Sonny (2002): The Ultimate #CageClub Movie? [Joey’s Review]
In many ways, SONNY may be the ultimate #CageClub movie. Set in New Orleans (hello, ZANDALEE and WILD AT HEART!), and featuring a story revolving around sex (hello again, Zandalee and Wild at Heart!) and war (hello, every other Cage movie!), there are themes and motifs and elements in this film that we’ve seen pop up time and again in all of Cage’s films. It’s also set in 1981, which is the year Cage started his film career with THE BEST OF TIMES. Also…
Nicolas Cage directed this movie.
To date, it’s the only directorial credit he has. As we talked about in the TRAPPED IN PARADISE podcast episode, there are rumors that Cage actually directed most of that movie after George Gallo basically said, “Ehh, I don’t care.” Plenty of actors — especially ones as established as Cage — tend to branch out into the world of directing. But how many are one-and-done? Sonny didn’t get the best reviews, but it’s a well made film with tons of nicely composed shots. I want more Cage as director!
Sonny stars James Franco in a role that seems like it was written for a young Nicolas Cage. Franco seems to carry himself the way Cage does through most of his films, and he even has a few Cage-level freakouts (including a major one about halfway through). It’s hard to watch this movie and not envision a young Cage in the Franco role.
With fellow Cage expert Lindsay Gibb on the podcast, we go way in-depth for this film. What I’d like to do here, where I can be more visual, is just highlight a bunch of the great shots Cage includes in the film. Then, at the end, I want to talk about Cage’s appearance IN the film, but as people say, we’ll save the best for last. Because oh man, is it GREAT.
Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots!
So, okay. Let’s talk about Cage in this movie. To date, Cage’s best on-screen appearance in entertainment value per minute on screen (EVpMoS, naturally) was as “Man in Red Sports Car” in NEVER ON TUESDAY. In Sonny, Cage plays a character named “Acid Yellow”, and rivals his time on screen in Never on Tuesday. He’s not really on par with his appearance in Never on Tuesday, because nothing in the history of cinema can be. But as Acid Yellow, he comes in like a whirlwind and leaves a memorable mark on the film in his 2-3 minutes on screen.
Acid Yellow is, it seems, a man in charge of a male-for-male brothel. Sonny, with nothing going for him at the end of the movie, goes to Acid Yellow for work. Acid Yellow sort of looks like Charlie Bodell from PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED grew up, got addicted to cocaine, then became in charge of male prostitutes. He has coiffed blonde hair and exaggerated mannerisms. He shouts about how much he loves cocaine. He talks about sucking Sonny off. As always, Cage is a concentrated force of nature.
I’d been looking forward to Sonny for a while now, knowing that it was Cage’s only directorial effort. Having seen it, it’s one of my favorite new-to-me #CageClub movies, and one that shows his talent as both a filmmaker and top-tier character actor (when the need arises).
How can I watch it? You’ll have to buy the DVD; I don’t know that you can even pay to stream it anywhere. It’s not on Amazon, anyway.
What’s up next? We’re entering the biggest week of #CageClub since ACTION WEEK, and it kicks off with ADAPTATION!