Yes, I really did name this JHN EXCLUSIVE REVIEW that. And, of course, I'm here to explain why. Leaving very little room for error, 'The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent' represents life in 2022. Social media has allowed for a massive overhaul in media intake. So the modern day celebrity is relegated to awkward side jobs like... joining the CIA. This is where unique talents show through the overcrowded propaganda of our favorite social networks. Thus, explaining everything about this production. Including what I used as an introduction to this JHN EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: "Referencing." Then, there's the cinematography, Tiffany Haddish, the black box approach contributing to success, subordinating a masterful styling of comedy.
As predicted, "...Massive Talent" used as many reference points from Nicolas Cage's filmography as possible. This worked, because nostalgia always recollects a sense of lost childhood, or a feeling of connectivity and community. From 'Con-Air' & 'Face Off', all the way through to "The Croods 2". Certainly, if you're "42" is an understatement if you have not seen 'The Croods: A New Age'. There's a sense of remembrance for the variety of Nicholas Cage fans. Also referencing many other Hollywood classics not including Cage along the way. Basic film recollection was not the peak of referencing. Various symbolic relations and stabs at modern day society and film making left the theater feeling overwhelmed with wide eyes and jaw drops. Surrounding the audience with strongly opinionated, yet highly agreed upon statements of the impact films have on us, making the crowd flow with laughter. Which is the fabrication of the broader objective of this production masked by, "Nicolas Cage is... Nick Cage."
Speaking of stars, Tiffany Haddish plays the "perfect role". Why was it so perfect for her? She has long been associated with the likes of Kevin Hart. Yet she has found a way to glow even with the superstardom of Hart. This role allowed her to lead in her own realm without the leverage of any other comedians around. She was the lead comedian, and the face of the CIA. Managing the tone of where the comic relief should be in her scenes; how much, and how little. Her counterpart used whatever she gave and played with it on screen. This had a "professional comedic" approach in sections that showed Haddish's ties with HartBeat Productions. Countering the overall tone of the film which was more free-flowing. Haddish became the face of HartBeat Productions, and we've yet to see her in a great film that displays the potential she possesses as she's moved on to greater things in her career... until now.
The nostalgia of a painted "black box", and the name I couldn't spell without the help of seeing the novel in front of me (Stanislavski) back in high school. Accompanying the highly relatable context, you have to ask, "How much of this film was written?" Large segments gave the audience the feeling of sitting in the dark yet lively crowd of a theater's improv showcase. The way the actors continuously played off of their scene partner's lines expounding the dramatization of moments felt free, and built chemistry with the characters throughout. Organized chaos of this magnitude is not seen very often on the big screen, and is usually reserved for the theater. Yet almost every line was relative to the plot. When it didn't feel relative, it unearthed an easiness the crowd could relate to, or an awkward interest the theater watcher could see as plausible. The musical score perfectly supported these scenes especially.
The musical score was executed so seamlessly, you could have missed the impact it had. The tones used, the editing, all smoothly interjected. Obvious that the Musical Score Mixer, Jason La Rocca and assistant, Eric Huergo, really partnered with Ruper Coulson and John Prestage to be sure their vision came through with marvelous blending and cohesive sound. The music was blended just below high points, and punched through right after them to drop-off and allow the viewer to be in suspense. Javi and Cage benefited the most in these moments as the main characters. Hillary Holmes decided to go with a score throughout that had a blend of Traditional American & Latin contemporary sounds with little vocals, and an instrumental focus. The Orchestrator, Andrew Kinney, did not fail in execution. Powerful. Yet subtle enough to allow you to relax in a theater's recliner. You could watch this film in Standard Quality Format with no concerns when it comes to adjacency to Dolby &/or 360 Sound.
What all great movies need is a phenomenal cinematic crew. Expectations were exceeded greatly with this team when it comes to proper corrective lenses. The color grading is dynamically clean and appeasing. The white balance has an orange-like tone to it that fits -- considering this film was shot in Spain. The flag of Spain is red and yellow. Red and yellow make "orange". This may be the color you think of when you ponder Spain. The Los Angeles / American scenes have a lighter tone that seem more naturally balanced. Yet extremely sharp. Most of the car scenes where the audience can see either Nick Cage or Javi Gutierrez [Pedro Pascal] driving, use the glare from the windshield to reflect the light, and deepen the shadows surrounding that light. Especially when the lighting in its entirety is placed "correctly". The shadowing is phenomenal. This can contribute to making shots even sharper if you bend the light on the other side at higher degrees than average. There were shots that seemed to be out of focus, but this happens when you focus on making the pivotal moments in these shots clear and precise, as it seems most of the balancing was done during the shooting, and not put off until editing. Mission: "Capture pivotal scene moments with great lenses. Not say, 'let's just fix it in editing.'" Accomplished.
It takes "massive talent" to ground the concept of comedy. We see comedy everyday as something that leaves you rolling over in tears. When in reality, comedy is simply the relation to life in dramatic fashion. If it's relatable to someone somewhere and exaggerated, it can be considered comedy. Comedy isn't supposed to leave you running helplessly for air, it should make you understand the parameters of existence by outlandishly explaining it with the foolery of a 10-year-old child. Now the adult can picture said foolishness from a sense of maturity and composure. In retrospect, this is why you go gasping and choking in laughter, because you can envision the scenario from a now superior lens of understanding in relation to the comedian. Whether that would be from familiarity, or possible coincidence. When we hear and see comedy, we shouldn't be offended when it doesn't align with our perspective, yet we should feel honored to observe a view of life that was dramatized for our entertainment. From 'point A' to 'point B', 'The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent' does this.