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Review: ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ (2021) – Nicolas Cage Beats the Shit Outta Chuck E. Cheese

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Review: 'Willy's Wonderland' (2021) - Nicolas Cage Beats the Shit Outta Chuck E. Cheese

Sometimes, a movie can sell itself with a single sentence. “Nicolas Cage beats the shit outta Chuck E. Cheese,” is definitely one of the most market-ready loglines ever. It’s a Hall of Famer, up there with “Nic Cage and John Travolta switch faces.” You have to give it to Cage, he’s up for more at-bats than anybody in his league. Every time you turn around, the guy’s got a new movie. Nicolas Cage is a prolific artist. Willy’s Wonderland is his latest masterpiece. A movie where nothing else matters, and everything is in service of Nicolas Cage beating the shit outta Chuck E. Cheese.

Point of clarification: It’s technically not Chuck E. Cheese (copyright laws), but it’s clear who these furry animatronics are meant to be. At the head of this gang of mascot/robots, we have Willy. Willy’s a weasel, and he and his horde have a hyper-violent hold over the whole town. And that’s gonna be a problem for Nic Cage here. He’s one of those nameless, rambling types you see in movies. He’s the strong silent kind; Cage doesn’t utter a word the whole film. This really clears room for the movie’s strengths. The foremost of those strengths is “Nicolas Cage beats the shit outta Chuck E Cheese.” But again, you know, copyright laws, so it’s Willy Weasel.

There’s not too much plot of which to speak. Again, the movie does a great job of getting out of the way of itself. You can picture a million other movies over-complicating the plot and moving away from the fun. Willy’s Wonderland is “the fun part” in a million lesser movies, stretched out to feature length.

Willy's Wonderland Movie Still

So here’s Nic Cage cruising in his car, and all of a sudden he runs over these road spikes, blowing out his tires. The mechanic that tows him assesses the damage, and offers an estimate. But he only takes cash. And the ATM’s broke. And there’s no ATM within walking distance. Unfortunately for Nic Cage, this whole town is without internet. If he wants his wheels fixed, he’s going to have to work off the cost.

That’s how Cage ends up locked in this combination-pizzeria/arcade-from-hell.

And once he’s in there, it’s on. These giant robot animal things are coming at Nic Cage hard, and he’s only taking breaks to chug energy drinks and play pinball. It’s absolutely madcap.

Know that I’m not really leaving out very much. This movie is practically unspoilable, and in that way, it’s beautiful. Because, if nothing else, this movie absolutely delivers on its promise. It’s a strong pitch, and then the team involved really drove it home. Nic Cage? He beats the shit outta Chuck E. Cheese.

It might not shock you to learn that I am all-in on Nic Cage fighting robots. That’s pretty much what we should all aim for in our daily lives, right? Be “Nic Cage attacking mechanical mascots”-levels of awesome, and the world would be a better place. If we all just connect to our inner-“Nic Cage severing big ol’ robot heads from big ol’ robot bodies,” who knows what the human race can accomplish?

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