Hello all and welcome back to the Nic Cage month special here at Trash or Treasure. This week we take a look at 2007’s Next, found easily on Netflix. This movie, also starring Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel (two pretty solid actors), features the man, the myth, the legend as a small-time magician who happens to be able to accurately forsee a short way into the future, and thus is wanted by the FBI and a crime syndicate for his future seeing abilities. The plot seems infallible, and is based off a story written by Phillip K. Dick, so what could possibly go wrong? You know we’re gonna find out.
The movie opens with some stylized credits that take too long to play, and we get some flashes of what I assume is exposition because they feature Jessica Biel in sepia tone. We hard cut to Nic Cage drinking sadly in a diner, which is something I should’ve done before I started this movie. Elvis Presley’s “Satisfaction” plays which tells us that a shot panning over the Las Vegas skyline is about to happen. We learn that Nic Cage is a magician through a predictably corny show and, my favorite, narration.
Not just any narration, Nic Cage narration.
Nic explains that he can see into his own future only two minutes, which he uses to under the radar exploit the most pious establishments in Las Vegas: the casinos. The only time he saw something not two minutes in the future is when he saw Jessica Biel, but he doesn’t explain that, and instead we see him nearly getting caught at the casino he’s running the tables at, which then leads to him stopping a robbery, which leads to him again almost getting caught by police. This movie’s future changing events are so convoluted it’s like National Treasure all over again. There is a pretty cool scene where he evades casino security by using his future telling powers to weave around them, and I suppose that redeems the whole mess of things.
We cut to loveable redhead and Academy Award winner Julianne Moore, who plays an FBI agent looking for Nic Cage. There’s no real follow up to this other than some gibberish, and instead we get to see shirtless Nic Cage arguing with an old man who is his…father? Sure, it’s his father. There’s some pool, some exposition, some Julianne Moore, and it turns out the past two minutes we watched was a precognition into the future, and we’re whipped back to reality. Fuck, I’m actually starting to think this movie is clever.
He’s got me right where he wants me.
Anyways there’s some expositional thing where someone not the FBI is looking for Nic Cage, and he finally sees Jessica Biel…which is important…I guess? Nic Cage’s narration never really explained it. He rolls through all of the possibilities, takes a punch, and ends up right in her life, just like he wanted. Thinking about it now, it’s actually kind of creepy the way he can manipulate the universe around him by knowing what can happen two minutes into the future. They fuck off into the sunset towards sadtown, Arizona, and there’s some foreshadowing as to how maybe Jessica Biel freaks out about his precognition powers or some shit. This is intercut with Julianne Moore and knock-off Jamie Foxx hot on his trail.
Or as hot on his trail as you can get
When he can see the future.
There’s some more storyline shit, something about a nuclear weapon with some bad guys played by a white guy bossing around a group of minorities, as the racist story usually goes. Turns out the bad guys are also looking for Nic Cage because they’re worried Nic Cage will work with the good guys to stop their evil plan. It’s such a classic story, I’m surprised we get to have a scene where Jessica Biel talks to small Native American kids and they tell her that he clearly loves her. They speed the story way up and suddenly they’re really flirting with each other. I guess they ran out of time in a 90 minute movie.
Too bad he couldn’t see where the movie was going.
Nic Cage and Jessica Biel (I really haven’t learned or cared about their character’s names at all) end up at a motel and Jessica Biel ends up in some skimpy clothes. At this point I’ve really started to wonder if I’m watching an action movie instead of the romantic movie it actually seems to be. Suddenly, as the two lovers think of each other, the FBI puts on a nuclear red alert (which apparently doesn’t include evacuating or warning those cities, but does include a 95% chance of a nuclear attack). Luckily for the bad guys, the FBI’s plan involves tracking down Nic Cage to help them, and also a scene with Jessica Biel wet and in a towel.
I’m a simple person, okay?
Things come to a head as Nic Cage and Jessica Biel sleep together, and then the FBI ruins everything by pulling in Jessica for questioning, and exposing Nic Cage to her. They coerce her into tricking Nic Cage into getting captured by the FBI and at the same time ruin her love life with him. I’m honestly not really sure what I’m supposed to feel, since Nic Cage’s character is creepy, but also their romance was okay, but also his character was creepy. It’s the kind of mess of emotions that I wasn’t super expecting from this film, but that doesn’t really improve the film at all.
Believe it or not, something feels off about this.
Luckily for Nic Cage, Jessica Biel changes her mind and tells him about the plan. Nic then comes clean to her about his clairvoyant abilities, which then leads to another rift in their relationship, which you’ll note is exactly what I predicted earlier. No wait, the movie turns its back on itself once again and their relationship is just fine. I wish this movie would make up its damn mind. Anyways, Nic then makes an escape attempt in order to save Jessica Biel but ends up in the hands of the FBI through some silly bullshit.
Because the movie’s had none of that so far.
Through some poor planning, Jessica Biel ends up captured by the French speaking baddies and Nic can see her death-by-explosion in the future when the FBI forces him to find the nuclear bomb. While this should be tugging on our heartstrings, I can’t help but feel like the contraption that Nic Cage is hooked up to is ridiculous. He’s attached to some sort of industrial type wheelchair with his eyes propped open like A Clockwork Orange. It’s pretty ridiculous, but luckily we don’t have to look at it for too long while Nic escapes from FBI custody.
Luckily, I’ve included it here for your viewing…pleasure?
Maybe at this point I’d be concerned about the “nuclear red threat” that the FBI has done nothing but attempt to capture a clairvoyant about, but instead I’m super interested in where Nic Cage got his powers. And also why he can only see two minutes into the future, except when it comes to Jessica Biel, then it doesn’t matter what the time frame is. Honestly, it would’ve made a much better movie than the strange nuclear plot that’s shoehorned in that also makes me question Julianne Moore’s script-reading abilities.
Seriously: she also won an Oscar.
Nic then works with the FBI to take down the strange French villains and save Jessica Biel. This sequence is actually pretty cool, and shows what this film could’ve been with some better think-throughs. It shows Nic Cage telling all of the FBI agents exactly what to do and where to shoot, and it is goddamn cool. Not makes-up-for-the-strangeness-of-the-movie cool, but pretty cool. They even could’ve had the twist at the end be about him finding another person with the same ability or…wait shit, am I turning this into X-men?
Guess there really are no original stories left in Hollywood.
And then…we learn it was all a dream. The WHOLE LAST FUCKING 45 MINUTES THAT I JUST TALKED ABOUT WAS A VIEW INTO THE FUTURE. HOLY FUCKING PLOT TWIST. Wow. I’m…I don’t know what to say. The film ends with Nic Cage telling Jessica Biel he’ll come back for her, and then goes with Julianne Moore to stop the bomb, saving millions of lives, as Nic Cage narrates about changing the future. Everything I wrote since the wet towel picture was just a preconceived future.
Well, it was the most important part of the movie…
I’m not really sure what to say. Some of the movie’s sequences could be written better, and there’s certainly a more exciting story lying underneath the strange one that’s been given. Yet, the plot twist of the movie absolutely blew my mind and I can’t unexperience that. I’m gonna have to go ahead and recommend you see this movie. Welcome to the treasure pile, Nic Cage.