MOVIE #1,346 • 🍿🍿🍿🍿 • 02.02.24 Starting in 2020, I decided to watch & review the entire Nicolas Cage filmography in alphabetical or...


The Boy in Blue

MOVIE #1,346 • 🍿🍿🍿🍿 • 02.02.24

Starting in 2020, I decided to watch & review the entire Nicolas Cage filmography in alphabetical order. This is 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔜𝔢𝔞𝔯 𝔬𝔣 ℭ𝔞𝔤𝔢 – Chapter 55.

First off, weclome back to "The Year of Cage" and also: how the hell did I miss this one? Sure, it's a Canadian biopic that was a commercial and critical bomb, but it’s one of Cage's first true starring roles. I apologize for the oversight. Look at our young, totally ripped boy go! The film is based on a true story about the life of Toronto “sculler” Ned Hanlan and was filmed in Ontario, though partially set in Philadelphia and Boston. This is a sports movie but the sport is rowing. In other words, I am already bored! It has one of the most awkward PG-13 sex scenes I've ever seen…


So the plot here is that he's kicked out of Canada for doing awkward sex (?) and taken under the wing of a sketchy rowboat racing mogul (??) who eventually becomes his buddy, and he takes Cage to Philadelphia (it's interesting that two of his earliest roles are set in a period version of Philly — see also Birdy). The Vangelis Lite score is mixed really loudly…


So Cage gets a new rowboat and he starts practicing. He gets a fancy new blue sweater because the movie has its title for a reason. Title drop…


We meet gambler/villain man Colonel Christopher Plummer and Cage finishes second in the first qualifying race. Afterwards he almost get in a bar fight but escapes by hiding under a prostitute’s dress…


He wins a silver medal in the first big race and he becomes an instant celeb on the banks of the Schuylkill River. Cage cost Plummer a lot of money so naturally the latter wants in on this Cage rowing business and he softly blackmails him by saying he's the only one who can keep him from being deported back to Canada. He also becomes immediately smitten by Plummer’s niece. We see some proto Cage Rage at a high society party when he bugs out on a would-be Harvard boy suitor….


She is not impressed and slaps him in the face. Depressed, he gets so drunk that he loses the next race as a 2-1 favorite. He still won't sign on with Plummer so he gets thrown in jail for the crime of being Canadian. He has no choice but to get into the Plumming business. But the love interest makes sure he gets better than a 50/50 split on future winnings. She's keen on him after all ;)

Plummer sets him up with a kooky, hard-ass trainer a la Mickey in Rocky. He makes him do a lot of push-ups and Cage starts winning trophies. Random aside: the movie poster for this is so funny. You would never know it's a rowing period piece. Here's the scene where they got that still from. He gets the girl a puppy…


She tearfully tells him that she's engaged to the Harvard boy. And that she only led him on out of Plummer's insistence.

They go to Boston where it's not looking like Cage has a shot against a hotshot mean dude rower with a mustache. Plummer really doesn't have much to do in this one, acting wise, but he arranges for Cage’s old manager to come up to “inspire” him…


I was looking forward to Plummer but he's mostly an afterthought here. The “inspiration” was actually hiring the old manager to sabotage mustache man's boat but the honorable Cage tips him off because he wants to beat this guy fair and square. But he pisses Cage off during the race and Cage rams his boat. He gets disqualified and banned from rowing in the USA… for life! Well, that took a turn.

Nevertheless, he returns to his homeland a hero. Cage cries at the welcome and let’s just say his acting chops are not quite honed yet…


Still, there's something. This is the magic of Cage: even when he's bad, he's good and he's capable of being bad in so many different ways. Which is good. Got it?

He teams up with the old guy who built his first boat and starts training for the world championships. They go back to the States to try to get Plummer to put some dough down on him in the international match and Cage uses the opportunity to take off his shirt in front of Mr. Harvard and his true love…


Plummer decides to double-cross Cage but the girl tips him off and they bone. I originally thought this was a TV movie but we see her boobs so I guess not.

The mechanics of the betting and the scheme on both sides are muddy at best, but you can't argue with editing this good….


Plummer instructs him that he'll give him a boatload (pun intended) of money if he throws the race. He accepts. But then he marries the girl and sends back the money? This is needlessly confusing and, again, extremely rushed and poorly edited. But Plummer is pissed…


He does some conniving shenanigans with Cage's old manager as we head to the Thames in England for the big race. Mustache man from Boston is there. It's clear right away that his old mentor has sabotaged his boat. He tries to fix the boat mid-race but can't, so the guilt-stricken manager jumps into the water to give him a tool? You would think taking this much time would have obliterated his chances…


…but of course it doesn't. He wins. This is such a subtly nonsensical movie.

The movie ends with a freeze frame as Cage and the old manager are about to beat up some of Plummer's thugs. The postscript text is hilarious…


This is the kind of stupid film your parents would probably eat up. Other than the novelty of seeing a young, buff, wholly unseasoned Cage in action, there's nothing here. And I was especially disappointed in the lack of Plummer: both in terms of screen-time and him giving a shit. Oh well. Next up, we have another missed A-Z entry: Cage's second 2020s western, Butcher's Crossing.


THE VERDICT: 4 CAGES OUT OF 10 • CLICK HERE for all 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔜𝔢𝔞𝔯 𝔬𝔣 ℭ𝔞𝔤𝔢 Chapters + Ongoing Rankings.


CHRONOLOGICALLY
⫷ MOVIE #1,345 - (YOU ARE HERE) - MOVIE #1,347 ⫸

The Boy in Blue is a 1986 Canadian drama film directed by Charles Jarrott and starring Nicolas Cage. The film, which was written by Douglas Bowie and co-produced by Steve North, John Kemeny, and Denis Héroux, was distributed by 20th Century Fox. The filming took place in Quebec and Ontario, Canada. The story is based on a true story about the life of Toronto sculler Ned Hanlan. It was released on January 17, 1986.

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