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Nicholas Cage: a career plotted on two axes
March 9, 2011 5:26 AM   Subscribe

The Nicholas Cage Matrix.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot (57 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Digging it ... but how did The Rock score as a serious brilliant picture?

Also, the Wicker Man should be a mandatory film in every beginning theater student's collegiate career.
posted by cavalier at 5:33 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think my own version of that chart would be a little busier in the bottom right...
posted by londonmark at 5:35 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


How did Adaptation score as brilliant? I thought that was a seriously dumb, self-serving movie. It played exactly like a writer who didn't know what to do, made it up some junk about how it was "post-modern or whatever" on the spot and was hailed as brilliant. Meanwhile the the book it was supposed based on gets severe disservice.
posted by DU at 5:37 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is bullshit. The Valley Girl face should directly above the Brilliant y-axis arrow.
posted by NoMich at 5:40 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously. The National Treasure series are some of the greatest works of scholarly history of our time.

I mean, how else would they get all those Oscar winners to star in them?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:41 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Family Man should be above that line, love that film. For the others I've seen can't but agree though.
posted by episodic at 5:42 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


And Peggy Sue Got Married is in quadrant III? This is pure lunacy.
posted by NoMich at 5:43 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought he was great in Kick Ass.
posted by bwg at 5:44 AM on March 9, 2011


A more to-the-point graph would have had an alternate graph showing all these movies had they been made without Nic Cage. A net upward movement of 30 pts based on his hair alone, is my prediction. Another 15 for his grating voice and general screen unappeal.
posted by DU at 5:46 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


No way World Trade Center and Gone In 60 Seconds are brilliant while Valley Girl is rubbish.
posted by Sailormom at 5:47 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


OH, NO! NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! AAAAAHHHHH! OH, THEY'RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAAHHHHH! AAAAAGGHHH!
posted by schmod at 5:47 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


So this December, my boyfriend and I had our own little challenge: the 24 days of Cage-mas. I admit, he did better than I did. I fell asleep through a few (8 Millimeter) or just got bored and left (Guarding Tess). But we ended up seeing most of the movies on this list. Also most of the animated things that were left off of here.

I have to admit, I am really bad with watching films. There are huge gaps in my film-pop culture knowledge and this event was a huge education for me. It was interesting to compare his oscar winning performace with some less-than-stellar work. It was weird to see him take his intense staring in different directions. And yeah, seeing him play goofy was a treat.

Anyway, my point is, after seeing a lot of those I really think Face-Off was robbed. It was amazing. For large portions of it, it is Nicolas Cage doing an impersonation of John Travolta doing an impersonation of Nicolas Cage. And it's brilliant. And stupid. And those two really don't need to be mutually exclusive.
posted by piratebowling at 5:54 AM on March 9, 2011 [19 favorites]


I would be more interested in seeing this with the time dimension more explicit -- maybe as a streaming video where the little Cage heads pop into place in the order of the films' release. You will notice even as a static image that the upper left quadrant is about three-quarters movies that he did fifteen years or more ago. while down at the lower right we see a whole heckuva lot of stuff from the last five years.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:58 AM on March 9, 2011


How did Con Air score so high on the vertical axis? Also, Moonstruck Nicholas Cage is way over on the serious side of the horizontal axis, but he was the wolf chewing off his own leg in that one, right? And yeah, piratebowling is right about Face-Off. Cage spectacularly brings the crazy in that one.

Still, overall I think they did a good job on this. That's an awful lot of Cage to have to watch and categorize.
posted by misha at 6:01 AM on March 9, 2011


I have some issues with that graph, the first one being that Wild at Heart is rated both more Brilliant and More Serious than Raising Arizona (which is also, somehow, "Serious"). So, umm... what do they mean by "Serious?" Just because the movie is made by a quality director -- does that mean the movie is "Serious"?

Also, Moonstruck is criminally under-rated on quality and criminally over-rated on seriousness (unless, again, I am mis-interpreting their definition of "Serious"). I assume the authors just haven't seen that movie and rated it based on the plot summary.
posted by muddgirl at 6:03 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Digging it ... but how did The Rock score as a serious brilliant picture?

Brilliant, sure. Serious? No way. Might as well cast Dave Coulier or Bob Saget as a "scientist." Nicolas Cage is not believable as a scientist, no way, no how.
posted by explosion at 6:03 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your favorite Cage movie sucks.
posted by _Lasar at 6:12 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wanted this to involve leather, black sunglasses, and bullet time.
posted by oneironaut at 6:17 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shit, Bad Lieutenant needs to be over in the Brilliant section. Is the 911 film he made really that good, WTF?

This is a crap Matrix.
posted by Skygazer at 6:21 AM on March 9, 2011


The four quadrants themselves are apt, but the placing of Vampire's Kiss on the Rubbish half is rubbish.
posted by Beardman at 6:26 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


For the curious, Drive Angry is probably somewhere in between the two bottom quadrants, right on the line.

(I liked it. I don't have to explain myself to you.)
posted by HostBryan at 6:27 AM on March 9, 2011


>: "Bad Lieutenant needs to be over in the Brilliant section."

That's exactly where it is. I know your back hurts, but stop staring at the lizard and focus!

Vampire's Kiss needs to be in the Brilliant/Mental quadrant, and my other immediate headscratcher is placing Raising Arizona over the line into the "serious" half.
posted by Drastic at 6:28 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, Lord of War needs to be higher up in the Brilliant-Serious quadrant. That movie is brilliance shrouded in relative obscurity. The opening monologue and punchline alone should bump it up a few notches.
posted by HostBryan at 6:29 AM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


How in the World did The Weather Man get on the "Brilliant" side of the spectrum. That's one of the 5 worst films I've ever seen. It's horrible!
posted by excoriator at 6:47 AM on March 9, 2011


Arguments about which quadrant a specific film belongs in are missing the point.

Look at the Cage-expressions selected to illustrate each film. They're perfect.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:55 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


This also seems as good time as any to tell the story of when my wife burned some frozen dinner rolls while baking them and I got to say, "How'd they get burned, HOW'D THEY GET BURNED?"
posted by Joe Beese at 6:57 AM on March 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


I don't know whether to be impressed or horrified that my esteemed MeFites have seen so many Nicholas Cage films.
posted by PepperMax at 7:00 AM on March 9, 2011


So, umm... what do they mean by "Serious?" Just because the movie is made by a quality director -- does that mean the movie is "Serious"?

I think they're referring to whether his character was serious, since the opposite axis to "serious" is "mental".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on March 9, 2011


This might be the best video ever starring Nick Cage. No wait, it might be the best video ever. Period
posted by ymgve at 7:02 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


This might be the best video ever starring Nick Cage.

I like to think AMPAS will use it when presenting him with a Lifetime Achievement award.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:05 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only quadrant of this I don't like is the serious/rubbish quadrant. I love this dude hard no matter how shitty these movies get. Bad Lieutenant needs to have a quadrant all its own though called "I Don't Even"...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:08 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would put "Lord Of War" slightly and "Vampire's Kiss" much higher on the "Brilliant" scale.
posted by Decani at 7:14 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am sure I am misunderstanding, because it sounds like you called the brilliant Bad Lieutenent a shitty movies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:16 AM on March 9, 2011


Hey, I LIKED Honeymoon in Vegas.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:17 AM on March 9, 2011


I think they're referring to whether his character was serious, since the opposite axis to "serious" is "mental".

...which led to my second point RE: his character in Moonstruck (called "serious") and the idea that the authors had not watched that movie.
posted by muddgirl at 7:18 AM on March 9, 2011


The chart might be relative rather than absolute. When your baseline is total madness, anything less is going to be pushed to the "serious" side of the graph.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:23 AM on March 9, 2011


Hey, I LIKED Honeymoon in Vegas.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:17 AM on March 9


That's 'cause you are winsome.
posted by NoMich at 7:27 AM on March 9, 2011


Maybe I'm not being clear enough = Moonstruck is listed as his fifth most serious movie. More serious than The Family Man. More Serious than City of Angels. Just look at the image they used - how is that a serious guy?
posted by muddgirl at 7:31 AM on March 9, 2011


I hold that Vampire's Kiss is up there with Raising Arizona for spectacular Cageitude, from back in the day when he actually adopted CHARACTERS instead of just playing Nic Cage over and over again.

Well, adopted accents, at least.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:45 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


At first I was like this
posted by louche mustachio at 8:24 AM on March 9, 2011


Also, the Wicker Man should be a mandatory film in every beginning theater student's collegiate career.

If you're talking about the original, yes, it should. The other thing should be burned at the stake and remembered forever as Neil LaBute's ignominy.
posted by blucevalo at 8:25 AM on March 9, 2011


viva la fuckin mental, man!
posted by orme at 8:28 AM on March 9, 2011


These people liked The Sorceror's Apprentice much, much (much) better than I did.
posted by goethean at 8:39 AM on March 9, 2011


How did Adaptation score as brilliant? I thought that was a seriously dumb, self-serving movie. It played exactly like a writer who didn't know what to do, made it up some junk about how it was "post-modern or whatever" on the spot and was hailed as brilliant.

The thing I love about Adaptation is that even if you grant that Donald is a real person instead of a fictional one, the story shown in the film is not the story that the film tells. When the last half-hour descends into action movie cliches and drug running and faster cutting and characters atoning for childhood mistakes right before their redemptive deaths, it's very clearly the bit of the film written by Donald.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:43 AM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I always liken Nic Cage to Will Ferrell. See, in just about every movie he's in, Will Ferrell plays Will Ferrell. And that's all well and good, because I happen to like the Will Ferrell character, and sometimes I am in the mood for something completely stupid. Nic Cage also nearly always plays himself, but the Nic Cage character is not one that I like. I do still occasionally watch his movies, however, because, well, sometimes I am in the mood for something completely stupid.

And sometimes his ability to play an idiot really works to the advantage of the film!
posted by mysterpigg at 8:50 AM on March 9, 2011


I always liken Nic Cage to nuclear weapons. Even though I find them fascinating, I never, ever want to see them used.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:21 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always liken Nic Cage to running around in the woods in a bear costume and karate-chopping starlets.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:25 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


How did Con Air score so high on the vertical axis?

Nic Cage's hair; John Malkovich and Steve Buscemi chewing the scenery; crashing the plane into the casino; "put the bunny back in the box".

(Although how did The Rock score above Con Air and Face/Off below it? No no no.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:25 AM on March 9, 2011


"I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion."
- Nicolas Cage, personal quotes.
posted by fryman at 10:26 AM on March 9, 2011


- Nicolas Cage, personal quotes.

That's back when Charlie Sheen was writing for him.
posted by mmrtnt at 12:38 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Nick Cage. In everything. Loved Ghost Rider. Tolerated National Treasure. Dude wants to be Superman, Elvis, Johnny Blaze and Luke Cage. He acts crazy, but it's awesome.
The great movie reviewer Outlaw Vern calls what he does Mega-Acting. He's not over acting. He's acting in over the top, interesting ways.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:05 PM on March 9, 2011


All those floating Cage heads are freaking me out.
posted by smartyboots at 2:11 PM on March 9, 2011


smarty, you probably don't want to see Nic Cage as Everyone, then.
posted by cavalier at 3:24 PM on March 9, 2011


cavalier: "smarty, you probably don't want to see Nic Cage as Everyone, then."

Oh, but this one so works.
posted by bwg at 4:32 PM on March 9, 2011


I always get Leaving Las Vegas and Honeymoon in Vegas confused. Really. :(
posted by luvcraft at 5:34 PM on March 9, 2011


I haven't seen many Nic Cage movies, but I'd seen clips of Wicker Man and I knew it was kind of a thing to watch Nic Cage movies just because they were terrible. So when Season of the Witch came out a few months ago, my sister and I decided to see it. It was great! By which I mean it was terrible.
posted by brookedel at 7:05 PM on March 9, 2011


Losers always whine about this thread. Winners go home and put the bunny back in the box.
posted by Eideteker at 5:50 AM on March 10, 2011


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