Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Wicker Man (2006)

The late '90s and early '00s were a fantastic time to be Nicolas Cage. An Oscar-winning action star and heartthrob, he made even mediocre films entertaining. It seemed that there wasn't a movie that Nic Cage couldn't make watchable in some shape or form. That was until he starred in Neil LaBute's remake of Robert Hardy’s (who?) 1973 The Wicker Man.

As a motorcycle cop searching for his missing daughter on an island full of bee-loving cultists, Nic Cage's performance is at worst wooden and at best batshit. Both a critical and box office failure, The Wicker Man marked the end of the Golden Era of Nicolas Cage and ushered in nearly a decade of bad movies. From Season of the Witch to Drive Angry to the forthcoming Left Behind remake, Nic Cage might as well just look directly into the camera at the start of each film and say, “Yeah, I need money that bad.”

But is The Wicker Man really as bad as everyone says? The ever-unbiased nanobots will get to the bottom of this mystery!
  • Nic Cage warms our hearts by taking a break from fighting crime to return a dolly thrown from a speeding station wagon. = +3pts 
  • As if to prove that everything Nic Cage touches is irrevocably destroyed, the station wagon is hit by a truck, catches fire, and then explodes. = -7pts 
  • Action-packed scene involving Nicolas Cage Googling bee products. = -4pts 
  • Not giving a shit about farming communities. = +5pts 
  • When you embark upon a journey to find a missing girl, Drakkar Noir will help you smell like the sort of guy she'll want to follow home. = +3pts 
  • Confusing the words “pilot” and “pirate,” Nic Cage makes a bad first impression by shouting to his pilot, “Ahoy there!” = -4pts 
  • Upon arriving on the island, Nic Cage is given the willies by some guys hefting a drippy burlap. After the initial willies pass, he can't be arsed to find out what's really inside. = +2pts 
  • Continuing the trend of making bad first impressions, Nic Cage swats an obviously sacred honey bee in front of a mannish mead-wench. = -7pts 
  • The most interesting thing to happen thus far is Nic Cage getting sweaty and falling through a floor. = +3pts (At least it's something!) 
  • Leelee Sobieski reprises her famous role as Girl Who Isn't Helen Hunt. = -2pts 
  • There's nothing creepy about a group of pregnant women walking through the forest – nothing at all. Seriously, it's not creepy, so turn off the creepy music. = -6pts 
  • Laughing at schoolyard dick jokes. = +3pts 
  • Immediately misusing the word “quixotic” after being given the definition by a pretentious schoolmarm. = -8pts 
  • Nic Cage's mumbling misinterpretation part one: “This where you last Samhain?” = +3pts 
  • Nic Cage's mumbling misinterpretation part two: “Do you have last year's fart ring?” = +3pts 
  • Even though it's crystal clear that Nic Cage's probably-daughter is probably dead, that's not gonna stop Nic Cage from running amok while trying to find her! = +4pts 
  • Nic Cage nearly kills a guy by knocking over a bunch of logs and then immediately flees the scene on his bicycle. = +4pts 
  • Though it's been established that Nic Cage is allergic to bees, he still runs wildly through an apiary instead of taking the viable alternative of going around it. = -9pts 
  • Ellen Burstyn explains why the island loves bees in such a boring manner that even the nanobots couldn't... oh, sorry, we dozed off there. = -11pts 
  • Hanging a crucifix in your septic tank. = -3pts 
  • Nic Cage's mumbling misinterpretation part three: “Bear's island shut the lid!” = +3pts 
  • How the doll got burned will forever remain one of cinema's greatest unanswered questions. = +15pts
  • Stealing a bike at gunpoint is as ridiculously badass as it sounds. = +5pts 
  • No longer content to shout at adults, Nic Cage shouts at little girls and then ruins their masquerade. = +4pts 
  • In case the audience has yet to notice that the theme of The Wicker Man is futility, Nic Cage tries to shake awake a bloody corpse. = -7pts 
  • Nic Cage proves himself to be an equal opportunity ass-whupper by sucker punching the mannish bar maid and kung-fu kicking Helen Hunt, Jr. = +13pts 
  • Using a bear costume to infiltrate a cultist parade. = +5pts 
  • Punching a woman in the face while wearing said bear costume. = +8pts 
  • The big reveal of how everything that happened to Nic Cage was orchestrated to prevent crops from failing. = -50pts 
  • “Killing me won't bring back your goddamn honey!” Nor will it give us back our 102  minutes. = -6pts 
  • With one swift blow, Nicolas Cage becomes Crippolas Cage. = +5pts 
  • Yes, the bees. = +25pts 
  • The parallel between Nicolas Cage's character burning alive inside of the Wicker Man and Nicolas Cage's career burning alive in The Wicker Man is too much for the poor nanobots. = -10pts 
  • Rather than dedicating this film to Johnny Ramone, it would have been a bigger honor for the filmmakers to dig up his grave and use his corpse to re-enact Weekend at Bernie's II. = -15pts
Total Score: -27
Available on DVD, YouTube, and, sadly, Nicolas Cage's resume

The nanobots never lie: this movie blew. Aside from the last quarter of the film's scenes of unintentionally genius hilarity, the movie was just straight-up boring. The acting is stilted, the dialog forced, and the characters simultaneously uninteresting and brazenly stupid.

Was the movie worth a watch just to see Nic Cage in a bear suit or getting his face covered in bees? Given that YouTube's Best Scenes from The Wicker Man run time is two minutes, we're gonna say no.

We really don't recommend that you watch this movie in full; however, if you insist, then be sure to pack a Scorecard along with your novelty-sized bottle of Drakkar Noir.

Score Technician: TJ Geise

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