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Film / Deadfall

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Deadfall is a 1993 crime drama film directed and co-written by Christopher Coppola, and starring Michael Biehn, Sarah Trigger, Nicolas Cage, James Coburn, Charlie Sheen, and Peter Fonda.

Joe Donan (Biehn) is a Con Man working alongside his father Mike (Coburn). After a con goes very wrong, Joe follows his father's Dying Wish to recover something his twin brother stole years ago. Joe's uncle Lou is a criminal and con artist as well, and soon Joe finds himself mixed up with him, Lou's Hot-Blooded soldier Eddie, and Eddie's girlfriend Diane. But things are not as they seem, and as Lou is about to pull off the con of a lifetime, a mysterious figure begins watching them in the night...

A low-grade movie with a surprisingly A-list cast, nowadays Deadfall is best known as the source of the "Nicolas Cage Screams 'Fuck'" video. Cage reprised his role for the 2017 film Arsenal (aka Southern Fury), which featured Christopher Coppola in a cameo.


No relation to the 2012 film of the same name starring Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde.

This film features examples of:

  • Angrish: Eddie tends to be so angry and pissed off that he is unable to form a coherent sentence, although some of it might just be because it's hard to understand Nicolas Cage through a mouth full of scenery. At any rate, one of his lines amounts to "Ararararara asshole!"
  • Assassin Outclassin': Eddie and the candy-chewing garrote-man.
  • Assurance Backfire:
    Diane: Eddie, it’s not what you think-
    • In fairness, it isn’t what he thinks. She’s actually scheming with Lou’s Evil Twin Mike.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Eddie's epic one.
  • Best Served Cold: It’s all a scheme for Mike to avenge himself on his twin Lou, for getting Joe’s mother killed in one of his cons. Twenty-plus years later. Or so he says.
  • Big "NO!": Joe, when his hesitation gets Father Figure #2 killed the same way as Father Figure #1
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  • Blast Out: The Con hinges on faking this, and the second try turns into a real one.
  • Butt-Monkey: Joe, Eddie, Lou all “achieve” this status. Joe is being played from day one; Eddie gets played by Joe and Diane and thinks he's being squeezed out by Lou, then someone tries to kill him, man; and Lou is threatened and almost murdered by Eddie and actually murdered by Lyme’s henchmen.
  • Cigar Chomper: Lou and Mike.
  • *Click* Hello: The second time Joe finds Diane waiting at his motel for him.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Besides his famous Atomic F-Bomb, Eddie says the f-word constantly, a particular glorious one using three variations of the word "fuck" as three different parts of speech consecutively. ("Fucker fucker fucked!") Not to mention that he shouts this sentence at the top of his lungs, thereby making it an ATOMIC Cluster F-Bomb.
  • Coitus Ensues: The first time Joe finds Diane waiting at his motel for him.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Eddie and the deep fryer, also Hoist by His Own Petard as he was going to shove Lou into that thing.
  • Crappy Carnival: In a bizarre non-sequitur in a film which is itself a series of non-sequiturs, Joe chases a woman into an unknown, dark room and gets into an argument with the Big Bad. He then pulls a lever which he somehow knew would light up the room and turn on a carousel. Joe and the Big Bad jump on the carousel and keep arguing to the sound of Creepy Circus Music.
  • Defiant to the End: The Hitman, with Eddie holding a knife to his throat:
    Eddie: OKAY, BABY GUURRLL!! Who sent ya? Who sent ya?
    Eddie: AAAAHHH! (Slashed Throat)
  • Dodgy Toupee: Eddie has one, and the Hitman has fake Amish-beard. There’s no plot-relevant reason for the first. The second might have some use as a disguise, except he wears it when no one’s watching him.
  • Due to the Dead: What sends Joe off to find his uncle, Lou. The need is stronger than usual, as Joe is the reason Mike is dead.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Eddie’s rant is the most famous thing in the film and he is wrong. It’s not Lou’s cigar and he isn’t trying to snuff him out to replace him with his greasy little nephew. Mike wants him dead so Lou will have to use Joe for the con.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: The mark in the opening. Dude sticks his whole finger into the white powder and noms it, twice. “I’m seein’ angels!”
  • Functional Addict: Eddie is on the low end. The low, low end, but still functional. Then someone tried to kill him, man.
  • Funny Background Event: Right when Eddie drops his famous Atomic F-Bomb. A bar patron against the wall has a Funny T Shirt with just that word on it.
  • Freak Out: One of the most infamous of Cage’s career. It starts when Eddie learns that Joe played him, note , gets worse when he almost gets murdered note , but is still a relatively sane really-bad-day sort of pissed off. Then, he gets evidence that Diane is cheating on him with Lou, that it was Lou who tried to kill him, and takes a hit of cocaine. It is then that he truly loses his shit.
  • Gambit Roulette: God Himself couldn’t have planned the bullshit necessary for Mike Donan's scheme to come off, which could have been done with much less hassle.
  • Grew a Spine: Joe finishes the film turning away from his abusive father and his life of crime.
  • Hidden Wire: Part of Donan’s Con.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: After drawing Lyme into the Con, Lyme insists on shaking with his Giant Scissor Hand. Joe, surrounded by Lyme’s goons, does so reluctantly, leading to Lyme asking how Joe knew he’d keep his fingers. “I didn’t.”
    • Lyme’s response? “Never cross the line, Joe. Never cross the line.” What that has to do with anything is an exercise for the viewer.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Lou, trying to reason with a bleeding, screaming, singing, gun-waving Eddie, slips and calls him a "fucking hothead". Eddie promptly flips out even more and screams (into the camera) something to the effect of "Oh, I'm a hothead, huh? A hothead? ARRARARARARA ASSHOLE!"
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Part of Eddie’s breakdown. “W’YABEFUCKINGNAO, MAAN?”
  • Ironic Nickname: A huge-ass Scary Black Man who hangs out at a Bad-Guy Bar surrounded by skimply-dressed women, is called "The Baby".
  • Large Ham: Eddie. Nicolas Cage's entire performance in that film qualifies, including one of the most glorious Atomic F-Bombs in film and some of the most hilarious Angrish ever.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: How this whole mess starts.
  • Pick a Card: Eddie and his deck of all jokers. It’s the most un-witty card trick possible.
  • Red Right Hand: Dr. Lyme’s giant scissor hand. Why?
  • Regretful Traitor: Diane.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Hitman mixes poetry in with his day job. “Hey Mr. Rock And Roll, let’s wiggle and dance/ First you turn blue, then you shit in your pants!”
  • Shout-Out: Charlie Sheen’s One-Scene Wonder high-stakes billiard player is nicknamed Fats.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Baby. Guy that big, you call him whatever he wants.
  • Understatement: Joe Donan, on Eddie: “Well, at least he was a lively fellow.”
  • Verbal Tic: Eddie calling people “friend” or “man”.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Joe Donan. He knows he should pull out of Lou’s con, but can’t bring himself to do so for this reason, and because cons are what he does.
  • Wicked Cultured: Fats is a caricature of a slick high-stakes gambler, dropping pretentious Mark Twain references and summoning goons to severely inconvenience people who don’t pay up.
  • Zany Scheme: The main con of the film, done twice, is too dependent on luck for any normal human to think it a good idea, and it pales in comparison to the actual scheme. Joe’s father, Mike, faked his death in the opening and gave Joe some mysterious last words which inspired him to meet his Uncle Lou, leading him to take part in Lou’s scheme, which would, due to a series of events that Mike couldn’t possibly control, end with Lou dead and him and Joe rich. Even if any part of this lunacy was clever, it doesn’t explain why Mike didn’t bring his son, the prodigy con-artist who has followed him all his life, into the plan.