(Netflix Streaming, December 2015) From afar, the premise of The Weather Man seems like the most generic drama possible: A middle-aged man has an existential crisis as he applies for a new job, realizes that he will never reunite with his ex-wife, has trouble relating to his kids and faces the imminent death of his father. The list of movies and novels covering more or less the same idea seems infinite. But what about the execution? This is where The Weather Man shines, because from the first few moments, the film is a sardonic, more-interesting-than-expected take on a familiar subject: Nicolas Cage distinguishes himself as the protagonist, and this despite not overusing the over-acting tricks he’s best known for. The script is relatively witty (the repeated motif of food being thrown at the protagonist becomes funnier and funnier), Gore Verbinski’s direction is assured and the film manages (not flawlessly) to navigate a tricky path between dark comedy and straight-up drama. It works, although I suspect that as I age I’m getting more and more sympathetic to mid-life-crisis movies. Regardless, I was surprised by The Weather Man and liked it rather more than I thought I would. Chalk one up for execution over premise, and Cage’s unpredictability in the roles he picks.