Nick Cage is BACK (not that he went anywhere) in the home release of “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.”

We should all be so lucky to have as wild and varied a career in whatever we do as actor Nicolas Cage does in his. He’s been in comedies (Valley Girl; Raising Arizona), romances (Moonstruck; Honeymoon in Vegas), action films (Con Air; Face/Off), phantasmagorical tales (Mandy), and everything everywhere in between. Even more than that, whether they were direct-to-video releases or major blockbusters, Nicolas Cage gives his all in every single project. I dare you to watch Willy’s Wonderland (2021), a totally silent performance from the actor, and tell me that he’s remotely half-assing the role of The Janitor. Even if the project or performance doesn’t resonate, nary a person can proclaim that Cage doesn’t deliver. It’s this awareness that bore out the idea for The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent from director/co-writer Tom Gormican and writer/producer Kevin Etten. As fans of his work, they imagined a movie in which only Nicolas Cage could lead: a film in which the actor played a version of himself down on his luck and accidentally falling between the CIA and a cartel. Massive Talent premiered at SXSW 2022 to rave reviews before its wider release globally and now it’s out on home video with a collection of bonus features to educate audiences on the filmmaking process while showering Cage with copious flowers.


Nicolas Cage as Nick Cage in THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT. Photo Credit: Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

Rejected for a role that would give him a chance at the spotlight once more and screwing up with his ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Gorgan) and teenage daughter Addy (Lily Sheen), Nick Cage (Cage) agrees to accept an appearance offer in Majorca, Spain, for a billionaire’s birthday. At first, Nick is hesitant at the experience, feeling that his career is over, but his host, Javi (Pedro Pascal), reminds him of who he is, sparking a feeling of creativity and support he hasn’t felt in some time. Just as Nick and Javi cement their bond of brotherhood and kinship, Nick is approached by CIA agents Vivian and Martin (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) to be their inside man as they believe Javi is actually the head of a violent cartel looking to secure control of Spain for their operations. Nick Cage the actor becomes Nick Cage the spy but has his decades worth of on-screen work prepared him to save the day for real?

Ordinarily a first-time viewing wouldn’t come with one, but as Massive Talent has been out for home viewing for a few weeks (as of this writing), then talking specific details seems like far game. ::cues up “Low Rider”:: Okay, let’s ride.


L-R: Nicolas Cage as Nick Cage and Pedro Pascal as Javi Gutierezz in THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT. Photo Credit: Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate.

If you’ve listened to episode 62 of The Cine-Men, you know that Massive Talent is a film I’ve been excited to check out for a long time. Despite covering SXSW 2022 virtually as accredited press, I couldn’t check out the film and there was no press screening in my area. This left home viewing as my last bastion and, thanks to Lionsgate Home Video, I got my chance. But did it deliver? The answer is tricky because (a) you get exactly what the premise/marketing promises, loads of Cage love in the form of references, easter eggs, and downright conversation about his films. Credit to Gormican and Etten for writing a script that smoothly creates this fictional persona around the very real Cage and shifts said persona through a variety of genres without breaking the rules of the film. It literally starts as a character piece, a stalled actor discovering that he’s also a stalled father, who lowers himself to take a personal appearance gig just to pay his mounting bills, which then shifts into an odd couple/buddy comedy as Cage and Javi not only meet but realize that Javi possesses exactly the kind of energy Cage needs to reestablish himself, before shifting into a thriller as Cage has to sneak around Javi to discover the truth, and then finally turning into something out of one of Cage’s Michael Bay-directed films. It’s a big lift requiring that all the aspects of performance and narrative nail their timing, aspects which either are elevated or hindered by the production design and cinematography that shifts to make those genre/tonal shifts believable. There’s a little something for every audience in Massive Talent, so that you don’t have to be a fan of Nicolas Cage’s in order to understand their significance, you need only know that they matter to the characters. Because of this, Massive Talent also possesses massive heart.


Paco León as Lucas Gutierrez in THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT. Photo Credit: Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate.

Then there’s (b), and it’s the thing that killed the film for me, the iPhone rule. This got distributed fairly widely in articles during the news cycle of the 2021 Disney+ miniseries Falcon and the Winter Soldier release that Apple has a clause for their inclusion in productions (film or television) that a bad guy can’t use one. Bad for the image. So while the marketing played up how Cage and Javi fall in love and then Cage has to betray his new best friend for the CIA, I knew from the moment Javi emailed Cage a screenplay that Pascal was not playing the villain, but the patsy for the villain. That we met Javi’s rude cousin Lucas (Paco León) a few scenes earlier told us something was off, but the use of the iPhone 13 Pro informed the status quo. Because of this, the tension got sucked right out of the experience, leaving me waiting for the shoe to drop, forcing Cage and Javi to catch up with me. In light of the realization, if not for the incredible chemistry between Nicolas and Pascal, a great deal of Massive Weight would’ve been a bore the first time through. The key being “first time,” because there will be a second. On the whole, the film is too much fun to just toss away after an initial watch.

If Massive Talent is your jelly, the bonus features are going to be your jam. With close to 49 minutes of bonus features (not including a feature-length audio commentary), buckle up for a ride through the mind of Nicolas Cage, his costars, and the brains behind Massive Talent. Or, as one featurette points out, “The Mind” — a reference to a nickname given to Gormican by Cage because the two would chat before shooting each scene in order to talk through not just the actions but intent of the scene. None of the seven featurettes are particularly long, but each provide a different perspective on making the film or play into the “Nick Cage” of it all. For instance, “The Mind” drills into how Gormican and Etten came up with the concept all the way to on-set production, while “Glimers of a Bygone Cage” focus on the actor himself. In both of these, and the others, there’s discussion of the central topic of the featurette with a dash of non-sequiturs from members of the cast and crew to offer a little spice to the discourse. Where you’ll spend the most time is in the only bonus feature not teased online officially by Lionsgate: the SXSW 2022 panel from the world premiere of the film. So, unless you can find an audience shot video somewhere, the only way to get the sense of what it was like to attend the premiere and hear from the principal members themselves, is through this nearly 16-minute featurette. It’s hilarious to see a youngster recite famous Nicolas Cage lines (as you can watch in “Cages 5 and Up”), but home audiences more interested in exploring filmmaking will gravitate to the SXSW panel.

Every time that Cage thinks he’s on his way up he says, “I’m back….not that I ever left.” It’s a silly phrase used sparingly through the film, but it carries a certain weight regarding the way audiences see the prolific actor. I’m hopeful that, thanks to performances in Mandy (2018) and last year’s Pig, audiences will shift how they view the outwardly appearing eccentric actor from that of fallen star into one who never left. His projects may not always hit theaters, but they’re rarely ever dull and, if they are, it’s not going to be because Cage didn’t give it everything he has. The actor is a force, demanding attention, even when it’s a soulful, quiet performance. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent for sure takes the piss out of his public persona, but it also celebrates the actor with a filmography most performers would kill to be associated with half of and Cage is clearly, to our benefit, not looking to retire. Massive Talent secures that Nicolas Cage never left us, even if we left him for a spell.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Special Features:

4K UHD, Blu-ray, and digital:

  • Two (2) Deleted Scenes (with Optional Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Tom Gormican and Writer-Executive producer Kevin Etten). (4:54)
  • The Mind: Meet the filmmakers and learn about the creative decisions behind the film. A film made with love, passion, and massive talent. (6:37)
  • Glimmers of a Bygone Cage: He’s back. Not that he went anywhere. Go back in time in this behind-the-scenes featurette and relive Nicolas Cage’s journey as an actor and see how a legendary career inspired both filmmakers and cast to create a new era of Cage. (4:48)
  • Everybody Needs a Javi: Nick Cage meets his ultimate fan. Discover why Pedro Pascal was the perfect choice to play the charismatic, lovable, and eccentric fan with a dark, dangerous secret. (4:20)
  • Nick, Nicky, and Sergio: The man, the actor, the legend. Take a look inside Nicolas Cage’s mind and find out how this film is the culmination of a legendary career, but also a new beginning for one of the most versatile actors of our time. (4:33)
  • Second Act Action: And . . . action, and more action! Immerse yourself in the exciting world of stunts and special effects that helped to create incredible, well-choreographed action sequences with the help of the latest in high technology for filmmaking. (6:41)
  • Cages 5 and Up: Don’t kids say the darndest things? What if what they said were lines from some of your favorite Nick Cage movies? We thought you’d never ask. (2:09)
  • SXSW Film Festival Q&A Featuring the Cast and Filmmakers. (15:48)
  • Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Tom Gormican and Writer-Executive Producer Kevin Etten. (1:46:51)


  • Two (2) Deleted Scenes (with Optional Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Tom Gormican and Writer-Executive producer Kevin Etten). (4:54)
  • SXSW Film Festival Q&A Featuring the Cast and Filmmakers. (15:48)
  • Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Tom Gormican and Writer-Executive Producer Kevin Etten. (1:46:51)

Available on digital June 7th, 2022.
Available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD June 21st, 2022.

For more information, head to the official The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent website.

Final Score: 3.5 out of 5.

Categories: Films To Watch, Home Release, Home Video, Recommendation, Reviews, streaming

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