Nicolas Cage or the lucrative ridicule of the Hollywood macho

It can’t be easy being Nicolas Cage. Not Tom Cruise. And let’s not even mention Johnny Depp. Imagine that millions of human beings have paid to see your face at a colossal size on movie screens around the world. It doesn’t have to be easy to manage, no. They inflate themselves to make money, true, but in return they sell their souls to an insatiable machinery, wholesaler of dreams. Cinema as we know it today took off thanks to the driving force of star system, a machine driven by the industrial power of the big Hollywood studios and, according to theorists, later dissipated in the air of globalization. However, the brightness of the stars continues to generate expectation and, therefore, viewers and, therefore, money… In addition to existential angst of these actors which, in turn, generates expectation and, therefore…

The most explicit film in this regard may have been How to be John Malkovich (1999), in which Spike Jonze had a surreal feast around one of those memorable Charlie Kaufman scriptswhich literally puts poor John Cusack in the mind of an actor really, his namesake John Malkovich. Cheap frivolity by Hollywood standards ($13 million budget), limited business ($24 million gross) and quite a bit of prestige: Oscar nominations in categories as fat such as best director and best original screenplay. None of them won, of course, because even the narcissism of the Ego industry has its limits, but that’s where the crush remained, cult film for global brothers-in-law of several generations.

A couple of weeks ago it premiered in Spain The unbearable weight of a huge talentwith Nicolas Cage as an absolute sales pitch. Shortly before, Tom Cruise had walked through Madrid his unexpected (but still salable, apparently) heart of heart at his… 59 years! He came to promote the revival Top Gun: Maverick, an important pasta at the box office. The details of the movie were the least of it (it’s not very likely to win an Oscar), people were going to see Tom Cruise playing… Tom Cruise. The case of Nicolas Cage is different. Or not. Basically it’s the same, but in a different way. The unbearable weight of a huge talent It is also based on the idea that the viewer goes to the cinema (or to the Internet) to see Nicolas Cage, but the grace of the film consists in the gypsy curse launched by the horny Tom Gormican, co-writer and director, of granting the wish until extreme: Nicolas Cage plays Nicolas Cage, an actor who is already more than a little tall (58 years old, only one less than Tom) whom success has turned into a neurotic narcissist who provokes between embarrassment and tenderness.

The plot, again, is the least of it. The important thing is the ability of the Hollywood industry to laugh at itself. Since the leading doomsayers of the digital revolution give us up for dead, they seem to say, at least we had a laugh. When the first death of cinema and its star systemthey took it more to the tremendous, although Billy Wilder already managed to put a little spark in twilight of the gods (1950), for example. With poor Nicolas Cage they have not been very subtle. Just as Wilder touched on the decadence of silent movies, in the wonderful once upon a time in hollywood (2019) Tarantino applies a nostalgia as naughty as it is tender at the end of the 60s, and the protagonists are fictional actors, no matter how recognizable they may be to the masters of the pink cheese in Trivial. Nicolas Cage appears as Nicolas Cage in the present and without many subtleties: parody with gunshots.

Spanish cinema premiered something similar in February, although without quite daring the total hooliganism of calling the parodied by their name. In official competitionare curiously (or not so) two Argentine directors and screenwriters, Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn, who put the best of our star systemwith Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz to the head, to ridicule characters very similar to himselfso, at least, very close people, very clear archetypes of the world. The film, yes, reaches a steeper semantic summit than Nicolas Cage’s own immolation: in one scene, the director who plays Penélope Cruz qualifies herself out loud in an amusing exercise in narcissistic neurosis; she repeats twice each one of the adjectives with which she manages to define herself, until she finds the definitive one: «Ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous», she repeats not twice, but three times.

If seniority is a degree, Hollywood stars seem to cook on fire very quickly and, above all, constant, until, from a certain age, they become parodies of themselves. Sometimes we realize it through the intersection of contexts such as the judicial, the family and the cinematographic with the global audience and its financial profitability. Johnny Depp, protagonist… in spite of himself? Anyone know. On other occasions, more and more frequent, the protagonists themselves decide to take the bull by the horns and tell it themselves in their own way.

Nicolas Cage and the Ridiculous Stars

Conclusion: the stars are ridiculous. However, we continue to demand them. More and more, in fact. Janine Basinger, perhaps the foremost authority on film history today, explains in her book The Star Machine how and why the end of star system Strictly speaking, the one invented by the great studios of the classic Hollywood era to create mass idols from a vertical machinery that included artistic and marketing aspects.

Paul McDonald replies in another book, Hollywood Stardom, that, in any case, themachine It has survived, only in a different form. Geographic, business and talent concentration has allowed star production to still operate through a very limited network of players. The star subsystem of the post-study era is a network of outstanding agents, public relations companies, human resource managers and lawyers who direct the different functions related to the production of stardom. Star advertising is also integrated into the broader media markets because many of the major public relations firms representing Hollywood celebrities are owned by large advertising or marketing companies.”

Or that, that we can laugh all we want that puretones like Tom Cruise continue to go around the world stretching the gum of their star. They can even laugh themselves, as is the case with Nicolas Cage. Does not matter: as long as the machinery continues to need them, we will have them there. His inner fire may have cooled to the ridiculous, but given the stark distance from his (well-crafted) charisma, his glow down here still illuminates a few thousand dollars.

For example. In the middle of next month it opens in Spain Pigwith Nicolas Cage as a truffle hunter from the Oregon wilderness who visits the very hipster city ​​of Portland to recover the truffle sow that has been stolen. Add and continue, Nicolas, we love you.

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