In life, accuracy counts.
Nobody does comic existential angst like Nicolas Cage, who gets a good workout in The Weather Man, an underrated slice of quiet desperation. Cage plays David Spritz, a Chicago TV meteorologist who knows only too well the constant uncertainty of predicting the weather. Despite a possible offer from a network morning show, David's life is a mess: he's estranged from his kids and irritated wife (Hope Davis), he's perpetually at odds with his remote father (Michael Caine), and lately people on the street have had the disconcerting habit of throwing food at him. Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) has perhaps too heavy a touch for this kind of comic melancholy, but screenwriter Steven Conrad has an interesting, almost Mamet-like ear for "written" dialogue--Cage has a few voiceover monologues, including an uproarious sequence involving tartar sauce and a walk to the store, that are hugely funny. It's possible that we've seen Cage in this kind of character one too many times, but he's still good at it, and his doleful face and pasted-on smile fit the mood of the picture. Unlike the heroes of most Hollywood movies, David Spritz doesn't always--or often--do the right thing, but Cage makes you want to see the poor sap make it. --Robert Horton