Thursday, August 26, 2010

My unapologetic love for Nicolas Cage

Does anyone know when Nic Cage's rep got so tainted? It seems to me like maybe it was around the time he married Lisa Marie Presley for all of 108 days. He's continued to do even more strange things since then, and in interviews it seems you never know what's going to come out of his mouth. But why does everyone seem to suggest that means he's also a bad actor, too? Sure, he's probably crazy. If he wasn't, we'd probably be missing out on a lot of great movies.

I first noticed him in Peggy Sue Got Married. He was awkward and had a strange nasal voice throughout, but I thought he was adorable. He had the same voice in Valley Girl, if I'm remembering correctly. I'll admit I couldn't sit through that one all the way. It was a little too goofy for me at the time.

In the mid to late 90s, he was huge. The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off, 8mm. The first two of those are good strong action movies for their time, and had him working with such great stars as Sean Connery and John Malkovich. I haven't seen Face/Off in a very long time, but I really want to watch it again. I loved it so much when it came out, and I'm dying to see how well it holds up. Honestly, I'm not expecting very much, but ever since someone reminded me of the "suck my tongue" line I know I just have to sit back and enjoy how insane the whole movie probably is. I also really enjoyed 8mm, but every time I bring it up people seem to diss it. Could it really be that bad? Seemed like a strong thriller to me at the time.

For whatever reason there's a big gap in my Nic Cage viewing after that one. The next one I really remember seeing is Ghost Rider. That's another one that gets panned an awful lot. I've never read a single ghost rider comic, so I can't really comment on whether they got it right or not. His head turned into a flaming skull and that was accurate enough for me. I thought it was a well done movie though, and I seem to recall being really interested in the demon origins behind it. The problem with the wikipedia age is that I think I went and read up about Ghost Rider there and never actually went and read a comic like I wanted to.

A couple weeks ago I watched Raising Arizona. He's really quite understated in that one. Fairly standard performance for what is a really strange movie.

I thought he was fantastic in Kick Ass. His love on comic books is pretty legendary, and for a character who takes a lot of influence from Batman and the Punisher, I thought he slipped into the role and knew exactly how to treat it. Big Daddy's relationship with Hit Girl was sincere and touching, even if a bit disturbing at times. I really felt for him by the end.

Tuesday night I watched The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans. What a title. My experience watching the movie is different than the average person because I spent most of it going "Hey! Big Shot! Zapp's! Cool!" and "Daneel St.. I know where that is!" and basically freaking out every time he drove over the Crescent City Connection. I know they are filming a ton of movies here these days and it would make perfect sense for a movie set here to do so but there's still something really cool about the whole thing. I'm not really sure most places looked like that only 6 months after Katrina, but it's kind of nice to have something portray the city as better rather than worse off for once.

As far as Cage goes, he's appropriately insane. The character takes pain killers, heroin, crack, cocaine, and weed at various parts in the movie. He's pretty much continually out of it in some fashion or another. He hallucinates at different points in the film. He taps into the villain he portrayed at the beginning of Face/Off at certain scenes. It's really just all around fantastic. He's a horrible character but somehow you root for him anyway.

So why do people think he's a bad actor? Is it just because of the sound of his voice? It has it's own wooden quality, but it's not like he's incapable of expressing emotion. The characters he often plays may be similar, but Jack Nicholson's been playing the same character since One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and we all still love him, don't we? I think it may be because his movie choices tend to be either in the bad/strange category or the cheap thrills action department. I'll fully admit, regardless of how much I like him, I'll probably never see the National Treasure movies. I will be renting The Sorcerer's Apprentice though. I'm even determined to watch The Wicker Man remake.

So do you love him? Hate him? Sound off in the comments.


  1. I liked Nicholas Cage for about five minutes in junior high (amidst that mid-90's uber-popularity you mentioned) when a friend enlightened me: "hey - he didn't always just make summer blockbuster-type movies - he used to do *weird B movies*" and he earned instant cred in my book. I soon realized I didn't really like him. No solid, substantive reason - I'm just not a fan. Maybe he tries *too hard* to be the weird guy? Even though we know he's really totally mainstream, and isn't he from some big, powerful, Hollywood family? You can check my facts on that, but I think I'm right. I promise I'm going to watch Raising Arizona SOON. It's only been in my queue forever, and maybe it'll change my mind about him again. But love him or hate him, please don't waste your time watching that Wicker Man remake. Even the best lead in the world couldn't have saved that atrocity.

  2. You're correct. His real last name is Coppola, nephew to Francis Ford and cousin to Sophia. He changed his name to try to escape that, and chose the last name of Luke Cage, an obscure Marvel comic book character. So how can I not like him for that? :)

    I don't think Raising Arizona will make you change your mind too much about him. Holly Hunter and John Goodman are the strongest actors in that one IMO.


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