Positive forecasts
for 'Weatherman'
Posted November 4, 2005

A combination of intelligent dialogue, excellent cinematography, stellar acting and thought-provoking messages give “The Weatherman” a promising forecast in the box office.

Popular Chicago weatherman Dave Spirtz (Nicolas Cage) is on top of the world in his professional life: a great salary, a television personality and a relatively easy job. He even has the opportunity to make it into the big time when a national morning television show offers him an audition in New York.

However, Spirtz’s personal life is in complete disarray. His hostile divorce, pot-smoking teenage son in rehab, overweight daughter and father’s illness keep Spirtz on the edge of insanity. His hectic life combines with the ups and downs of being in the television’s limelight. Fans are constantly approaching him either asking him for an autograph or the weather. Unfortunately, in the city of Chicago, weather is not necessarily the most inspiring topic to report. Every few months, Spirtz is smacked with fast food by passing cars.

Spirtz hopes his chance in New York will bring order back to his chaotic life. Also, the illness of Spirtz’s father takes his life, Spirtz hopes to prove to his Pulitzer Prize-winning father (Michael Caine) that his son’s life is not worthless. However, with every attempt Spirtz makes to improve his situation or impress his father, his efforts are tragically foiled. Nothing seems to be going right, and eventually Spirtz will find even grown-ups can learn life lessons.

The dialogue and imagery drive the movie to the essence of a clever, intelligent drama. Although the film’s scenes are slow paced and lack quick action, they instead intrigue the audience through the character’s dialogue and movements.

Spirtz narrates the movie through his inner dialogue. ?These moments where Spirtz wanders into his own train of thought are random, shocking, witty and sarcastic—and strongly exemplify real-life.

The images on the screen follow Spirtz’s inner dialogue flashing images or his memories.

For example, as Spirtz recalls all the fast food items he has been struck with, the audience takes a trip with him down memory lane: A burrito whacking the side of his head, a Big Gulp splashing onto his overcoat and chicken nuggets colliding with his face.

It’s through Spirtz’s inner monologue that the audience also finds the importance of life with the depressed weatherman. Amidst all the negativity, the audience will find laughter in Spirtz’s random thoughts and the repetition of unlucky breaks. The comedy is somewhat dark and will provide the audience with some deeper after-thoughts.

The icy, gloomy setting of Chicago proved ideal for the mood of the movie. The film uses references to weather to express his personal and professional turmoil. The changes in Chicago’s weather match Spirtz’s life changes: cold and getting colder.

The weatherman takes on an unusual hobby of archery, partly from his daughter’s spontaneous interest and to relieve stress.

“The Weatherman” uses the metaphor of wind to convey Spirtz’s inner conflicts with change and control.

As Spirtz cannot predict which way the wind will move for Chicago or his arrow, neither can he predict how his life will turn out. As much as he takes wind into consideration in his hobby and profession, he cannot control it.

Cage offers a real-life performance of a middle-aged working man trying to find himself among life’s chaos. Most of his impressive acting stands out in his inner monologue and emotional outbursts.

Cage and Caine give a realistic portrayal of a father and son who simply don’t understand each other. Although sometimes overlooked as good acting, the silent awkward moments between the characters at times give greater insight than their dialogue.

Cage and his children realistically convey a family that lacks communication and stability.

From a young adult figuring out their future plans to a middle-aged professional reshaping his or her life, “The Weatherman” can touch a wide audience hoping to find what it takes to make it through the madness of life.

Nicole Knight can be reached at nknight@ulv.edu.

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