What The Film!? – Next


What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.

As soon as it came, it ends: it’s that time of the year that not just Americans, but the world unites in what they’re thankful for: the world’s greatest actor: Nicolas Cage. I’m sorry, but we have reached the final week of Nicolas Cage November. Justin and I have expressed our admiration of the former Coppola, we still finding a need to defend ourselves. Nicolas Cage appreciation isn’t a joke. The fact of the matter is that Nicolas Cage is a Three Ring Circus. You may have an idea of what to expect, but when the lights come up, you really have no idea what’s coming next. Ladies and gentlemen, my final 2012 Nicolas Cage What The Film!? is 2007’s Next.

Jessica Biel is a really good actress, you can tell because she has to act like she’s not ecstatic being around Nicolas Cage

Next is based on the short story “The Golden Man” written by author Phillip K. Dick, who’s books and stories have been adapted into 1982’s Blade Runner, 1990’s Total Recall, 2006’s A Scanner Darkly, 2002’s Minority Report, 2003’s Paycheck, and 2012’s remake Total Recall. I have enjoyed all of those movies, some more than others (if you don’t like Minority Report, you can just leave now), so with that track record, how can this movie be disappointing? Well, for one thing, it was directed by Die Another Day director Lee Tamahori, who is really good at making bad movies.

“Know what James Bond needs? An invisible car. That certainly won’t be the punchline and most awful part of a fifty year old franchise.”

The plot line of Next is a magician who is also able to see only two minutes into the future. He uses this ability to mostly manipulate casino games to win money to get by. For some odd reason, the FBI tries to enlist him to help find a nuclear bomb that is going to destroy a major American city, a plot line that Michael Bay would shoot down. Nicolas Cage avoids the FBI agents, despite knowing what they want, for absolutely no reason. The first two acts of this movie is him avoiding the FBI for no discernible reason at all.

At the same time, the terrorists who are planning to nuke America are also aware that Nicolas Cage can see only two minutes into the future and decides to hunt him down because something like that is a legitimate threat to them(?). The movie plays with many ideas of what “can see into the future” means and turns it into “he knows everything at all times”. Nicolas Cage in this movie is basically God. He knows everything that’s happening at all times and basically treats the real world as if it was The Matrix.

He also wears the exact same outfit he wore in Knowing and National Treasure

Eventually they track the terrorists to a warehouse that looks suspiciously like the warehouse at the end of Live Free or Die Hard, where the movie treats Nicolas Cage’s psychic abilities to rewind time, more or less. He gets shot in several sequences where it’s then revealed that it was just a vision and dodges the bullet the second time. There’s no dramatic effect to this because it gets used so much that it comes off as the time-reversal feature in the Prince of Persia videogames.

The climax finishes with the last terrorist alive (who is the lead terrorist) holding Jessica Biel’s character hostage with a bomb strapped to her. The terrorist does not have a gun, he just has a detonator. The lead FBI agent shoots the detonator out of his hand and he’s defenseless. They can finally take him in and find where that nuke is in order to- and then she shoots him in the head because she’s horrible at her job.

The nuke goes off, destroying all of Los Angeles because Julian Moore’s character apparently didn’t know the plot line of the movie despite existing as the physical manifestation of exposition, explaining the plot in every scene she was in.

“What? It’s not like I can see into the future.”

The last shot of the movie is Nicolas Cage waking up in a hotel he was in halfway through the movie, the second half of the movie being a his psychic vision despite the emphasis of the two-minute rule they’ve hammed down the entire movie. On top of that, he had multiple psychic visions in this psychic vision so it’s like the Inception of dumb psychic movies. Plus, while having all the fake out dramatic sequences where something bad happened to Nicolas Cage, but not really, we’ve stopped caring about the character. There’s absolutely no drama or tensions in this movie. It’s the same reason why it’s hard to care about a video game character. You can’t identify with someone you’ve seen get killed over and over and over again.

Well, almost. Everyone loves Sean Bean.

While most the movies I have written about for this are movies that I’ve genuinely enjoyed, this week is different. Next is a very bad movie, but that’s kind of a part of the appeal of Nicolas Cage. Even when given a horrible movie, he still gives it his all. No phoning it in, no messing around. He treats every single movie he does as if it will be the one to give him more Academy Awards (yes, more than he has already). You can say he makes bad movies, which he does, but he never does a bad job with the material he’s given.

He’s the actor we need, but not the actor we deserve.

Dane can totally see in the future. In two minutes he’ll be drinking more coffee and watching more Nicolas Cage movies because it’s still Nicolas Cage November! You can follow him on Twitter and Tumblr!

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  • suziq777@live.com

    Perhaps, he can only see 2 mins into the future, because that includes as much as is relevant, as much as he’s interested. The film explicitly explains, the gift he has previously made his life hell, via the games his examiners played. Maybe, he just didn’t feel helpful in any real way.

  • Nicolas Cage Rampage

    Have enjoyed every minute of Nicolas Cage November, and will undoubtedly be sad that it’s over. It was a magical month. and please give Next another chance! you’ll never know what you’ll discover the ‘next’ time you check it out….