In “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” Nicolas Cage stars as himself. Or at least, a version of himself.
The film finds Cage at a rough spot in his acting career, where he can’t seem to book any big roles. It is after Cage has lunch with a potential boss — and forcefully tries to give the guy a sample read of a script — that his publicist (played by Neil Patrick Harris) offers Cage a gig to appear at a superfan’s birthday party.
When he meets Javi (Pedro Pascal), Cage expects to get in, say his piece and get out, but Javi reveals that he wrote a screenplay in which he wants Cage to star, and the two become fast friends, awkwardly bonding over Cage’s past performances, many of which are alluded to in some way. Two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) enter the mix and twist the plot, telling Cage that his new BFF is actually the head of a drug cartel, but Cage has to play it cool to save a kidnapped girl, and his daughter and soon-to-be ex-wife.
In saying yes to making the movie with Javi, the two discuss many of Cage’s previous roles and performances, paving the way for a number of humorous allusions to films of Cage’s past that range from “Con Air” to “Guarding Tess.”
Overall, there are 15 total Nicolas Cage movies referenced throughout “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” and we’ve assembled a complete list of them below.
Here are all the Nicolas Cage movies alluded to:
- “Con Air”
- “Joe” (Nic Cage meets with director David Gordon Green to give an impassioned plea for a role in Green’s upcoming movie)
- “Wild at Heart”
- “The Rock”
- “The Croods: A New Age”
- “Captain Corellli’s Mandolin”
- “Guarding Tess”
- “Gone in 60 Seconds”
- “National Treasure”
- “Raising Arizona”
- “The Wicker Man”
- “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (There are multiple references to Cage’s use of what he refers to as “nouveau shamanism,” a style of acting he pioneered on “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” that involves him sewing talismans into his costume.)