Birdy (1984) – Lauren’s take

Ok, I need to do this quickly as I’m drunk and my notes won’t make sense tomorrow.

We open in a hospital in the 1960s, and see a bandaged up Al (Cage) within the first few minutes, so already this is better than the previous films where Cage makes an appearance in the first 20 minutes if we’re lucky. He goes to visit Birdy (Matthew Modine), who is being kept in a psych hospital after going MIA for a month in Vietnam. Basically Birdy has had a psychotic break and thinks he’s a bird, and his doctor thinks Cage can break him out of it.

The story of Al & Birdy’s friendship is told in flashback, where Cage is the neighbourhood nice-but-tough school wrestling champ and Birdy is a weird guy who has a hard on for birds. Upon realising that Birdy’s plan to create carrier pigeons might be lucrative, Al decides to help him catch a bunch of pigeons. This involves the two guys wearing pigeon suits and Cage saying ‘fuck you’ to a pigeon, which is pretty funny. On a pigeon catching mission Birdy slips off a roof but manages to hold on, but doesn’t seem to be too bothered about it as he thinks he can fly. He ends up falling about four storeys into a pile of sand. Birdy doesn’t seem too freaked out by this, but Al is freaking out.

We start to see how socially inept Birdy is, when Cage bangs a chick on the beach and Birdy fails to carry a conversation with the girl’s friend not two metres from where Cage is nailing this chick. There’s a funny conversation about boobs then the boys are arrested for some reason that wasn’t entirely clear – something about their car being registered to Al’s dad or something.

We go back to the psych hospital intermittently, and see Cage trying to get through to Birdy in his catatonic state. It’s really sweet seeing Cage trying to pull his mate out of his stupor, especially when Cage gets upset and the nurse goes to comfort him and he grabs her boob. Cage, never change man.

So back in our flashback we see Cage helping Birdy to fly, by riding a bike through a rubbish dump with Birdy on the front of the bike wearing wings. Birdy flies for a few seconds and lands in a pond in the tip. The thing is, Birdy really thinks he can fly, and for a while Cage does pander to his fantasy.

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Stuff happens:

  • The guys work out, we see how ripped Cage is
  • Cage has luscious hair
  • Birdy tries to speak canary
  • They help a dog catcher catch dogs, but when realising the dogs are going to the butchers, the boys set the dogs free
  • Birdy has bunk beds, but where the bottom bunk should be instead there’s an aviary
  • There are three kitties, one of which tries to eat Birdy’s canary, but Birdy saves the canary and it’s all happy and stuff
  • The boys go to the prom, and Birdy touches his date’s boobs but then she gets weird about it, and he goes home, strips off and makes out with his canary for a bit

After this bit there’s a lovely sequence using crane shots which represent a bird’s eye view, flying throughout town. It’s lovely and probably my favourite part of the film.

We go back to the present in the hospital, and Al has finally gotten through to Birdy, and brought him out of his bird delusion. Cage busts Birdy out of his room using his mad ninja skills and they try to escape. They flee to the roof and Birdy runs to the ledge and  makes like he’s going to jump off (not surprising at all, Cage probably should have thought of that).  He does jump, but when Cage runs over we see than he’s only jumped about two metres down to the next level and is like ‘what, bro?’. And that’s where it ends.

A few points:

  • Even though Cage had second billing, he really lead this movie.
  • Al is really sweet to Birdy
  • Things get a little sexual between Birdy and his canary, and that’s a bit weird.

Man, I do not advise doing this while drunk, it’s really hard. Sorry if things don’t make sense, you’re just going to have to live with it.

Fin.

Rumble Fish (1983) – Lauren’s take

Ok kids, our latest piece of Cage is Rumble Fish, directed by Cage’s Uncle Frank (Coppola, duh).

Rumble Fish follows Rusty James, a hoodlum in Anytown, USA. His brother, the Motorcycle Boy, split town a few months back, his dad is an alcoholic and his mum ran out on the family a long time ago. Rusty James tries to live up to his older brothers reputation as the preeminent gang leader in town by fighting another gang leader, violating the treaty his older brother set up against rumbling between the gangs. Big bro returns, looks all pensive with his face acting and not much else happens. Seriously, such a let down.

The film does have its redeeming features, namely the fucking incredible cast: Matt Dillon is the protagonist and Micky Rourke is the Motorcycle Boy, and they are supported by Dennis Hopper as the alcoholic dad, Diane Lane as Rusty James’ girlfriend, Sofia Coppola as her kid sister and Cage, Laurence Fishburne and Chris Penn as Rusty James’ fellow gang members. Tom Waits is even in it, which made Adam squee. However, this amazing cast could not save me from my boredom. The film definitely has its moments, for instance the gang fight at the beginning of the film plays exactly like the music video for Bad, with a little Footloose thrown in for good measure. There are two kitties in the film, which gave me the happies. We also see Cage in an orgy with at least four girls (although I’m sure this is pretty standard for Cage), but outside these moments the movie really drags. For some reason we’re treated to an overuse of smoke machines (seriously, do all the streets need to look like a war zone?) and Rusty James is so unlikeable that it makes the film a chore to watch. And there’s not enough Cage, but with the film being so early in his career we begrudgingly put up with it. He does steal Rusty James’ girlfriend, which to be fair I think we all know who we’d pick given the choice between Matt Dillon and Nicolas Cage. 

So to summarise, Cage has sex with a bunch of chicks, has awesome hair and steals Rusty James’ girlfriend, just because he can.

Verdict – don’t bother, there’s not enough Cage in it to justify sitting through the movie. 

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