January 1 - SNAKE EYES (1998)
I'm watching a movie every day of 2016, and there truly is no dumber way to begin this dumb challenge of mine than to hastily select the dumbest looking Nicolas Cage movie currently available for streaming on Netflix. Accordingly, SNAKE EYES promises to deliver pure, uncut, capital-D Dumb straight to its audience right from the outset. In a legitimately impressive, BIRDMAN-esque "one-take" introduction, Nicolas Cage maniacally runs around a boxing arena/casino, shouting alternately into his golden flip phone or at the ambiguously thuggish criminals he's apparently extorting as the local chief of police in Atlantic City. The stage is set for a big heavyweight boxing match, which apparently doesn't need to be rescheduled due to the literal hurricane going on outside. In fact, throughout this movie, everyone is remarkably nonchalant about the actual hurricane happening outside to the point where its inclusion seems only to be a hasty explanation of why nobody can leave the resort. As the fight begins, the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America is assassinated, and we -- as the audience -- can sit back in our seats knowing exactly what kind of movie we're getting ourselves into.
Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn't live up to its opening. Don't get me wrong: it's dumb all the way through, but mostly the wrong kind of dumb. SNAKE EYES is at its most entertaining when Nicolas Cage is allowed to Nicolas Cage-up a scene (earnestly shouting "He's the most honorable dude on the planet!" is a definite highlight) but the twists and turns of the plot are uninteresting and tedious. As much fun as the opening shot was the first time, constantly revisiting those events gets old almost immediately, especially because there's never really any new perspective or information to justify the flashbacks. SNAKE EYES is a bad movie with a really good opening scene and not enough Nicolas Cage nonsense. I recommend watching the first fifteen minutes and then finding something else to do.
I'm now faced with some interesting possibilities. I can work my way through Nicolas Cage's filmography (which is, now that I type it out, extraordinarily tempting) or I can jump to FORREST GUMP via the Gary Sinise connection (not for nothing, "The Gary Sinise Connection" is a way better name for Gary Sinise's band than its actual name: "The Lt. Dan Band"). I don't want to waste all my Nicolas Cage right at the top of the year, though, and FORREST GUMP is streaming on Amazon Prime, so my decision might already be made. Tune in tomorrow to find out, if you're into that sort of thing.