Weekly Movie Rec: Drive Angry

Alright, so I’m starting a new feature here on the site, because I’ve received some encouraging notes that a lot of you for some reason or another actual value my opinion when it comes to various entertainment recommendations. I’ve been very proud to get folks into shows like Arrested Development or Spartacus, and I like to think I have an incredibly miniscule effect on box office receipts with my movie reviews.

But I can’t always watch 80 episodes of a TV series and report back if it’s worthwhile or not, just like many of you don’t have time to watch 80 episodes yourself. So I thought I’d do this feature for just one lonesome movie each week, two(ish) hours of your time that you can Netflix, iTunes, Pirate Bay or lord forbid Blockbuster your way into seeing if you trust my judgment and like the sound of it.

These will not be full reviews, as there’s no point in giving too much away. Most of this is just you taking my word you might enjoy an underappreciated film. Obviously, these picks aren’t going to be like “The Godfather” or crazy obvious ones like that, and many will probably have been dismissed by critics at the time. I know that a ton of you will have seen a lot of these, as we have many entertainment junkies out there reading, but for those who haven’t hopefully this new feature will introduce you to some quality flicks you might enjoy.

Today’s installment focuses on the very recent Nic Cage flick Drive Angry, which I just managed to watch this weekend. Read on:

Nic Cage has the most random movie career of any actor I know. I can’t think of anyone else who goes from absolute shit to absolute gold every few months or so, and he’s at his best when he’s not trying to take himself, his persona, or his hair seriously.

Drive Angry paints itself as a straight up revenge flick, promising a very Grindhouse-ian tale full of blood and boobs. And that it definitely delivers, but it’s not done so overtly its annoying. I guess Quentin Tarantino can get away with missing reels and rough cut film, but there’s no need to throw things back THAT far. Rather, its an updated version of the genre and one that doesn’t spend too much time in the past.

It’s a film that the trailers don’t really do justice. It just looks like Nic Cage shooting things and Amber Heard wearing Daisy Dukes, and it is, but there are supernatural twists and turns that were actually very interesting, but kept so secret, no one actually bothered to see the film to see what they were.

It will make you fall in love with Heard, who I’m convinced should now be cast in everything ever, and also has a great role for character actor William Fitchner as a superhuman FBI agent on Cage’s trail. Cage himself is in full badass mode, and I don’t think this film would have worked with someone else like Clive Owen or Jason Statham. The role is pure Cage madness, and the movie is simply a blast.

It’s dumb action sure, but well filmed, and smarter than it initially appears. If you like bloody shoot ’em ups with hot girls to boot, Drive Angry is for you. And now that it’s on DVD, you can save yourself from the horrendous 3D that was advertised to death with it.

Most of the films I bring up in this column will be a lot older than this one, since I practically review everything worthwhile in theaters these days, but if you do end up watching this, report back what you thought in the comments. And as always, haters are welcome to disagree as I know you will.

Also, if anyone has a better title for this feature, I’m all ears.

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  1. I was so disappointed when I learned that Heard is a lesbian in real life. Don’t get me wrong, that’s incredibly hot, but I like to at least imagine I’d still have a chance, you know?

  2. Great idea for a column, but what will make it different from Nattyb’s crappy movie of the week? I liked drive angry but it was crappy. But fun crappy.
    For a new title, how about something like “try it, you might like it” or “trust me”? I know not the best suggestions but maybe they’ll be a good starting point.

  3. I think there’s a difference between “so bad it’s good” like Natty’s selections, and “for what it is, it’s well done and enjoyable” like these are supposed to be. My next example is probably going to be a movie like Galaxy Quest. Very well made, and under-appreciated as not enough people have seen it.

    But yeah, didn’t mean to run these on the same day right on top of each other, so that won’t happen again.

  4. I like the idea of a new feature. But after reading this, I’m reminded of how subjective people’s interest in films can be. This is not a criticism, merely an observation. A film like Drive Angry, although panned by critics and the general public alike, holds some sort of specific interest to you. Therefore it is recommended. Going back a few months, I can remember your post on the film Wrong Turn. Panned by you and critics alike, yet is appreciated by horror fans for it’s involvement of Stan Winston, one of the best effects artists of his day, and it’s overall homage to films like The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That film, however, had no redeeming qualities in your eyes. My point can be left for interpretation, just know that this was no a criticism, just an observation. Keep up the good work, we’ll keep reading…

  5. That’s an interesting point, and well taken. I guess I’m banking on a certain number of you having similar taste to me in the sorts of things I like, which could be part of the reason you stick around the site here. On the other hand, if you completely hate what I’m recommending, I’m totally fine with that, and I’m all for a good point/counter-point debate.

    That said, I still can’t stand Wrong Turn. Too often something being an “homage” is used as an excuse for lazy filmmaking. That’s how Shyamalan tried to cover up how awful The Happening was.

  6. Point taken, and understood. But to its credit, Wrong Turn never tried to be anything more than a fun time. It never tried to pass itself off as something more than a standard horror flick.

    In regards to The Happening, I managed to see about 10 minutes of the ending again on TV this weekend. What a schlock. They really tried to pass off gusts of wind as something dramatic and frightening. They even acted like the wind was something you could stay ahead of or avoid. *Breezes blows softly* “Oh my God, it’s coming back!!! I’m trying to think, why won’t anyone let me think! RUN!”

    Every time a Shyamalan film comes out (maybe with the exception of The Last Airbender) it is heralded as groundbreaking and coming from the mind of a pure genius filmmaker. My point, going back to Wrong Turn, is that it was none of these things. I can’t recall the director, the film made no qualms about what is was, and no one, including the studio tried to market it as something significant. A better example would be a film like Primeval, which as misleadingly marketed as a slasher flick, a monumentally scary one at that, and instead it sucked and was about a killer crocodile. Or Texas Chainsaw: The Beginning, also marketed as something new and special and it was literally the same film as the remake we got 3 years earlier.

    You are correct, I do share similar interests in your tastes in entertainment, and that’s why I keep reading. Just like with my friends, we can’t agree on it all, but you’re articulate and you make very valid, often times expansive, points that have truly opened my eyes in regards to certain subject matter. Thanks again.

  7. For more Nicolas Cage madness, go see Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans! Hands down the best Cage movie, mainly because it allows Cage to channel his inner craziness like never before.

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