I promised myself I would stop watching bad Nicolas Cage movies. I’ve had my heart broken too many times now, and at this point it’s masochistic to continue.
But then I found out he made a bad movie on purpose, and my interest was piqued.
Mom and Dad (2017)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Zackary Arthur
Director: Brian Taylor
released on blu-ray Feb 20, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%, Audience Score 40%
The Guardian: ***
Brian Taylor is an American director, writer, cinematographer, and producer. He is best known for collaborating with Mark Neveldine on the Crank films, Pathology, Gamer, Jonah Hex and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. This is his first film without the support of Neveldine, but it is still well within his wheelhouse of gritty action and dark comedy – Thankfully for me, Mom and Dad is his best film to date, and I hope he continues to explore homage films for the exploitation genre.
Special thanks to Nick Riganas for the IMDB summary of the film –
There’s definitely something terrible going on in the peaceful suburban community, as, one after the other, otherwise loving and caring parents mysteriously turn into ravenous carriers of an unfathomable pandemic that targets their offspring. Suddenly, every son and daughter–not only in the neighbourhood but also in the entire region–have to run for their lives, as the rage-filled murderous intent is simply as unstoppable as it is inexplicable. Of course, Brent (Nicolas Cage) and Kendall’s (Selma Blair) teenage children (Anne Winters, Zackary Arthur) are no exception, and before long, the simmering but usual familial tensions will take a completely different meaning. Kids, stop hiding. Mum and Dad love you so much.
I was half-expecting this film to end on an upbeat note while I was watching it; there were so many clues that indicated both Brent and Kendall were capable of overcoming the instinct that the so-called global savaging would produce. We didn’t know if parents were killing their offspring because of flora and fauna, biological weapons or alien rays. And yet, this movie is far more in-line with grindhouse horror then it is a dark comedy.
The message is the violence itself and the catharsis associated with release from obligation. Being a parent is a great responsibility for sure, but the challenges come in the day-to-day. We all age and lose our youth, so jealousy of the kids looks, opportunities and freedom can become a real grind. Brent fantasizes about his misspent teenage years, and Kendall wants to have a better relationship with her daughter, as it was before the onset of puberty. But that does matter, because in the end their desire to murder outweighs society expectations and social practices. And it’s an awesome thing to behold.
It’s the perfect setting for Nicolas Cage to go over-the-top.
Pros: It packages anarchy and the mundane together in completely believable way. It works perfectly when you can accept the premise without much thought for what sparked the epidemic. Nicolas Cage works perfectly as a disillusioned dad gone crazy.
Cons: While it does an amazing job of executing the concept over-all, it’s in the details that the film loses focus and comes off under-cooked. The pool table flashback and the inevitable visit from the grandparents come to mind in particular.
Runtime: 2 hours 10 minutes
Points of Interest: Nicolas Cage has said this is his favourite film he’s worked on in the past ten years. The film also features cameos from Grant Morrison and Bokeem Woodbine; Morrison is the writer of Happy! which was adapted by Taylor for television.
The film has generally favourable reviews amongst critics, but is far less popular amongst general audiences, my theory for this is that this is not popcorn fare. You have to be in the right mood for something dark, and watch it with people who are open this kind of humour and level of violence. Under the right setting, I could easily put this into a horror marathon, Nicolas Cage marathon or on a gloomy day.
Film like this don’t get made with A-list actors very often. And this is because most people don’t want to see a movie that challenges convention… unless they are prepared for it going into the film. I can tell that Nicolas Cage had fun making this movie, and for that reason alone, it is worth a watch. When Cage is cast correctly, he is very entertaining. Go watch Mom and Dad, and maybe you’ll learn to appreciate your parents and/or children a little more.
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