February 5, 2020
(The Channel Awesome logo is shown, followed by the NC title sequence)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. There's a certain magic to Nicolas Cage movies.
NC: Okay, not all of them, but there's a certain magic to most Nicolas Cage movies.
(Suddenly, he becomes nervous as he picks up his cell phone and does a Google search on his phone on how many movies Nicolas Cage was in. The result comes up: "At least 99". NC looks uncomfortable briefly, then smiles as he puts his cell phone down)
NC: There's a certain magic to early Nicolas Cage movies.
(A shot of Cage is shown)
NC (vo): He's one of those actors that whether in...
(Cut to the poster for Bringing Out the Dead)
NC (vo): ...good films...
(Cut to the poster for The Wicker Man)
NC (vo): ...or bad films...
(Cut to the poster for Mandy)
NC (vo): ...or whatever Mandy was...
(Cut to another shot of Cage)
NC (vo): ...you can't help but love the dude.
(Now another Cage montage is shown, this one of his movies where he has some very exaggerated facial expressions)
NC (vo): With his bizarre performances, ranging from chaotic screaming to half-awake mumbling, you can't argue he doesn't just do his own thing and never apologizes for it. Not that any of us wanted to apologize.
NC: And the time period you could argue was the decade of the Cage was definitely the '90s!
(Cut to two shots of posters for post-'90s Cage movies: National Treasure and Gone in 60 Seconds)
NC (vo): Sure, he had some hits and memorable moments in the 2000s...
(Cut to posters of '90s Cage movies: The Rock, Snake Eyes, 8MM)
NC (vo): ...but the '90s is where he seemed particularly on fire.
(Cut to a shot of Cage literally on fire as he plays Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider)
NC (vo): Even more than when he was actually on fire.
(More posters of Cage movies are shown: Leaving Las Vegas, Honeymoon in Vegas, Face/Off, City of Angels)
NC (vo): Whatever you think of his movies from other decades, the world of entertainment loves '90s Nicholas Cage.
NC: I'll prove it to you. (looks up) Hey, Tamara!
(Tamara comes into the room)
NC: Can you go to Hollywood for me?
Tamara: What for?
NC: I want you to praise a '90s Nicolas Cage movie just because.
Tamara: (surprised) Really?!
NC: Yes. Do...Con Air.
Tamara: Oh, my God, that would be amazing!
NC: Stand on the street, praising his greatness, and await further instructions.
Tamara: (raising arms in the air) WHOO-HOO!
(She runs down the hall, squealing with delight. Then Malcolm walks up)
Malcolm: Hey, can I go to Hollywood, too?
NC: No, you get a cookie.
(He throws a cookie at Malcolm, hitting him on the head)
(NC then throws several more cookies at Malcolm, knocking him backwards, out of the room)
NC: Today's review is Terms of Endearment.
(The title for Terms of Endearment is shown)
NC: (looking up in thought) Or I guess...Con Air makes more sense after all that.
(The title for Con Air is shown, followed by footage of this movie)
NC: Released in 1997, Cage shared the main stage with other big actors at the time, John Malkovich and John Cusack, but it turns out this movie was the Taxi of action films, as practically everybody in it went on to success, including Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo, Colm...Meaney? Me-any? O'Brien (A shot of Conan O'Brien is displayed as he says that)... Monica Potter, Mykelti Williamson, Rachel Ticotin, and even Dave Chappelle. I guess it makes sense to put so many big and crazy perfomances together so that Cage seems like the least crazy out of all of them. Directed by Simon West, the same guy who did (Poster of the following are superimposed...) Tomb Raider, Expendables 2, and no shit...
(Cut to a clip of...)
NC (vo): ...Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video...
(Cut back to Con Air)
NC (vo): ...this is exactly what you would expect from a guy who directed Tomb Raider, Expendables 2, and no shit, Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video. It's over the top, filled with energy, covered in more '90s cheese than a (An image of a box of TMNT and Cheese Pasta Dinner is superimposed) Ninja Turtles pasta dinner, it's everything you would expect and want out of a movie like this. There's a lot to enjoy so let's take flight.
NC (vo): This is–
(Suddenly, he is interrupted as Malcolm appears at the door again, reading from a book on reverse psychology)
Malcolm: Say, might I perchance request some cookies? (smiles)
(NC responds by blowing up Malcolm with a remote control)
NC: It's a Bruckheimer production; how else would this start? Oh, speaking of which... (He snaps his fingers as a saturated sepia filter is enabled) This is Con Air.
NC (vo): The film opens with Cage playing Army Ranger Cameron Poe returning home after being honorably discharged. Here's footage of the ceremony.
(Footage from Ghost Rider is briefly shown, as Johnny Blaze turns into the title character. Then cut back to Con Air)
NC: He meets up with his wife, Tricia, at work who's excited to start their new life together.
Cameron Poe: You kidding me! You're gonna be Miss Alabama? That makes your father very proud.
NC (vo; as Tricia): How many times have I told you, I'm not pregnant? Oh, who am I kidding? I'd be more concerned if Nicholas Cage didn't greet me like this.
NC (vo): But trouble comes a-brewin'.
Bar Attendee: Hey, how about joinin' me and the boys for a cold one? Huh, darlin'?
NC (vo; as Poe): Oh, thank you, gentlemen, but I'm taken.
Poe: This is a special occasion, and if you don't mind, I'd like to spend it dancin' with my wife.
NC: Yeah, you'll notice Cage has sort of a Raising Alabama accent in this.
NC (vo): His southern voice is kind of like if (Image of the following appears in the lower-left...) Keanu Reeves from The Devil's Advocate ate (Image of the following appears in the lower-right corner...) Foghorn Leghorn.
Poe: Tube of toothpaste and two packs of Pall Malls at the canteen.
(Cut to a clip of The Devil's Advocate)
Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves): He's been a terrible husband to all three of his wives.
(Cut back to Con Air again)
Poe: I got locked down three months before she was born.
(Cut to a clip of a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon)
Foghorn Leghorn: (to Barnyard Dawg) Why, I don't want to keep you from guardin' the chickens.
(Cut back to Con Air once again)
NC (vo): It's not especially good, but...
NC: (shrugs) ...I'm not gonna tell him. Are you?
NC (vo): In a...somewhat confusing scene, they're attacked by that group of drunks, and Poe kills one of them in self-defense. But since he's advised to plead guilty, he gets even more time than what his lawyer said he would get.
Poe's Lawyer: Admit to it. Serve maybe a year.
Judge: You shall remain incarcerated seven to ten years.
NC: I'll see your (The word "HUH?" appears in yellow) "huh?" and raise you a (The word "WHA?" appears in yellow) "wha?"
NC (vo): I don't know, I'm sure it's the same judge you put (Image of...) John Spartan away. All is fair in a means-to-an-end court.
Cage: (as H.I. from Raising Arizona) Now, prison life is very structured...more than most people care for. But a spirit of camaraderie exists between the men.
NC: As the credits roll, years go by, and Poe's daughter writes to him. He lovingly responds somehow including his clunky accent in every letter.
Poe: (writing letter) "Dear Casey, it was so good to read your letter..."
Casey (Landry Allbright): (writing letter) "Dear Daddy, today was my first day at first grade. I didn't like it. Mama says I have to go back. Tell her not to make me."
NC (vo; as Poe): "Dear Casey, I am in prison. Nut up! Daddy."
Casey: "Dear Daddy, are you ever coming home?"
Poe: "Dear Casey..."
NC: (as Poe, pretending to write) "...why did you write me one sentence? That was weird."
NC (vo): Enough time passes, though, and it looks like he's finally being released. His bunkmate, Bubba-O– I mean, Baby-O.
NC: Bubba-O weirdly sounds better.
NC (vo): ...is ecstatic for him.
Poe: Yeah, but like at this new prison you're goin' to, who's gonna watch your back?
Baby-O (Mykelti Williamson): God's got my back.
Poe: Ha-ha! (NC is startled for a second) I'm goin' home, son! (hugs Baby-O)
NC: What, did Bubba squeeze his nads off-screen?
(The clip replays again, with a crunching sound)
NC (vo): For his safety, they place him on a prison plane with the most dangerous criminals in the world, as two cops oversee the transport, one named Larkin, played by John Cusack, and the other named Malloy, played by (reads license plate on his car) "AZZ KIKR".
NC: Yeah, sounds like the personalized plate of a Trekkie.
NC (vo): A cop is being snuck on to try and get one of the prisoners to confess some information leading to one of the coolest scenes in a movie like this, the lineup. Yeah, you know this routine: fast editing, slo-mo footage, and verbal backgrounds about the badasses you're about to see.
Vince Larkin (Cusack): That's William Bedford, AKA Billy Bedlam; caught his wife in bed with another man. Killed her parents, her brothers, her sisters, even her dog. Nathan Jones; he wrote a book in prison called "Reflections in a Diamond Eye". They're talking to Denzel for the movie.
NC: These scenes are always so awesome, you can replace the characters with anybody and it'd still be intimidating.
Larkin: Cyrus Grissom, AKA Cyrus the Virus; kidnapping, robbery, murdering...
NC: (as Larkin) Arthur Read...
(Shots of the title character from Arthur is shown)
NC (vo): ...attends third grade at Lakewood Elementary, plays the piano, wears a yellow cotton sweater, nearsighted since birth.
NC: Buster Baxter...
(Shots of Buster from this show are now shown)
NC (vo): ...Arthur's best friend. Obsessed with aliens, owns an amateur detective business, plays the tuba...
NC: ...profited off the now multi-million dollar holiday...
(Cut to a shot of the holiday in question...)
NC (vo): ...Baxter Day.
(Now cut to another Arthur character, Arthur's dog, Pal)
NC (vo): Pal's a dog.
NC: Owned by an aardvark. This is why you're here! Figure out how this is possible!
Guard Falzon (Steve Eastin): (to Pinball (Dave Chappelle), after searching him) It smells like someone shit in your mouth.
Pinball: Told me you loved me.
NC (vo; as Larkin): Dave Chappelle; he's in...
(The Rotten Tomatoes page for Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones is superimposed, showing that it got a 35% on the Tomatometer, but a 99% on the audience score)
NC (vo; as Larkin): ...Rotten Tomato prison for not using woke jokes.
(The audience gasps)
NC: (as Larkin, holding up hand) Hold your tweets! We need him alive!
(Poe is brought out to the cops)
Malloy: Larkin, who's that guy?
Larkin: That is Cameron Poe, a parolee hitching a ride home.
NC: (as Larkin) He just got picked up...
NC (vo; as Larkin): ...for a Pantene Pro-V commercial. (As he speaks, the logo for this appears in the corner)
NC: (as Larkin) He's getting some practice.
William "Billy Bedlam" Bedford (Nick Chinlund): (to Poe, from behind his cage) What you lookin' at, punk?
Poe: Nothing. I was just admiring your cage.
NC: You hear that?
NC (vo): Nicolas Cage is admiring a cage.
NC: I expect (points to camera) five memes in the next three minutes, Internet! GO!
(A prison guard enters the transport)
Guard: Welcome aboard. My, my, as I look around, I see a lot of celebrities among us.
NC: Christ, that's an understatement!
Cyrus the Virus (John Malkovich): (to the guard) Oh, stewardess! What's the in-flight movie today?
Guard: It's called I'll Never Make Love to a Woman on the Beach Again, and it's preceded by the award-winning short No More Steak For Me, Ever.
NC: (as the guard) I have literally waited hours for someone to ask me that. Thank you for allowing me to do my routine.
(The transport taxis down the runway as Ginny (played by Angela Featherstone) and Larkin watch from the airport window)
Ginny: I hope this goes smoothly. All those monsters on one plane.
Larkin: (annoyed) Please, Ginny, this is a well-oiled machine!
NC: (surprised) Boy, Cusack, you've been holding that one in long?!
NC (vo; as Larkin): (softly) Lousy bitch, taking all the Doritos from the break room! Here's my chance to snap at her.
Larkin: Please, Ginny, this is a well-oiled machine!
NC: (as Larkin) You know who else was concerned about stuff? Hitler!
NC (vo): But wouldn't you know it? Something does go wrong, as one of the prisoners named Cyrus the Virus, played by John Malkovich, teams up with some of his other prisoners and breaks out, taking the guards hostage and freeing the inmates.
Cyrus: (standing at the front of the plane) Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.
NC (vo): As much as I mock Malkovich's acting in other films, he really is perfect in this. His brilliantly pretentious yet childish nature makes him a perfect foil to Cage's simple yet grown-up demeanor.
Poe: You lost your mind?
Cyrus: According to my last psych evaluation, yes.
NC (vo): And yeah, seeing how this is a Bruckheimer production, we really should do a count of how many shots were made just to go before the title in a commercial.
Cyrus: Welcome to Con Air. (The title is displayed, along with the number 1)
NC (vo): But the cop that snuck on uses his gun to try and take control of the plane.
(The guard grabs Pinball and aims his gun at Cyrus, who takes another guard hostage)
Cyrus: The next time you choose a human shield, you're better off not picking a two-bit Negro crackhead.
NC: (as Pinball) I might turn that into a character. (A shot of Chappelle in a Red Bull commercial appears in the corner) Thanks, Galbatorix!
NC (vo): Poe tries to talk him down, saying he's gonna get everyone killed, resulting in the cop getting shot, but even worse, getting a disappointed Cage face.
(As the guard falls over, Poe hangs his head in disappointment)
NC: That's less of a guy who just saw someone get murdered and more of a guy who thought...
NC (vo): ..."Mmm, I just missed the breakfast Baconator at Wendy's." They discover that three prisoners they need to drop off on the ground have been killed, though, meaning their cover will be blown when they land.
Pinball: We are three white guys short. Or as they say in Ebonics, "We be fucked."
(Suddenly, the word "90s", big and red, falls out of the sky and crashes down onto NC's table)
NC: (struggling to lift it up) Wow! That's some heavy '90s! (falls down again)
NC (vo): They get three volunteers to impersonate the prisoners, while in Cyrus' cell, Larkin finds the original Da Vinci Code.
(Larkin looks at a picture of a painting of the Last Supper of Jesus, but all of the eyes have been cut out, revealing different letters underneath, which Larkin looks over carefully)
Larkin: "Me etca..." (writes it down in notebook; it translates to "arson")
NC (vo; as Larkin): Mr. Enigma. (gasps) Cyrus is the Riddler!
Larkin: (to the policemen) Stay here. Don't touch anything.
NC (vo): They also discover a box that says "Do Not Open". (The policemen proceed to open it anyway)
Larkin: Hey, what are you doing? Just leave it alone. I told you not to touch anything.
NC: (as a policeman, waves dismissively) Ah, he's a cop! What do we know?
(The policeman opens the box, revealing numerous chemicals mixing together into another beaker, forming a makeshift bomb, which immediately explodes, killing the cops in the area)
NC: If was Joan Cusack, you'd all listen!
(Larkin's head is replaced with that of Joan Cusack, John's sister)
NC (vo; as Joan): (to the policemen) All of you stay here! Do not touch anything! (The explosion is replayed) Well, that's what they get for not getting me a Malibu Barbie! (normal) Cyrus exchanges the prisoners for even deadlier ones, gaining a pilot, but losing a Chappelle.
NC: (holding up hand) Wait! (makes a come here motion) Memes, please.
(Several screenshots of the movie pop up around NC, showing Poe with various messages: "Despite I'm a Cage I am still just admiring your cage" (showing Poe look at the prisoner in the cage); "You know the difference between me and that Cage? It works to stay in prison while I work to stay out of prison" (this one has Poe's head replaced by that of a husky); "When you've been slammed more than an actual Cage" (Poe is shown smiling); "Might I offer some cage advice? One cage to another?" (again, Poe is looking through the cage to the prisoner inside); "I fought that Cage, would it be a Cage match?")
NC: (looking around at the memes) Hmm... Congratulations, you've passed Memes 101. (A shot of Jordan Peele perspiring appears) Please collect your sweating Jordan Peele as your diploma.
Earl "Swamp Thing" Williams (M.C. Gainey): (to Cyrus) Nobody on this aircraft gives a flying fuck! (laughs) Get it? "Flying fuck"? (laughs again) Thank you! I'm here all week!
NC: (as Cyrus) I really should have kept Chappelle. Oh, who am I kidding? He would've quit anyway.
NC (vo): Meanwhile, on the ground, the two angry cops do what angry cops always do in these movies: BE ANGRY!
Duncan Malloy: (pointing at Larkin) You, you little shit, you got my agent killed!
Larkin: He brought a gun on-board and got himself killed! And in doing so, he compromised the safety of my men!
Malloy: (yelling) YOUR MEN ARE INCOMPETENT!!
NC: These characters are such archetypes, you can put them in any situation and they'd disagree about everything.
(Cut to a skit involving two men representing Malloy and Larkin (played by Doug and Malcolm) as they sit across from each other at a table)
Man 1 (Malcolm): What do you want for lunch?
Man 2 (Doug): I don't know. Pizza?
(Suddenly, the first man becomes irate as he slaps his hand on the table and jumps to his feet)
Man 1: What you think you're doing, Kerfluffle?!
Man 2: (also jumping to his feet) My job! And apparently yours, O'Bennigans!
Man 1: You have no idea how to handle this operation!
Man 2: This operation was botched the minute you showed up!
Man 1: (pointing at him) You have no right, Kerfluffle! NO RIGHT!
Man 2: What about the rights of my dead partner?!
Man 1: Fine! We'll do delivery, but no carry-out!
Man 2: Fine!
(They glare at each other and then slowly sit back down)
Man 1: What kind of toppings were you thinking?
Man 2: I don't know. Pineapple?
Man 1: (again getting to his feet angrily) THAT JUST AIN'T RIGHT, KERFLUFFLE!
Man 2: (also getting to his feet) What about the rights of my dead partner?!
(The movie resumes)
NC (vo): One of the new prisoners is a child serial killer named Garland Greene, played by Steve Buscemi. Because let's face it, only Steve Buscemi could play this role in 1997.
(Greene is shown to be imprisoned in a cell, wearing a straitjacket and wearing a mask like he's Dr. Hannibal Lecter)
Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones (Ving Rhames): (to Cyrus about Garland) What do you want to do with him?
Cyrus: I don't know, but this is no way to treat a national treasure.
NC (vo; as Poe): Thank you! It was critically underrated!
(Diamond Dog reaches out and pulls the face mask off of Greene)
NC (vo): They set him free and get on the radio with the two cops on the ground.
Malloy: (struggling with Larkin for possession of the headset to communicate) Listen, Grissom, you puny fucking animal!
Cyrus: (into communicator) Hey! I don't like him! If he speaks again, this conversation is terminated!
NC: That was a great impression of Twitter.
Larkin: Where are you going with my plane, Cyrus?
Cyrus: We're going to Disneyland.
Larkin: You're lying, Cyrus.
NC: (shrugs) You know, Touchstone is a Disney property. (shrugs again) Maybe?
(The poster for this movie appears in the corner, with the title of Con Air Disneyland and a shot of Sleeping Beauty Castle (as seen at Disneyland Paris))
Cyrus: We will be flying over the shores of Mexico, but first we have to change aircraft. Thank you, and have a pleasant flight.
(The title is displayed again, along with the number 2)
NC (vo): Larkin puts together that Poe might be staying on the plane to save the few good people still on it.
NC: (waves dismissively) But, dah!
Malloy: I am authorized to bring Agent Sim's killers to justice!
Larkin: When exactly did this become a DEA jurisdiction?
Malloy: The second the DEA agent was murdered.
(We cut back to the skit of the two men, with the two standing up, yelling at each other)
Man 1: We're going with black olives!
Man 2: Oh, why does it have to be black olives instead of white olives?!
Man 1: There's no such thing!
Man 2: Wrong! They are found in Portugal, east across the Mediterranean!
Man 1: But not on pizza!
Man 2: You're not on pizza!
Man 1: You're right!
Man 2: What about the rights of my dead partner?!
Man 1: Did you even have a partner?
Man 2: No! 'Cause he's dead!
Man 1: (calms down) Okay, we all know how this ends: whoever's better-looking and has a more likable personality is going to live; the other gets blown up.
Man 2: Ha! Well, I think we all know how this is gonna turn out.
(The two stare at each other in silence. Then the second man realizes the situation)
Man 2: Um... say goodbye to my wife and kid. (leaves)
(The first man sits down, confused)
Man 1: Wait, do you even have a wife and kid?
Man 2: (offscreen) No, 'cause they're DEAD!!
(The first man, still sitting, reacts confusingly to his response. And with that, we go to commercial break. Upon return, the movie resumes with Poe coming down a ladder)
NC (vo): So, something appears to be wrong with the landing gear, and it looks like Chappelle has something to do with it.
Diamond Dog: So, that's what happened to Pinball. Cut him loose!
Poe: Not exactly a proper burial...
NC: I mean, a dummy that poorly made should be buried with some dignity.
NC (vo): Poe writes a message on him and they kick him out of the plane.
(A couple is seen in a car, waiting an intersection, when bird poop lands on the windshield)
Man: Oh, boy! You see that? Every time I get a wax...
(Pinball's body is seen falling onto the car)
NC (vo; as the man): A Mark Twain Award winner falls from the sky and lands on my car. Last week, Neil Simon fell on my Cadillac.
(Larkin enters his office, where Tricia and Casey are waiting for him)
NC (vo): Larkin gets Poe's wife and daughter in his office, to see if they can figure out why he would choose to stay on the plane.
Larkin: It's not uncommon that some parolees actually fear their release date. Fear of coming home. Fear of living in society.
(Casey is drawing while Tricia is listening to Larkin)
NC (vo; as Casey): My daddy's afraid of coming home? Whatever. Crayons!
Tricia: He's got this little girl to come home to.
Larkin: There'd be a pretty good reason to keep me on that plane.
(Casey is still drawing while they're talking)
NC (vo; as Casey): Mommy, I like hearing we may never know why daddy abandoned us. Crayons!
(Back on the plane, as an inmate is reading a letter and holding onto a stuffed bunny, as Poe is coming the ladder)
NC (vo): Speaking of which, one of the inmates finds that Poe lied as he was going to be let go when the plane landed.
Poe: (from behind as the inmate turns around) Put the bunny back in the box. Put the bunny back in the box.
NC: I think it's safe to say that line was only written because they knew that Nicolas Cage was gonna say it.
NC (vo): I mean, if Arnold was there, it'd be a batch of cookies, and he would be say...
(The scene replays with Cage's face being replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger's)
Howard Langston (Schwarzeneger): Put that cookie down! Now!
(Poe and the inmate approach each other menacingly, squatting)
NC (vo): The two of them squat fight...
NC: That's a thing now.
NC (vo): ...and Poe impales him on a pipe.
(The inmate is shown impaled on said pipe)
Poe: Why couldn't you put the bunny back in the box?
NC: Again, if it was Arnold...
(Cage's face is again replaced by Arnold's)
Langston: Who told you you could eat my cookies?
(Poe is back on the main level of the plane checking his hands)
NC (vo): So Poe smells his hands, as we finally get some dialog from the much built up child killer.
Greene: What if I told you insane was working fifty hours a week in some office for fifty years...at the end of which they tell you to piss off.
NC: I'd say sorry you worked corporate at Toys "R" Us. I bet a lot of you turned out this way.
Greene: One girl... I drove through three states wearing her head as a hat.
NC: You just snuck aboard this movie, didn't you?
NC (vo): Like, you were shooting a remake of (Poster for the movie M appears next to Greene) M next door, and suddenly, you were like "I want to invade a dumb Bruckheimer film!", and nobody was brave enough to turn you away.
NC: Well, all I can say is...well done. (nods) You're making Nicolas Cage look like the normal guy.
(The plane is flying above an airfield and landing, crashing into a barrier and one of the wings taking out the lights on the side of a building)
NC (vo): The plane lands on an airfield in the middle of nowhere to grab another plane to complete their escape.
(The plane approaches a tank full of propane, while Cyrus tries to stop it from crashing into it. We cut a clip of King of the Hill, showing Hank reacting in alarm. Then we cut back to Con Air as the plane comes to a crashing stop just inches short of the propane tank. Then we cut again to King of the Hill)
NC (vo; as Hank): Thank God the innocents were spared.
(Back to Con Air, as Larkin is closing the door to an indoor garage and running inside)
NC (vo): Larkin arrives in secret at the location, while Cyrus gets ready to kill the guards. But Poe again intervenes.
(Said guards are lined up on their knees as Diamond Dog is pointing a gun at one of them and Poe is standing right by)
(Cyrus is walking on one of the wings of the plane while talking)
Cyrus: It's not difficult to surmise how Nathan here feels about killing guards. And my own proclivities are, uh...well-known and, uh, often-lamented facts of penal lore.
NC: (his arms crossed) That is the most John Malkovich thing I have ever heard John Malkovich say.
NC (vo): There is no way the writer of this film came up with that line, it must have been written by the foppish one himself.
(Suddenly, the screen is cut off through static, and John Malkovich, played by Doug, suddenly appears, dressed in a prisoner outfit and articulating each word, while Strauss' "The Blue Danube" is playing throughout the scene)
Malkovich: How dare you, Critic! (NC jumps back, yelping startledly) How dare you think I would impose my creative intellectual endowment (NC comes forward, realizing something) on somebody else's creative endeavors!
NC: (sarcastically) Oh, really, Malkovich? You're telling me that always the lines from the movie.
Malkovich: Yes. (speaks normally) True, I may have improvised a little bit off-script, (NC rolls his eyes and sighs) but it still is the general ball park.
NC: What was the original line? (smirks)
Malkovich: (goes back to articulating each word) Well, naturally, I keep the script of all (brings up his phone in front of him) my masterpieces on my phone.
(He starts typing while looking back and forth between the screen and NC, who rolls his eyes and sighs again)
Malkovich: (speaking normally) Ah, here we are. (back to articulating) So in the movie, when I say...
(Back to the previous scene of Con Air with Cyrus walking on the wing of the plane)
Cyrus: ...to surmise how Nathan here feels about killing guards. And my own proclivities are, uh... well-known and, uh, often-lamented facts of penal lore.
(Back to Malkovich, played by Doug)
Malkovich: In the original script, it was (looks at his phone) "Alright".
(There is a moment of silence as NC is nodding sarcastically)
Malkovich: (speaking normally) Again, same general ball park...
NC: Well, you're certainly dedicated, coming into this review wearing a prison costume.
Malkovich: Oh, this isn't a costume...
NC: (confused) Oh, then....
Malkovich: I was asked to do Bird Box 2.
NC: (in realization) Ahh! (nods a bit while thinking) And I take it you said yes.
Malkovich: No. But I thought about it.
NC: Ahh! (nods again)
Malkovich: That was enough.
(Back to Con Air, with Diamond Dog ready to shoot one of the guards and Poe looking at him)
Cyrus: (offscreen) Poe's right. So get back there and dig the plane up!
(Poe is winking at Diamond Dog as the title is displayed again, along with the number 3)
(Greene is seen approaching a fence while looking at a little girl having a picnic in a dried-up pool)
NC (vo): But not everybody is looking so lucky.
(Greene sits at the table with the little girl in the pool)
Little Girl: Hi! What's your name ? (Greene stares in silence) Wanna play? (She offers him one of her dolls and laughs)
NC (as Greene): (creepily) What hat size are you?
(Poe and Larkin are facing each other, pointing their guns)
NC (vo): Larkin runs into Poe, and they both explain their situation.
Poe: There's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.
Larkin: You're not such a bad guy. Just always in the wrong place at the wrong time.
NC (as Cage): That's what my agent's been telling me recently...
Larkin: What are you gonna do for me?
Poe: What do you think I'm gonna do? I'm gonna save the fuckin' day.
NC (vo; as Larkin): I am so hard.
(A second plane comes out from behind two curtains with its engines on as a pillar comes down on it, and it crashes into an abandoned gas station as the prisoners are running towards it)
NC (vo): It looks like some of the inmates were trying steal the plane that everybody was going to use, but the rest of the inmates stop them, crashing into a gas station.
Cyrus: ...anora. (tosses his cigarette towards spilled gas)
(The cigarette hits the spilled gas and the explosion that follows consumes the station and the pilot, too. Poe turns and runs off)
NC (vo; as Poe): Must run with the most intense indifference only the Cage man can give!
(Poe jumps out through a window just as the gas station goes up in flames. The inmates then walk away from the explosion as the title appears again, with the number 4)
(One inmate is watching the surroundings looking through binoculars and seeing something approaching in the distance)
NC (vo; as the inmate): Oh, no! Road Runner's coming right at us!
(The inmate puts down the binoculars and runs off. We then cut back to Greene and the little girl in the dried-up pool)
Little Girl: Wanna sing? (singing) He's got the whole world in his hands. (Greene joins her singing)
Both: (singing) He's got the whole wide world... (Greene stares creepily)
NC: (as the little girl) I have great parents!
NC (vo): While Garland successfully transforms into a (Off to the side, a shot of the Peter Lorre-looking evil scientist from the Looney Tunes cartoon Hair-Raising Hare is displayed) Peter Lorre cartoon, it looks like the cavalry arrives, so our inmates have to think fast about how to fight them off.
Cyrus: (pointing to various objects on the ground, including a line of empty soda cans) This is the boneyard, (points to a metal box off to the side) this is the hangar, (points to a canister in the middle) this is our plane.
NC: (his head resting on his hand) This is how Malkovich tells the story of Peter Rabbit to his kids.
Poe: (pointing to a rock on the ground) What is that?
Cyrus: (pointing to rock) That's a rock.
NC (vo; as Cage): That's a different Cage-Bruckheimer production.
(Everyone takes guns and propane canisters, while Ramon "Sally-Can't-Dance" Martinez, a "woman" with short hair and wearing a short purple dress runs up. The guys whoop and whistle for her)
Guy: You go, girl!
NC: (confused) At least they're progressive criminals?
Cyrus: (to Poe) Get 'em in there. If they give any trouble, kill them.
(Ramon "Sally-Can't-Dance" Martinez (Renoly Santiago) runs up to him)
Sally-Can't-Dance: What can I do?
NC (vo; as Cyrus): Hop in the birthday cake and don't pop out until you hear, "Dear Cyrus."
(The shootout between the criminals and the police begin. One criminal fires a bazooka at a police car, blowing it up, and another blows up a jeep with his own bazooka)
NC (vo): The inmates take out a good chunk of the cops and get back on the plane to take off, accidentally taking Malloy's car with them.
(A cable hanging off the back of the plane had gotten caught on Malloy's car, and as it takes off, it drags the car along behind, lifting it airborne as it goes up)
NC (vo; as Malloy): It's okay, my vehicle is in hot pursuit.
(The inmates run to the back of the plane to see the car dangling around behind it)
Poe: On any other day, that might seem strange.
NC: (shaking head) Over twenty years later, that's still one of the funniest lines I've ever heard.
(Greene sits down on a seat and puts on his seat belt)
NC (vo): Garland gets on the plane as well, and, oh, look, the kid's okay!
(The little girl from the dried-up pool runs to follow the plane as it flies over and waves to it)
Little Girl: (jumping and waving) Bye-bye, Bob, bye-bye!
NC: (as Greene, waving back) You can find your folks in the fridge!
(Diamond Dog finds Poe's note in a box)
NC (vo): Poe's note from his daughter is discovered, but Baby-O takes the rap, saying he's the one that's been lying.
(Poe and Baby-O confront Cyrus, who's holding a gun at the Guard Sally Bishop)
Baby-O: It's pretty clever, huh, bitch?
(Cyrus turns to face Baby-O and shoots him in the chest)
Cyrus: No, that's clever!
(As Baby-O falls, Poe catches him)
NC: (visibly very confused) It's really not. That's the best line a criminal genius could come up with at that point?
(NC is interrupted by the clip of Cyrus's speech on the wing of the plane)
Cyrus: ...often-lamented facts of penal lore...
NC: (interrupting) All right! It's fine!
(Cyrus walks around reading the note out loud while Poe is tending to Baby-O on the floor of the plane)
Cyrus: (in a high pitched voice) "My daddy is coming home on July 14th! My birthday is... (normal voice) July 14th!"
NC: (shrugs) I don't have to mock Malkovich's voice; he's doing a pretty good impression right now!
(Cyrus reads the end of the note again and turns around to face Poe)
Cyrus: July 14th! (He points his gun at the stuffed bunny) Make a move and the bunny gets it! (A helicopter appears behind him)
NC: Was there a rush to finish writing your lines in the last third of this movie?
(He is interrupted again by the same clip of Cyrus on the wing)
Cyrus: ...to my own proclivities are, uh...
NC: (interrupting again, gesturing to stop) You know what? I'll take it, I'll take it!
Cyrus: (in the background) ...often-lament...
(The helicopter is shooting at the plane as Poe is tending to Baby-O, who is lying on the ground and is being held on the shoulder by guard Sally Bishop)
NC (vo): They get chased by more cops as Baby-O seems to be on his way out.
Baby-O: There ain't no God. He don't exist.
(Bishop and Poe put their hand on his cheek one after the other. Poe gets up as Bishop puts her hands on his wound)
Baby-O: Hey, where you goin'?
Poe: I'm gonna show you God does exist!
NC (vo; as Cage): I'm gonna star in Left Behind; that'll prove to you that God exists and to me that he doesn't.
(Poe turns around and heads to the front of the plane, when one of the inmates pulls a gun on him and shoots him in the shoulder. Poe, however, is unfazed as he advances towards him)
NC: (as Poe) I'm so angry I'm not even gonna flinch...
NC (vo): ...when you shoot me. (Poe punches the inmate with the gun) I will, however, let out a passionate owie!
(The plane is now flying low over the Las Vegas Strip, the helicopters still in hot pursuit)
NC (vo): The plane makes it to the Vegas Strip, which officially makes this part of (Shots of posters for other Cage movies set in Vegas is shown, along with this one: Honeymoon In Vegas and Leaving Las Vegas) the Cage Vegas Holy Trinity, as, of course, they have no choice but to land on the Strip.
Poe: Well, viva Las Vegas.
(The Con Air title is shown, along with the number 5. Everyone buckles the seat belts as they brace for landing)
Greene: (singing) He's got the whole world in his hands...
NC: Is it in Buscemi's contract that, when doing a Bruckheimer film...
NC (vo): ...he has to be (A shot of Buscemi as Rockhound in Armageddon strapped to a chair is shown in the corner) strapped to a chair, acting crazy?
(The plane flies so low that it cuts the top off of the huge lit-up guitar from the Hard Rock Cafe. Greene whoops with glee. Now the plane starts its final descent toward the Strip, down past Circus Circus)
NC: (uncomfortably) I'd just like to say, as cool and awesome and badass as this scene is...
(Cut to a shot of Mickey Mouse and friends in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, while the plane from the film starts its final descent there)
NC (vo): ...we could've been touching down at Disneyland.
NC: Just say it's a spinoff of (A shot of Dusty Crophopper from Planes is shown in the corner) their blockbuster giant.
(Having hit the ground, the plane skids across the Strip towards the Sands Hotel)
NC: (mock shock) Not the Sands! It had hours of life ahead of it!
(As the plane slides towards the entrance to the Sands, one of the its wings is lopped off by the entrance sign to the Sands, and one of its propellers spins wildly through the air and slices through the plane itself. Cyrus, who has a gun at Poe's head, looks up and steps back as the propeller flies past him)
NC (vo): I love how a spinning propeller slicing through a metal wall is met with a comfortable step backwards.
NC: We couldn't even get a Malkovich soliloquy out of that?
(The scene of the spinning propeller slicing through the plane is shown again)
NC (vo; as Malkovich): In recent memory of late, I cannot recall an action that signified such... Oh, never mind.
(The plane finally comes to a stop after smashing through the doors and hitting a slot machine. Poe, who had been stunned by the crash, comes to, a guitar riff playing in the background)
NC (vo): Fun fact: That guitar is heard literally when Cage gets up every morning.
(NC is seen lying down with his head on the desk, but he raises his head as the same guitar riff plays for him. Back to the movie: the bottom hatch of the plane opens and, to a boinging sound, Cyrus sticks his head out)
NC (vo): But cartoony Malkovich gets away, and I guess that's just material for the sequel.
Sally Bishop (Rachel Ticotin): Hey, Poe? (Poe looks toward her) Next time, take the bus.
NC: So that was Con Air, a goofy but still pretty enjoyable action flick–
(To NC's surprise, however, the movie is not over yet, as Cyrus, Diamond Dog and Swamp Thing hijack a fire truck and drive off in it)
NC (vo): How...
NC: ...are we still going?
NC (vo): Yeah, despite this perfectly good spot to end, and even a decent run time of an hour, forty minutes, the film decides to go an extra eight minutes with a completely pointless fire truck chase.
(Poe and Larkin hijack a pair of police motorcycles and take off after the fire track)
NC (vo; as Poe): Thank God police always leave keys in their bikes. Away!
NC: All right, so here's the thing: I have no problem having an extra end battle. Hell, James Cameron...
(A montage of other Cameron-directed movies is shown that apparently have extra end battles: The Terminator, Aliens, True Lies)
NC (vo): ...practically made a living perfecting that.
NC: But it has to either outdo or, at the very least, match the previous action sequence you just had.
NC (vo): And in all honesty, this climax kind of sucks, not the idea of a fire truck chase, though granted, it's not as cool as a fucking plane landing. But look at how it's edited. Look how sloppy it's paced and how hard it is to make out. It's almost like it realizes this is a waste of time and tries to get it over with as quickly as possible.
NC: Hell, look at this edit after Cyrus flies off the truck.
(Cyrus flies off the fire truck and somehow lands near a pile driver)
NC (vo): Is that at all how he fell or where he landed? I swear, I'm not reediting that. This is literally the two shots back to back, and they make no sense.
NC: And for a criminal mastermind, he couldn't put together that the best way to avoid...
NC (vo): ...this incredibly slow-moving squasher was to...
NC: ...move his head?
(The pile driver comes down and crushes Cyrus' head, killing him)
NC (vo): I know he's tired, but a lean forward was too much for his brain to process?
(Cut to an earlier scene of Cyrus on the plane)
Cyrus: It's not difficult to surmise–
NC: (irritably, with his head on his hand) GOT IT!
NC (vo): This is the only part of the movie I consider lame, and it only gets lamer every time I see it.
NC: I honestly think it would have a faster and more fitting ending if you simply showed us this...
(They get on the police motorcycles. Then we cut to a clip of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video)
NC: I'd be satisfied. In a weird way, I'd be satisfied.
(The stuffed bunny is almost washed down a storm drain, but Poe grabs it in the nick of time)
NC (vo): Poe saves the bunny from the sewer and thanks Larkin for his help.
Poe: There's now three men I trust.
Larkin: Am I one of them?
NC (vo; as Poe): No, it's the bunny.
(Cut to a clip of Ghost Rider, showing Johnny Blaze watching the karate chimp on the TV)
NC (vo; as Poe): The second is that chimp I watched in Ghost Rider. Tell me you're surprised.
(Cut back to Con Air, as Poe reunites with his wife Tricia and his daughter Casey)
Tricia: Hello, Cameron.
NC (vo): He finds his wife and kid and finally gives her the toy.
Poe: (holds up bunny) I got a present for you, Casey.
(Instead of taking it, however, Casey looks away)
NC (vo; as Casey): I like bears.
Poe: No, no, no, honey, it's okay.
Casey: I got a...picture. A picture of you.
NC: (as Casey) And it's still a better bunny (An image of a bunny with Cage's face is shown in the corner) than what you got. (normal as he points to image) This was fun to search.
NC (vo): So everybody seems to get a happy ending, even psychopaths bound to kill countless amounts of children.
(Garland Greene is in the casino playing craps)
Craps Table Operator: New shooter coming out, new shooter! Does the new shooter feel lucky?
Greene: Yes, yes, he does.
(He is served a tequila sunrise as "Sweet Home Alabama" plays. Then, in a scene straight out of Nicolas Cage Month way back when, the "That's All, Folks" music of Looney Tunes fame plays, as the Looney Tunes circles close in on Greene, who is replaced by a shot of Poe laughing before he in turn is replaced by a shot of a shrugging Castor Troy as the "That's All Folks!" caption appears)
NC: And that was Con Air. (beat) Unless...Is there a climax with a sewage truck or something?
(To answer his question, the credits shows a shot of Mykelti Williamson, credited as Baby-O)
NC: No, it's real this time.
(Footage of this movie is shown one last time as NC provides his closing thoughts)
NC (vo): This is a super-enjoyable, mindless flick. It's not deep, it's not groundbreaking; if it was never made, cinema wouldn't suffer a major loss, but...it's just fun. All the actors look like they're having a ball, the setup is creative, it's got plenty of laughs. With the exception of that unneeded action sequence, it's a good time all the way through. It's nice to see a Cage action flick that's enjoyably crazy and he's not the enjoyably crazy part about it. If anything, he's almost the voice of reason. It's rare to see an over-the-top film that he's not over-the-top in, and it surprisingly works here. So buckle up and take to the skies with this goofy but definitely fun '90s hit.
NC: The only part that got under my skin, though, was never delivering on that...
(The ending of the movie with Garland Greene is shown)
NC (vo): ...Steve Buscemi character. I know that's part of the joke, but it just didn't seem satisfying to me.
NC: It just seems weird to build up something so early on, yet never give a payoff.
(We then cut to the parking lot of an In-N-Out Burger, where Tamara is seen wearing a California Republic sweatshirt and holding up a sign with Nicolas Cage's grinning face on it with a message on it reading, "GO SEE CON AIR")
Tamara: I think he's forgotten all about this.
(The camera pans over to the right to show Rachel Tietz holding up a sign of her own, also showing Cage's face, this one his mouth wide open, along with the message: "GO SEE FACE/OFF")
Rachel: Yeah, I'm starting to get that feeling, too. (shakes head)
Channel Awesome tagline – Cyrus: My own proclivities are well-known and often-lamented facts of penal...
(The credits roll)