Nicolas Cage is sort of like the Great White Shark of the film industry; he is commonly referred to in a negative light, he seems to pop up (with negative results) all summer and his cinematic feeding frenzies are something that we can’t turn away from. Mark my words: if (and when) there is ever a Nicholas Cage Week on Animal Planet you better believe we are all tuning in. Don’t pretend like you wouldn’t; Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance would never have come out if tons of people hadn’t seen Ghost Rider.
A couple days ago I saw someone on Facebook complaining about how stupid Cage’s next movie looks. To be fair, I could only watch about half the trailer before I turned it off (something about him hacking into the Homeland Security Database hit me in a really emotional way) and, yes, it looks terrible. However, the thing everyone seems to forget about Nick Cage when they are laughing about The Wicker Man remake or Bad Lieutenant: I Can’t Believe There is Actually More to this Title is that Nicolas Cage hasn’t always been in bad movies! In fact, he isn’t even a bad actor (always)!
Need proof? Read some words I wrote!
Super-weird-artsy-but-extremely-talented director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are, some of the best music and skate videos ever) teamed up with super-weird-artsy-but-extremely-talented screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich) to make this critically acclaimed flick starring none other than Nicolas Cage.
Before I dive into the movie itself maybe I should take a second to point out a few of Cage’s co-stars? How about Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton and unanimously voted best actress of all time Meryl “the dingo ate my baby” Streep?
So what makes Cage so special in this film? Well first of all he plays the two main characters. That’s right, in this film you get twice the Cage and it isn’t Face/Off. Second, the two main characters happen to be Charlie Kaufman (the guy who wrote the movie) and his real brother Donald. The guy wrote the film about himself and then agreed that only Mr. Cage could perfectly encapsulate his complex personality. The best thing is: he was right! Adaptation has a score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert claimed it was one of the decade’s finest films and Nicolas Cage was NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR. Almost makes you want to re-watch Con-Air, right?
It’s okay to say no.
National Treasure (2004) (No, seriously, hear me out)
Okay, you can stop rolling your eyes, I get it. This movie has become sort of joke recently, probably because of Andy Samberg’s impressions of it on Saturday Night Live. The thing is I get a sneaking suspicion that everyone only hates this movie because Cage is in it in the first place. It’s actually not a horrible movie. I mean, it’s basically Indiana Jones but set in America, the world’s greatest nation! It’s a fun, mindless, adventure movie that you can sort of just put on and zone out to. If you take it too seriously then, yeah, I guess you’re going to snicker at how a historian and his geeky friend manage to steal the freaking Declaration of Independence during a Gala where the Secret Service is hanging out but I also think it is important to mention that this is one of the only movies where the Knights Templar are part of the plot but don’t have a retarded purpose (taking over the world, something something Jesus’ baby). They just really liked money! And who can blame them? I mean, isn’t that always Cage’s motivation too?
I’m only going to briefly cover this one because I didn’t like it as much as everyone else. This is more of an example of a role that Cage was in that I loved, not a movie. His portrayal of the brutal vigilante/horrible father (aptly named “Big Daddy”) could have been clichéd and terrible on accident but instead Cage decided to make it purposefully clichéd and terrible which, in turn, made it awesome. Imagine if Adam Smith’s Batman sliced bad guys to ribbons and you pretty much have Big Daddy. How could that be bad?
Answer: it couldn’t be.
Rumble Fish (1983)
Did you know that Nicolas Cage is related to the Coppola family? As in Francis Ford Coppola (director/writer of Apocalypse Now, The Godfather series and… Jack), Sofia Coppola (director/writer of Lost in Translation), Roman Coppola (who writes all of Wes Anderson’s recent movies) and Jason Schwartzman (who is awesome). Well he is and as a young aspiring actor his uncle Francis put him in Rumble Fish, a film adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s classic novel about greasers and angst (think The Outsiders but much more brutal). The movie is a dark look at troubled youth filmed in beautiful black and white. Also Tom Waits is in it.
Raising Arizona (1987)
This film might be the reason I even wrote this article. This is one of the greatest movies ever. I don’t have enough good things to say about this movie. I can only organize my thoughts using bullet points:
- It is directed by the Coen brothers (The Big Lebowski, Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou, No Country for Old Men, the list goes on).
- There is an entire scene devoted to stealing diapers from a liquor store and the music in the background is a bluegrass yodeling ballad.
- Nicolas Cage’s character’s name is “Hi” and he looks like this:
- John Goodman yells a lot for no reason.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Bet you didn’t remember he was in this! Well… neither did I until I went on imdb.com and read it. Here’s a picture of him to prove it:
Not convinced that Cage is awesome? Remember the wish list I wrote last week for The Expendables 3? Well guess who is actually really rumored to be in this upcoming release? Answer: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2333784/
Any other Cage films that you demand be seen? Want to tell me how stupid I am? Like seeing your words on a website? Comment!
Songs listened to while writing this: “Funky Cieli (Bridie’s Song) by Black 47, “Evening Kiss” by Willis Earl Beal, “Uprising” by Muse, “Alcohol” by Beck, “Sexx Laws” by Beck, “Rocky” by The Lonely Island, “Take it Easy” by Surfer Blood, “The Look” by Metronomy.
Sources: sofe.minine.co.uk, celebritywonder.ugo.com, wikipedia.com, boxofficeboredom.com, wordandfilm.com, screened.com, nogoodforme.com, sharetv.org, totalfilm.com, cinekatz.com