By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
The popular theory is that something broke inside Francis Ford Coppola during his hellish Apocalypse Now shoot. Looking at his filmography before and after that film seems to confirm that. Before he made nothing but masterpieces, after he made One From the Heart, Tetro,
While that divine creative spark that made him a legend may have gone missing, Coppola’s career since then hasn’t been all bad, and Peggy Sue Got Married is proof. Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner) is a woman in a failing marriage (Nicholas Cage) who attends her high school reunion with her daughter (Helen Hunt) to recapture a little of the magic of yesteryear. When she faints while there, though, she wakes up a high school senior again, with a chance to fix all her regrets.
This is basically a female-centric Back to the Future, with bonus middle-age ennui and nostalgia, and some Nic Cage craziness for good measure. How cool is that? Peggy Sue Got Married delivers both on the comedy and the drama due in no small part to Turner’s committed performance. She’s able to draw both not just from being a woman out of her time, but also an adult in a teen’s body. Jim Carrey has a small role where he even gets to do drugs, but even a cracked out Carrey is no match for the insanity Cage brings to the proceedings.
His name is Crazy Charlie after all…
Community completely missed the boat in Abed’s “Nicholas Cage: Good or Bad?” debate by not mentioning this film. It is the ultimate example of how impossible it is to say. On the one hand, Cage basically plays The Big Bopper with a bad head cold. His nasal accent is so beyond ridiculous that it’s unbelievable Coppola let it slide. And yet… he makes it work, and as we watch his dreams fracture and reality set in, even delivers pathos. It’s like he was handicapping himself at this point because he was just so damn bored with dramatic acting.
Maybe the reason Cage got away with that accent is Coppola couldn’t be bothered to give a shit. He’s firmly in director for hire mode here. It’s not that the direction is bad, it’s just that outside of one magic hour shot, it could’ve been Gary Marshall.
At least he wasn’t at Dennis Dugan yet…
A few more things that bothered me… Helen Hunt is actually a year older than her “Dad”- Nicholas Cage, and only 9 years younger than her “Mom”, Turner. Also, Masons are a plot point, really? I once knew a Mason who was so proud of his ring and the fact he “couldn’t” tell us anything about his secret club that I felt kinda sorry for him. I don’t think they’re manipulating the laws of space in time in there so much as hiding from their wives and planning their next tiny car parade.
Hmmm, or am I thinking of Shriners?
Peggy Sue Got Married is a very funny, surprisingly poignant time travel tale that (gasp!) I’d actually take over Back to the Future.
Take a Drink: whenever Nic Cage’s smoothness is sabotaged by his ridiculous voice
Take a Drink: whenever Crazy Charley is Nic Cage-level crazy
Take a Drink: for snarky interviews
Take a Drink: whenever Peggy Sue refers to her adult life
Do a Shot: whenever Peggy Sue does
Do a Shot: whenever Peggy Sue’s tales of the future (80s) is ironically ridiculous