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Nouveau Shamanic: The Nicolas Cage Method
April 18, 2011 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Nouveau Shamanic: The Nicolas Cage Method. "I had realized that I’d developed my own style and process and school of acting which is called Nouveau Shamanic..." — Nicolas Cage, 1964-
posted by chunking express (158 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
My only real takeaway from this is that Nick Cage is very talented when it comes to pulling off numerous styles of mustaches. Bravo.
posted by straight_razor at 11:33 AM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


This makes me sad. The further you go back, the better his movies get. To think at one point Nicolas Cage was considered one of the great actors of his generation. I remember that time!
posted by KingEdRa at 11:38 AM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have to just imagine what he'd sound like freaking out wile looking at stills?
posted by Hoopo at 11:39 AM on April 18, 2011


I have to just imagine what he'd sound like freaking out

Nope.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:41 AM on April 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is just pictures of Nic Cage looking crazy? That's all it is?

Cool, I was looking for exactly this, thanks.

posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:43 AM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


To think at one point Nicolas Cage was considered one of the great actors of his generation. I remember that time!

I don't.
posted by inigo2 at 11:43 AM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's also this one for the gallery.
posted by inigo2 at 11:45 AM on April 18, 2011


Here's a link to a forum of Cage fans discussing the interview from which the pull-quote comes from

I could've linked directly to the movie-line interview, but I thought it was worth sharing that there's a forum called Cagealot Castle.
posted by codacorolla at 11:51 AM on April 18, 2011


Nicolas Cage and Sean Penn's friendship came to an end when Penn criticized, saying "Nic Cage is no longer an actor ... He could be again, but now he's more like a ... performer."

Yes, Sean, he is. And in the past decade he has produced superlative work in Adaptation, Lord of War, and Bad Lieutenant -- three films that any actor would be proud to have on their resume. He has also given us the unhinged pleasures of his Grindhouse appearance, his Elvis on acid performance as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider (one of the few films where the secret identity is more interesting than the superhero), and the deranged 3D actioner Drive Angry. And, um, Bad Lieutenant, which fits both the great and the deranged categories.

And it' been like this for Cage's entire career. Sure, there are films that fall flat. But when he's firing on all cylinders, whether in a great film or a maniac's version of a great film, there's nobody more fun. So I'll take Cage the performer, and you can have Cage the actor.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:53 AM on April 18, 2011 [26 favorites]


Cage has the same problem as De Niro, which is very simply that they spend too much money and are then forced to take whatever roles are offered them. There's nothing more to it than that.
posted by unSane at 11:54 AM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I...I...I got nothing. Words fail.
posted by Kitteh at 11:57 AM on April 18, 2011


I had never heard about this "Nouveau Shamanic" thing before, so I googled and found an article about his latest movie. I think I might actually enjoy "Drive Angry":

Cage stars in Drive Angry 3D as a man who escapes from hell and hitches a ride with a feisty waitress (Amber Heard) to hunt down the psycho cult leader (The Twilight Saga’s Billy Burke) who killed his daughter and plans to sacrifice his baby grandchild to Satan...

“...Well, initially what I was attracted to was the idea that I was going to get my eye shot out. The movie Season of the Witch, I wanted to get my eye shot out with a bow and arrow, and the producers didn’t go for it. We never really got there. Even though they said they would, it never really happened. So when Patrick Lussier said to me, ‘You’re going to get your eye shot out in a movie,’ I don’t know why but I just immediately said yes, I’m in, because it was something that I wanted to do. It’s as simple as that.”

posted by Hoopo at 11:57 AM on April 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


For me, Nicolas Cage has always had the knack of making a bad movie awesomely bad. I consider him a feature, not a bug.

After being obligated by my children to watch The Sorcerer's Apprentice, I hope he finds himself a solid niche in kids' movies and just hangs out there for a while, myself.
posted by padraigin at 11:58 AM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, Sean, he is. And in the past decade he has produced superlative work in Adaptation, Lord of War, and Bad Lieutenant -- three films that any actor would be proud to have on their resume. He has also given us the unhinged pleasures of his Grindhouse appearance, his Elvis on acid performance as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider (one of the few films where the secret identity is more interesting than the superhero), and the deranged 3D actioner Drive Angry. And, um, Bad Lieutenant, which fits both the great and the deranged categories.

And it' been like this for Cage's entire career. Sure, there are films that fall flat. But when he's firing on all cylinders, whether in a great film or a maniac's version of a great film, there's nobody more fun. So I'll take Cage the performer, and you can have Cage the actor.


First Scott Adams, now this! Welcome!!
posted by fire&wings at 12:01 PM on April 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


Nicolas Cage in a movie = it's not going to be a GREAT movie, but probably very entertaining and worth the $5-10.
posted by mrbill at 12:02 PM on April 18, 2011


Nicolas Cage is not just a good actor, he's a great actor. He can be out there and comic book, he can be real and human. He can be grounded and he can be unhinged. It's easy to shrug and say "Oh he just plays crazy" but just like sane people are not all the same so to are Cage's mad men all individual. Sure they're are pieces that he assembles a serpentine con man, the angry child, an elvis impersonator. But when he's good he composes something new and interesting and something that improves the film that he's in. He's too often in films that aren't worthy of his talent but in many of these he can make it better. As an actor you are comanded to say in do what is in the script and sometimes that is going to be about how killing you with bees will not bring your honey back.
posted by I Foody at 12:04 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hear, hear, AZ. I don't care what anyone says: I fucking love Nicolas Cage. Even in his shitty movies, he's the best thing in them.
posted by brundlefly at 12:09 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


C'mon guys. Raising Arizona? The guy can do whatever wacky comic book movie he wants. It is pretty clear he is into comics the way Keanu Reeves seems to be into Sci-Fi
posted by Ad hominem at 12:10 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Step 1: show great promise in your early career, attract attention
Step 2: do some really great work. Stand at the top of your profession
Step 3: spend the rest of your career doing whatever the hell you want and having a good time.

That sounds like a pretty great way to go about life, to me. If you're pining for some supposed Great Actor that Cage might have been... well, that's clearly not what he wants to do right now.
posted by gurple at 12:11 PM on April 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


First Scott Adams, now this! Welcome!!

How many people think I am Nicolas Cage?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:12 PM on April 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


Oh, and I forgot to mention his Adam West impression in Kick Ass, which was superlative. He's a certified genius and that's hard to argue with!
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:13 PM on April 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


It is pretty clear he is into comics the way Keanu Reeves seems to be into Sci-Fi

If you mean "destroying that which he loves," then yes. He is just like Keanu Reeves.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:13 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I love the thought that all this time, Astro Zombie has been Nic Cage. I want to live in that universe. Make it happen, AZ!
posted by rikschell at 12:13 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I am convinced that most people don't really have a solid idea of why they think one actor is good and another is "bad."
posted by lodurr at 12:15 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many people think I am Nicolas Cage?

Astro Zombie, I think it's how many people think you would like to be Nic Cage is the question.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:15 PM on April 18, 2011


How many people think I am Nicolas Cage?

Since I try to give people the benefit of the doubt on mental health, I vote...aw, hell, we're talking about Nick Cage, so why the fuck not?
posted by lodurr at 12:16 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you mean "destroying that which he loves," then yes. He is just like Keanu Reeves.

That may be justified. But they hardly went and burned all the originals. Count me on team Cage.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:16 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't want to be Nic Cage. I do, however, want to be Sailor Ripley.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:17 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not convinced. That's exactly what Nic Cage would want us to think.
posted by lodurr at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kind of want to visit the universe where Nic Cage played Bodhi in Point Break, personally.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:19 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


"This is a snakeskin jacket. And for me it's a symbol of my individuality, and my belief in personal freedom."
posted by Ad hominem at 12:23 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe we could have Nic take the title role in "Pain Don't Hurt: the Patrick Swayze story."
posted by rikschell at 12:28 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


"This is a snakeskin jacket. And for me it's a symbol of my individuality, and my belief in personal freedom."

Seriously. And how could you not want Laura Dern after that?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:29 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Count me in in the Nicholas Cage is actually pretty good tally. I'll add Matchstick Men to the list of good films he's done in the past 10 yrs.
posted by Omon Ra at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


KingEdRa: “This makes me sad. The further you go back, the better his movies get. To think at one point Nicolas Cage was considered one of the great actors of his generation. I remember that time!”

(1) You imply that something has been lost. It has not. Nicholas Cage continues to be awesome.

(2) There can be no doubt whatsoever that Nicholas Cage is not only "one of the great actors of his generation," but indeed the greatest actor of his generation. No one more willing to play anything, no one more whimsical and devil-may-care in his taste or his decisions, no one with a higher "interesting to look at" / "has conventional good looks" ratio.

Sometimes, when I'm casting about for difficult questions to engage my contemplative side, I wonder: how could anyone possibly rank Nicholas Cage as anything but the greatest actor in film today?
posted by koeselitz at 12:41 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


How many other actors could have been great in both Lord of War and Valley Girl?
posted by grounded at 12:42 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You mean that style, it's... it's on purpose?!?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:45 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was iffy on Cage and then I saw Con Air and I still can't decide if the whole movie was a brilliant joke that everyone but Cage was in on or if he was in on it too or what. Either way it is one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever made.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:45 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have no doubt that Cage can act well -- I've seen him give performances that I thought were pretty darn good. And I'll grant that he's never boring and that I've never seen him mail it in. I would go so far as to say that of all the over-the-top scenery-chewers working today, he's definitely one of the best.

That said, over-the-top scenery-chewing is just not that interesting to me.
posted by lodurr at 12:52 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I feel like Nick Cage gets a lot of shit for essentially doing the exact same thing as Christopher Walken, Samuel L Jackson, and maybe even Morgan Freeman do with their careers and role choices.

I will take ANY Nick Cage movie (Except maybe Knowing, yuck) over Balls of Fury, The Spirit, Evan Almighty ANY DAY.
posted by dirtylittlecity at 12:54 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think we can all agree that Cage's high-water mark came in 1996 with an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas which I think came at the price of giving it to Elisabeth Shue. Some will disagree with me over the exact date of the progressively linear growth of his abilities but one thing is for certain is that after the role of Ben Sanderson he never achieved the same believability of character in his subsequent roles, and one cannot disconnect the genius of the Cohen brothers in extracting a masterful performance out of anyone.

He's a mediocre actor at best. One who used his connections to parlay his learned skills into a career where the use of superlative should be curbed.

The greatest actor of his generation? Hardly. Caviezel, Brody, Harrelson, Penn, Clooney, Cusak or Norton maybe. Depp definitely.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:56 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, when I'm casting about for difficult questions to engage my contemplative side, I wonder: how could anyone possibly rank Nicholas Cage as anything but the greatest actor in film today?

Quite easily.
posted by blucevalo at 12:56 PM on April 18, 2011


Nicolas Cage and Sean Penn's friendship came to an end when Penn criticized, saying "Nic Cage is no longer an actor ... He could be again, but now he's more like a ... performer."

I would challenge that Sean Penn's best work was in Team America: World Police.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:03 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nick Cage doesn't seem to be turning down any scripts. I wonder if it is "known in the industry" that Nick will say yes to any film in which the Director/Producer promises him that he would get his eye shot out.

So now, all scripts that come to nick have a note "Dear Nick - please take this script - your character will get his eye shot out, I promise..."

[based off of Hoopo's comment]
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 1:05 PM on April 18, 2011


To think at one point Nicolas Cage was considered one of the great actors of his generation.

Nicholas Cage's best moments in Valley Girl.

The bees!
posted by zippy at 1:06 PM on April 18, 2011


Johnny Depp thinks he's Hunter S. Thompson now (not appealing to me, even though I remain a Hunter Thompson fan, and so loved Depp in "Ed Wood"), and he did two too many "Pirates ... " sequels, and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," etc. on top of that, so he's got plenty of "performer" as opposed to "actor" in him. Also, he did some terrible, monotone narration in some mostly awful PBS doc on The Doors.
posted by raysmj at 1:06 PM on April 18, 2011


Whether the manic catharsis of Adaptation, the charming weirdness of Raising Arizona or the goofy popcorniness of National Treasure, it's always been a fun ride with Mr. Cage. Keep on performing, you magnificent bastard.
posted by jnrussell at 1:10 PM on April 18, 2011


Hunter S. Thompson thought he was Hunter S. Thompson.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:13 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Heh, that's funny. Up above, I wrote a comment defending Cage's right to do whatever the hell he wants with his career. Basically, I felt, it's his career, he doesn't owe us anything. I mean, it's not like he's George R. R. Martin, or something.

Then, a couple of people mentioned Johnny Depp. Now I realize I'm a hypocrite -- for no good reason, I feel personally offended that Johnny Depp has turned out so much crap lately, particularly the Disney crap. Oh, man, Alice in Wonderland, ugh.
posted by gurple at 1:13 PM on April 18, 2011


Nicolas Cage is this week's Charlie Sheen. You heard it here first, folks. #winning #thebees
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:24 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would guess that a lot of Cage's better performances have been due to a strong director reigning him in. Otherwise, we get Cage, left to his own devices, turning in earnest performances in roles that require wackiness and wacky performances in roles that require earnestness. I think the Coen brothers recognized this and made it work for them in Raising Arizona.
posted by lekvar at 1:25 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've always thought Nicolas Cage should have been in Speed.
posted by doublehappy at 1:27 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel personally offended that Johnny Depp has turned out so much crap lately,

Having seen Public Enemies and Rango, I can only politely disagree with you on this one. I can understand why a lot of what he's been working on might seem like crap to some, but what I see is an actor that's taking jobs that seem to be fun and sometimes deeply weird. And I'm cool with that.

No discussion of Nicolas Cage can pass without me, once again, pointing out that his work in Amos and Andrew is criminally underrated. (It's got Samuel Jackson playing the straight man and Dabney Coleman as the villian! Brilliant!)
posted by quin at 1:27 PM on April 18, 2011


This far in and nobody's even mentioned face/off? Sometimes it's like I don't even know you people.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:34 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Valley Girl
Raising Arizona

Everything thing else I’ve seen sucked, so I purposely avoid anything with him in it now.
posted by bongo_x at 1:36 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah. There might be an extra "m/" missing in there.
posted by ~ at 1:37 PM on April 18, 2011


Just to bring things full circle, I think Astro Zombie is Hunter S. Thompson.
posted by AdamCSnider at 1:39 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Johnny Depp's great, mind you, but to claim that he is some kind of great artist in a way that Nicolas Cage is not is about as disingenuous as it gets. I mean, he's churning out shitty pirate movies at a pretty speedy clip, and the veneer of cheese he lays over his Burton roles is starting to make me uncomfortable (I say that as someone who vastly preferred Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the earlier film version, too).

I think Depp and Cage are both in kind of the same business of being over-the-top loons, and that's what makes them special. Pretending that it's a flaw in Cage but somehow a merit of Depp's just doesn't make sense.
posted by padraigin at 1:51 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


...the manic catharsis of Adaptation...

I felt those were pretty restrained performances. I really enjoyed him in that flick, and it's hard for me to imagine anybody else in that role, now. But if he'd been NIC CAGE in those roles, I probably wouldn't have liked it nearly as much.

... as an exercise, as I typed that, I started trying to think of other actors in those roles. And I have to say, I think Chris Cooper would have been FUCKING AWESOME as both Kaufman brothers.
posted by lodurr at 1:52 PM on April 18, 2011


It seems to me that Depp can dial back the loon on his own. I haven't seen evidence that Cage can do that.

That said, Depp's done a lot of loons, lately.
posted by lodurr at 1:54 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh. I always thought of Nicholas Cage as a mostly talentless crazy person who occasionally produced a watchable movie (Adaptation, Raising Arizona) by pure dumb luck.
posted by electroboy at 1:59 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nicolas Cage can do no wrong and even when he does do wrong he's so so right.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:02 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


How many people think I am Nicolas Cage?

I'm not entirely convinced one way or the other.

However, using little more than a funnel, a birdcage, and a bucket of enraged honeybees, we can conclusively determine if you are, in fact, Nicholas Cage.
posted by schmod at 2:04 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think a friend has got it:
"Basically, movies where he's supposed to be competent or bad-ass = no good. Movies where he's mostly just overwhelmed and upset but presses on = decent."
I think that about sums it up.
posted by electroboy at 2:13 PM on April 18, 2011


I already kind of alluded to this, but I'll come out and say it:

Johnny Depp annoys the living crap out of me. Why? Because he's extremely safe. People love Johnny Depp. I mean, everybody loves Johnny Depp. He clearly has a very, very good agent; his catalog is filled two kinds of movies: (a) fun, crazy, ridiculous schlockfests that are relatively lovable by popular standards; and (b) pseudo-intellectual "good" movies that require a little more thought to get. This is a good strategy, because it means that Johnny Depp manages to get just enough roles to perpetuate the broad public perception that he is an outstanding actor.

Whereas – I'm sorry, this is just my own opinion, but I've watched many of his films – he's not actually that incredible an actor. He's carefully chosen blank or obviously interesting roles, with the perception of his acting quality guiding the whole thing; but he's never stunned or impressed me greatly in any way that can't be put down to costuming or facial hair or writing.

Finally, what bugs me most about Johnny Depp is that his "interesting to look at" / "has conventional good looks" ratio is very, very low. People love to go on and on about Johnny Depp's "quirkiness," but utterly ignore the other factor in this ratio. When it comes down, the central reason why Johnny Depp is popular is because he's conventionally attractive.
posted by koeselitz at 2:14 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


electroboy: “Huh. I always thought of Nicholas Cage as a mostly talentless crazy person who occasionally produced a watchable movie (Adaptation, Raising Arizona) by pure dumb luck.”

Have you seen Leaving Las Vegas?
posted by koeselitz at 2:16 PM on April 18, 2011


I think Johnny Depp's great, mind you, but to claim that he is some kind of great artist in a way that Nicolas Cage is not is about as disingenuous as it gets

I think a lot of people overlook the fact that most of the people that get held up as "great actors" have done a fair share of shitty movies. That's Hollywood, they're not all going to be Citizen Kane, and a lot of the typical movie-money-machine blockbusters leave no room for an actor to be particularly great. The point is that these people can turn out a great performance every now and then between the fluff they do to pay the bills.

Anyways, I'm not a huge Cage fan but these "loses his shit" videos and crazy-Cage-face photo blogs have highlighted for me a new way to watch and enjoy his movies, and that is by watching to see how crazy he gets and LMFAO. Which is good, because he's in every other movie these days.
posted by Hoopo at 2:17 PM on April 18, 2011


I love those promos that comedy central used to run about Raising Arizona, "Featuring Oscar winner Nicolas Cage! Oscar winner Holly Hunt! Oscar Winners the Cohen Brothers!"
posted by frecklefaerie at 2:18 PM on April 18, 2011


Have you seen Leaving Las Vegas?

Ok, we can add that to the Official List of Nicholas Cage Movies Electroboy Approves Of. That's 3. I'll even throw in Bringing Out the Dead, but also note that he's also starred in two of the worst movies ever made, City of Angels and Con Air.
posted by electroboy at 2:22 PM on April 18, 2011


Con Air is the Die Hard of the 1990's.

Which is to say that it is sheer awesome.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:24 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Finally, what bugs me most about Johnny Depp is that his "interesting to look at" / "has conventional good looks" ratio is very, very low. People love to go on and on about Johnny Depp's "quirkiness," but utterly ignore the other factor in this ratio. When it comes down, the central reason why Johnny Depp is popular is because he's conventionally attractive.

Absolutely. I will admit that I watch him because he is, to me, extremely hot. But not as dumb as Keanu, who, while also hot, was not as good at delivering lines.

Both actors (and Cage, who is not really hot but kind of hot despite himself) have had the good fortune to be slotted into just the right roles w/ just the right directors, who managed to bring out more than just "Hey, aren't we pretty (or in Cage's case, crazy)!" and kudos for that.

They are all performers. This is not a crime.
posted by emjaybee at 2:25 PM on April 18, 2011


City of Angels and Con Air

What? Ok, City of Angels was probably a mistake but you can hardly blame it on Cage. But Con Air ? That movie is worth it for the scene of them loading Steve Buscemi as Garland Greene onto the plane alone!
posted by Ad hominem at 2:33 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Steve Buscemi aside, the move was shit, and you had to endure Cage talking like Forrest Gump for 90 minutes.
posted by electroboy at 2:38 PM on April 18, 2011


Yes, but it was still far better than Forrest Gump itself. What's more, this is what one loves about Nicholas Cage: that he will do movies that are abjectly terrible, knowing that they're abjectly terrible, just to be in a movie. I mean, he's said in interviews that what surprised him about The Wicker Man wasn't that people thought it was horrible, but that it got so much attention. He knows full well how bad this stuff is. And I maintain that he is thoroughly interesting to watch, if you keep this in mind.

emjaybee: “Cage, who is not really hot but kind of hot despite himself...”

That describes it pretty well, I think; I guess maybe I'm really attracted to men who are "hot despite themselves." Hence, Leonard Cohen, et al.
posted by koeselitz at 2:43 PM on April 18, 2011


I enjoyed Con Air for what it was. A long list of tropes and insane situations. Guy who gets in deep trouble but really has a heart of gold? Last day and something goes horribly wrong? The most dangerous criminals in the country hijack something? Garland Greene, who gets the full Hannibal Lecter treatment, like he is so dangerous he can kill you by breathing on you? Loose cannon but insanely effective government official? Craven FBI agent who only cares about his car? US Marshal figures out he has a friend on the inside? And last but not least. Cage destroys half of Vegas and still walks away scott free to be reunited with the daughter he never met!

It is a spoof of the dozens of "I'm only a cook" and "But it was my last day" actions movies for the 80s.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:59 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Did you just imply that Con Air and The Rock were abjectly terrible? You need to put the bunny back in the box.
posted by doublehappy at 3:00 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Steve Buscemi aside, the move was shit,

You sir are wrong... that film is in a very select group that when it turns up on tv I watch the living fuck out of it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:07 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Rock is fucking awesome. Point blank, full stop.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:27 PM on April 18, 2011


The Rock is fucking awesome. Point blank, full stop.

He was pretty great in The Rundown and a pretty likeable guy, sure. But since then, what has he given us? Tooth Fairy? Get Smart? Fast 5? No, thanks!
posted by Hoopo at 3:33 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but he needs a new agent. I mean, Escape to Witch Mountain? Tooth Fairy? C'MON!
posted by entropicamericana at 3:34 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


DAMN YOU HOOPO!
posted by entropicamericana at 3:34 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Outlaw Vern calls it Mega-Acting. He's not over-acting. He gives the films the extra jolt they need.
I love Cage. Who dosen't want to be a shamanic Elvis?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:45 PM on April 18, 2011


I know we've switched gears for comedic effect, but I can't let this pass:

But since then, what has he given us? Tooth Fairy? Get Smart? Fast 5? No, thanks!

Faster? The Other Guys? Hell, I'll even go back and defend Southland Tales and Doom as being ambitiously weird. But he will always get full marks for one character; after coming off of big ass-kicking roles like the Rundown and Walking Tall, he did Be Cool. And that was just about the best transition I've seen an action star do, ever.

He gets a pass on all the kids movies he wants to make after that. (Plus, Race to Witch Mountain had Carla Gugino, and getting the change to play opposite her would have any sane person willing to take some pretty awful roles...)
posted by quin at 3:48 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


change chance
posted by quin at 3:48 PM on April 18, 2011


I even enjoyed Ghost Rider. Dude loves comics and life. And I love watching him.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:50 PM on April 18, 2011


From Outlaw Vern:

What is mega-acting? If you didn’t read the BAD LIEUTENANT PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS review you’ll need an explanation. Mega-acting is the term I decided to use instead of “overacting” when I mean it as a compliment. “Overacting” means you’ve gone too far, you have too large an amount of acting, like overfilling a glass and it spills all over the place and you have to clean it up. Mega-acting doesn’t spill because it’s a deliberate stylistic choice. It may be absurd, cartoonish, exaggerated, operatic, but not an accident. You didn’t overfill the glass. You purposely used a huge stein. Classic examples of mega-acting include Nic Cage as Castor Troy in FACE/OFF, Nick Nolte in HULK, Nic Cage in THE WICKER MAN.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:52 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mega Acting is closely related to Big Acting
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:58 PM on April 18, 2011


I like Penn's acting/performance idea, so I'll go with it. I think Cage is an excellent actor, but he doesn't bother to most of the time. As far as performing goes, I believe there have been few instances (like Wild at Heart) in which his performance of 'more' didn't come across as 'less,' just out of sheer dissonance. There are a lot of very enjoyable movies out there that are objectively bad, but you can't make a bad film on purpose if it's to have the same kind of naive charm as a film that was accidentally entertaining. Cage ignores that, so most of the time when he's performing he comes across as a guy who's trying to get you to laugh along with a joke, except that the movie doesn't even back him up that the joke exists.

Every time I think of Nicolas Cage, I think about a story I heard from friends here in town. This is where QVC has their call centers, and I'd heard from multiple people that Cage was a frequent caller--apparently it was common knowledge there that some celebrities were into TV shopping. Anyway, he got a massive exotic fish tank at some point and decided that the thing to do was to buy sacks and sacks of uncut precious gems from QVC and put them in the bottom instead of plain old pebbles and plastic divers. Unfortunately, there are chemicals all over said gems that aren't cleaned off before they ship out. So not so much later, someone there got a very irate call from Nicolas Cage because his fish tank was bling but all the fish were dead.
posted by heatvision at 4:15 PM on April 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


jsavimbi: The greatest actor of his generation? Hardly. Caviezel, Brody, Harrelson, Penn, Clooney, Cusak or Norton maybe. Depp definitely.

Depp was voted the 2nd-best actor of all time by his peers (after Brando). That says something.

And any discussion of Cage's (former?) acting prowess is invalid without mention of 1984's Birdy with Matthew Modine. That's right: your arguments are invalid, because his hair is resume contains a Bird!
posted by IAmBroom at 4:20 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just about to mention Birdie, IAmBroom. Talk about an underrated, mostly forgotten film. Modine was great in that, too.
posted by biddeford at 4:26 PM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


And the money quote from Nick Cage, from a link through the Outlaw Vern one upthread:

"SJ: Have you seen the College Humor clip about your agent?

NC: No, that one I haven’t seen.

SJ: Would we laugh if we saw the real scripts that passed your desk?

NC: You know, the truth is I’m very selective about what I do. Even now, if you look at the characters I’m playing, I’m trying to cultivate a body of work that celebrates people like Christopher Lee or Vincent Price. I’m wanting to go into a kind of horror and supernatural world with the acting because it gives me something more abstract to do. I haven’t seen that particular site that you’re talking about but I don’t think you would laugh. The reality is you’ll see pretty much an eclectic mix of characters but I don’t think anything that extreme in terms of [comedy]...
."
posted by Hoopo at 4:29 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


To this day, I cannot watch 'Leaving Las Vegas'. great actor.
posted by clavdivs at 5:42 PM on April 18, 2011


So I'm seriously the only one who's here to talk about face/off?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:00 PM on April 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was just about to mention Birdie

I watched it once, about a year ago, and can't really form an opinion on Cage's and Modine's acting as they were both pretty young and inexperienced at the time and the movie was, well, not a masterpiece by any stretch.

Modine could've made something of himself if he wasn't constantly sporting that smug look on his face. One looks at his portfolio and wonders what happened.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:18 PM on April 18, 2011


"Don't you think there's a lot of, uh, a lot of anger flowing around this island? Kind of a pubescent volatility? Don't you think? A lotta angst, a lot of 'I'm sixteen, I'm angry at my father' syndrome? I mean grow up! We're stuck on an island with a bunch of violence-for-pleasure-seeking psychopathic marines, SHAME-ON-THEM!"
posted by bwg at 6:26 PM on April 18, 2011


doublehappy: “Did you just imply that Con Air and The Rock were abjectly terrible? You need to put the bunny back in the box.”

True. "The Wicker Man" and "City Of Angels" were abjectly terrible; Con Air and The Rock are quite entertaining for what they are.
posted by koeselitz at 6:52 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


IAmBroom: “Depp was voted the 2nd-best actor of all time by his peers (after Brando). That says something.”

Yes. It says that actors are silly, and even more predisposed than the general public toward someone who is attractive.
posted by koeselitz at 6:54 PM on April 18, 2011


Nicolas Cage is my least favourite Coppola, which is saying something.

Also: Moonstruck. Chest hair. Triangle. Huh.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:04 PM on April 18, 2011


I support Nicolas Cage so that he can be very funny in Homestuck [spoilers if you're like a year behind like me] and its amusing offshoots.

By support, I don't mean I see his movies. I just remember that he exists, so that he has mindshare, and can thus remain a celebrity. I might send him a gift card or something in the mail, maybe. I get a lot of those I never get around to using.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:05 PM on April 18, 2011


thsmchnekllsfascists, you are not alone.
posted by piratebowling at 7:20 PM on April 18, 2011


I always thought of him more as a deventer, not an inventor.
posted by Catblack at 7:25 PM on April 18, 2011


The number of people who love The Rock and Con Air up in here...that's a little unsettling.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:32 PM on April 18, 2011


Unsettling to be among people with such impeccable taste?
posted by brundlefly at 7:43 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Con Air is awesome. Hilarious and stupid but awesome, with lots of fun, weird actors. The Rock is just boring.

I was watching National Treasure 2 because it was on TV and Cage was in it. Utterly dumb film but Cage's weirdness was perfect. How else would a historian that obsessed act?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:44 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kind of wish somebody would try to remake The Shining with Nic Cage.

It could work for all the wrong reasons.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:03 PM on April 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nah, it would have the same 'flaw' as the original.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:29 PM on April 18, 2011


My favorite moment in The Rock is when Sean Connery shows Nic Cage how to get into Alcatraz, which is through a times inferno with a shuttering steel door that must be timed perfectly. Connery rolls through this device, and then pops open a door to let Cage through, saying "Welcome to The Rock!"

The trouble is, they're breaking in, not out. So, it's impossible to get into Alcatraz without the possibility of burning to death. But, if you want out, all you have to do is open a door. It's surprising more people didn't escape.

Second favorite moment: A coworker calls Nic Cage a chemistry freak, and Cage corrects him. "Chemistry SUPER-freak."
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:35 PM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I'm seriously the only one who's here to talk about face/off?

You know, I thought Face/Off was kind of terrible, but even saying that, the whole "face...off" thing became A Thing to me and my friends, and "ready for the big ride baby" pops into my head more often than it has any right to. Also, when I am feeling pumped up, I have the almost irresistible urge to shout "I'm Castor Troy!" So, bravo, Mr. Cage.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:42 PM on April 18, 2011


Not Nicolas Cage, but I've often caught myself singing "Tiramasu! Tiramasuuuu!"
posted by brundlefly at 9:51 PM on April 18, 2011


guess someone should post about Cage getting arrested for fighting or attacking his wife
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:11 PM on April 18, 2011


You know, I thought Face/Off was kind of terrible

If you choose to look at Cage's performance as a masterwork critiqueing Travolta's acting ability, it's absolutely stunning. Travolta (as a villain) has only one gear, maniacal insane killer. In other roles, he's kind of lacking, especially in the "emotionally wounded FBI agent whose son was killed because the global terrorist he was tracking thought it would be a good idea to personally try to assasinate him" area. His attempt to emote is so, so beautifully awkward, and then Cage comes along and not only manages to make the character his own, he also shows us how limited Travolta really is. And then, when you get down to it, Cage's Troy is, again, just miles better than Travolta's.

And besides, I mean, "I'm going to take his face... off." Who hasn't used that as a romantic line with their loved ones?
posted by Ghidorah at 12:55 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Weather Man. Even alongside two famous British actors trying out their half-assed 'American' accents, Nic Cage still manages to deliver the least convincing performance.

(The whole film is just awful, though. It's not the good Face/Off kind of awful, either; it's really, truly awful. Desperately, consciously edgy; interminably maudlin. It's like Solondz without the charm.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:21 AM on April 19, 2011


The greatest actor of his generation? Hardly. Caviezel, Brody, Harrelson, Penn, Clooney, Cusak or Norton maybe. Depp definitely.

If you take Penn out of that list Cage is equal or better than all of them. Norton? Shit, he's basically a less intelligent Matt Damon.

If you look over Cage's career it's surprising at how many great performances Cage has given and how many great films he's been in. If you look over Depp's career it's surprising at how few there are. I'm not saying Depp is shit, but for "the best actor of his generation" you'd expect to see more. (Penn's CV blows them all away though)

Sure, some of Cage's films (City of Angels, Next etc) were 'Steve Martin in Pink Panther' levels of execrable but Lord of War, Adaptation, Bringing Out the Dead, Wild at Heart, Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, Birdy were better than most things his peers have achieved.

He has more than "earned" the right to dress up in a bear suit and punch a woman.
posted by fullerine at 3:27 AM on April 19, 2011


He has more than "earned" the right to dress up in a bear suit and punch a woman.

what the
posted by unSane at 4:41 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


(not actually punch a woman)
posted by fullerine at 4:50 AM on April 19, 2011


Hunter S. Thompson thought he was Hunter S. Thompson.

Only sometimes.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:07 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


what the

Is there really someone who hasn't seen this? If so, feast your senses, my friend, and rejoice! You will never bee the same.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:24 AM on April 19, 2011


This is probably the link you want:

"NOT THE BEES, ALL OVER MY EYES, AAAAAAGH!"
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:40 AM on April 19, 2011


Yeah, thanks. No idea why that didn't work, although it was a pain in the ass to do it from my phone this morning.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:25 AM on April 19, 2011


Maybe we could have Nic take the title role in "Pain Don't Hurt: the Patrick Swayze story."

This must happen. MUST.
posted by that's candlepin at 8:41 AM on April 19, 2011


Huh. Must is a pretty funny sounding word when you focus on it too much.
posted by that's candlepin at 8:42 AM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I'll take Cage the performer, and you can have Cage the actor.

I loved Adaptation, but you can have Lord of War and Bad Lieutenant.

I'll also take Leaving Las Vegas, Moonstruck, Raising Arizona, Peggy Sue Got Married, Vampire's Kiss, Birdy, and Red Rock West.

Face/Off is a (very) guilty pleasure, but you can have The Rock, Con Air, and that crap.

I like the performer and the actor, but the actor a bit more.

I would challenge that Sean Penn's best work was in Team America: World Police.

Sweet and Lowdown/Carlito's Way/At Close Range.

Johnny Depp annoys the living crap out of me. Why? Because he's extremely safe.

The Libertine/Dead Man/Once Upon a Time in Mexico/From Hell. (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus?)

Must is a pretty funny sounding word when you focus on it too much.

Not as funny as MUSK!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:16 PM on April 19, 2011


So our only choices are Depp or Cage?
posted by electroboy at 1:20 PM on April 19, 2011


me: “Johnny Depp annoys the living crap out of me. Why? Because he's extremely safe.”

mrgrimm: “The Libertine/Dead Man/Once Upon a Time in Mexico/From Hell. (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus?)”

I'll give you Dead Man – that's passable. The rest are pseudo-intellectual "good movies" of precisely the type I was talking about. Meh. Very "safe."
posted by koeselitz at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2011


What would be 'not safe'?

really probably the whole first half of depp's career was dominated by choices that most people would have regarded as "not safe." His first major film role? A John Waters flick. Pairing with Burton so often got him labeled as "quirky" (which worked out alright, but at the time people assumed it would cause him to be typecast). Pirates... was generally assumed to be a payday role, but he put everything he had into it and it's probably the most distinctive (and surprising) payday role of the decade.

If you're looking for him to go indie at scale, well, no, he hasn't done that. But then, neither has Nic Cage. As far as strategy is concerned, the difference to me seems to be that Depp chooses roles carefully with an eye toward how they'll affect his future choices (something you might expect of a person to whom it's very important to never again be poor), whereas Cage sometimes seems like he'll take almost anything. Like Michael Caine without as much evidence of range.
posted by lodurr at 1:43 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


... plus, you're probably about the third person who's agreed with me on the merits of Dead Man, so I'm not trying to pick a fight.
posted by lodurr at 1:45 PM on April 19, 2011


There's a scene in Dead Man when Depp's William Blake first wanders into Machine, and in those few minutes of the camera panning around the town, I think the director better than almost anyone else, captured what I imagine Hell would be like to a newly damned soul.

I'd give it a bit better than passable. But I only know a handful of people who've ever even heard of the film, let alone seen it, so it'll never stand as one of his great accomplishments.
posted by quin at 1:45 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


But seriously: Once Upon a Time in Mexico as an anything-intellectual movie?!
posted by lodurr at 1:46 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mostly like it for Gary Farmer.
posted by lodurr at 1:47 PM on April 19, 2011


So our only choices are Depp or Cage?
I think there's a presumption that all questions of this nature, such as "Who's the best actor?", have an unsaid component: "...acknowledging of course that Bill Murray is and that this question, in reality, concerns the race for second place."
posted by doublehappy at 4:02 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


The official soundtrack for this thread: Nic Cage Song, from Homestruck.
posted by lekvar at 4:08 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


lodurr: "But seriously: Once Upon a Time in Mexico as an anything-intellectual movie?!"

I did a double-take on that one as well.
posted by brundlefly at 4:34 PM on April 19, 2011


"...acknowledging of course that Bill Murray is and that this question, in reality, concerns the race for second place."

I would have said Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's occasionally in bad movies, but hardly ever delivers a bad performance.
posted by electroboy at 5:32 PM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


With Hoffman it's easy to miss how good he is. Really good acting is often like that.

plus, he never mails it in. even in schlock roles, he's always working.

(Hoffman is one of those cases where I routinely hear people saying "he can't act" without any real reason offered for the opinion. That sort of comment is why I don't think comments about the relative skill of various actors made by laymen really make much of a difference. I prefer to think about whether I liked a performance, whether it convinced me. Hoffman usually does. Cage does, too, often, but what he convinces me of is that he's accurately portraying a character who's a fucking loon.)
posted by lodurr at 5:48 PM on April 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


C'mon, people. Daniel Day Lewis.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:48 PM on April 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lewis is sort of an "actor-movie-star" total package: Can play restraint when it's called for (Age of Innocence, The Boxer), or chew the scenery with the best of them on demand (There Will Be Blood, Gangs of New York). Even willing to play a bit of a hapless loser (In the Name of the Father).
posted by lodurr at 5:09 AM on April 20, 2011


"Lewis" >> "Day Lewis"
posted by lodurr at 5:09 AM on April 20, 2011


Yeah, I'd agree with Daniel Day Lewis. He tends to get more leading man roles than Hoffman, so he's probably more comparable to Cage or Depp in that sense. He was one of the bright spots in Gangs of New York, which was generally pretty forgettable.
posted by electroboy at 6:16 AM on April 20, 2011


Daniel Day-Lewis is sort of like the upmarket Nicolas Cage, yeah.

Which is to say that he's exactly like Nicolas Cage, except that he's from England and has a fancier moustache.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:24 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


and, you know, frequently demonstrates that he can play something other than lunatics and whacky dads.
posted by lodurr at 6:48 AM on April 20, 2011


We once tried to cast D D Lewis in something. The word we got back from his people was that 'he only makes one film a year, and then only with a genius'. Apparently at that time he was living in Italy where he had gone to learn to cobble shoes.

Great actors have earned the right to their eccentricities in my opinion.
posted by unSane at 7:13 AM on April 20, 2011


Upmarket Cage? I am having a real, real hard time imagining Cage playing Bill the Butcher and getting anything but unintended laughs.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:20 AM on April 20, 2011


but there would be laughs, you must admit.
posted by lodurr at 7:27 AM on April 20, 2011


I'm [halfway] looking forward to the day when we can substitute actors in roles on our laptops, just to see what it would look like when substituting Nic Cage in various roles. For example, I'd love to see him cast as both Margo and Eve in All About Eve.
posted by lodurr at 7:39 AM on April 20, 2011


Or for more lasting fun, do the same thing with Bill Murray.
posted by lodurr at 7:40 AM on April 20, 2011


Upmarket Cage? I am having a real, real hard time imagining Cage playing Bill the Butcher and getting anything but unintended laughs.

Do you mean to suggest that Daniel Day-Lewis achieved something different?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:48 AM on April 20, 2011


Don't blame Day Lewis for Scorsese's direction.
posted by lodurr at 8:19 AM on April 20, 2011


Upmarket Cage? I am having a real, real hard time imagining Cage playing Bill the Butcher and getting anything but unintended laughs.

Do you mean to suggest that Daniel Day-Lewis achieved something different?


He most certainly did. Maybe not in you, but a lot of people (including myself) consider his performance in that film to be a towering achievement.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:47 AM on April 20, 2011


Man, I kind of like Gangs of New York. Jerks.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:52 AM on April 20, 2011


Do you mean to suggest that Daniel Day-Lewis achieved something different?

Yes, I think he was fantastic in that role. Maybe I'm not the best judge of actorflesh, but I thought he was robbed of the Oscar that year. About Schmidt, indeed.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:54 AM on April 20, 2011


I really don't think it was all that great a performance, but it was the only thing that made that flick watchable for me.

I would really like to like Leo DiCaprio, but I've just liked him in so few things that it gets harder and harder. And his accents -- jesus, his accents drive me insane...Day Lewis does incredible dialect work.
posted by lodurr at 10:25 AM on April 20, 2011


The one problem with Daniel Day Lewis is that I always mix him up with Ralph Fiennes, who's another great actor, but occasionally loses his mind and makes a rom-com with J.Lo.

Spider, directed by David Cronenberg was absolute genius though.
posted by electroboy at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I kind of like Gangs of New York. Jerks.

Should've called it Gangs of Baltimore.
posted by electroboy at 11:06 AM on April 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


IAmBroom: “Depp was voted the 2nd-best actor of all time by his peers (after Brando). That says something.”

Yes. It says that actors are silly, and even more predisposed than the general public toward someone who is attractive.

koeselitz, given that Brando took the top spot (and he was reknowned as a fat asshole for much longer than he was beefy panty-wetting Stanley), are you sure that's a tenable position?
posted by IAmBroom at 7:24 PM on April 20, 2011


Gangs Of New York is probably the best of the Warriors prequels, though Streets of Fire has its moments.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:59 PM on April 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


That sort of comment is why I don't think comments about the relative skill of various actors made by laymen really make much of a difference.

I'm a layman! This looks like the place where I jump in and express the point of view that Denzel Washington has only played 1 character ever, and that character is Denzel Washington playing a character. I never really remember the characters he plays, only that Denzel is there on screen doing his thing in a new context.
posted by Hoopo at 9:11 AM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Denzel Washington is that cop guy, right?
posted by adamdschneider at 10:05 AM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gangs Of New York is probably the best of the Warriors prequels, though Streets of Fire has its moments.

Heh. Yep.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:04 PM on April 21, 2011


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