The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans

tn_badlieutenantpocnoWhen I wrote about Abel Ferrara’s BAD LIEUTENANT about 2 years ago I said that should be one of the movies they remake in BE KIND REWIND, or some kids should do a remake in their backyard, or you should use scenes from it for your monologue in acting class. So far I haven’t seen any of those, but it’s even better to see a remake starring Nicolas Cage. Sort of a remake, anyway.

What exactly is THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS? It’s not a sequel, not exactly a remake to BAD LIEUTENANT. Werner Herzog, who directed this new one, claims he hasn’t seen BAD LIEUTENANT. Ferrara claimed he was gonna stop this one from being made. (In my opinion he failed.) This isn’t about the same character and I didn’t notice any mention of the original screenplay in the credits. But it does have a little bit of a BAD LIEUTENANT vibe, and that’s all I can ask.

mp_badlieutenantpocnoActually I hope you guys haven’t seen any of these, but there are some DTV sequels to WILD THINGS and CRUEL INTENTIONS and THE SKULLS that aren’t exactly sequels, they basically just do a similar plot to the original, rehash some of the famous scenes, but with different characters. At first TBL:POCNO seems like they only took the idea of a corrupt, crack smoking cop trying to solve a case and used the title. But then he also starts getting into debt from betting on sports, same as in the original, and there’s even a scene that’s the (tamer) equivalent to the infamous scene where Harvey Keitel pulls over the two teenage girls and has them make faces and show him their asses while he jerks off and talks dirty to them. People are talking this BAD LIEUTENANT up for being weird, but that’s just for a movie starring Nicolas Cage, it’s really not as extreme as the original. It’s a funnier and more mainstream-palatable take on the crack smoking, gambling, cheating, murdering, lovable bastard cop genre.

Before we move on I want to say a few things about the title. I believe PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS can and will be the new funny subtitle to add to everything, finally replacing the tired “ELECTRIC BOOGALOO.” I had been trying to get people to switch to “FAREWELL TO THE FLESH” as an all-purpose fake sequel subtitle, but that’s never gonna catch on. So look how well POCNO works for any movie title:


I also think it’s interesting to note that the title screen calls it THE BAD LIEUTENANT. There’s a THE in it. I think we finally found the missing THE from THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. Part 4 of that series was just FAST AND FURIOUS, because the first THE went to THE FINAL DESTINATION and the second one to THE BAD LIEUTENANT.

Herzog’s THE BAD LIEUTENANT PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS dumps the Catholic themes of Ferrara’s, so unfortunately Nic Cage never hallucinates Jesus and calls him a rat fucker. Instead of a nun getting raped it’s a Senagalese family getting massacred. He gets high about the same amount as Keitel, but never waddles around naked or does that weird Chewbacca cry. Instead he summons his super power, which I usually consider an enjoyable type of overacting, but I read that Nic Cage didn’t like being called “over-the-top” mega-actingin this movie. So instead I will call it mega-acting. He’s not just firing off on all cylinders all the way through though, he’s like a mess of a guy barely holding it together and then a few times when he smokes crack he goes into the Castor Troy/howditgetburned mega-acting mode. It’s like Popeye eating spinach or Pac-Man eating one of those bigger dots that means for a short period of time he has the power to digest the souls of the dead, except for their eyes.

One thing that’s great about Cage playing this role is that you kind of feel like you’re supposed to root for him. There’s one scene, not a real important one or anything, where he flips out on a pharmacist because she’s taking a personal call and he’s been waiting forever for his prescription. It’s kind of a FALLING DOWN type situation, everybody hates poor service and phone etiquette, so you get a satisfied laugh from this nut getting so fed up that he pulls out his gun and jumps behind the counter to get his Vicodin, leaves his co-pay plus tip and tells the security guard “Get the fuck out of my way!” before leaving triumphantly. Ha ha, wish fulfillment, right? We can all relate to wanting to do something like that, or some of these other things he does, like when he takes crack hits out of a teenage girl’s mouth and forces her boyfriend to watch at gunpoint while he fucks her in the parking lot.

(After that scene a guy in my audience said matter of factly, “He’s out of control.”)

That’s just the beginning of the joyfully unhinged mayhem that happen in this movie. I would have fun listing all of them, but I’m not gonna because I think most of you should just take my word for it and see for yourself. That guy in the theater who might’ve expected a normal Nic Cage movie like NATIONAL TREASURE was right, things are out of control and it’s fun to not know where the line will be drawn. But I want to be clear that it’s not just a bunch of random weirdness. It has a definite plot and structure to it. I like the original BAD LIEUTENANT but I gotta admit it’s a chore to get through, and it took me two times to enjoy it. This is different. This one’s a fun time at the movies.

To me it works brilliantly as a subversion of cop movies. Since DIRTY HARRY and WALKING TALL we’ve seen approximately three hundred and six thousand four hundred and thirty two movies where a cop goes over the line and breaks the rules in order to bust the bad guys. Here is a guy who does that while also stealing drugs from his hooker girlfriend’s clients, threatening old ladies and babies, etc. In fact, he’s so functional while high that he comes up with a master plan to play everybody against each other, and at one point it works so well that even he seems shocked.

Cage himself seems to be enacting some master plan to fuck with our minds, because this is not the first time he’s tried this crazy formula. It’s Nic Cage and Millennium Films (whose movies are mostly DTV, including many with Seagal, Van Damme and Snipes) taking the title of an arty cult movie and giving it to a somewhat respected auteur who you wouldn’t expect to do a movie like this to do a supposed remake that has very little to do with the original. And the funny thing is everybody made fun of him about THE WICKER MAN but he didn’t give a good god damn, he felt confident in using the formula again. What if he was getting at something there that nobody picked up on? I did feel like there were some things going on in that script that people didn’t give it credit for, but it wasn’t as good as this. I’m gonna have to revisit that one. Anyway if he wants to make it a trilogy maybe he could let Abel Ferrara get revenge and remake AGUIRRE or something.

I read in a recent Entertainment Weekly article that Nicolas Cage outbid Leonardo Dicaprio for a dinosaur skull. I wonder what you do with a dinosaur skull? Just mount it on the wall? Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there.

There are many good character actors showing up for little parts, including a sleazy Val Kilmer, a  really memorable Shea Whigham, Xzibit in a really nice suit, Jennifer Coolidge (who I didn’t recognize playing a serious role), and a tight-bodied Fairuza Balk in her underwear making sexual advances at the lieutenant and he has a big bulge in his pants but he’s too high to be interested. The biggest surprise for me was Eva Mendes is actually pretty good as his junkie hooker girlfriend. I always wonder how she even gets in movies, but here she’s not bad. And I thought it was really funny to have the same couple from the inexcusably terrible GHOST RIDER reteaming for something like this.

I love THE BAD LIEUTENANT PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS, and it gives me a new respect for Nicolas Cage. It takes alot to make up for GHOST RIDER, NATIONAL TREASURE and all that shit, but this and KNOWING might do it. I know there are some gossipy stories now about Cage being in debt, but I hope that won’t stop him from aiming his mega-acting powers in the direction of more enjoyably one-of-a-kind movies like this. And I hope he doesn’t have to sell the dinosaur skull to DiCaprio, because he’s earned it.

* * *

If you haven’t seen the movie yet consider that the end of the review, because I want to discuss THE ENDING: PORT OF CALL SPOILERS

This is for my buddy code name Mr. Armageddon who didn’t hate the movie but said it didn’t have a point or meaning. I disagree. For the most part it’s just a cracking crime tale, full of dark humor, inappropriate behavior and occasional spots of violence. Somehow you want this asshole to stumble out the other side alive, but he keeps getting himself in deeper trouble with a wide variety of enemies.

That would be enough for me to enjoy it, but the way it’s bookended with the flooded jail cell opening and the aquarium ending turns it into something of a zen koan. It’s hard to believe all of his addiction happened after the opening, but I think that’s what you’re supposed to assume – he started using Vicodin because of the back injury and it just got out of control from there.

Well, he’s in this sea of corruption, he’s encouraged and tempted to let the prisoner die. But he saves his life instead. A selfless act that ruins his expensive underwear (and pants and shirt I’m assuming, although this is not mentioned). Because of that act he gets the injury, and the addiction, and turns into a bad lieutenant. In the end he somehow manages to pass himself off as a hero and becomes a bad captain and a family man, but he can’t stop being a junkie.

But in the end we learn that what he did really made a difference, because the man he saved did turn his life around. And he wants to return the favor. He sees that the captain is at rock bottom and he seems to basically become his sponsor, be there for him and talk to him. And this should be a redemptive moment for the captain. He was rewarded greatly for all the horrible things he did, and I think that weighs heavily on him. Now finally the one good thing he did a long time ago has come back to him. He actually deserves this help. He really can be a force for good, for positive change in the world.

And he sits there and thinks about it but he comes to the conclusion that he regrets doing it, because it ruined his underwear.

(or that’s what he says anyway. It’s up to you whether he’s serious or not. And I don’t think his new friend knows what to make of it either)

This entry was posted on Monday, November 30th, 2009 at 2:53 pm and is filed under Crime, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

162 Responses to “The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans”

  1. Glad that you liked this one so much Vern, but although I would recommend it to certain friends of mine, I was mostly disappointed with it. Herzog is at his best when he goes for broke; trying to find some monumentally strange or powerful image, trying to evoke some big concept like infinity or madness or evil. He’s not so hot when it comes to traditional narrative, and the problem with TBL POC:NO is that 70% of it is a generic, uninspired, uninvolving cop movie clichés.

    The movie only came alive for me when Herzog would ignore the procedural genre tropes and do his own thing: Cage assaulting the old ladies, the iguanas, the dancing soul scene, etc. Those parts, and the rather fantastic final 10 or 15 minutes (which I think you’ve done a great job interpreting) made the movie worthwile for me. But still, most of the time I felt bored and unengaged watching Cage and the other actors go through the tired motions of a million other cop movies and shows.

  2. How the hell did they get Herzog to do this movie? If there is a scene where Nic Cage gets lost in the woods and chased by bears and racoons and crap, then it might make sense, but otherwise it’s kind of a weird side-trip for him.

  3. This is my favorite movie of the year. It’s badass yet beautiful, cynical yet sweet, low key yet over the top. I find it really hard to describe to people just how joyous it is. It’s just such a Herzog move to let this guy commit every horrible act in the book (except murder–in fact, he commits not one act of violence in the whole movie) without ever judging him. The guy’s doing his best, dammit. Yeah, he fucks up a lot, but couldn’t we all stand to be better people? Don’t we all wish that someone would notice how fucked up we are and offer to take us to the aquarium so we can get our shit together?

    I also love how Cage’s mega-acting is so potent that it makes world-class mega-actor Brad Dourif seem like Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense by comparison. He’s just like, “Fuck it, dude, the floor’s yours.”

    I really, truly love this movie. I can’t stop thinking about it. In an odd way, it gives me such a feeling of hope, because if this guy can go so far down the wrong road and make it even halfway back, then things might really work out for you and me and all of us after all. The movie makes me want to be a better man and earn my place in a world so amazing as to allow such a weird, wonderful thing to exist.

    Also: Best. Last line. Ever.

  4. Kudos on coining “Mega-Acting”. As for the subtitle, here’s some other suggestions:


  6. I love this PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS idea, but I don’t think it works applied to just any movie. I think we should save it for remakes of movies that don’t seem old enough to have a remake yet.


  7. Wait, you mean I *wasn’t* supposed to watch every sequel to Cruel Intentions? But I love bizarro remakes of Dangerous Liaisons!

  8. Another thing this bad lieutenant doesn’t do that the original did was use the n-word. I think that’s one way they get away with you still liking him. He’s no Clint Eastwood so they might’ve lost us if they made him racist.

    Majestyk, when you wrote “if this guy can go so far down the wrong road and make it even halfway back, then things might really work out for you and me” I assumed you were talking about Nicolas Cage, then thought you were talking about the character. But if it was the character I would be interested in your thoughts about why you think he made it halfway back. Is it because he has a family now, or because he went to the aquarium, or what?

  9. He didn’t use the n-word? I thought he did when he took crack with Big Fate. Perhaps I am misremembering it.

  10. I think the fact that he’s even trying to make it back, that he has any sense of how fucked up he is, is a real start. The whole movie, he’s having a blast living out on the edge, taking risks, getting high, etc. And he sees nothing wrong with it. He just wants to survive. But after barely making it through the movie with his badge, his life, and his girl, it’s not funny anymore. You get the feeling that he sort of expected the experience to straighten him out, and he was disappointed when it didn’t. All it taught him to do was be more careful. Now he’s just as bad as ever, but no one notices. That’s what I like about the ending. The dude is clearly screaming for help, but no one can hear him except for that one guy. And all he offers him is just a simple act of kindness and understanding. It’s not like tomorrow he’s gonna be clean and sober, but it’s a start.


  12. I don’t know about you, but I’m waiting for the direct-to-video sequel starring Jeff Fahey, BAD LIEUTENANT III: DIE BAD LIEUTENANT DIE.

    Also, Vern, if you really like Nicolas Cage in batshit-insane mode, for the love of God see VAMPIRE’S KISS, where he gives the most over-the-top, ludicrous lead performance in any movie I’ve ever seen. I think it’s the only time, until BAD LIEUTENANT, that he was given free rein to do pretty much whatever he wanted in every scene. It’s unbelieveable.

  13. I still hold that Vampire’s Kiss is Cage’s craziest performance, which puts it high in the running for craziest performance by anyone ever, including hypothetical performances by alien squid people who emote by shooting orange lava out of their faces. There is not one point in the movie where his behavior is not completely inexplicable. The only way his character makes any sense is if you assume that the girl from Flashdance gave him rabies.

  14. Stu,

    Excellent work. I would like to submit THE DEATH AT A FUNERAL: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS.

  15. Here’s an obvious one: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS.

  16. Majestyk,

    HAHAHA excellent. The cognitive dissonance created by the conflicting locations is sublime.

  17. Thanks, but I fucked it up. It should have been ESCAPE FROM THE NEW YORK: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS.

  18. THE HULK: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS. They can explore the dichotomy of Hulk being so angry and wanting to smash things, but finding a lot of the place already smashed, which ironically makes him more angry and in need to Smash.

  19. You guys would put VAMPIRE’S KISS ahead of WILD AT HEART and DEADFALL? Those two are for me the only two pure undiluted, maximum strength Nicolas Cage performances I’ve seen. I’d put VAMPIRE’S KISS third. I’m currently on a mission to see every film he’s been in on the off chance he tops any of those performances. Unlikely, but as a huge fan of that operatic style of acting he has mastered I’ve got to make sure.


    Glad ya liked this one Vern. One of my favorites of this year so far.

  21. “I read in a recent Entertainment Weekly article that Nicolas Cage outbid Leonardo Dicaprio for a dinosaur skull.”

    How would Mr. Cage do this while $6 million in debt to the IRS?

    I guess some guys can’t help but have to own shit. He did spend tens of thousands if I remember right on ACTION COMICS #1. And if you don’t know the significance….don’t worry, it doesn’t matter.

  22. I met one of the actresses who played one of the teenagers in the original.

  23. Jake: I actually think Cage’s performance in WILD AT HEART is somewhat restrained, at least compared to FACE OFF. But maybe that’s just because in WILD AT HEART Cage is out-mega-acted by Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, Crispin Glover and Grace Zabriskie. Actually, it could be argued that even Laura Dern out-mega-acts him in that one.

    WILD AT HEART and RAISING ARIZONA are my favorite Cage performances. Both Lynch and the Coens seemed best able to build a convincing world around him, then surround him with sympathetic talent.

  24. I think he’s actually sort of underappreciated in those National Treasure movies. They aren’t good movies really, but as kids’ movies they are sort of fun, and I think Cage is actually aware of how ridiculous the idea of an action-hero symbologist is and he seems to be enjoying himself. Compare that to Tom Hanks in those bullshit Dan Brown movies, he looks doubly good.

  25. Brendan: I haven’t seen the NATIONAL TREASURE movies, but I always figured both they and the MUMMY movies will always suffer from comparisons to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. I mean, can Cage or Frasier hope to compare to Harrison Ford? That role was so perfectly realized by Ford.

    But I think you’re right that Cage is probably a smarter actor than he’s given credit for. The self-awareness you mention was put to great use in FACE OFF.

    They really just should have retired the whole archeologist/adventurer thing for a good 40 years after RAIDERS. And I’d have include all the other INDIANA JONES movies in that ban.

  26. Jareth- Except in National Treasure he isn’t even an archeologist, he’s a professional puzzle solver and symbologist or whatever, a lab rat. I don’t think Cage throws a single punch or fires a single gun in either movie. Like I said, those movies aren’t GOOD, but I think they’re smarter about being dumb then most other stuff like it.

  27. Thanks for the correction, Brendan. But let me ask you this: do you think that Cage’s “lab rat” is as well played as Harrison Ford’s brief scene teaching his lovestruck students in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK? Or am I really off base when I try to compare the two?

    I just can’t see what another actor or another character could bring to the scholarly adventurer character that Ford didn’t do better in that film. I doubt even the first choice for the role, Tom Selleck, would have come close. And I say this as someone who thinks Harrison Ford is defined as an actor not by his skills but by his limitations.

    But hey, maybe Ford’s accomplishment is built up a bit too much in my head after seeing that wretched Richard Chamberlain imitation KING SOLOMON’S MINES.


    Also, I really hope that the “Mega-Acting” badge shows up in every review you do of a Nicolas Cage film from now on, Vern. Like the “Bruce” stamp of approval.

  29. Jareth- I was wrong to call him a “lab rat” that doesn’t really describe the character he is in those movies (I don’t remember what his name is in those movies, Ben something). He’s just a normal guy who gets excited at the idea at solving puzzles and running around. That’s kind of why the Indy comparison doesn’t work. Indiana Jones the character and the movies had all these disparate parts: the nerdy teacher, the Nazi-killing badass, the ladykiller, the awkward son, that Ford managed to coalesce into a human being that you liked. Cage, and his movies, are more one-dimensional. There’s really no difference between the Cage talking about history and the Cage running through locked off areas and ancient tombs. Not a bad thing, but unremarkable. Hope that answers your question.

  30. “A normal guy who gets excited at the idea at solving puzzles and running around:” that sounds like it would play to Cage’s strengths. As mentioned in another thread, he’s an actor who struggles when the script is poor, so maybe the NATIONAL TREASURE movies suffer from writing. And anyway, we all know who the real National Treasure is.

    MattMan: who would you nominate as potential heroes of Mega Acting?

  31. They’re kid movies. Not family films, or childrens films, they are rainy day formulaic adventure movies, to go alongside the Goonies or the Roger Moore Bond movies. You just kind of watch them without watching them if that makes sense.

  32. oh, I’m so glad you’ve reviewed this.

  33. Potential Hero of Mega Acting: Willem “Dancing to Opera in a Gun Fight” Dafoe.

  34. I guess my main complaint with this film is that without the weird spiritual component of the AF film it feels to me that something is missing. There’s a big hole in this movie and its name is Jesus Christ.

    The original is one of the favorite flicks from the 90’s. It packs an emotional punch that knocks you on yer ass. This one feels light by comparrson.

  35. “I still hold that Vampire’s Kiss is Cage’s craziest performance”

    great pick.

  36. Jareth: You think I could come up with more at the drop of a hat, since my background is in acting, but the only definite go-to that springs immediately to mind is Al Pacino. Some of those line readings in HEAT (“You know why? Cause she’s got a GREAT ASS!!!”; “Ralph, SIDDOWN!!!”) still make me laugh in that “where did THAT come from?” way that only Mega Acting can inspire. (See also: Nic Cage’s “You don’t understand. He’s been SHOT!!!” in RED ROCK WEST, everything Pacino attempts in LOOKING FOR RICHARD.)

    At times, I want to say Kenneth Branagh, but little makes ordinary humans switch into Mega Acting mode like Shakespeare, so he sort of gets a pass (there were Mega moments in HAMLET, though). Harvey Keitel has had moments other than this movie’s namesake (THE PIANO, LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST), but, again, it feels like the material often calls for it. Maybe it’s when the material explicitly DOESN’T call for it that elevates an elevated performance into the realm of Mega Acting.

  37. Ah, okay. Unquestionable Hero Of Mega Acting: Gary Oldman.

  38. MattMan: Dafoe’s definitely done his share of Mega Acting. And Pacino should probably have the award named after him just for THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE alone. Good call.

    I’d nominate (in no articular order):

    de Niro in CAPE FEAR
    Gary Oldman in LEON
    Ellen Barkin in SWITCH
    Kevin Kline in A FISH CALLED WANDA
    Peter Finch in NETWORK

    And obviously Nicholson in THE SHINING

    I think Ray Liotta probably has some Mega Acting in him somewhere, but I’m drawing a blank on any one performance.

  39. Speaking of Herzog, Klaus Kinski may be one of the progenitors of Mega Acting.

  40. Ray Liotta did some Mega Acting in Turbulence.

  41. The aforementioned Brad Dourif is a hero of mega-acting. Case in point: his role in Dario Argento’s Trauma, which is, I believe, entirely screamed.

  42. Despite my fine city being a character in the film and making it into the film’s title.

    It does not look like we will be getting a proper theatrical release down here.

    Which is a shame because I’d really like to see it.

    And yes I approve of book-ending all movie titles with PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS.

  43. Al Pacino: I’d take a FLAMETHROWER to this place!


  45. I would also like to submit every single actor in Glengarry Glenn Ross as champions of mega acting. Is that a legitimate Vern-ism or is it cribbed from somewhere else?

  46. Brendan, I think David Mamet is the over-actor in this case. The actual actors just absorbed it by osmosis.

  47. my title:

    Super Infra-Man: Port of Call New Orleans


  49. I would call Anthony Perkin’s performance in CRIMES OF PASSION a true testament to mega-acting, and bear in mind that this is in a Ken Russel movie, so for him to stand out as the one really going way, way out there is truly an accomplishment.

  50. Have to agree with Vern

    I read in a recent Entertainment Weekly article that Nicolas Cage outbid Leonardo Dicaprio for a dinosaur skull. I wonder what you do with a dinosaur skull? Just mount it on the wall?

    Shouldn’t he be paying the taxman rather than buying dead things ?

  51. oh and,

    Mega acting – almost every De Niro role since about ’85 and i would guess every Pacino role since (forever ??)

    I have to completely agree with Defoe in Boondock Saints, its like he has been Cgi’d in from a different movie altogether, just for the hell of it.

    Return of the Jedi: Port of Call New Orleans
    Heat: Port of Call New Orleans
    Roadhouse: Port of Call New Orleans
    My own private Idaho: Port of Call New Orleans

  52. The Blob: Port Of Call New Orleans
    Kung Fu HustlePort Of Call New Orleans
    Cock-Addicted Cheerleader Whores: Port Of Call New Orleans

    Yes, POCNO works every single time.

  53. How did we get this far without bringing up Dennis Hopper and Crispin Glover? These men are trailblazers.

    An up-and-comer in the field of mega-acting is Jeremy Davies. Accompanying every line reading with a ballet of twitches is what mega-acting is all about.

  54. I think John Turturro also belongs into the camp of mega acting.

  55. John Malcovich would def be top 10 mega-actors.

  56. Mr. Majestyk – I seriously thought about Dennis Hopper as a candidate, but wasn’t sure which performance to single out. Is BLUE VELVET mega-acting? I’ve always found that particular performance a bit too real; it’s definitely stylized, but strangely real. Or maybe I just hang with a bad crowd.

    And TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 is probably mega-acting, but who would notice when Chop Top is in the same film?

    You’re right about Crispin Glover. In anything. Even his talk show appearances.

    And can we talk about mega-acting without mentioning Shatner? Or is ham acting something else entirely?

    And I’d add:

    Tom Hulce in AMADEUS
    Tim Roth in THE HIT
    Tim Curry in ROCKY HORROR

  57. I would like to put forth Christian Bale as one of modern cinema’s best occasional mega-actors. While perhaps not as obviously mega as a Nicholas Cage or Crispin Glover, we must consider his over-the-top work in AMERICAN PSYCHO, his much-hated Batman-voice, that time he lost all that weight for no good reason for THE MACHINIST, and his associations with mega-directors Werner Herzog and Todd Haynes. Perhaps more often than not, Bale is dialed down and normal, perfectly capable of giving non-mega performances, but I think he’s proven that he CAN go mega, and quite spectacularly, when he wants to.

  58. Dan: You’re fogetting Bale’s best mega-performance:

    “I will kick your ass. I want you off the fucking set. No, don’t just be sorry.
    Think for one fucking second. What the fuck are you doing?
    Am I going to walk around and rip your fucking lights down in the middle of
    the scene? So why the fuck are you walking right through?”

  59. I also wonder if Shatner’s “I am feeling this emotion SO hard right now!” style of acting could be considered mega. Most of the time he’s just kind of hammy and phony (in an enjoyable way) but I think definitely the infamous “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!” moment is a hall of fame mega moment. Also, I think the “You Klingon bastards, you killed my son!” scene in Search For Spock qualifies, although I find it oddly moving when he falls out of the captain’s chair. That’s the human side of Kirk right there.

    Can we all agree that the “EVERYONE!!!!” scene in The Professional is the mega-acting by which all other mega-acting must be judged?

  60. MattMan

    Excellent choice of Pacino in ‘Wooking for Wichard’. Watch Kevin Spacey watch Pacion in that. It’s a very telling pair of performances.

    I don’t understand why Nic Cage is any kind of star, but I love that he exists and does his own thing.

  61. Oh, and Marlon Brando for The Island of Doctor Moreau as mega-actor incarnate.
    David Thewlis in ‘Naked’ approaches it, too, although he is excellent.

    Excellence shoudl be no barrier to The Craft.

  62. I think most Great Actors (TM) ascend to mega-acting at least once in their careers. For example, Denzel Washington, normally so dignified, fucking mega-acts the hell out of Training Day.

  63. I nominate Joaquin Phoenix on the Letterman show as underappreciated mega-acting tour de force of the decade.

    I am on a Nic Cage kick lately and saw ADAPTATION where he was genius, and MATCHSTICK MEN which was pretty good. Both of these movies suffer from the mega-acting full retard problem where his character is supposed to have weird tics and leeches because of emotional or psychiatric issues. So you can’t really judge his performance on the same scale. I mean, can you compare Dustin Hoffman’s mega acting in RAINMAN to his work in OUTBREAK, or SPHERE, or whatever that movie was where he was walking here (you know, “HEY I’M WALKING HERE”?

    I always thought “Sequel Tag Lines” would be a great Jeopardy category.
    $100 Q: “BREAKIN 2”
    $200 Q: “GREMLINS 2”
    $400 Q: “I’M OUT OF IDEAS”
    $500 Q: “THE DENTIST 2”

    Which, BTW, THE DENTIST 2 wins the award for best sequel tagline ever, twice (one for the US title, BRACE YOURSELF, one for the UK title, YOU KNOW THE DRILL). Okay maybe they aren’t as good as I thought, but Alex Trebek could act all smarmy and tell the audience the other correct answer.

  64. Shatner yelling “KHAAAAAAN!” is classic mega-acting with the added bonus that it doesn’t even make a lot of sense that Kirk was that upset at the time, from a plot standpoint. But maybe that makes it even better…. Kirk is ACTING upset in the scene, when he actually knows Spock will be back around to pick them up in a day (SPOILER). So this is Shatner the mega actor trying to protray Kirk mega-acting. Mega-acting squared.

  65. rainman: the Dustin Hoffman performance you mention is from MIDNIGHT

    A few more:

    Sean Penn in I AM SAM and ALL THE KING’S MEN
    Charlton Heston in PLANET OF THE APES
    Kevin Bacon in QUEEN’S LOGIC
    Tom Waits in DRACULA

  66. THE UP: Port Of Call New Orleans

    Good Mega acting: John Torturro in the Big Lebowski. You are convinced that bowling is the most important thing in the world for that man.

    Bad mega acting: Jack Black and Jim Carrey in pretty much anything they do. Instead of the character you see actors trying to be funny.

  67. THE DENTIST 2: YOU KNOW THE DRILL? Someone made a movie with that
    title? That is the most awesome thing ever.

  68. one of nic cage’s best performances is in “peggy sue got married.” it’s a really weird movie. it’s kind of totally crap but at the same time kind of good. but cage’s performance elevates it to a whole other level. you can tell that his role as written was meant to be the popular and handsome stud at school, but for some reason he insisted on wearing a false pair of super white and straight teeth and talking in this uber-dorky nasal whine. apparently he almost got fired by the studio but somehow convinced his uncle the director to keep him on. there are several out-of-the-blue bizarre and amazing mega-acting moments he sprinkles throughout the movie. seriously, there are several bits in that movie where i had to re-wind and watch over and over again to confirm that he did indeed do what he just did. it’s totally hilarious. for example, check out the scene where peggy tries to seduce him in the car (“you mean… my WHANG?”), the scene where he gets turned down by the record producer, and the scene where he confronts peggy after finding out she cheated on him. seriously, HIGHLY recommended.

    also, “the rock” makes really good use of cage’s assets as an “action star” and as a mega-actor. there are a few moments where he puts a delighful mega-twist on his line deliveries. michael bay’s best movie.

    finally, while not a great (but not terrible) movie, “honeymoon in vegas” has another good cage perfomance. it’s one of his broadest comedy roles. his entire approach to comedic acting in this movie seems to be to scream every one of his lines for the whole movie. and guess what? it’s funny!

  69. Eric Bana does some mega-acting in Star Trek a few times (“DON’T TELL ME IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!!! I SAUW IT HAPPUNNN!!!”, “SPOOOOOOOOOCK!!!!! SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCKKKK!!!”, “I WANT SPOCK DEAD-NOWW!!!!”, “FIRE EVERYTHING!!!!!”)
    How about adding POCNO to films already set in New Orleans, for maximum redundancy?
    RE: Indiana Jones movies. I think it’s really unfair how anything even remotely like Indiana Jones gets called a rip-off, considering Raiders of the Lost Ark itself is a homage made up of a collection of different set pieces and story elements from adventure serials.

  70. I don’t know if Eric Bana really qualifies for mega acting. Apart from being gleefully evil, there was nothing really “mega” in his performance, IMO.
    And before someone mentions him, I would also disqualify Heath Ledger’s Joker. Yes, his performance was full of ticks and stuff, but it all felt too forced, unnatural and stiff.

  71. I can’t think of any worse “bad mega-acting” than Jim Carrey as The Riddler in Batman Forever.

  72. Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones are kind of like the dueling banjoes of bad mega-acting in BATMAN FOREVER. It’s the worst kind of brinksmanship. I honstly couldn’t sit through it.

    Whoopi Goldberg in GHOST was pretty awful too. And I usually like Whoopi.

  73. Don’t label every overactor as mega-actor, folks. Vern’s definiton of mega-acting is “an enjoyable type of overacting”, so I guess if it’s so over the top that it’s impossible to enjoy, it’s not mega-acting anymore.


  74. Combs’ performance in The Frighteners (underrated movie, in my opinion) is a master’s class in mega-acting.

  75. I’d give a shout out to Richard E Grant as Darwin Mayflower in Bruce Willis’ Hudson Hawk.

    … although he apparently hated working on the film. C’mon mate, you did Spiceworld.. get a sense of perspective.

    Wow, those guys are fucked.

  76. Good call on Combs in The Frighteners.

    Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series needs some love. Sometimes it sounded like his face was making that cheesy guitar sound from the soundtrack… Byaaaawoooow.

    Possibly Gibson too.

  77. Has anyone mentioned Gary Busey yet? How about Nick Nolte?

  78. I definitely have to insist upon Shatner as a mega acting legend. “Khaaaaaan!” is one of the defining moments of the genre.

    And don’t forget “Let them die!”

  79. The Bad Lt 3: Revenge of the Fallen

    but seriously. One of the things that makes POCNO such a classic subtitle is that it’s Cage says the words “Port of call New Orleans” in the movie!

    Can Breakin’ 2 make the same claim?

  80. Call it “mega acting” or whatever.
    I love it.

  81. Nicholson Mega-Acting in _The Joker_ >> Nicholson Mega-Acting in _The Shiner_.

    Also, I now desperately need Vern to review _Vampire’s Kiss_. And maybe a few other things.

    The “Mega-Acting” thumbnail could in theory be used for any movie with “Mega-Acting”, including (for example) _Warriors of the Lost World_ and _Megaforce_.

    Meanwhile: dang, someone beat me to the easy Big Easy ref…

    Okay, fine! Try _this!_


    … … no, honestly, Electric Boogaloo is will always be better. Compare:


    I have searched my feelings. I know it to be true.

  82. “is AND will always be better”.

  83. Under Seige: Port of Call New Orleans

  84. Good call on “Electric Boogaloo” being overused by hacky writers and comics. Though I have started seeing a welcome increase in the use of “The Legend of Curly’s Gold”.
    How about “The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold”?

  85. Terminator 5: Port of Call New Orleans

    Ther Will Be Blood: Port of Call New Orleans

  86. The Fifth Element: Port of Call New Orleans

  87. Titus: Port of Call New Orleans

  88. No, no. Conservativism is the reactionary future of progress in this case. I’m quite sure.

    Further evidence:


    Seriously, the evidence is clear. Try making any of those titles more exciting by adding “Port of Call New Orleans”.


    See? It just doesn’t work.

  89. Way to run this PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS thing into the ground, guys. If you’re not careful Vern’s gonna disappear like Dave Chappelle.

  90. Reservoir Dogs : PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS
    Terminator 2 : Judgment Day : PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS
    Big Trouble In Little China : PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS
    Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask : PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS
    Short Circuit 3 : PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS
    Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead : PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS

    alright we get the idea….

  91. Finding Nemo: Port of Call New Orleans






  93. George Bush: Port of Call (not)New Orleans.

    Obama: 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan.






  95. Geoffrey- I think the Elmwood Palace is getting it on Dec. 11. It played at the film fest too, but I missed it cuz Tetro played at the Prytania while it was showing at Canal Place, heard pretty good things though.

  96. The sequel naming convention that cracks me up is just tacking “another” on the title.




    I can’t help but respect the utter lack of ambition displayed by the filmatists in question. I’d like to see some more of these:





  97. Franco: The movies you just listed pretty much dash any hope I might have had that the use of the word “another” in a sequel title is a sly postmodern commentary on commodity fetishism, like something in a Warhol painting or Talking Heads song.



  99. And of course there’s the underused pluralizing sequel title:




  100. Another Die Another Day

  101. yeah, jesus, vern you created a monster. everyone, you pretty much already destroyed this joke. but just for the record, one of my favorite sequel titles – sister act 2: back in the habit.

  102. Episode I: The Boleyn Girl

  103. Hey Virgin Gary, I was just thinking that we were just getting started. After all, we haven’t even touched on the old favorites: “beyond” and “rides again.”


  104. Dare I introduce MASTER AND COMMANDER THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD into this madness? That one may actually be a relative of mega-acting called mega-titling.



    Yeah it’s getting old guys.

    New point of discussion.

    “I’m trying to be courteous, but I’m beginning to think that’s getting in the way of me being effective”

    Line read of the year in my opinion.

  106. I’d like to get back to THE BAD LIEUTENANT, but I want to mention that Nick Nolte in HULK is another example of what I would call mega-acting.

  107. holy shit, do i even need to add to this massive pile of comments?

    thought this movie was pretty great. always caught me off guard any time Herzog would shift out of reality, and yet never show the audience anything to contrast the hallucination.

    did anyone else laugh hard at scene in the station near the end where everything turns out awesome for him all at once? the last scene really nailed it too. i’m probably about as much of a Nic Cage fan as anyone else (a little here n there), but this is definitely one of my favourite movies of the year.

  108. Vern (or anyone else) if you want to check out the definitive Cage mega-acting performance watch VAMPIRE’S KISS, which you might have heard of as the film where he ate a real live cockroach, for real. You might hate it but you might love it. I’ll let you guess which category I fell into.

  109. This is going to be best movie in the history of all things. Cage is a legend of ridiculousness.

    First time I saw the trailer I thought it was a brilliant spoof someone made on youtube. Thats how great this movie is.

  110. Gwai Lo: To build on your suggestion, I propose the following:


  111. MattmanBegins nominated Al Pacino for his mega acting, and I couldn’t agree more. His career is full of mega acting, but if I had to choose one as an example I would say The Devil’s Advocate features some of his best mega acting work. I also agree with Vern about Nolte in The Hulk. That is some top notch mega acting.

  112. Dan, I thought that scene at the end was fucking hilarious.


    But then he prowls another couple and it’s like “uh oh”

  113. I love how in that amazing scene where his luck changes even the BL himself looks surprised that his cockamamie scheme worked out. He’s fully prepared to start the day eating another shit sandwich, but instead, everything starts flopping his way. I love when the captain pokes his head in the frame, all smiling like, “Good news!”

    I’ve been thinking more on the question of why I think the character is at all interested in redemption, given the fact that he goes right back to his evil ways. I think it’s because when he SPOILER sets up Big Fate (SYMBOLISM!!!!), he was ruining what he’d spent the whole movie looking for: a reliable drug connection. He had a choice between justice and the monkey on his back, and he chose justice. That means there’s a good man hiding under all that weakness.

  114. Tiger Woods: Port of Call Divorce Court

  115. Vern, not one single coment about Werner Herzog? All this talk about Nicholas Cage, and not one single coment about Herzog? You know, the director? The Werner Herzog? Pardon my hero-worshipping of the Great Werner Herzog, but frankly, the real star in any Werner Herzog movie IS WERNER HERZOG. He is one of the very few directors whose personalitry shines through and through all his movies. More important, he is one of the top best director in the whole history of cinema. This guy made DOZENS of movies and documentaries, and he never, ever, made a bad movie. Think about it, a filmmaker, or filmatist as you call it, who made dozens of movies and not a single one of them is bad or weak.

    And yet, all you talk is of Nicholas Cage. Believe me this, in a Herzog movie, even this one, even Cage is a lesser detail.

  116. I wouldn’t go that far. I love Herzog wholeheartedly, but I think the movie could have withstood the loss of his services more than it could have withstood the loss of Cage’s. There are a few other directors who could have done a decent job with the material, but can you really imagine anyone else in that part? There’s simply no one else mega enough.

  117. The Herzogisms were dialed down in this one but I don’t really know if I’d go so far as to say that other directors could have done the job. Other directors would have made it what the script was, a DTV sequel to a movie that doesn’t need a sequel, instead of a zen koan. And I’m sure part of the reason why Cage was so good in this was Herzog’s sensibilities, and perhaps the respect that Cage had for the director. This is the man who tamed Klaus Kinski, after all.

    I’m certainly in agreement that he’s never made a bad movie (I’ve seen over 50 of his IMDB director credits and consider 20 or more of them to be classics or near classics) a few of his films/documentaries are sort of unwatchable (Huey’s Sermon, Jag Mandir)

  118. Regarding Herzog / Cage rift that’s forming here.
    The most interesting thing about the film to me is that’s it’s a near perfect collision of these two legendary personalities. Somehow Bad Lt makes perfect sense in the context of both of their filmographies.

  119. The location detail and what vern refers too as “zen koan” like symetry of the story are both classic Herzog. Cage contemplating his existence infront of the aquarium. The weird Louisiana funeral. Cage incursions into people’s houses always reminded me of a certain scene from Gummo.

    @ but can you really imagine anyone else in that part?

    uh… well, Harvey Keitel

  120. Please don’t think I’m saying that anyone else could have made it the way Herzog made it. There certainly wouldn’t be any iguanas in anybody else’s version. (Do they even have iguanas in New Orleans?) And I’m not saying that any old hack could have directed it. But I think another genre-exploding weirdo like, say, Takashi Miike could have made a great deadpan freakout out of the material, and if he was in a mellow Dead Or Alive 2 kind of mood, it might even have maintained the sweetness of the ending. But who would you get to replace Cage?

  121. Really, all I was disputing was that Cage was a “lesser detail.” This was a beautiful dance between two iconoclasts who’d been looking for a suitable partner for years.

  122. It’s funny that this movie does make sense in the context of Cage/Herzog’s respective filmographies. When it was annoucned I was WTFing for days. But at some point it clicked and then it became impossible to imagine a world where a Herzog/Cage Bad Lieutenant didn’t exist.

  123. Gwai Lo, i agree, Herzog seems to be the perfect man to direct a mvoie where Nicholas Cage would go compeltyl nuts and overboard and yet all makes sense and for the bettement of the movie. As our friend above said, Herzog is the guy who made FIVE MOVIES with Klaus Kinski, and the only one who used him as a protagonist. All other movies that Kinski made, he was just a secondary character with a very limited screen time. That’s because nobody had the endurance to deal with him for mroe then a few days of shooting. Herzog, he even made two movies back to back with him, Nosferatu and Worchek.

    And nobody makes a movie like Herzog. Nobody. If Bad Lieutenant: Long Subtitle is good,it’s because of Herzog. Cosndier all other movies whwere Cage has gone mega-acting and how many of them are good. How many of them are bad exactly because Cage is mega-acting? Yeah, that’s right. And yet, Herzog turns that into an asset and one of the movie’s strenghs. Like he did with Kiski before.

    Herzog is a cinematic alchimist.

    As for his documentarie,s if you want to forget those you disliked, then go watch ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD. Documentaries don’t get any better then that. I’m still at awe of that movie, and i saw it 4 times already. He went to antartica with his best friend, with just a camera and a sound recording device, and came out with a masterpiece. Only Herzog!

    My awe at the man is boundless. Herzog, that’s how a great director really looks like.

  124. Huzzah! My favorite Herzog docs are little-seen:

    La Soufriere – where he goes to the slopes of a volcano that’s supposed to be erupting, like, any second now, just to interview the local crazies who refuse to leave.

    The Great Ecstacy of Woodcarver Steiner – transcendent doc about a ski-jumping Ubermensch.

  125. I need to see La Soufriere, but it’s hard to find. Have you ever seen Lessons in Darkness? Best helicopter shots for a documentary since Baraka.

  126. Yup. Lessons of Darkness is excellent. He considers it sci-fi, like an anthropological study of the human race. I’ve seen almost everything Herzog has made, except Game in the Sand and a few others. You can get La Soufriere (and a bunch of other obscure docs/shorts) in a box set, I found it on eBay.

  127. I love Lessons of Darkness. It was the first Herzog film I ever saw, and it really prepared me for the mix of surreal imagery, pretentious horseshit, nearly imperceptible humor, and outrageously macho filmmaking bravado that is Herzog’s stock in trade. It comes packaged with Fata Morgana, which I think is the best primer there is to prepare viewers on how to watch his work. There’s no symbolism here, no message. The images mean nothing except what they are. The movie is like a lava lamp, a fluid Rorshach test. It is what you make it. If you can love that, you are prepared for the languid pace of the rest of the Herzog oeuvre. Once I saw that double feature, I never looked back.

  128. By the way, have any of you listened to a lot of Herzog’s commentaries? Obviously, he’s a total rock star and listening to him talk is almost if not more entertaining than watching his movies. But who the fuck is this guy Norman Hill who’s on all the commentaries with him? He never seems to know what the fuck is going on. He’s constantly asking leading questions about why Herzog made the choices he made, and Herzog is always like (paraphrasing), “No, that’s completely wrong. I wasn’t thinking about that at all. I was into something much deeper yet exponentially more pragmatic than that bullshit you’re talking about.” It happens again and again. Is the guy just a hired straight man, setting himself up as the clueless square that Herzog can debunk again and again?

  129. Most conversations with Herzog proceed that way. I don’t think I have listened to many Herzog commentaries. My god, that’s one thing I haven’t done! I have read his autobiography (of sorts) though, and as a character study it blows 99.9% of all fiction out of the water. Herzog on Herzog, edited by Paul Cronin. He’s a man who has seized life by the testicles for several decades, and we’re simply fortunate enough that he recorded most of it for posterity.

    Has this movie actually made 600,000 dollars or is Box Office Mojo just slow on the uptake? How is this Nicolas Cage’s poorest performing release since Vampire’s Kiss? People will go see Next or Bangkok Dangerous but not Cage’s best performance since Adaptation in a movie directed by a genius? Is it because it hasn’t gone wide yet? Aren’t the reviews overwhelmingly positive? I know Herzog is Box Office kryptonite despite 60 films under his belt, but WHAT IS GOING ON?

  130. I might as well ask this n00b shit this late in a thread where it won’t waste anyone’s time… How do you fellas get them avatars of yours?

  131. gravatar.com

  132. It’s lame, but The Passion of the Christ 2: Port of Call New Orleans

    And while I’m at it, Braveheart 2: Port of Call New Orleans and Alien: Port of Call New Orleans

  133. I just saw this today, along with four other people. And by that I don’t mean that I brought my gang with me — though one guy in the movie looked just like my pal Raymond, but older — I mean there were five of us at the matinee. That’s a shame.

    This movies is fun stuff. I disagree with those who say it’s not Herzogian enough. Sure, there are no five-minute landscape shots accompanied by weird yodeling. It’s an American cop movie. But c’mon — dead alligator at a car accident scene…”his soul’s still dancing” …hookers lit by spotlight along the side of the road…and those iguanas! There’s even a gratuitous little person, and Sonny Terry harmonica music after a shootout. Plus Cage’s entire performance.

    He’s definitely in Vampire’s Kiss mode. Not sure what was up with the voice (Peggy Sue reprise?) and that haircut — oh the humanity, that haircut! What the fuck is that? Does it have a name?

    I absolutely loved the pharmacy scene. It played as wish-fulfillment fantasy for me, because of recent events in my life involving pharmacists being evil bastards. I sincerely wish I could do what he did without getting arrested. When a man needs his pain relief, a man needs his fuckin’ pain relief! And since the human condition is pain, this means always.

    One final thought: hiding behind the door with an electric shaver. Bravo.

  134. Hey, you know who else has done his share of mega-acting? Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson. His work in SOUTHLAND TALES and DOOM gives Cage a run for his money. I wouldn’t mention it except that, like Cage, he can also be pretty solid. Put those two together in something weird and watch the world explode.

  135. We were talking about Herzxog’s documentatirs, sna di have to say, maybe my favorire of his that i have seen is Encounters At The End Of The World. The flick is just mesmerising. Herzog isa true genious.

    As for the cometnaries in his movies, i do believe that Normal Hill plays more dumb then he is with the comentary. Like most comentary hosts, he feign some ignorance so that the filmmaker talks about the movie. It’s a sort of interview technique, where the questions are done for the sake of the audience. I think Hill is quite prepared and he’s quite deliberate in what questions to ask, because many times they refer to all this myths and stories about Herzog, and allows Herzog to debunk or confirm them. His questions also revel that while many times Herzog gets exactly what he wants for the movie, many other times some of the good stuff was just Herzog being at the right place at the right time, and him being wise and fast on his feet enough to realise the potential of this inexpected accident and use it to the benefit of the movie. Which also shows his quality as a filmmaker.

    There are times one feels that even Herzog himself is amazed of what is shown in his movies, and the extent and efforts he and his cast and crew went to just make a movie. And funny enough, Herzog believes there’s no select audiences, he thinks everybody shoudl watch his movies, he makes movies for the whole people, not just “some” art-house crowd people. But he doesn’t compromise. But i’d venture to say that Herzog’s greatest happiness in his professional life would be if one of his movies would be the year’s box office record breaker. He doesn’t believe in movies as art for some, he believes movies are the ultimate democratic form of art and entertaiment. Movies, every movies, every kind are for everybody. And his latest movies like Rescue Down and Port Of Call New Orleans are, in my mind, atemps at just that. He’s not selling out, he’s putting his money where his mouth is.

  136. Just saw this a few days ago. A lot of spoilers here.
    Vern says there is no Jesus in it and the lieutenant doesn’t call him a rat fucker. But is it far fetched to say that the scene with the iguana’s is serving the same purpose? When the Abel Ferrara lieutenant sees Jesus he’s seeing the essence of his existence, his maker (Ferrara is catholic), that which gives him the power to do a redemptive sacrifice in the last act of the movie. Herzog is more of a heart of darkness kind of guy. So for him (and his character) the core of human being is the reptilian brain, the instinct. This Lieutenant solves all his problems by relying on his instinct
    ; when he is busy solving his problems he goes about it as coolly as a reptile. His is a kind of voodoo religion (it’s New Orleans after all) like the priest in the funeral. The price he pays of course is that his heart of darkness that solves his problems also keeps him tied to that darkness as can be seen in the brilliant closing scenes. That’s the price you pay for using the Iguana-istic superpowers.
    Brilliant movie.
    As much as i like the original bad Lieutenant, I like this one more. Ferrara’s was a Mean Streets revisited with some additional gothic. I have never seen a cop movie like Herzog’s. The interrogation scene with the old ladies is a classic.

  137. Rusty James – thanks bud I will check that out

    frankbooth – thanks for reminding me of the electric shaver. Amazing.

    AsimovLives – great take on Herzog, even though it seems like you’re typing on a foreign keyboard, or maybe PCP?

    Zeez – great take on the reptiles.

  138. Jaws: Port of Call New Orleans.

  139. A friend turned me onto this video of Cage’s Japanese pachinko commercials the other day and I cannot stop watching it. Absolutely goddamn fucking amazing.


  140. hey guys, short but good interview over at AICN with Nic Cage, Professor Emeritus of the Mega Acting Arts, where he talks about his approach in BL: PoCNO. good and encouraging stuff!


  141. VERN you got quoted! i just found out this website here from the talkback on Quint’s recent interview with Cage on aintitcool: “http://www.blu-ronin.com/Top10s/top10nicolascageperformances.html” :)

  142. That’s funny, I followed that link too and skimmed it and didn’t even see that first paragraph saying the whole thing was inspired by my theory of mega-acting.

    Good interview by Quint – Cage gives alot of weird insight into his mindset. And he talks about the two movies I would most want to hear him talk about: Bad Lieutenant and Wicker Man.

  143. My favorite part of the interview was how Cage revealed the bee helmet was inspired by some random invention his grandfather made. That’s awesome.

  144. Not to take any shine off Cage but this just hit the internets, and being the rabid Herzog fan I am I couldn’t resist posting it here:


    The director of this also did the wonderful CHOP SHOP, and I hear good things about his other films as well although I have not seen them.

  145. For anybody who hasn’t caught Port of Call New Orleans Fever yet, this is available on DVD and futuristic Blu-Ray in the U.S. today. There’s not a commentary track but there is a very strange so-called making of documentary that’s just random unexplained cinema verite scenes from the production. I’m about 20 minutes in and Nic Cage hasn’t been shown yet. But they did show Fairuza Balk talking to the alligator wranglers.

  146. Really? Is it feature length? Is there lots of Herzog? On a scale of one to BURDEN OF DREAMS how good are we talking here? Ah fuck it I’m gonna pick up that new fangled Blu Ray soon enough and find out myself.

  147. Still no release date for this in the UK. :(

  148. Only coming out in Irish cinemas at the end of the month…


  150. Just saw this, finally. Fantastic. I liked it a lot at first, then after the gator-cam and then the iguana-cam I was hooked.

    Fairuza Balk, holy cow!

    But I am kind of confused by the ending. (SPOILERS) The scene everybody is talking about where suddenly every little loose end gets fixed all at once, at least the ones they cared to fix, it is too surreal. Not that there weren’t other surreal things in the movie obviously, but I couldn’t help thinking I wasn’t seeing some sort of An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge (AOAOCB) thing going on. It started off okay, then got less realistic, then the police captain pops up smiling ten feet wide (I cracked up), then he’s got a pregnant ex-prostitute wife and a happy sober family. It’s just too much, I was expecting a snap cut to him waking up in jail or something. But it didn’t happen, and then instead we get the coda with him busting teenagers for drugs again. Then the Afterward with the aquarium, which brought the movie back together.

    So…. am I really supposed to believe that everything turned out great in the end?? Except for him still having a little problem of course. It’s hard to swallow, everything was just too perfect to the point of ridiculousness. On purpose, of course, it can’t be an accident, but was all or part or none of it real?

  151. Rainman, I’ve always wondered the same thing (there’s also a discussion of this type of ending in the Redbelt thread). I personally think (or hope) that the ending of POCNO really happened. Sure, it makes no sense whatsoever (especially the police captain, that was hilarious) but it makes it the feel-good movie of the year. Yeah, he’s a BAD Lieutenant, but he had good intentions (sorta). I guess it’s like the end of Inception, where if it was real, then I liked it, but if it was all a dream, then I kinda don’t give a shit anymore.

  152. Finally caught up with this today. Very enjoyable, if you ask me. I was a little bit disappointed though, because since it came out, it somehow built a reputation of being a completely fucked up riot of insanity, where something crazy happens every 3 1/2 minutes, but I guess that just came from pot-smoking frat boys with ironic mustaches, who only know “Not the bees!” from demotivational pictures at Failblog.
    It IS a good movie though and one thing that I really have to mention here, is Cage’s realistic portray of a man with back problems. My back is fucked up too (although not in-constant-need-of-pain-pills-bad) and I did recognize his posture or even the way he walked in many scenes from myself. So well done, Mr Cage.

  153. […] in Con Air. So, you know what you’re getting then, more of Cage’s “mega-acting” (as outlawvern calls it). The never terrible Danny Huston works hard to prove his relevance to the whole affair as […]

  154. Hey guys, last night I gave Nicolas Cage a drawing of himself from Bad Lieutenant. I’ll tell the whole story if anyone is interested but he seemed to love it and he took it onstage with him to show the whole audience (him and Herzog unrolled it together and held it up). One of the highpoints of my year for sure.



  155. Gee, umm…. let me think….OF COURSE WE’RE INTERESTED!! Bring it on David. Well, I’m interested anyway. Please continue….

  156. David that is really awesome to hear.

  157. Wow David, that’s incredible. I’m glad he seems genuinely tickled by the whole thing.

  158. Thanks guys. Last year I gave a drawing to Werner Herzog so when I heard about a screening of The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call: New Orleans with a Q & A by Herzog and Cage I knew I had to whip up a drawing. So I did the night before: https://www.facebook.com/davidlambertart/photos/a.254595597966289.58337.147320312027152/612998595459319/?type=1&theater

    Nicolas Cage entered through the back of the theater and then headed to the lobby, so I got up and followed. As he was walking I handed him the drawing and said, “Here I drew this for you.” He unrolled it and said, “Wow! That’s awesome! Thank you!” and I replied, “Thank you!” and we shook hands. Then he walked into the restroom (I had no idea that’s where he was heading). After the screening, Cage and Herzog went up to do their Q & A. Before they got started Nicolas Cage did this: http://instagram.com/p/maxIB1thVq/ That’s Nicolas Cage AND Werner Herzog holding up my Bad Lieutenant drawing. If you can’t hear the audio, Cage says, “I got this beautiful drawing from a fan. I’m gonna go home and frame it.” Then Cage and Herzog did the most amazing Q & A (Cage talked about his acting technique, how Daffy Duck inspired him, how he did Ghost Rider because he wanted to be “a living tattoo” and Herzog talked about his directing style: “I said, what is coverage? Coverage is something I have on my car.” and, in reference to his next projects, “They are like thieves in your kitchen. You must first attack the one who is rushing towards you.”) You can see a bunch of Getty images of the event (along with more photos of Herzog and Cage holding my drawing) here: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/nicolas-cage-and-werner-herzog-participate-in-a-discussion-news-photo/482865971

  159. […] There was an Elvis Presley phase in which he channelled his inner King all the way through Wild at Heart, Honeymoon in Vegas, and a marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, the singer’s daughter. He was relatively low-key as the patsy in the 1993 neo-noir Red Rock West, delegating most of the flamboyance to co-stars Dennis Hopper and J.T. Walsh, but made up for it in his brother Christopher’s conman caper Deadfall with a poppers-snorting performance so manic it set the benchmark by which all subsequent Cage performances have had to be judged. Vern, my favourite online critic, dubbed it “mega-acting”. […]

  160. For Friday nights entertainment: Werner Herzog narrates Pokemon.

    Werner Herzog Narrates Pokémon Go: Imagines It as a Murderous Metaphor for the Battle to Survive

    Like filmmaker Werner Herzog, I have existed in near total ignorance of Pokémon Go, a virtual reality game that purports to get players on their feet and out in the real world.

  161. […] in Con Air. So, you know what you’re getting then, more of Cage’s “mega-acting” (as outlawvern calls it). The never terrible Danny Huston works hard to prove his relevance to the whole affair as […]

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