Of Cage and “Pig” and the “Northern Exposure” connection — Adam Arkin

Submitted for your approval, one loner, a hermit of the Pacific Northwest who spends his days and nights with an unnamed “Pig,” with whom he hunts truffles for sale to the swanky eateries of Portlandia.

He and the pig are America’s “Truffle Hunters,” and the hermit’s devotion to the prize porker/sniffer rivals that of the men who love the dogs who do the fungi sniffing in the European forests in that documentary.

Like the French dog owners of the hit documentary, Oregon’s “Robin” (Nicolas Cage) doesn’t take it well when his “Pig”is stolen.

But there’s another connection which the savvy viewer will pick up on in this film. Why did the filmmaker cast Adam Arkin, son of Oscar winner Alan Arkin, as the rich gourmand who has designs, perhaps, on cornering the market for truffles through nefarious means?

Well, perhaps that filmmaker saw Arkin’s glorious comic turn in the ’80s TV comedy “Northern Exposure.” Who was “Adam,” in that quirky series?

He was a hermit, a phantom of the forests near Cicely, Alaska. He had a bad temper and a desire to disconnect from the Human Race.

Adam was a walking, talking, erudite clear and present danger, a threat owing to his “CIA” ties. He could kill a man with a spoon.

Why a spoon? Because erudite misanthrope Adam had ties to the “other CIA,” too — the Culinary Institute of America- America’s premiere cooking school.

“Pig” is basically a soulful revisiting of Adam and his quixotic quest to be left alone and cook gourmet food and become a “legend of the forest” who was once a legend at CIA. The cooking school.

Virtually everybody reviewing “Pig” has pointed out the “John Wick with a Pig” expectations the movie lures you in with, only to upend those as Robin turns out to be both menacing and zen in his serenity, Messianic in his willingness to suffer and his simple devotion to a beloved companion.

“Adam,” on the other hand, would have been a great candidate to “Go John Wick” on those who stole his pig. His threats would have been palpable and oh so colorful. He’d have dispatched many a pignapper, probably using just a spoon.

Saving that for the sequel?


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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1 Response to Of Cage and “Pig” and the “Northern Exposure” connection — Adam Arkin

  1. Jm says:

    I agree 100%!
    I was just watching the movie right now and Arkin enters the scene. And I have thought the same. In fact, Cage’s character is clearly based (not only inspired) on the one in Northern Exposure. Dressing like a classical homeless, remembered fir their past cooking hits…
    Glad I’m not the only one to see that!

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