The Wicker Man

The Spoony One | Aug 11 2009 | more notation(s) | 

A Review by Noah Antwiler

At last, a horror movie that plays on man's natural fear of wicker! Few people know the true horror that awaits you in a Pier One Imports, so it's good that films like The Wicker Man are made to put that message out to the people. I approach The Wicker Man frοm the unique position of having never seen the original 1973 version and thus having no frame of reference to compare it with this wholly unnecessary remake. You could argue this invalidates the whole review, as comparison is essential to determining the quality and relevance of this 2006 film. I say screw it! If I wanted to review the original, I would have picked up the original at Blockbuster instead! I saw them side by side on the wall, pointed my finger and said "Sir, bring me that Nicolas Cage movie, and be quick about it!"

Starring WWE Champion John Cena!

The guy told me to get it myself, seeing as how I was right there, but the point is that given the choice between a wicker movie without Nic Cage and a wicker movie with Nic Cage, I'm taking fucking Nic Cage every single time. I don't care what happened in 1973, man. Whatever this Wicker Man thing is, the dude frοm Con Air is gonna kick its wooden ass! Woooooo Con Air! Remember when he wrote that message on Dave Chappelle and dropped him out of the airplane? Wooooo!

And you can't tell frοm the movie poster above, but I got the Widescreen Unrated Edition that "includes SHOCKING ALTERNATE ENDING NOT SEEN IN THEATERS." Oh, the DVD has the original theatrical version on the reverse side of the disc, but what do I look like, some kind of pussy? Don't answer that. But I'm not watching no watered-down candy-ass MPAA-approved Wicker Man. I'm watching it unrated with the balls-to-the-wall alternate ending that the general public couldn't handle. No doubt it involves Nic Cage's head bursting into a flaming skull and he goes about fucking people up with a magic chain on his fiery flaming motorcycle of burning death! The Ghost Rider fears nothing made of wicker!

But seriously, what is wrong with the state of modern horror anymore? This remake thing is almost as annoying as the three talking-animal animated movies released every week. I'm only reviewing movies like this because I don't think I could stand recapping a movie starring Bruce Willis as a thieving raccoon. I can barely stomach the thought of recapping Hudson Hawk. The fad of plundering Asian horror films has circled around to bite its own tail, and now we're back to cloning our own crappy horror flicks like the awful remakes of The Hills Have Eyes, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and worst of all The Wicker Man? A remake of a movie that I hear frοm fairly reliable sources wasn't that great to begin with? I mean okay, it had Britt Ekland nude for about 4 minutes doing weird shit, but that's all anybody remembers.

All right, that was a cheap shot. Sorry. I got much respect for Christopher Lee, so the original can't be all bad, right? Heck, I bet it's really good. It's probably a damn sight better than this regurgitated choadball of a remake. I really should have rented the original. I would probably have enjoyed it a lot. Even now, looking at this DVD I can tell it's going to hurt really, really bad. Just look at the poster. Doesn't that make you dread what you're about to see? And not in that good way. Thing is, whenever I'm renting movies I can't help but sense movies that would be fantastically bad for the website. Let's just say I've heard...things about this movie that make me dread the next two hours. I'll give you a hint. Two words: bear suit. I'm in for deep hurting, guys. Deep. Deep. Hurting.

We begin in one of those rocky desert wastelands I recognize as the interminable shithole of the American southwest, ranging frοm Arizona to New Mexico. It's the sort of place where rainfall is a myth and temperatures in the mid 60s are parka weather. I should know; I live here. Cut to the inside of a truck stop greasy spoon, where Nicolas "Kal-El" Cage is spinning one of those wire racks you usually see near the counter of a gas station, containing lots of old school country music cassettes, discount Paul Walker movies on DVD, and dozens of obscene trucker tapes and shitty Jeff Foxworthy routines immortalized on magnetic medium. Cage plucks up an audio-book written by some asshole wearing a sports jacket and a tangerine mock-turtleneck called "Everything's OK!" It's some kind of self-help book that nobody seriously listens to unless they're a complete pussy. On the other hand, I guess it's either that or The Pelican Brief.

The waitress behind the counter calls over to him and says that his salad is ready. Salad? *COUGH*homo*COUGH*

Ghost Riders in mirror are closer than they appear.

Cage hits the road on his police motorcycle. He makes several traffic stops, tags an abandoned car, and tours the desolate southwestern landscape so dreary and depressing it looks like it came right out of "Manos:" The Hands of Fate. He tails a station wagon and notices a doll get tossed out of the back seat. He plucks it up frοm the asphalt without slowing down and pulls the car over to return it. The car contains a little girl in the back and her mother. Mom immediately starts apologizing, explaining how they're moving, and she's under a lot of stress, and she's terribly sorry. I'm not really sure she knows why he pulled her over, but any good cop will just shut up and let you dig your own hole while you're nervous and stupid. The girl interrupts, asking brusquely if Cage found her doll or not. Cage hands it back. The girl explains that she's bored, so he tells her that we've all been there (hell, I AM there) and we'd better take care of our things. Mom apologizes again and the girl flings the doll back out onto the road. Damn! This kid smells bacon! Fuck the po-lice!

Cage explains to mom it's no big deal, "It comes with the territory." Getting openly disrespected by seven-year-old girls comes with the territory? If this was a black guy he'd be chewing asphalt by now! (I keed! I keed!) But Cage seems pretty laid back and goes to fetch the doll for the little demon. You probably figure out what's going to happen right away if you're actually watching the scene, because you've seen this happen so many times that it's basically become a cliché. While we're paying attention to Cage in the middle of the road, a semi truck we didn't see or hear flies into the shot frοm off-camera and obliterates the station wagon. I've seen this happen so many times in movies like Identity, Dead-Alive, Spider Forest and The Devil's Rejects that it's nearly impossible to surprise me with spontaneous truck mutilation anymore. It was a cute trick when it was new, but here it just seems lazy.

Cage runs up to the station wagon, which for some reason has burst into flames. Mom is unconscious in the front seat, the little girl shall I describe it...recumbent in the back. Cage tries swatting at the back window with the palm of his hand, which shockingly does not cause the glass to shatter. Then he takes his motorcycle helmet off and uses it to punch a hole in the window. The girl looks at him quizzically, sort of a "you're a queer duck" expression, and does absolutely nothing to aid in her own rescue. He leans in the window and asks for her hand, but still she stares at him blankly. Use your super-breath to cool the flames, dude! Then the car explodes, sending Cage sprawling fifteen feet away in the middle of the road! And get this, he's totally unharmed! Holy crap! He IS Superman!

Or is this the moment when he becomes Ghost Rider? I can't remember.

"I wonder if I should fire my agent..."

Back at home, Cage is popping pills like crazy and looking whipped. I just can't get over his complete immunity to a car explosion directly at his face. No burns? Nothing? You'd think at the least the flames would have singed off his eyebrows or something. An attractive Blonde Cop Lady knocks on his door and invites herself in to check how Cage is doing and do her part to make sure he doesn't blame himself too much for what happened with the accident. Of course, he does because he's an angst-ridden cop-on-the-edge with a troubled past and a borderline drug addiction, and torturing themselves over perceived mistakes is their raison d'être. And guessing frοm the state of his home and the fact that one of his co-workers feels the need to check up on him to see if he's hung himself with some extension cord frοm his own shower, I'm guessing he's also lost his wife because he's always been a brooding little popcorn fart of a man.

Cage asks, oddly, "so they still haven't found the bodies frοm that car, right?" As it happens, Blond Cop Lady says they haven't, and the car wasn't even registered to anybody. Is that even possible? A car explodes and completely atomizes two bodies? And why would Cage feel pressured to ask if there's been any progress on that front? If they haven't found two charred, mangled bodies in the car, how far is anybody bound to look? I figure you circle the car, look for any twisted smoldering husks, and call the search off. These are not the kind of bodies you have to search that hard for. You'd think something this peculiar-- damn near impossible-- would warrant serious investigation, not some whiny "still no bodies, huh?" Where the fuck are the bodies? Review the tape, for christ's sakes. Check for tracks, ask the driver of the fucking truck what he saw, because this is not normal!

Cage curls up on the couch to read a letter he just received in the mail. It's frοm his ex-wife, who explains that she's sorry for bugging him, but he's the only one she can trust now. She's gone back to her hometown, a small island in Puget Sound called SummersIsle (one word, including the StudlyCaps, if you can believe it). It's a small agricultural community, she says, and she's had a daughter named Rowan. The kid's been missing for two weeks, and only now is she turning to him for help. She waited two WEEKS for this? My mom would have called the police if I'd missed the bus frοm school, and this lady waits FOURTEEN DAYS to write a LETTER? Call the fucking police, lady! I mean JESUS! About what day did you realize that she might not be coming home on her own? Day 10? 11?

Cage also finds a picture of Rowan and takes some time to do a little research of SummersIsle (I swear to God that's the name of the place-- one word with a capital letter in the middle) and go to the precinct to ask for a little official help. Cage asks one of his buddies what he makes of the letter and remarks that it arrived without a stamp. I find it a little unusual that Cage's cop body appears to be filling out a case report of the approximate height, weight, and distinguishing features of a handgun on his computer, but whatever.

The guy reads the letter and says "Wow. The plot thickens. Didn't even know you had a plot."

"No kidding," Cage deadpans. Way to wrap up your protagonist in a nutshell, movie.

The cop asks the requisite "who is this chick, and why is she writing you" questions. Cage says they were engaged until she left him high and dry, so the cop tells him to blow her off. Real compassionate cop there. "Yeah her daughter's missing, but she dumped you! Fuck her!"

But he does have a point here. Let's consider what we know:

These naked women will not be appearing in your remake.
Enjoy your fucking Nic Cage movie, asshats.

• The lady (Willow) lives in a hippie commune on an island with no phone service. MEANING...
• These naked women will not be appearing in your remake. Enjoy your fucking Nic Cage movie, asshats.
• The kid can't have gone far.
• Knowing hippies, there's probably something profoundly fucked up is involved.
• She let her daughter's disappearance go unreported for two weeks, MEANING...
• She is incompetent. Or...
• She is completely negligent. Or...
• She is lying.
• The letter arrived in the American southwest, addressed but unstamped, MEANING...
• Someone delivered it by hand, further meaning that either Willow came to deliver it herself or sent someone else to do it for her.
• This is puzzling because if this is true, why not just speak to Cage (Edward) himself instead of delivering a cryptic letter?
• Further, if she or someone frοm the island had the ability to go in person to find help, why Edward specifically? There are local police who would have been of greater help much sooner than it would have taken to hand-deliver a letter and have him trek to the island himself.
• And don't give me that crap about Edward being the only person she can trust. This is Washington for god's sakes, not the fucking Cahulawassee River. She doesn't want the police involved.

Something is clearly up here. I'd guess that Rowan is Edward's daughter, since that explains the "Why Edward" question adequately. Yet it doesn't answer everything, such as why Willow doesn't want the police involved, and how the letter arrived under such strange circumstances. We can either chalk that up to supernatural influence or something grand is being orchestrated for Edward's detriment. Or both. Either way, I'm not exactly Matlock here and I think I've pieced this case together rather well. Edward should at least recognize the value in taking a partner along to investigate the mysterious disappearance on the island with no phones and no hope of escape. But he's a dope, so he doesn't.

He takes a ferry north along the coast, where he deadpans a stare straight out the window. He sees a little girl with pigtails and a red sweater outside, exactly like the girl that burned up in the car earlier. Then a semi truck flattens her. Cage pops some more pills to stave off the violent and horrible hallucinations. I'm beginning to think his character might not be entirely healthy. I mean, Riggs frοm Lethal Weapon was a nutjob with a death wish, but at least he wasn't seeing murderous big rigs crushing children on a ferry. He steps outside to call "Pete" at the station, but gets his machine. Before he can really explain what he's doing, the phone drops his call. That's pretty typical. Must be using Cingular.

Cage gets off the ferry and walks along another pier to a salty gentleman loading up a sea plane. "Ahoy there!" Cage greets him.

"Wassat?" says the Salty Man, doing his best "You talkin' to me?" impression. The old codger already looks like he's sizing Edward up for a beating.

Edward tries to explain he was just trying to say hello, already on the defensive and hoping this crazy bastard doesn't open fire on him. He asks if the old guy knows a place called SummersIsle, and how he could go about catching a ride there. The old guy says he makes most of the deliveries down there, and he's not giving any rides. They're private folk and he doesn't want to lose his contract with them. Edward whines that it's only two miles and he could practically swim that. Salty Guy says he'd better get started.


"Because it's private! It's off-limits, and we respect that. We're all private people 'round here."

"Yeah, but you're so warm and open it really makes up for it."

OOF. Bad move, dude. The Salty Guy stops what he's doing and draws himself up to throw this little peckerwood the beating of his life. Ed, what the hell possessed you to make smart-aleck remarks to the only guy who can fly you to (and most importantly, OFF) the isolated island full of religious crazies? Ed hastily apologizes again and asks if he wouldn't terribly mind taking Mr. Grant along for the ride, offering a $100 bill. I half-expect the old guy to just beat his ass with a crowbar and take the money, but apparently the guy's asking price is a single c-note, so he agrees to fly him to the island.

"Help, the Wicker Man is chasing me!"

When he reaches SummersIsle he's immediately confronted by a leathery old lesbian who demands to know what he's doing here. I can't decide if she looks more like Rip Torn in drag or Rip Taylor in drag. Edward says he's a cop, but she's not down with the lingo. Po-lic-i-a, savvy? I abuse people's civil rights and pound them with nightsticks. Just kidding. He explains that it's cool, he was invited here because someone made a complaint and he's here to investigate it. Rip-In-Drag asks coldly how the heck he got on the island, and Edward isn't fast enough to come up with a convincing lie. Instead he stammers something like "Uh...made wings frοm wax...flaming motorcycle..." and RID immediately guesses it was the harbor pilot, saying, "Well, he'll need a good talking to." Couldn't have sounded more ominous than that unless she was actively grinding the edge of a meat cleaver against a whetstone.

While they're talking, a bunch of other women cluster around, along with a few men dragging a nasty burlap sack between them that's leaking blood all over the place. Edward asks what's inside, "a shark or something?"

A shark? Why is a shark your first guess? He could have asked "is it a sack full of severed humans heads or something" and that would have been more plausible than a bunch of farmers hauling a dead shark back to town.

Edward doesn't push the issue yet, and instead whips out the photo of young Rowan, asking if they've seen it. All three women conspicuously glance at opposite angles directly at the sky and say "Nope! You?" "Not me. You?" "Can't say as I have!"

Ed calls them on their bullshit right away, saying it helps to actually, you know, look at the picture. They look, for all the wonders that would do, and continue to plead ignorance. When Ed mentions Willow, RID says "Ah, Sister Willow..." as one might say "Ah, yes, that woman I plan to skin alive..." She admits that Willow does exist and she lives near the meeting house.

Ed's attention is drawn once again to the horrible burlap sack, which really is leaking everywhere. Rip-In-Drag dares him-- actually double-dog dares him-- to take a peek inside. Ed, take it frοm me, I've seen Audition. You never, EVER want to see what's in the horrible burlap sack. He looks, but the ladies jump out and shout "BOO!" at him, making him jump and head to town looking ashamed and still not knowing what's in the sack. Well god damn it, now I want to know. It doesn't seem to bother Edward that whatever's in the sack is actually moving, he's too busy looking sheepish that he just got punked by three ladies in menopause.

He goes to the meeting hall, the interior of which looks like a Cracker Barrel restaurant. The place is full of tables with a plastic bear jar of honey in the middle. Seated at every table at about a 10-to-1 ratio are all women. Oh, I hope this is an island of hot lesbians who do weird sex rituals in the fields with each other, please oh please! Edward approaches the bar, which is tended by a massive shemale who looks like John Madden dressed as a swedish milkmaid. She introduces herself as Sister Beech (Beached WHALE, you mean...) and says that he must be the policeman frοm California.

Whoa! Foul! GOT YOU! There's no way word of his arrival beat Edward up to the meeting hall. It was the first place he went, and nobody else frοm the harbor went this way. Edward's too dim to find anything unusual about this, so he just asks for a room for the night, foolishly asking John Madden if he can "swing it." Madden shakes his head cluelessly as to what the hell he's talking about, but a woman steps into the room and translates Edward's city-speak for her because he's too busy chortling at how primitive these screwheads are.

Aaah! The bees stung her lips!

The newcomer turns out to be Willow, played by a disgustingly twisted-looking Kate Beahan (probably best well-known as the coat check girl shown for two seconds in The Matrix Revolutions. I'm not kidding.) She's a gangly, hastily-assembled sack of mismatched bones with the Innsmouth look, as if someone propped a skeleton in the corner, couldn't find a skull and instead grafted the head of a massive red snapper on top of her neck. She has facial features that look like they were assembled by a four-year-old with a Mrs. Potato Head doll. She's had so much plastic surgery that you could raise the Titanic with all the collagen that's been pumped into her lips. I mean Jesus, the woman looks like a fish.

Sister Beached Whale grudgingly gives Edward a room after much significant glancing between he and Willow. Ed says that he'd like a drink before he heads upstairs, so SBW uncorks a keg and pours him a mug of mead, "one of the pleasures of our island. Aside frοm me..." she says provocatively, leaning forward and bunching up her massive canyon of sweaty man cleavage in his direction. Just kidding. She doesn't say that last part. What she does is launch into a spiel about what exactly mead is, for those of us in the audience who are complete shitheads. "Honey, water...and whatnot."

I refuse to drink anything that is described as having "whatnot" in it. I prefer to be real specific about these kind of things.

Ed chugs the brew and slaps his wallet on the bar to summon everyone's attention, saying he's a policeman and he's going to ask everyone some questions in the near future. Beached Whale snarks that he's a California cop, and last she checked, this was Washington. This spurs Ed to deliver a Captain Kirk speech about how he doesn't give a shit, he's here on a mission to save a child, and by God he's going to do it! He notices a bee land on the bar next to him, and he puts the exclamation point on his "fuck you, I'm the po-lice" speech by slamming his mug down on top of it. Now that was just bee-ligerent!

Everyone in the bar looks beewildered by Ed's violent outburst. Sister Beached Whale asks in horror why he did that. Ed says he's sorry, but he's allergic to the little bastards and they all must therefore perish under his mug. Then he goes upstairs. Fish Woman hands him a note on the way out, saying she's actively being watched and they can only talk somewhere safe in the woods. Trust no one. (And whenever you get a note that says "trust no one," it most specifically means "Especially not me.")

So off he goes to meet her. She walks around in the woods barefoot, by the way. Great idea. The scripting here is really awkward, and these two engage in one of the most pointless, unrealistic conversations two people could possibly have given the general situation. Edward wants to start slow, saying he's barely adjusted to the notion that Fish Woman even has a daughter, and proceeds to ask her why she left him. She explains that she was young and stupid, and the marriage proposal caught her off-guard. She tries to swing the conversation back to the matter at hand, the small problem of her abducted daughter, but amazingly, Edward avoids the issue entirely by asking why she went to such lengths to track him down and bring him here. What the hell is wrong with you, man? Her daughter is missing. Ask her questions about that, not who she was having an affair with. I'm summarizing, but trust me when I say that this conversation takes about four minutes and the whole time we're watching Nicolas Cage mumble and sneer his way through pages upon pages of lame dialogue that no sane person would utter given the fact that there's clearly criminal activity at work here. It's truly unbearable, a quietly suffocating stretch of movie that might as well come subtitled with the words "BATHROOM BREAK."

Is this really what we want to present in the first act? An endless character-indulgent scene between two bad, ugly actors whose paper-thin characters don't even warrant half the time they've spent developing them? Yes, this movie actually has too much character development, something that can easily slow your movie down to a fucking CRAWL, especially when they characters are lamentably shallow and grow even more uninteresting the more we learn about them. So far I've learned that Edward is a brooding, dimwitted clod who's impervious to fire and has an allergy to bees. His girlfriend is a psycho and I can't believe anything she says anyway.

Mommy, the Scarecrow is scary...

Fish Woman reminds Edward that he can't trust anyone, that everyone will try to deceive him (just slathering on the foreshadowing with a trowel now), so he'd better watch his back. Then she leaves, summoned by some kind of bell in the center of town, saying they'll talk again when it's safe. Ummmm, what was Edward supposed to ask her? Something terribly important. Oh, I remember! When did you see your daughter last? Can you think of anyone who might want to take her or harm her? Do you have any suspicions about where she's gone? Ah, damn it, she's gone! I guess I really should have asked her that stuff instead of "so who did you shack up with after you left me?"

Ed goes back to his room to unpack, conspicuously checking his case full of two Mark McGwire-sized syringes of "Bee-Epi," his anti-allergy steroids. While there, he overhears Sister Beached Whale gathering several other women in the common room for a meeting. The guests of honor are two creepy old witches who appear to be blind and have an impossible habit of speaking in unison like the Mothra Twins. Only way uglier.

"Make sure you're ready for the day of tomorrow," Beached Whale tells them, "the day of death and rebirth." The day of tomorrow? Who the shit talks like that? I think John Madden is going senile.

"Yes," drone the Mothra Twins, "Of the Wicker Man's return!" Wow, it is awfully convenient that they decided to hold their spooky cult meeting in the common room of the very inn they knew the visiting policemen would probably eavesdrop on them. Be a little more conspicuous, ladies; I don't think he heard you. Um, that's right, demon twins! The ceremony where we horribly mutilate little girls with ooky sharp sticks! These women are beezarre!

And then-- get this-- they stop talking entirely. All conversation in the common room halts. Edward spots a cleaning girl, played by the impossibly foxy and completely wasted Leelee Sobieski, coming out of an adjacent room. He asks her if she knows anything about a bunch of tapes that are missing frοm his bag, the "Everything's OK" audiobook he apparently brought with him. I'm amazed he cares enough about it to inquire after its disappearance. Leelee says she doesn't know anything about it, a response I think Ed had better get used to on this island. Still no talking frοm downstairs. Not even a murmur. I love it. Evidently the women in the common room just spent the last thirty seconds staring at each other in awkward silence.

Instead of staying awake to listen to the Dark Council of Ugly Lesbians plot about death, rebirth, and a sixty-foot effigy made of wicker (wouldn't you?), or perhaps because the entire downstairs area has been locked into some weird stasis field, Edward just goes to bed. His sleep is fitful, as he does not in fact know that Everything's OK because some Amish motherfucker stole his audiobook. Damn Luddites, always stealing my 8-tracks... Anyway, this is the brilliant part: Edward has a dream in which he flashes back to a previous flashback dream sequence when he hallucinated the little girl on the ferry being smashed by a truck. I call no way! You can't flash back to flashbacks. It's redundant! Flash back to the original event if you must. Not only that, his dream sequence is narrated by the same really boring letter that Fish Woman wrote him. Oh yeah, we get to hear the whole damn thing a second time, because it was such compelling cinema the first time I almost shit myself in ecstasy.

Ed wakes up and pops another fistful of his unidentified pills. It's still night outside, and his attention is drawn to the window where he can hear a little girl crying. When he looks, he sees the same little girl frοm the smashed car and the ferry flashback with the red sweater and pigtails running into the woods. Despite having probably hallucinated the same little girl twice and clearly on anti-psychotic medication, Ed snatches up a flashlight and gives chase. He follows the girl into a creaky barn, still hearing the girl crying all around him in surround sound, but when he finally corners the source of the noise, there's nothing there of course. All he finds is a discarded red jacket and no possible way that the girl could have escaped frοm the upstairs room.

Sister Beech played fullback for the Rams, you know.

Just as he turns to leave, the wooden flooring collapses beneath him and nearly causes him to fall to the ground floor where there is a massive array of filthy, rusted pitchforks clustered in the center of the room directly beneath the hole by sheer dumb luck. As if every one of these lesbian fundamentalists takes shameful care of their hand tools (despite being hardcore agriculturalists) and carefully stacks them in an arbitrary spot in a disused barn. I'd almost believe that this was a trap set for Edward, if not for the fact that he didn't fall through the hole entering the room, only leaving it. But Edward has amazingly fast reflexes and manages to save himself by hanging onto the door.

The next morning, Edward is enjoying his morning coffee in the meeting hall's common room. And yes, I noticed that the dining tables are all hexagonal, but that's beeside the point. Ed tries to squeeze some honey into his cup frοm the standard-issue plastic bear in the middle of each table, when he asks Leelee why they bother with storebought honey if they make their own. Leelee cops a serious attitude to a fairly reasonable question and tells him she just serves what she's handed, and if he doesn't like it he can jump up her butt. They don't have any normal honey, she says, because their last crop was cursed. By Bee-elzebub, no doubt! Ha ha!

Edward notices that the far wall of the room is adorned with innumerable framed black-and-white photographs of a nature festival, each one a nearly-identical shot of an intensely creepy-looking little blond girl surrounded by vegetables. The last picture in the corner is missing, however. Sister Beached Whale shows up and explains that they're all photos of their annual harvest festival. They have a fertility festival too, but they never photograph that because it's "too sacred." Too naked, you mean. Creepy butch bull-dykes...*ahem* Ed asks why the last picture is missing. SBW takes a long moment to conspicuously make up a lie and says that it was broken accidentally last night. Yeah, those late night bingo sessions with the old Mothra Twins get wild!

Ed finds Leelee back outside chopping wood and shows her the picture, asking if she's seen Rowan. Leelee looks at the picture and chortles. Um...okay. She never actually says "yes" or "no," just goes *snerk*. Hiding something much? Ed gets directions to find where Willow has gone off to, and asks her what's going on here "the day of tomorrow."

Leelee looks at him like he's a complete troglodyte. "Oh," she says, "You mean the day after tomorrow. Strange way to put it." No shit. Can we move this conversation along, please? What the hell is going on? Leelee says that nothing is happening the day after tomorrow, as far as she knows.

"What about just tomorrow then? What happens tomorrow?"

"I told you." Leelee says. Cage looks like he's just been slapped with a fish, his upper-lip retracting into a snarling rictus of confusion. What the hell is with these crazy bitches? "When you leave, will you take me with you?" she asks. Yes, that's The Wicker Man, lots of scenes of stilted nonsense conversations where people just say random non-sequitirs. I wish Ghost Rider would just strangle someone and get a straight answer for once.

Ed approaches a large schoolhouse filled entirely with pigtailed girls, taught by a frigid schoolmarm with all the raw sexuality of Lilith frοm Cheers. She asks the kids what man represents in his purest form. Every hand in the room shoots up, and several of the girls chant "Phallic symbol! Phallic symbol!" Cage nearly busts a nut laughing when he hears this, drawing a scornful look frοm the man-hating schoolmarm. Ed tries to defuse the tension with charm and shows his badge around to the kids. Sister Man-Hating Dyke is, like every other woman on the island, indignant and defensive and tells Ed to get the fuck out of her classroom. Ed reiterates that he's here to find a missing girl.

"How Quixotic of you," Sister Man-Hating Dyke snarks.

"Uhhh how much for that one in the corner?"

"Quixotic?" Ed says, more in the "do I have to choke a bitch" way than in the "what does 'Quixotic' mean" way.

Of course, Sister Man-Hating Dyke can't resist the urge to explain to this walking sperm delivery mechanism exactly what Don Quixote is: "pursuer of lofty ideals, USUALLY A MAN!!" she screams over her shoulder to the assembled class. Oh fucking Christ, what did I ever do to deserve this bra-burning militant rug-muncher? As if I didn't get enough of the "men are pigs" rhetoric in college.

Edward basically tells SMHD to talk to the hand and turns to the kids, hoping they will be more help than their ultra-feminist dry-gulch of a teacher. The kids pass the photo around and uniformly deny that they know of Rowan's existence. Ed notices one of the desks is empty, so he asks whose it is. Sister Man-Hating Dyke looks BUSTED, with this "fuck!!" expression on her face like she forgot to deep-six the desk last night. Ed flings the desk open and out bursts a raven that flies up into the rafters, naturally scaring the pigment out of him. The two nearby kids confess that they put the bird in there to see how long it would last.

"Now why in the hell would you allow them to do a sick thing like that?!" Edward demands.

Sister Man-Hating Dyke's response is (no shit) a gloating smirk with body language that reads "Yeah, that's right, dillweed. Choke on DEEZ nuts." Okay, NOT the response I expected frοm her. Not ignorance, not feigned horror, just a "how you like dem apples, bitch?" This movie is really getting weird.

Edward storms back to the front of the room, demanding to see the attendance record. SMHD wants to see a warrant, or permission frοm Sister SummersIsle, but Ed tells her where to stick the warrant and tears the records out of her hands. Sure enough, he spots a record two weeks ago for Rowan Woodward with the name crossed out!

"You little LIARS!" he snarls at the class. This is so funny I called everyone else in the room over to watch Nic Cage calling a class full of pre-adolescent girls bald-faced liars. Then he starts going on this righteous Perry Mason cross-examination through the entire class. It's so badly-acted that I can scarcely believe that the director kept this scene in the film:

Edward: "You little LIARS! Rowan Woodward is your classmate, isn't she? ISN'T SHE? That is HER desk!"
*turns to the teacher*
Edward: "And you're the biggest liar of them all! You tell me another and I'll arrest you myself! That is a PROMISE! Miss..."
Teacher: "Rose. Sister Rose."
Edward: "ROSE. Of course! ROSE! Another plant! For the last time, where is this girl?

The whole scene is hilarious, what with the constant conspiratorial glances between the children, the indignant hair-tossing of Sister Rose, and Nicolas Cage almost literally screaming "RESPECT MAH 'THORITAH!" The acting is bad, but just check out the script up there. Can you believe they had to read this? And I find it really hard to believe a policeman would stand and make such a scene in front of a bunch of kids and a schoolteacher (even if they are a pack of lying snakes), when it makes much more sense to just calmly leave, head back to the mainland with your evidence and send in the cavalry. But no, the script seems to think Edward would be compelled to deliver a shoe-thumping Kruschev-worthy "we will bury you" speech to a room full of kids.

Sister Man-Hating Dyke asks him to step outside with her (fight! fight! fight!), where she tries to weave through a vague web of semantics to lead him to the answers he's looking for.

Teacher: "No one is lying to you. I told you that if Rowan existed, we would know of her."
Edward: "IF she existed!? IF?!"
Teacher: "But you cannot come barging in--"
Edward: "I just SAW that she existed with my own two eyes! And I suppose her mother is lying to me too, huh?"
Teacher: "Not lying, no. Grieving. We all are."
Edward: "W-w-w-w-wait. When you say that she's grieving, you mean that she's... *extraordinarily long beat* ...DEAD???"
Teacher: "You would say so, yes."
Edward: "She's dead or she isn't?"
Teacher: "We never use that word here."
Edward: "No, that'd be too Quixotic."

WHY IN THE NAME OF L. RON HUBBARD DIDN'T YOU JUST SAY SHE WAS DEAD IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Or passed-on, or merged-with-the-great-pumpkin, or whatever euphemism you use for death? It would have saved us forty minutes of movie! I don't even know why Edward is still out and about asking people questions when he's been told that he can't trust anyone, and he's seen for himself that everyone on this rock is lying their asses off.

"Did someone beat you up? Your eyes are misaligned and your lips are all swollen..."

Sister Rose explains (as if I care at this point) that the SummersIslanders are pantheists who believe that when you die, your spirit merges with the great whatever that infuses all life on Earth. The Force, I guess. She says that they buried Rowan in the church graveyard-- at her mother's request, by the way. Before she goes back to her class, Edward asks how Rowan died.

"She'll burn to death," is the response.

Oh come on, now. Nobody makes this kind of Freudian slip. Nobody. Cage cleans the wax out of his ears and asks her to repeat what she just said.

"Precisely what I mean to; she burned to death."

Bullshit! This whole movie is bullshit, man! Either this is a trap or these are the most incompetent cultists ever. But Edward, dullard that he is, still looks confused. You can almost read the thoughts running through his head. "Durrrr...did she say what me think she say? Me not know...IQ is receding along with hairline..."

Edward stalks back through the forest, waving his cell phone in front of him like a tricorder and getting no signal. Definitely Cingular. Along the way he runs into a bunch of peasants collecting sticks and mud. One of them looks remarkably like Sister Man-Hating Dyke, and Edward rather stupidly asks if that's who she is, even though she would have to be an Olympic sprinter to change her clothes and outrun him to this place. God, Edward is a dunce.

He heads to the local cemetery, your usual spooky overgrown ruin. He finds a recently-dug grave and kneels down to inspect it. Fish Woman comes out (apparently she's been trained by the Rangers of Numenor to track him through the woods) and insists that it's not Rowan's grave; it was simply dug as a cover-up. She shows him a locked crypt with a new lock, repeating her claim that Rowan is alive, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Amazingly, Edward doesn't seem to believe this whole Rowan story any longer, asking why anyone would want to hurt Rowan. And this, I remind you, is minutes after he discovered absolute proof of a cover-up, a mass-denial of the girl's existence, and basically heard a direct threat against her life.

Oh, and if you didn't figure it out before, Edward is Rowan's father. Willow finally confesses that to him and leads him back to her house to show him Rowan's room. Edward finally starts asking those usual procedural questions, like "when did she disappear," and "what was she wearing?" Willow says that she was wearing the same sweater as in the photograph, and they don't have many photographs because Dr. Moss is the only person on the island with a camera.

Edward spots the seaplane landing frοm the window and runs out to the pier, hoping to use its radio to call in some help. But when he gets out there, he finds the plane drifting about twenty yards away frοm the pier, with nobody in sight. So he sits on the pier and waits, and proceeds to wait for several hours. Put it together, dim bulb, the pilot is dead. After a while, he hears some strange thumping under the pier. Looking through a nearby grate, he sees the bloated, hideous corpse of a little blonde girl in a red sweater! Thanks, movie! Edward dives in to fetch it, only to be horrified when NOTHING AT ALL SCARY HAPPENS! Aaaaiiieeee!

I usually have this reaction when waking up frοm a really good dream that ends just before it gets to the part where I get into a three-way with Morgan Webb and Shirley Manson. "God DAMN IT!"


And he wakes up again! Ah, the double-nightmare. Or the wake-up fake-out, as I like to call it. It's only been done well once before, and that was in John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness. It's such a contrivance because it could never, ever happen, and it's already become something of a cliché. Worse, the way the double-nightmare is executed in this movie is done with a rack-zoom, and it comes off so amateurishly that it's not even startling. If you're going to do a cheap scare, the shrieking orchestra hit is essential to make people jump. Instead, I only started laughing at how poorly the scare came across. And even funnier, Nicolas Cage's reaction to waking up twice frοm a nightmare wherein he discovered his own daughter's waterlogged corpse is to clench his fist and shout "God DAMN IT!!"

Hah! I love it. "God DAMN IT! That was a horrible dream!" What's even better is the twenty seconds he spends in awkward silence, patting himself down to make sure his testicles are still there and finally downs a half dozen pills. Genius.

God DAMN IT!! Play the clip, it's worth it.

Finally he gets sick of waiting, strips down, and swims to the plane. Naturally the whole thing has been smashed, the radio in particular. He's only a mile frοm the mainland, and he could probably make it if he put on a life jacket, but instead he heads back to the island, putting his pants back on over his soggy underwear and heads to Dr. Moss' house (the only person on the island with a camera) in an effort to track down that missing photo frοm the Cracker Barrel. Dr. Moss is about the only person on the island who isn't creepy as David Koresh, even though she does have a hefty leatherbound mythos tome called "Rituals of the Ancients" which pretty much disqualifies her frοm the list of sane people. Edward asks about the missing photo, but Dr. Moss doesn't seem to know what happened to it either, but offers to print up another copy frοm the negative, given time. Ed says that's fine and goes outside to squat in her ferns until she leaves.

Eventually a pair of mysterious woman wearing ritualistic beekeeper masks (seriously) knock on her door and escort Dr. Moss out. Ed seizes the opportunity to pick the lock on her door and toss her place for clues, starting with the mythos tome (roll for SAN loss!). You've probably guessed how the fertility ritual goes already, and Edward really shouldn't be as surprised as he acts when he discovers that every year, a little girl is chosen to represent the bad spirits and is burned to purify the land. Standard stuff, especially since Sister Man-Hating Dyke as much as told you that with her subtle-as-a-falling-piano Freudian slip.

Edward thinks this is all terribly interesting, and snoops further into the house, hoping to find some really nasty shit to report to the authorities. And sweet fancy Moses, does he ever find it. Not only is Dr. Moss a complete psychopath, she has her very own dentist's lab of horrors right next to her living room, complete with a torture chair equipped with stirrups, and a huge rack in the middle of the room loaded with jars containing second-trimester aborted foetuses suspended in Orange Tang, and a few in that blue Barbasol stuff at the barber's! And this is all arrayed right out in the open, in full view of the windows, almost like they were trophies. I'm sure Dr. Moss likes to keep dozens of dead babies in jars on the coffee table for their aesthetic value. They're wonderful conversation pieces.

"Hey kids! I'm a policeman. you buy that?"

"Oh, that's a nice dead foetus, Fran. Where did you get it?"

"Pulled it out of the Thompson girl with a wire coathanger just last week!"

"Oh that's nice. They're so much better than the storebought kind. Have you seen my collection of drowned parakeets?"

Edward forges through the lab of horrors into the back room, where she keeps her photographs. Apparently Dr. Moss is okay with people wandering in and seeing her extensive selection of dead babies drowned in Tang, but she keeps the harvest festival photographs locked away frοm prying eyes. He eventually finds the missing harvest photo. Yes, it's a picture of Rowan, annotated with the phrase "worst harvest on record," which shouldn't surprise Edward at all since Leelee Sobieski flat-out told him that their harvest was cursed earlier today. And of course he has to read it out loud, because we viewers are too brain-dead to read four words at once.

Ed goes back to Fish Woman's house, demanding answers as to why she never told him that Rowan was a part of the island's freaky fertility rituals. Her response is-- I'm not exaggerating-- "'s...uh..." She feigns ignorance of everything straight across the board, frοm the nature of the rituals, to what goes on in them, to what color the fucking sky is. She's clearly lying her tits off, and I have no idea why Edward continues to put up with everyone's constant barrage of bullshit. Fish Woman turns on the waterworks, insisting that he needs to keep looking, and they share a really awkward and unearned tender moment together.

And back out Ed goes on a rickety green bicycle that he appropriated...somewhere, where he finds yet more villagers collecting driftwood. One man is loading heavy logs onto a wagon, so he helps the guy. The load shifts, and Ed saves him frοm being crushed under the wood. The guy looks bashful and gets away frοm him, saying nothing even when Edward prods him to speak. He all but digs a hole in the ground and sticks his head in it, making it clear that the women-folk don't allow the men-folk to talk. Whatever. He continues on, spotting beekeepers along the side of the road.

For reasons that I can only chalk up to epic Darwinian stupidity or suicidal insanity, he goes off-road to investigate a featureless patch of scrub brush and steers his bike directly into a beehive, which topples. Of course, the residents of the hive are none too pleased. Is he out of his fucking mind? He knows he's allergic to bees, and he decides to go BMXing on an antique two-wheeler through a field he just observed dozens of beekeepers tending hives?? Ugh. Anyway, Ed runs his ass off away frοm the bees, knocking even more of them over in the process as he flails uselessly to ward the insects off. CRASH, he knocks over a bench loaded with more hives. A hilarious aerial shot shows us Nicolas Cage running and screaming like a maniac through the fields which are dug around with trenches to resemble a giant honeycomb.

Ed staggers around for a while, fumbling for his steroid needle when he finally succumbs to the bee stings. He manages to work in another flashback before collapsing, of course. At least he flashed back to the original car wreck this time.

"I picked at it..."

He awakens in a twin-sized bed in a mansion. His vision clears to reveal that he's being tended by Dr. Ross, something that would probably cause me to shriek "Get away frοm me, baby killer! Aaaah!" Ross says they found him in the field, and they treated the bee stings "in the old way" instead of using his adrenaline shot. Ed doesn't bother to ask what the old way is, probably because he figures he really doesn't want to know. Ross tells him that he's in the manor of Sister SummersIsle, and that she's expecting him outisde...outside, with the horrible, evil bees...

Sister SummersIsle's manservant was kind enough to launder Edward's suit, too. He goes outside and finds Sister SummersEve (Ellen Burstyn frοm The Exorcist) awaiting him in kooky priestess robes and flanked by a pair of acolytes. "They nearly had you," she says, "the bees. Pity." Pff, okay, if that's the way you want to play it...

Edward stupidly remarks that gosh, there are an awful lot of beekeepers here. Well yes, Edward, on a place that primarily raises bees for their honey, there would be a lot of beekeepers. Congratulations on figuring that one out all by yourself. Edward asks why she was expecting him. Maybe it was because you came crashing into her fields like a drunken rhinoceros screaming about bees and collapsing in a swollen purple heap on her front porch, fuckstick.

Edward asks permission to exhume Rowan's grave to see whether or not there's any foul play afoot. SummersIsle says whatever, they're not violent people and they don't kill anybody.Ed is naturally incredulous, but makes the rather stupid move of openly bashing their religion directly to the theocrat's face. SummersIsle doesn't seem too bothered by Ed's pigheaded ignorance and explains the island's history, including the role of the men, who she insists aren't second-class citizens, then turns right around and admits that they only keep them around for breeding."

"Breeding?" sneers Ed. Uh oh, I smell another bad move coming, Ed. Zip it! "Sounds more like INBREEDING to me."

Eeeeesh. I warned him not to go there. Who do you think you are, Ed, Captain Kirk? You can't just go barging into people's fundamentalist colonies and pissing on their religion. At best they'll ask you to leave. At worst they'll burn you to death inside a giant wicker man.

"Nooo don't take my dolly!"

Edward continues to go off on her, calling them all whackos and threatening to bring down the thunder over all their ritualized murder and incest. Um, Edward, you're stuck on an island surrounded by insane people who very much enjoy their ritualized murder and incest. Might I suggest it's not a wise move to openly threaten them all with the police while you're still entirely at their mercy with no hope of escape? And let's not forget that you're surrounded by the scourge of mankind: the honeybee.

SummersIsle has her butler bring Ed's "transport" 'round, and he rides off indignantly to dig up the grave. Rowan's not inside, naturally, just a rag doll. But his attention is drawn by the nearby locked crypt, frοm which he hears a girl crying, so he goes to investigate. Because investigating the phantasmal cries of hallucinatory children worked out so well for him last time. He breaks into the crypt and finds Rowan's sweater floating in an underwater pool, which is sealed with a heavy iron grate. He dives inside to investigate, finding nothing more than a flooded-out church full of Jesus statues. When he surfaces, someone has closed and weighted down the grate, sealing him inside the frigid pool to call for help all night. Good plan, Ed. Big ups. And since the scene is ending, why not have another flashback to the car explosion again? I can basically recite these scenes frοm memory by now, I've seen them about four times.

The next morning, Fish Woman stumbles across Edward sealed in the tomb and frees him. Yeah, she just happened to wander past. Edward shows her the doll that he found in the grave and waves it in front of her face as they emerge frοm the tomb. Oh, and Ed's completely dry in the eight seconds it took him to climb the stairs and step outside."Is this hers??" he wails, "TELL ME! Is this hers? How'd it get burned? How'd it get BURNED? HOW'D IT GET BURNED HOW'D IT GET BURNED??!?!?!?!?!?"

For some reason, the discovery of the creepy burned doll really unhinges what's left of Edward's sanity. You'll see.

"Room for one more, sailor."

He resolves to tear the island apart piece by piece, searching every house systematically until he finds Rowan, saying "Something bad is about to happen...I CAN FEEL IT!!" Oooooh, feel the drama. He can FEEL it.

He rides back to Sister SummersEve's place and bursts into her master bedroom, where he finds a nasty hairy old man covered in sores and pustules laying recumbent in a post-coital pose on the bed, in what is perhaps the most disgusting thing I've ever seen. I may never have an erection again. SummersIsle and her weird kinky bee sex parties are really weirding me out. It's beeyond nasty.

He runs upstairs and picks a random room, only to find it populated by a nude woman seated in a chair in front of a window, covered frοm chin to groin in bees. This isn't so much horrifying as it is silly. "Think I'll strip down and sit in a chair covered in bees for a few hours. Should be fun."

Edward decides not to open any more doors. Wise choice.

He finds Sister Man-Hating Dyke riding a bicycle down the forest road and stops her, demanding to know why she's wearing a funky Mardi Gras mask. She explains that it's all part of the festival of death and rebirth, and that he's too weighted down with a penis to understand this kind of thing. He orders her off the bike, and she retorts by droning on about her Don Quixote bullshit. Edward draws his handgun and tells her to step away frοm the bike! Holy CRAP! I think Edward's officially gone over the edge, here.

Nicholas Cage Hates Women (Part 1)

Anyway, after stealing the bike at gunpoint and wheels off for about a half mile until he stops dead in his tracks. The road is blocked by the terrifying Ancient Mothra Twins!

"One of us! One of us! One of us!"

Ah, screw it, Ed! Gun 'em down! This whole place is nuttier than a Pay Day bar!

Ed just shakes his head and steers around them, leaving the Mothra Twins to do their chucklehead double-grinning shit alone. He tries to recruit some help frοm the men at the Cracker Barrel, but they're all too whipped to render any assistance. Then he starts barging into homes and ripping the festival masks off of children. When asked if he has any authority to be here, he wheels around in a blind rage, literally screaming, "NO!! I don't NEED anybody's goddamn permission! I'm gonna search every inch of this town in the next three hours and anybody who interferes will be brought up on murder charges, you got that? You have MY permission TO STAY OUTTA THE FUCKING WAY!!"

Nicholas Cage Hates Women (Part 2)

Daaaaaamn! Stay out of Nic Cage's way when he's busy chewing the scenery! He'll tear your face off! Golly, that was uncalled-for. I mean, I know they're a pack of psychopathic foetus-eating bee-obsessed looney tunes, but that was just rude!

He goes into the bedroom and opens up their armoire, when suddenly a blond girl falls out of it to crash onto the floor! Then the kid gets up laughing at him. So that kid spent hours hiding in the furniture for the sole purpose of punking out Nic Cage? That's dedication, and it totally got him, too! Sure, it was lucky, but aren't most of the best pranks? Utterly pwnt, Edward retreats outside to the sound of children's howls of derisive laughter. By now there are children everywhere, all of them blond, all of them wearing scary festival masks. Edward goes about kicking in every door he sees, searching for Rowan and coming up empty.

He checks the pier, hearing some weird ethereal roaring noises in the air. Are these supposed to be actual noises he's hearing? What's making them? It sounds like TIE Fighters are strafing the island or something. He finds the sea plane pilot dismembered on the beach, his eyes cut out and his hands and feet chopped off with wicker stuffed into the stumps. I'm beginning to think something weird's going on on this island, folks...

Hilariously, Edward checks the dude for a pulse and shakes him to see if he's awake. Then he goes to Sister Beached Whale's house and finds her laughing conspiratorially with Sister Rip about how they totally killed the pilot. They notice Edward standing in the doorway, so Rip excuses herself, leaving Edward alone with Sister Madden.

What happens next is the funniest shit in the history of film. I won't spoil it for you. Just watch this clip:

Nicholas Cage Hates Women (Part 3)

Nicolas cage COLD COCKS A WOMAN IN THE FACE!! Holy SHIT! He totally sucker-punched her! No warning, no provocation, just WHAM, decked! This is so not the way Superman should behave! I had to watch this clip a half dozen times, and it got funnier every single time I saw it. This could be even greater than the clip of Steven Seagal backhand slapping a dude across a room. Looks like Edward has finally had it with these clit-lickers! He's taking no prisoners! Man, woman, shemale, you get in his way and you're going DOWN!

Watch the clip again. Go ahead. It only gets better. WHAM!

Nicholas Cage Hates Women (Part 4)

Haii-YAH!! I like LeeLee's eye-twittering knocked-out swoon.

Elsewhere, Sister SummersEve gathers the colony for the fiesta. She's wearing a diaphanous white cotton robe and a full mask of woad facepaint, just like William Wallace!

Edward loots John Madden's body and steals her bear suit. I'll repeat that. He steals her bear suit. He's about to put it on when Leelee Sobieski jumps on him frοm behind and starts kicking his scrawny ass all over the tavern! Haaaaah! Ed snapmares her to the floor by her hair, jack-punches her in the face, and then pump kicks her in the chest, sending her rocketing into the wall and knocking her out! This is the funniest movie of all time! Where else can you see a movie where Nicolas Cage beats up lesbians in order to dress up in a bear suit?

He puts on the bear suit-- try to stop laughing, he actually finishes out this movie wearing a bear costume-- and melds into the festival procession. He sees Rowan being tied to a tree up ahead, tended by a single woman blowing a huge ceremonial horn. He breaks out frοm the pack, charges fifty yards across the field, and drops the bitch with a right cross haymaker to the FACE!! Yeah! Show that bitch! Con Air! Con Air!!

He just knocked out a woman wearing a bear suit! I can't fucking breathe anymore!

"Don't be frightened!" he tells Rowan. Yeah, right! She just blasted a grown women in the teeth with his fist right in front of her, and she's not supposed to be frightened. He grabs the kid up and runs away into the woods, still wearing the bear suit. I know he doesn't exactly have the time to take the suit off, but I just want you to remember that at the moment, he is running through the forest being chased by hippie inbreeding a bear suit.

Nicholas Cage Hates Women (Part 5)

Someone stop him! Nicolas Cage has gone bee-serk!

Edward gets a fleeting signal frοm his cell phone, but it doesn't last. Rowan runs off on her own back to the villagers, asking Fish Woman if she did a good job. Sister SummersEve says that the game is finally over, and welcomes Edward to his appointment with the Wicker Man. News flash, Ed: you've been played. They explain their evil plot for the next three minutes to a stunned Ed, who had no idea whatsoever that he might have been misled this whole time. I don't really know why they had to resort to such theatrics when they could have just whacked him on the head with a sock full of pennies, but I guess it has something to do with him coming to the sacrifice of his own free will. I'm not sure of the semantics of the whole ritual, because they still have to beat the shit out of him and stuff him in a sack. It's not like he's going to go quietly. Whatever.

Edward has a gun, but naturally Fish Woman removed all the bullets. You'd think Edward, being a trained police officer could judge the weight of his own handgun and tell for himself whether or not it has a full magazine of ammunition, but then again, Edward has been a dullard since the beginning of the film. The funniest part of this scene is that Sister Beached Whale is there, in her backup costume, dressed as a six-foot fish. The villagers throw him a beating and drag him off to the Wicker Man. Nic Cage is naturally screaming his head off the whole time, doing his best Judge Dredd impression. "Bitches!! You bitches! This is murder! Murder! You'll all be guilty! And you're doing it for nothing! Killing me won't bring back your goddamn honey!"

And just to make sure he doesn't try to run or pump-kick any more women in the face, they put a log under his ankles and crush his knees with a hammer. After breaking his knees, they put a wire mesh helmet over his head and dump a load of bees into it. And by god, those bees go right for the eyes! I'm serious! Nic screams his head off that these vicious predators hone right in for his eyes.

Nicholas Cage Hates Women (Part 6)

I understand why this was the Oscar clip.

Still, this is more fun than the average Renaissance Festival.

The Wicker Man stands in the middle of a field, filled with sacrificial animals. They load Edward into the head with a pulley and set the structure alight with torches. It's amusing to notice the backdrop of the landscape, which looks nothing like the island this is purported to be. Instead you can clearly see mountains in the background.

And...well...that's pretty much it. We spend about five minutes watching Edward pleading for his life as he roasts horribly to death in a sixty-foot bonfire while a bunch of idiots chant "The drone must die!" Quite the feel-good movie, eh? Wish I could feel some sympathy for the woman-kicking psychopathic retard.

After this feel-good conclusion, I wondered what the super-secret-uber-mega-not-ready-for-weak-human-audiences ending was. So I checked out the DVD extras to find out. Couldn't find it. Then I realized I had already watched the alternate ending; the cut of the film I watched already had it spliced in.

Nicholas Cage Hates Women (Part 7)

Don't worry, they catch the bee killers when the police set them up in a sting operation. This is what happens when criminals don't beehive themselves.

Or spliced out, as it were. The theatrical cut of the movie was on the other side of the DVD, and the alternate ending is simply the exact same movie with the last three minutes cut out! The alternate version ends with Nic Cage burning to death in the wicker man. The ORIGINAL version shows him burning to death, then it changes scenes to a bar in some big city were Leelee Sobieski and one of her hot friends are acting like sluts to lure more hapless men, presumably to the island.

This ending doesn't really make any sense, and I presume it was only included to give Sobieski a little more screen time since her character in the film is utterly pointless and ultimately contributes nothing to the story at all aside frοm getting pump-kicked in the chest by Nic Cage. I guess it was a good move to cut this ending. Why bother? The story ends with Cage getting immolated. Why would the women bother picking up random dudes frοm bars for a sacrifice? Is this supposed to scare me into fearing that any woman I might meet at a nightclub is secretly an inbreeding lesbian agrarian who wants to burn me in a giant wicker effigy?

Frankly, I'm used to it by now.

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