What did I just watch? This was one of the most depressing movies…I liked that it wasn’t a normal optimistic hollywood approach to addiction- he didn’t clean up and health out at the end, that was good. I did like Elizabeth Shue’s little monologue at the end about accepting him for who he was and not trying to make him change but like UMMM.
Nicolas Cage is one of the only people where I honestly can’t tell if they’re talented or not. Like in this movie, there were moments of true genius these honest endearing and heartbreaking reactions where he is utterly transformed into this man and your heart just BREAKS watching him- like when he first moves in and Sera (cool name) gets him presents but then they start talking about something else and then she reminds him they’re there and he lights up and goes, “presents!” it’s just this beautiful pure moment between them and in that moment their entire relationship makes sense.
But then there are these other moments where you feel like, wtf I don’t know if this is good or what’s going on here. Like for example, throughout the movie Sera keeps having these talks about her life with someone, it seems to be in a therapists office- the first one she’s laying down and there’s always fresh lilies next to her, she uses a lot of feeling words, etc. And in one of these session/confessions she talking about how she’s really good at being a prostitute, how she can walk into a room and know someone’s fantasy and instantly be that for them. Then one of the reasons she says she likes Ben so much (Nick Cage) is because she doesn’t feel like a fantasy with him, she feels like herself. She’s not acting something out for him. BUT THEN when he’s drinking by the pool she comes over and takes the whiskey/bourbon bottle from him, pours it in her mouth over her body so he will want to fuck her..BUT this is the exact scenario he outlined in line at a bank earlier as the only situation where he would be sexually interested in a woman. Sooo… did she just treat him like a client and ‘perform?’ I feel like that was somewhat of the subtext of that scene.
Oh my god, also in one of the saddest scenes of all time, N.C is really drunk and paying for a prostitute, but she gives his finger a blow job because he’s too drunk to notice the difference BUT THEN she takes his wedding ring off with her teeth and keeps it 😦 Like, this poor dude. I kind of like that we never meet/hear about his wife and kid or what really happened to make him get to this point of severe alcoholism- he just is what he is.
Did NOT appreciate the gang rape scene…maybe because I have seen so many movies do it by now. Like seriously there CANNOT be a woman portrayed in a movie who is promiscuous or sexually assertive who doesn’t suffer violence and/or rape for it at some point. (Don’t believe me? The Accused, Monster, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, North Country, Boys Don’t Cry, Lawless, K.I.D.S, Braveheart, Requiem for a Dream, Showgirls, Kill Bill, Precious, Rosemary’s Baby, Clockwork Orange, Watchmen, Dogville, Wild at Heart, Sin City, Thelma and Louise, Blue Velvet, The Rules of Attraction, etc. etc. etc.) And while I understand that is a reality for a HUGE portion of people in the world, it’s not a empathetic or even intellectual handling of this issue- just thematically yelling at women, “Don’t be sexually confident, you’ll get raped!” So fuck that.
Also, I think I would have liked this movie 100x better if it were scored in the past twenty years. There was this sort of Michael McDonald jazz/blues thing going on at key moments throughout the entire movie that made me feel like I was in a PSA for school music program funding. They also seemed to be doing this thing where the lyrics of the songs serve as major character information mines- like after Ben cheats on Sera there’s this saxophone diddy about broken hearts playing that goes on for like a minute. A MINUTE.
Basically it was like a really depressing romantic comedy. It felt like the movie ‘Candy’ to me, which is a movie about heroin addiction with Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish that I loved. I guess it’s kind of unfair to compare those because Leaving Las Vegas came out in 1995 and Candy came out in 2006 and in all probability LLV informed and made Candy possible, but because of the order I saw them, it doesn’t feel that way. Oh well. If you ever want to feel better about your own drinking habits I suggest you watch this movie. Because he’s a SERIOUS alcoholic. Sometimes in college I questioned myself, like, ‘is this too much?’ But WOW it really was not.