It’s been almost a year since The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent opened in theaters, but the film has been enjoying a second wind, thanks to the popularity of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent car scene on TikTok.
If you haven’t seen the Pedro Pascal and Nicolas Cage meme on TikTok by now, that’s probably because TikTok has highly a specific algorithm that caters to each unique user. For the uninitiated, it goes like this: Nicolas Cage is sitting shotgun in a convertible driving along the California coastline. He does not look happy. The sounds of Cass Elliot’s 1969 hit “Make Your Own Kind of Music” build as Cage slowly turns to glare at the driver of the vehicle. The camera cuts to reveal the driver is none other than a shaggy-haired Pedro Pascal, who is grinning like an idiot and doing his best impression of a golden retriever puppy.
This combination of music and footage is usually accompanied by text, like, for example, “My boyfriend telling me he’s tired of the Pedro Pascal TikTok meme / Me showing my boyfriend yet another Pedro Pascal TikTok meme.”
Here’s an example:
These videos have been all over TikTok for the last month, and the movie has enjoyed a surge of interest as a result. The movie opened in theaters on April 22, 2022, and hit VOD in June 2022, but you can see a spike in Google searches for the movie over the last 90 days.
It’s easier to understand why these addictive clips are popular. It’s a perfect meme format—relatable, always funny, and with a catchy song to boot. (Although fans of the TV show LOST will recall that Desmond Hume already made this particular song go viral, before “going viral” was really a thing.) It helps that Pascal, the star of HBO’s new hit series The Last of Us, is having a moment, and that his goofy charm is on full display in this clip. In the actual movie, which was directed by Tom Gormican, Cage stars as a fictional version of himself who is struggling financially. The actor reluctantly agrees to attend the birthday of a massive, eccentric billionaire fan (played by Pedro Pascal) for the price of $1 million.
This particular car scene in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent features both Cage and Pascal on LSD, because Pascal insists they need “divine inspiration,” aka drugs, in order to create art together. Sadly, Cass Elliot’s hit song was not actually playing over the scene in the film—that was added by creative TikTok users.
The context isn’t needed to appreciate the brilliant simplicity of this meme, but if you’re curious about the movie, you can watch it for free on Starz with a subscription, or with the Starz add-on on Hulu, Roku, or Amazon. You can also rent the film for $5.99, or buy it for $19.99, on digital platforms. And after you watch it then you, too, can make your own kind of memes.
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