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Bringing Out the Dead


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๐ŸŽ™️ EPISODE 381: 11.05.21
Starting in 2020, I decided to watch & review the entire Nicolas Cage filmography in alphabetical order. This is ๐”—๐”ฅ๐”ข ๐”œ๐”ข๐”ž๐”ฏ ๐”ฌ๐”ฃ โ„ญ๐”ž๐”ค๐”ข – Chapter 12.

Man, I don't even know where to start with this one. This headache-inducing wannabe thriller is mainly about how NYC is gross AF. But also amazing. It's kind of a character in the movie tbh. Have you ever noticed that before? How like a CITY can be a CHARACTER in a FILM. Yeah, me neither. Leave it to ole Marty Score Sez Hee to blow our minds yet again. ๐Ÿ™ƒ
There honestly ain't whole lot here plot-wise. Cage plays an EMT who is losing his mind and the film essentially follows him over the course of a few days as he spends a trio of shifts with, in order: John Goodman, Ving Rhames and Tom Sizemore. Threading a bunch of crazy 1999 music video ass looking sequences...
...are the Patricia Arquette's dying dad + Patricia Arquette's childhood friend and neighbor (a dreadlocked Marc Anthony, no— seriously) dueling narratives. Oh, and also something something about a killer street drug called Red Death.

To say that it's all half-baked or under-cooked is an understatement. There's really nothing here, which is a shocker since this is the product of two worthy vets in Scorsese and the great screenwriter / filmmaker in his own right Paul Schrader. Still, it's somehow not a complete failure; the performances save it, as do specific, highly entertaining moments within this otherwise disjointed mess. Cage is, for the most part, beaten down, depressed, lost. Save for a few classic Cageian freakouts, he is actually letting his trio of fellow EMTs do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to the crazy.

It's a still bleak affair, however. I mean, just look at this hospital...


I felt dirty just watching this thing. They say this is set in the early 1990s but it borders on caricature in its drastically violent and covered in grime portrait of The City, for any era.

This movie also greatly suffers from something I'd like to call Marty Jukebox Syndrome. In addition to a forgettable original score by Elmer Bernstein, there are no less than 200 pop songs played in short intervals, seemingly back-to-back at all moments; most of it is godawful blues-rock but there's the occasional good track (eg., "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory") but then we're immediately bombarded with more ear-piercing blues-rock and nondescript incidental music. Even, the best pop tune in the film, REM's "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" loses its punch in this context...


Also, Marty inserts his own voice into this thing as the character of radio control guy. And it is just such a bad sound editing job + performance. It's not funny and it sounds like crap...


And while — yes — I understand that the tone of this review is giving off very bad vibes, you likely won't have a truly bad time watching it. The performances are just too good. All three of Cage's co-stars have their moments. Allow me to now rank them from worst to first in terms of how entertaining they are...

#3. John Goodman

This is not at a knock, being picked third. I love Goodman. It has more to do with the surprisingly great work of the other two.

#2. Tom Sizemore

Sizemore is the film's most over-the-top character, a true psycho, and he — of course — is the right actor for THAT role.

#1. Ving Rhames

This was the biggest surprise of the whole damn thing for me (rewatching it after maybe15-20 years). Rhames is just so naturally funny; I forgot about that. (That 2nd scene is kinda played out — I think it might have been in the trailer? — but it still rules.)

I don't know. I don't have much else to say. I just didn't feel like doing a whole plot recap for this one. Didn't feel right. I guess I could've mentioned the drug dealer character Cy, because his whole through-line is so comically underwritten that it can't help being unintentionally funny when he ends up impaled on a balcony railing. But hey, New York Fucking City, baby, am I right? ...


Anyway, I'm giving this one a 6. Just like every other Marty movie, it seems. More like Marty Sixsese, if you ask me!

THE VERDICT: 6 CAGES OUT OF 10 • CLICK HERE for all ๐”—๐”ฅ๐”ข ๐”œ๐”ข๐”ž๐”ฏ ๐”ฌ๐”ฃ โ„ญ๐”ž๐”ค๐”ข Chapters + Ongoing Rankings.

CHRONOLOGICALLY
EPISODE 380 - (YOU ARE HERE) - EPISODE 382 ⫸

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