So Matt and his pot smoking friends with their 900 mile trip to get a Doritos taco shell, which I heard is too salty anyway, and many have pointed out may just be a commercial for the legalization of marijuana.
My pilgrimage was much more sacred, it was something real. It was a journey to see Nic Cage. As I previously lamented, Nic Cage’s newest release Seeking Justice was not within 100 miles of Berkeley, so I had to make a choice whether to sit and bitch or make something happen. I was stuck in a cultural jail cell, but here’s “how in the name of Zeus’ butthole” I got 403.5 miles to Southern California.
The key was to make this trip as “Nic Cage-a-licious” as possible. I was making the road trip to see his film, but I wanted to make the trip as if he were in the passenger seat next to me talking about his own acting style “Noveau Shamanic” and his plane flights with Charlie Sheen.
The trip began with me standing with my eyes closed as “Low Rider” played, I could hear Nic’s words rolling off my tongue: “Low Rider Donnie… Donnie Low Rider.” And then when I had heard enough, I shook my hands next to my head and said, “Ok, let’s ride.”
I tried to recreate the scene as best as possible, however, I don’t have friends, so I had to improvise. I circled myself with his DVDs instead. The meditation during Low Rider leaves you feeling centered and ready to drive. I suggest this for any form of travel, especially long distances, the song has the perfect mix of excitement and laid back ease.
As I walked by many nicer cars than my own, I had trouble not jumping one and driving off in a Prius. But I made it to my baby, my version of the Shelby GT 500, my Eleanor, which is actually my red 2000 Mercury Villager.
When you have seen as many movies as I have, whenever you are starting your car, you assume it is going to explode on ignition. But because I had listened to Low Rider, this had slipped my mind, I started the car. No explosion, luckily.
As Eleanor put-putted down the 5, I took in the long stretches of nothing as Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games looped on my Ipod.
The song elevates your travel especially down the 5, where there are long stretches of nothing and after that nothing. It transforms your inner being, you feel like a modern cowboy riding the lonely terrain searching for answers to life’s perplexing oddities and then deciding at the end that “Nobody loves no one.” Well I came to that decision approximately 98 times in the course of my 6:30 minute trip. If this song ever escapes my unconsciousness, I’ll feel I wasted that time.
When your tank runs low, you come to a very scary part of your Nic Cage road trip. Because Gas stations or convenience stores never turn out well in Nic Cage movies: Knowing, Red Rock West, The Family Man, Con Air, Seeking Justice (as I found out), and of course Raising Arizona. Well, since the apocalypse was out of the question (Knowing) I had to pull a Raising Arizona: I had to hold up a station.
Well, of course, I wasn’t really going to do that, but I had to steal something at least. I walked in thinking the ultimate thing to steal would be Panty Hose, which he wore on his head during a robbery, but they were out. I looked from shot glasses to t-shirts, trying to find something small enough and relevant to my journey. Needless to say, I chickened out. But I did, however, take a ridiculous amount of paper towels than I needed, which I will go to my grave saying is a great reference to Cage’s cleanliness in Matchstick Men.
In honor of Leaving Las Vegas, I tried to drink as much as I could throughout the trip, not alcohol, but I loaded up on Arnold Palmers, which due to my weakness meant many road detours in order to relieve myself, which isn’t so much Nic Cage as it is that Old guy in Con Air hiding under a truck.
Most of my time on the trip was spent trying to perfect a Nic Cage impression, over and over I tried to get a hold of all of his facial and vocal ticks. My favorite of his is the lip smack before saying a line. Despite my practice I do not think I shall ever achieve this level of greatness.
(starts at 1:09)
I finally arrived after 403.5 miles. I'd made it. I felt accomplished in every sense of the word. One of my finest moments by any stretch of the imagination. I had seek-ed justice for Seeking Justice and I found it across my state.
But in the end, what did this trip mean? Was this simply an act of wild behavior? An unfocused, undetermined act in excess? Maybe. But...
I hope it inspires as it inspired me.
When I reached the theater today, I couldn’t help but feel like Ben in National Treasure, I found a treasure that people have simply stepped on or ignored for years. I had found a theater that showed my favorite actor in a new movie, my own national treasure. I even got to see him wear a Mardi Gras mask and charming the shit out of January Jones.
I walked out of the theater today, from the darkness into the bright lights, and couldn't help but think that for once the journey and the destination were equally amazing.
The Hollywood Defender