to be seen to be believed. Nicolas Cage's performance straddles that fine line of "I really do care" to "I don't give a shit" acting, creating a multi-layered character portrayal that makes the viewer ponder, "Do I care?" (The answer is, "Hell yes, I do! This is hilarious!") Film and theater veteran Labute's direction further undermines any credibility the characters and story may have.

In short, this movie is truly a shitty movie masterpiece, fully deserving of it's cult status. Nicolas Cage has given many memorable performances, such as in "Moonstruck," "The Rock," "Adaptation," "Ghost Rider," and "Next," and "The Wicker Man" should be right there at the top. If you love shitty movies, there is no reason why this movie shouldn't be in your library.

My shitty movie rating: 10 turds out of 10. An instant classic!

(This review applies to the Unrated Edition.)

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