hello and welcome to my weblog. tonight i watched city of angels (1998)
what if angels were real? what if they were everywhere? what if they just loitered around listlessly in black, baggy clothes? like teenagers?
nic cage is an angel named seth* who is both obsessed with humans (as maybe all angels are) and largely unable to relate to them; he sees the things that people do but mostly not the reasons why they do them. before i got my driver’s learner’s permit, the state gave me a practice exam and a booklet with all the rules of the road. i went ahead and tried the practice test without cracking the book because i had been riding in cars all my life. i knew the rules of the road. and then all of the questions on the test were about things like the difference between white lines and yellow lines, striped lines and solid lines, and i realized that i had no idea. i had witnessed these things but i had never had to ask myself what they were or why they were there. i had conflated familiarity with understanding. nic cage’s seth has this level of understanding of the human condition and decides to renounce his angelness and become a human because he has fallen in love with meg ryan’s character. as a human, he does not recognise blood at first. he does not know how to navigate the city. he does not understand that the four dudes sitting in a busted car in the alley by the strip club are going to steal his boots. but if there is one thing that nic cage is good at, it is showing us the ecstasy of experiencing things as though for the first time. the pure rapture of simply being human.
*seth is objectively a hilarious name for an angel, but the funniest part of this movie (which is not a comedy) was when meg ryan and nic cage are in her kitchen and she asks him what his last name is and he says “plate” because it is the first object he saw. seth plate.