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The Weather ManThe Weather Man

The Weather Man is a big-budget indie movie.

David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is a Chicago weatherman living the high life. He works two hours a day for a six-figure income, and he's in the running for a big meteorologist job on a national morning show.

His personal life, however, hasn't been as successful as his professional life. His wife, fed up with his shenanigans, has divorced him, and his kids are slowly slipping away. Even his Pulitzer Prize-winning father can't take him seriously.

But David's not a bad guy. He just wants to live his life, preferably without people throwing slurpees and frostys at him. The Weather Man follows David's attempts at regaining control of his destiny.

When we say the film is a big-budget indie film, we mean this in the sense that it essentially follows the formula of - and has a script perfectly written for - a Sundance darling. Add Nicolas Cage, Gore Verbinski and Michael Caine into the mix, and you have an expensive independent film. Unfortunately, not much more.

We couldn't help but feel sorry for David. We're not sure, however, if that was the point of the film. Due to everyone's opinion of him, we're under the impression that he's a handful, selfish and ignorant. But what we see is a series of misunderstandings that, if he'd merely explained himself, could have potentially gotten him off the hook (although people are often unwilling to believe anything other than what they see). We just wanted everyone to lay off the poor guy, and even at the end of the film when things inevitably changed, it didn't seem enough of a victory for him.



Nicolas Cage turns in another fine performance, making us feel for the character and being completely believable. Michael Caine is always a treat to watch as well, but the rest of the cast is there only to create problems for David to solve.

There's never really a dull moment in The Weather Man. That's not to say that there's always something happening, but you're always interested, whatever it is, because you really want to see what's going to happen to this poor guy next. The point of any film, essentially, is to keep the viewer interested, so in that respect this movie does an excellent job. But this is a classic example of the whole being less than the sum of its parts.

The DVD is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. Video is okay, but there are patches of grain during some of the darker scenes, and some of the lettering is pretty fuzzy. Some skin tones look unnatural and there are some halos around faces a few times, but overall color looks pretty good.

The audio track is distinctly average, with even the front left and right speakers staying mostly silent. The occasional sound effect and maybe a line or two manage to creep out of the non-center speakers. Volume, though, is good and doesn't fluctuate, and you never have trouble making out the dialog.

The first of five featurettes is called "Extended Outlook: The Script," and focuses on, as you would guess, the script. All the principals are interviewed, and we learn that many of the events in the film are based on writer Steven Conrad's real life. Featurette number two is called "Becoming a Weatherman," and is simply five minutes of learning how Nicolas Cage embodied the soul of a meteorologist. "Atmospheric Pressure" is a fascinating 9-minute look at the look of the film. "Relative Humidity" focuses on the characters, while "Trade Winds" gives the editor, composer, and a few others their time in the sun.

Overall the featurettes are moderately interesting, but not really of any substance.

The Weather Man, from Paramount Home Entertainment
101 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Michael Rispoli, Gil Bellows
Produced by Todd Black, Steve Tisch, Jason Blumenthal
Written by Steven Conrad, directed by Gore Verbinski

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Updated May 13, 2006