Turns out I love terrible movies. I don’t know what wires got crossed in my brain to cause what has essentially become race to the bottom of the Rotten Tomatoes rankings, but that’s my situation. I see terrible movies as a challenge and if you tell me something is ridiculous or nonsensical, the chance I will watch it skyrockets. I usually watch at least one a week, with friends, as part of an experiment we call Spooky Movie Tuesday.
SPOILER ALERT. I’ve seen the movie and if you haven’t and don’t want to be know a few spoilers, don’t read this.
As far as terrible movies go, Drive Angry certainly could have been worse. It stars Nick Cage (not Nicholas Cage, that name is for good movies) as a soul what done escaped hell to save his baby granddaughter from a satanic cult. If you’re counting, this is the second Nick Cage franchise to feature him coming back from hell with powers.
Also in the movie is Amber Heard playing a diner waitress who is totally ok with turning into a cop killer and William Fichtner as the guy responsible for bringing Nick Cage back to hell while doing his best Christopher Walken impersonation. David Morss shows up in a role that seems like it was meant to go to someone else. I like David Morss a lot, don’t think I’m dissing him, but the role seemed very ripe for a weird cameo from the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Stephen Segal or maybe Bruce Campbell. Actually, it totally should have gone to Bruce Campbell, he would have been perfect. Why am I not casting more movies? Nobody answer that.
I should put this out there: I LOVE Nick Cage movies, this fact is well-documented. The face/hair combinations he is responsible for are top notch. Is anyone working today combing as many weird face with weird hair choices? I am not going to try very hard to think of another because this is a prize I want Nick Cage to win. It should go on his mantel in one of his 10-minutes-apart New Orleans mansions next to his Oscar. In case you are wondering the face/hair combination most prevalent in Drive Angry is “Determined Grimace”/”Swept back, stringy blonde with the sides shaved.” He shaved off the sides, 90s-style! The man is an artist.
This potent combination of Clinton-era bad hair choices and scowls naturally attracts every waitress that comes into Nick Cage’s orbit. One girl gets away with just some light choke-kissing… at his table… while she’s on shift… in front of a packed restaurant. The other waitress is less lucky as the Cage seduction method (a mixture of grunts and indirect eye-contact – are you taking notes Mystery?) works in spades and she ends up sexing him in his hotel room while he is fully clothed. Back-from-Hell Nick Cage always has to be ready for action, so he never disrobes. Clothes comes in handy when a bunch of dudes from the cult break in and try to kill him with sickles and hammers. Since his pants are still on, Nick Cage doesn’t even have to jump for his gun, he just shoots all the dudes with physics-defying bullets while continuing to have sex. He’s a good multitasker.
I suspect Drive Angry could have gone two ways at one point, and there’s a few bits of evidence that someone in charge was really trying to make a weird cult film. They cast horror regular Tom Atkins as the police captain and for some reason put him in Threadless’ Spoilt tee for his entire first scene. Amber Heard basically works at Denny’s but her boss comes straight out of a greasy spoon restaurant located at a truck stop in the 1970s. One of the featured cultists is wearing a big, obvious pompadour wig. The cult leader is dressed in casual-Elvis wear (Casual Elvis is the name of my new clothing line, don’t you dare steal it). William Fichtner dance-drives to “That’s the Way (uhhuh uhhuh) I Like It.” It is all very delightfully odd and exactly what you want in a good off-the-rails Cage flick.
Speaking of off-the-rails Cage, I do need to mention the man barely speaks in the movie. He has one long information dump to set up the reason he’s chasing the cult, but other than it is mostly a few sentences sprinkled over driving sequences and scowls. To be fair though, he is REALLY good acting out driving and scowling. Plus, he gets shot in the eye and gets to act out the emotion of “regrowing an eyeball.” It is one for the reel.
What I Learned: A few lessons from Drive Angry
- Hell looks like a late-90s screensaver and it has “view screens”
- Air conditioners don’t hurt that much when they fall on your head.
- Your cult membership will grow exponentially when Nick Cage needs more people to set on fire with his car.
Rent it. Give Nick Cage your money. Lord knows he and his pyramid tomb need it. We have to do this together people because I know once everyone sees Drive Angry, there will be a massive swell of interest in a sequel about David Morss and Amber Heard running from the law (she totally shot a cop) and raising Nick Cage’s baby.
When will Hollywood just give the people what they want?!
Are you perhaps thinking you may need to own Drive Angry? Sure you are. There you go: