#35 Matchstick Men

#35 Matchstick Men
Year: 2003
Director: Ridley Scott
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Epic Co-stars: Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman
Running Time: 116 mins
Cage Time: 99%
Cage Kills: 0
Cage Flip-outs: 5
James' Review:  If you think of "Nicolas Cage" and "con job", your brain will no doubt conjure up thoughts of silly action circa Gone in 60 Seconds or god forbid one of the most horrifically written pieces of trash ever: Deadfall.  Although Cage executes flawlessly on both of these films, the writing and cinematography in them leave plenty to be desired.  Luckily once you've seen Matchstick Men, these horrific thoughts can be wiped clean and replaced with a piece of art that will dazzle you with a flawless execution from Cage coupled with a thoughtful story line and a solid supporting cast.

Smoking is a disgusting and filthy habit, unless you're Nic Cage.
In Matchstick Men Cage plays Roy Waller, a smooth talking aging con artist who tricks random morons to buying into his lottery by purchasing overpriced water filtration systems.   In his personal life Waller is a single man living alone in a spotless 50's style ranch home.   His home is spotless due to his many ailments that include obsessive compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, mysophobia, and Cage's own rendition of Tourette's syndrome.  After a series of events reunite him with his estranged 14 year old daughter, Waller regains his passion for both conning and being a dad, at the same time.  This leads to the start of an end-all super con that will allow them to live happily ever after, both in financially freedom and in their new found family love.

A headless dog filled with guns and cash is the only companionship a single guy really needs.
Cage sinks into the troubled and struggling Roy Waller with more conviction and creditably than both Jack Nicholson in "As Good as it Gets" and Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Aviator".  While doing this he pulls the viewer into his world while also delivering some very solid flip-outs (one of which has reached EPIC Cage status).  At the same time he creates a relationship with his daughter that feels both genuine and heartfelt even with all the otherwise sleazy activity he surrounds himself with.

When Cage cuts in line in front of you at the pharmacy you should probably just bight your tongue.  Unless you want to be "dragged to the sidewalk and beaten until you...  PISSED! BLOOD!" 
Matchstick Men covers a lot of ground with the twists and turns of a great con movie, the trails and tribulations of operating on a daily basis with mental illness, and building "family" relationships when the rest of your life is as far from it as you could be.  It all comes together perfectly due to the aforementioned flawless execution by Sir Cage.  His dedication to his character along with his Nouveau Shamanic "acting without boundaries" style push Matchstick Men out of the normal and mundane and into the more stratospheric levels of theatrical art.  Just do yourself a favor while watching it, when you see the words "One year later" appear on the screen, stop the movie and dream up your own ending.  Or better yet, just dream about Nicolas Cage riding a unicorn.  Either way, it'll be better than the last five minutes of this film.

Movie quotability: 4.5/5
  • (Opening credits) Skyler: "I already like this movie. I like that Nic Cage's voice comes before anything else in this movie."
  • "Oh, pygmies."
  • "You lookin' for something, sucker?"
  • "Look, Doc, I spent last Tuesday watching fibers on my carpet. And the whole time I was watching my carpet, I was worrying that I, I might vomit. And the whole time, I was thinking, 'I'm a grown man. I should know what goes on my head.' And the more I thought about it... the more I realized that I should just blow my brains out and end it all. But then I thought, well, if I thought more about blowing my brains out... I start worrying about what that was going to do to my goddamn carpet. Okay, so, ah-he, that was a GOOD day, Doc. And, and I just want you to give me some pills and let me get on with my life."
  • "You don't have a TV?" "There's a couch, you could sit... or over there... or on the couch."
  • "Is there a way that you can help me help you help me so that I can get into his office??"
  • "Hey have you ever been dragged to the sidewalk and beaten till you PISSED!... BLOOD!!?!"
  • "Uhhhhhh.... uhhhhhh."
  • "Bull-SHIT, MON!" 
  • "I see things differently now."

Plot Holes:

  • Some of the ice cream is gone when she opens it for breakfast in the morning, even though she was asleep when he got home with it late the night before. 

Exceeds Expectations
!Stayed in the CAGE!


Steve M said...

Nic Cage playing a psycho? Never, it would be beyond even his great acting abilities! Yet despite the long odds against him, Cage eye twitched and smoked his way through the script with power and grace. Oh let's cut the crap, he didn't have to push himself one bit to play the part.

It is a decent movie, but having seen it once or twice before made it a bit boring for me as I know he was getting taken the whole time. Sure, it can be fun to see a con movie a second time to watch all of the scenes with a full understanding of what is really going on, but this con wasn't complex enough to keep me entertained for multiple viewings. I enjoy a good con movie, but prefer a bit more complexity than this or Deadfall. Now who wants to split my $600 lottery ticket with me?

KaBluie said...

#46 Matchstick Men (2003) Online. First Time View. Another great movie!

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