Movies-A-Go-Go: Trapped in Paradise

1994 Christmas crime comedy

Rating: 10/20

Plot: Three brothers, two who just got out of jail, wind up in a tiny town with a bank that seems easy to rob. It turns out to be an opportunity that they just can't pass up. However, getting out of the town isn't nearly as easy.

Another Nicolas Cage movie that Josh let me borrow so that I could get closer to my goal of having every single Nicolas Cage movie on the blog. Maybe that's when I'll stop doing this blog actually. I've been looking for an appropriate time to just stop this nonsense. The moment when I finish working my way through Cage's impressive filmography just might be it.

Anyway, all Nicolas Cage films should probably be A-Go-Go'd, and this one is. Here it goes:

In some cultures, Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey could be considered a Holy Trinity.

That transition from a halcyon horse-and-sleigh decor shot to the busy streets was nice. Suddenly, my hopes for this movie are high.

This wallet being kicked around. I want to see an entire movie from the wallet’s perspective, sort of like a Pixar thing. In fact, maybe this will be one of the ideas I pitch to Pixar if they ever agree to meet with me.

It didn’t take too much movie to get to a scene where Jon Lovitz is squawking like a pterodactyl.

I’m glad Dana Carvey’s character is here to laugh at the movie’s jokes. Somebody has to!

“So quiet down, my little one, and call me daaaaaaaad.” Ahh, Nic. I’m buckling in because I think this is going to be quite the ride.

I would have guessed that the character’s brothers would have gradually caused him to lose it, but Cage’s character is becoming pretty unglued early. This mini-freakout about ring dings is pretty solid.

“Stop jackin’ off!” I’m going to have to get that snippet in a file to use in anti-masturbation hypnosis videos to sell to churches.

Way to have a consistent accent here, Nic. I don't know if movies where Cage experiments with accents are the best things in the history of motion pictures or among the most embarrassing.

Lovitz and Carvey's characters. I’m happy to finally find out what happened to Beavis and Butthead when they grew up.

Oh, they’re watching The Alligator People. Nice choice, director!

Yes, that movie is on my blog

I don’t believe Jon Lovitz’s story about the wallet at all.

Or this phone call to his mother.

Nic’s voice almost slipped into that odd accent he uses in Vampire’s Kiss for a minute.

“Elaborate schemes...I know how your mind works. You know exactly what you’re doin’ and the whole time you stand there with this ‘Who, me?’ [dramatic pause] expression [dramatic pause] ON YOUR FACE!”
Director: “Cut! Nic, you’re changing accents again.”
Nic: “What? No, I’m not. My accent [dramatic pause] is CONSISTENT!”
Director: “It was three different accents in that same sentence actually.”

It’s convenient that they’re in a one-Sarah town.

“The sign says ‘take a pen,’ not ‘take all the pens.’” If I had a buck for every time I’ve heard that.

You’re allowed to use the word “retarded” if you say it in a really bad Jersey accent.

Captain Crunch product placement.

Sharp sunglasses, Nic!

Do you think that Dana Carvey’s career went downhill because he overdid things a little bit?

Oh, man. This robbery! “Alllllllllllright! This is a goddamn robbery!” complete with one of those classic Nic Cage moves where he punches the air for no reason. Cage is like a faucet that you can turn on any time and just watch the genius gush out.

I don’t think Cage repeating the word “key”--or in some cases, “kee-eeeeeeeeey”--was scripted. I think he’s so in the zone here that he’s just belted out what he feels is natural.

Holy crap, in this scene in the restaurant across the street, Cage is becoming unhinged. He’s going to pull something if he’s not careful. And it might be somebody's throat right out of their neck!

There are almost some good ideas in this movie, but the three off-the-wall performances and a tone that just isn’t quite right completely ruin things.

This prison inmate looks like a chubby Paul Reiser.


Nic Cage is singing! Now all I want to see is a Nicolas Cage musical.

“Ow! Oh, ow! Ew. That hurt.”

More singing!

Oh, man. We just moved into some sort of Inception multi-levels of bad acting. Cage’s character is pretending to be alarmed as he hears the news that the bank has been robbed. It’s a poorly-acted character pretending to be a bad actor. Amazing.

I had to rewind that and watch it again.

I’m not sure I’ve seen dramatic irony work this clumsily in a movie.

And here, Nic Cage shows more emotion in about 4 seconds than most actors show in their entire careers.

“Oh, my God, a gun!” Ladies and gentlemen, I might have a new favorite Nicolas Cage moment.

Ok, that was a hyperbole.

High-pitched “shit!”

“Alright, quit pressuring me plee-eee-eeease.” If Nic says the word with three syllables, dictionaries should really consider changing the pronunciation.

“Oh, Christ. He looks like he’s turning blue.”
“What’s that mean?”
“It means he has water in his lungs.”
Me: What?

The music’s getting sappy, and Nic is asking about whether or not people can change. I know we had Christmas carols, Christmas trees, a big Christmas dinner, Christmas presents, and Christmas decorations, but it really just turned into a Christmas movie.

Some stuntman just earned his paycheck with an exaggerated dive out of the path of a stolen sleigh.

I can’t recall seeing a sleigh and car chase before, so that’s something.

I wonder if this is based on a true story. I forgot to look at the beginning.

I don’t understand law, but I assume Merlin the horse is now an accomplice after the fact?

Fun bit of trivia: Dana Carvey and Merlin the horse had a sexual fling during the filming of Trouble in Paradise. You can look that up.

“Oh, man. Oh, no no no.” I have no idea what emotions Cage is trying to convey here. I’m sure he’s troubled that Melin the horse is in a precarious situation, but he looks and sounds like he did when he was pretending to be upset earlier in the movie.

Lower your voice, Lovitz. The whole restaurant can hear you.

I think Carvey invented the whole ugly sweater Christmas party thing with this movie.

Parts of this movie are unpredictable because they don’t make any sense. Parts of so predictable that I think I could have written the thing.

“I realize tonight that I like people. Isn’t life great? I mean, LIFE IS GREAT!” This is no way to talk to strangers, Nic. Or probably people you know.

Comparing pictures of mothers? I can’t believe this is the way they decided to have these characters find out who Nic Cage’s character really was.

How’s the convict going to have a wallet anyway? He just escaped from jail.

Hey, let’s go into the bank to put the money back and then stand around talking for a long time.

Nic with an exaggerated point. Jon Lovitz imitates him. That’s the second Nicolas Cage movie I’ve seen in a row where a character has imitated him.

“Let me do the crackin’ [dramatic pause] and you do the jackin’.” I’m not even sure what that means!

Why do you even need to put the money back in the vault? Can't you just leave it by the vault door and leave safely?

Wait, they couldn’t leave the money outside of the vault in the bank but leaving it on a porch and playing ding-dong-ditch is ok?

Richard Jenkins should be in every movie.

Good, the New York accent is back. I kind of missed it.

“Liar, liar, pants on fire, nose is as long as a telephone wire.” Who the hell wrote this thing?

The worst thing about this is that it’s going to end up having a happy ending somehow.

This scene in the police station reminds me of the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. Only really, really stupid.

Every time Nicolas Cage has an on-screen freak-out, an angel gets an erection.

Boy, this love story sure was developed well.

Every Nicolas Cage movie should end with him gettin' some. Well, probably not the ones where his character dies. That would be a little too strange. 

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