You are here: Home > Blogs > Movie Maniacs

Latest Posts

Off Line

Silver Linings - Nic Cage Special

by Trevor - 0 Comment(s)

I’ve written about movies with silver linings in the past. Mediocre or just plain bad movies that have one redeemable facet that makes them watchable. This time I’m going to talk about a silver lining actor.

Nicolas Cage is almost always the silver lining of the movie he’s in. This isn’t because of his amazing acting talent but rather because he truly does not seem to realize how bad most of his movies are. Yes yes, I know he’s won an Oscar but that almost doesn’t count when you compare it to his entire filmography. He picks ridiculous roles in ridiculous films with ridiculous plots. He unironically spouts off terrible dialogue with the commitment of a Shakespearian trained actor. He seems entirely oblivious to the fact that he has become not only a joke but an internet meme. He is entertaining however, whether or not in the way he intended to be. Here are some of Nic’s "silvery-est lining" roles.

Drive Angry – Cage, an undead felon, breaks out of Hell to avenge his murdered daughter and rescue her kidnapped baby from a band of cult-worshipping savages. Need I say more?

The Rock – Cage seems to enjoy playing the everyman turned hero and I can think of no better example than The Rock. Despite the generous helping of Michael Bay's moronic machismo, Cage’s trademark overacting makes this a perfectly watchable action flick.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – It’s well know that Cage wants to be a superhero (he named his child after Superman) and he finally got the chance as Ghost Rider. Spirit of Vengeance is the better of the two, mainly because Cage screams and flails maniacally (ie. hilariously) as he transforms into his fiery skulled alter ego.

Kick-Ass –Though this film doesn’t really qualify as a silver lining as it is excellent, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it. Cage very nearly steals the film in his Adam West-esque portrayal of the ruthless vigilante Big Daddy. Cage’s unique brand of unknowing campiness was finally put to good use!

There are few A-list actors that make as many bad movies as Nicolas Cage. There are even fewer who do so while remaining entertaining. Perhaps Nic deserves all the joking and ridicule the internet throws at him. Or perhaps he is an acting genius, deliberately reveling in mediocrity so that his future rise to greatness will be all the more unexpected. Or perhaps it is because he needs every penny he can get to escape from under the crushing debt he incurred in the 90's---buying among other things, two yachts, 18 motorcycles, 30 luxury cars, 7 worldwide residences, including a German castle and a private Bahamian Island, a Gulfstream Jet, a quarter million dollar dinosaur skull, shrunken pygmy heads, and a private tomb worthy of a head of state---all while somehow forgetting to pay about 6 million to the IRS.

Who's to say?

Silver Linings 3

by Trevor - 1 Comment(s)

It's been a while but here's another dose of mediocre movies that still have that shining spot of greatness in them. Well...if not greatness then certainly something that justifies a viewing.

Sucker Punch was a film that I was incredibly excited for. I was a fan of director Zack Snyder after 300 and Watchmen and here was a movie that he had conceived of from the ground up. Too bad it was a bit of a mess. I don’t understand how you could go wrong with steampunk, dragons, and samurai but somehow he managed to. The amazingly creative concept however, makes the movie watchable, but only just.

Predators – Seen the original 1987 Predator with Schwarzenegger? 2010’s Predators is the same movie. Seriously! The tone, visuals, effects, music…everything is exactly the same. It feels nearly identical to the 80’s action flick (which in this day and age unfortunately makes the film feel a bit boring and archaic). Dull though the movie may be, the nostalgic faith to the original makes this movie worth watching for fans and newbies alike.


Straw Dogs failed to capture the attention of either audiences or critics. What it does capture however is the creepiness of redneck rural America. Though the performances are forced and the conclusion underwhelming, you’ll certainly think twice before visiting small town Mississippi. The tension it creates is as good a reason as any to watch this one.

Clash of the Titans tried to ride the coattails of the much better Greek action flick 300. Unfortunately, this movie wasn’t nearly as good. A weak 3D cash-in that followed the clichéd adventure model to a fault, Clash would have been nigh unwatchable except for one small thing…Liam Neeson playing Zeus and shouting RELEASE THE KRAKEN! An incredibly quotable line and a silver lining if I’ve ever seen one!


Make sure to check out Silver Linings 1 and Silver Linings 2 for more bad films with great parts.

Something mediocre I missed that has a shining spot of excellence? Send a comment and we'll see if it can be added it to a future list.

Silver Linings 2

- 0 Comment(s)

Our first offering of Silver Linings proved popular, so here is another round of movies that have elements that save them from being failures--- after all, if every movie was great we'd be so busy watching them again and again we wouldn't get anything else done.

Pandorum – An unremarkable sci-fi pick that straddles the B-movie line. It’s sometimes campy when it means to be serious and the hit-and-miss Dennis Quaid misses with this role. Fortunately, the always excellent Ben Foster turns in a performance that makes you forget how goofy the rest of the movie is. If you’ve seen Foster in “3:10 to Yuma”, “The Messenger” or “30 Days of Night” you’ll know just how powerful an actor he is

Jumper – Teleportation is cool! Despite that unquestionable fact, Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson seem like they’re trying to suck all of the cool out of this movie with their leaden, ad-libbed performances. Despite that, teleportation is still really, really cool! This one will tickle your imagination; pure escapist fun!

Death Race –I thought that I knew everything to know about this film from the trailer: a testosterone fuelled Jason Statham action flick with plenty of fast cars, pretty girls, and explosions. The movie really isn’t too far off from that description. It hits all the notes you’d expect from a cliché action movie but somehow it all comes together into a heart pounding thrill ride.

Reign of Fire – This dark tale of a dragon caused apocalypse wasn’t very well received by critics and fans. Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey turn in decent performances but perhaps the movie was just too bleak for its own good. Whatever the reasons for its lacklustre receptions, “Reign of Fire” succeeds in one area: the dragons. The beasts are realistically visceral, and are far more entertaining than traditional monster movie fare. Not many movies feature dragons nowadays but Reign of Fire will make you wish for more.

Thanks to Guest Blogger Trevor for another list of Silver Linings. Let me add that we now have Reign of Fire in Blu-Ray, and as in all things Blu-Ray, it looks great! Bit of trivia-trying to place the woman/mom at the beginning? It is the talented Alice Krige, who played the Borg Queen in Star Trek, First Contact- my 2nd favourite Trek movie after Wrath of Khan.

Silver Linings

- 0 Comment(s)

Just as every cloud has its silver lining so too does every film. Even the most mediocre of movies can have a spot of greatness if you watch with an open mind. This post is dedicated to the not so great films that nonetheless have some pretty great elements.

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace---though Episode 2 and 3 share many of the same problems as “The Phantom Menace”, neither was quite as disappointing as this long awaited prequel. The questionable acting, convoluted plot, and the Jar Jar Binks fiasco certainly brought the movie down. The faults don’t seem quite as large however, when you’re watching the lightsaber duel between Darth Maul and the two Jedi heroes. Great action even by today’s standards.

50 First Dates---this is another typical, mediocre Adam Sandler romantic comedy. There’s nothing terribly special or memorable about it except for the final scene. Sandler sings a humorous and touching ballad for his true love which completely validates the rest of his childish antics.

King Kong (2005)---Peter Jackson’s long, self-indulgent homage to the 1930’s classic is at times quite yawn inducing. Kong’s epic fight against the two tyrannosaurs however, is more than enough to wake you up. That scene alone justifies the price of admission.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence---this science fiction tale about an artificial boy who wants to be loved is unfortunately a bit of a mess. Likely due to the fact that Kubrick began production 30 years before Spielberg finished it. Despite its less than logical plot and story progression, the film’s final moments are so heart-achingly, tear jerkingly wonderful that you immediately forget any complaints you may have had.

Lady in the Water, condemned by critics for being pompous and pretentious, was M. Night Shyamalan’s first real failure. Though this fairy tale film does have its faults, it also has some truly great characters. Freddy Rodriguez plays a lopsided muscle man who only exercises one side of his body, Bryce Dallas Howard plays an ethereal nymph named Story, and little known Bob Balaban plays a hyper-cynical movie critic.

Speed Racer---Coming from the same minds that brought us “The Matrix”, Speed Racer nonetheless proved a disappointment for many. It stayed true to the anime cartoon that inspired it, right down to the annoying pet chimpanzee. Immature though it may be, the film still has spectacularly entertaining racing sequences with cars flipping and battling through the air at ridiculous speeds. Plus it stars Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, and Susan Sarandon which certainly doesn’t hurt.

Thanks to our guest blogger and fellow movie maniac Trevor for this post.