the jazz musician of American acting
August 14, 2018 4:29 AM   Subscribe

 
How is FACE/OFF not on this list!?!? And how is it not the film you end with!??!
posted by Fizz at 4:49 AM on August 14, 2018 [20 favorites]


No "Face/Off"? Tsk, tsk, tsk. The festival really missed out on airing the legendary collaboration of these two titans.
posted by slkinsey at 4:51 AM on August 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


Ahh man, Drive Angry. I accidentally caught it on TV maybe three or four years ago. I thought I missed the beginning because none of it made sense, but it turns out that's just the way it's built. I really enjoyed it. The scene described in this article is truthfully one of the best things I've seen in a movie in a long time. It's just gleefully goofy.

I hadn't heard anything about Mandy but now I feel like the only question is whether or not I should be totally sober when I see it.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:13 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


I stand by my review of Drive Angry:

The plot is simple enough, but the devil — so to speak — is in the details: Cage plays a bad man who has busted out of hell in a muscle car to chase down a gang of devil worshippers who intend to sacrifice a baby. The film is set entirely in the southern United States, and every character in it, especially the satanists, look like one of Vincent Stall's Scumbag plush toys. The worse a character’s haircut, the more screen time he or she will have, and the more screen time the character has, the worse things will go for them. The film functionally moves from one set piece to the next, be it a tin-roof-sided country bar or a dilapidated rural church, and here somebody will be brutalized. Then everybody hops in their cars and races to the next location, shooting at each other the entire time, where the process can be repeated.
posted by maxsparber at 5:17 AM on August 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


Raising Arizona is my favorite movie ever, and is the perfect venue for what ever it is that Nic Cage...does.
posted by phunniemee at 5:21 AM on August 14, 2018 [16 favorites]


A survey of contemporary Nic Cage roles cannot be complete without a viewing of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. It saddens me that Herzog and Cage haven't collaborated on anything else.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:23 AM on August 14, 2018 [21 favorites]


just watched Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans last night and Herzog essentally clears a canvas for Cages unique brushwork in a perfect way. Cage is in his own category but in that category he's the greatest and the worst actor who ever lived.
posted by dis_integration at 5:26 AM on August 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


This challenge I think would be harder if you choose from his more recent films.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:26 AM on August 14, 2018


haha! Even as someone who has watched 60+ movies with Nicolas Cage (which, I believe, was every movie until around 2012 or so), I would never do this.

The choices are good, though. Mine would probably be: Vampire's Kiss, Con Air, Bringing out the Dead, Adaptation., National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and sure, Drive Angry.
posted by bigendian at 5:26 AM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


This, by the way, is how the Joker broke Dr. Harley Quinzel in to Harley Quinn at Arkham - 14 hours of Nicholas Cage.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:31 AM on August 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


Damn it, Fizz beat me to the punch.
posted by slkinsey at 5:35 AM on August 14, 2018


I watched Nicholas CAGE movies for fourteen hours straight, and baby, I'm SOLD.
posted by gauche at 5:51 AM on August 14, 2018 [14 favorites]


The Sorcerer's Apprentice
posted by sammyo at 5:52 AM on August 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Rock.
posted by AugustWest at 5:53 AM on August 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Obligatory!
posted by lazaruslong at 5:56 AM on August 14, 2018 [7 favorites]


You could spend your whole life watching Nicolas Cage movies if you wanted to. I have no idea how he does it. He's got more screen time than he has been alive. It should be impossible, but there it is. There's like a thousand Nicolas Cage movies. (Apparently actually 72. Though he's probably done a couple more since this came out.)

And yes, there are some dogs in there like Wicker Man, and some truly incomprehensible weirdness like Vampire's Kiss and his performance in Peggy Sue Got Married, as discussed in the Kathleen Turner thread a few days ago. But just by Sturgeon's Law alone, if only one percent of his movies don't suck (and I'd argue his batting average is a lot better than that) there are a lot of really good Nicolas Cage movies.

The programmers scored well by backing up Raising Arizona with Red Rock West. And nobody's even mentioned Moonstruck. There's Face/Off, already mentioned. There's Leaving Las Vegas and Lord of War. There's Adaptation (which the article I linked above thinks is his best ever. Not sure I agree with that, but it's good.) There's his great unhinged supporting part in Kick Ass.

Yes, you can spend a lot of time watching Nicolas Cage be awful and batshit insane, but he is indeed a great actor with a lot of work he can proud of. (And if he gets tired of being proud of his body of work, there's always the Wicker Man remake. And Left Behind.)
posted by Naberius at 6:00 AM on August 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


The Sorcerer's Apprentice

How is this a thing.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:00 AM on August 14, 2018


His recent movies include Joe, the abovementioned Mandy, and Mom and Dad. He’s still doing notable work.
posted by maxsparber at 6:02 AM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


The programmers scored well by backing up Raising Arizona with Red Rock West. And nobody's even mentioned Moonstruck. There's Face/Off, already mentioned. There's Leaving Las Vegas and Lord of War. There's Adaptation (which the article I linked above thinks is his best ever. Not sure I agree with that, but it's good.) There's his great unhinged supporting part in Kick Ass.

And Birdy, something which cast him as the ordinary guy up against Matthew Modine (who played a troubled young man who wanted to turn into a bird).

I never actually saw Vampire's Kiss, but one moment from the trailer made me really want to at the time - a shot of him walking through the office, and then without warning he jumps up on a desk, points at the person behind it and hollers "THERE YOU ARE!!!!" ....Then I realized I couldn't make up my mind whether that made me want to see the movie or actually do that to someone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:08 AM on August 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


Also obligatory.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:18 AM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


I love Raising Arizona; it's still my favorite Coen Bros. movie, and one that I used to quote all the time in regular conversation, although not always accurately. My ex and i used to say to each other, "You and me, we ain't Ozzie and Harriet"; that's not how the line goes, but it sounds right, which is the important thing. It's a damn shame that he's let a real estate addiction ruin his life to the point that he has to do a Left Behind film and play it straight, because the old Nic Cage would have just romped through an apocalypse film.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:25 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


It used to be that availabily of prints made film fesitvals had to make compromises... in the digitial age I don't know how it worked but yeah face/off seems obvious. Perhaps TOO obvious.

I'd also have Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans because of this alone

And also Wild at Heat... Did I ever tell you that this here jacket represents a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom

And his Wogan interview
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:29 AM on August 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


The Sorcerer's Apprentice is actually pretty awesome, if only for Nicholas Cage's response to Jay Baruchel's question 'Are you insane?!?!' - which is probably the closest to a truthful answer from the real Nick Cage as we're ever going to get for sure.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:30 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Clip
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:36 AM on August 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


I could be happy watching a fourteen-hour loop of just him in Peggy Sue quavering, "You mean my whang?"
posted by Beardman at 6:43 AM on August 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


Chan culture is leaking.

Put the bunny back in the box.
posted by Mayor West at 6:44 AM on August 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I will always make time for a Nick Cage performance. Regardless of the quality of the movie, it's always going to be entertaining.
posted by arcticseal at 6:57 AM on August 14, 2018


I would also be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to point my fellow MeFites to my favorite bad-movie podcast, The Flop House, where every December they celebrate the high holy days of Cagemas, as well as the occasional Cagemas in July, and every single one is a classic.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:12 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Ahh man, Drive Angry. I accidentally caught it on TV maybe three or four years ago. I thought I missed the beginning because none of it made sense, but it turns out that's just the way it's built.

Same. The first time I saw it, I tuned in halfway through and it made no sense. The second time I watched it from the beginning and still it made no sense. It is one of the most gloriously batshit movies ever made, tho, I'll give it that.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:13 AM on August 14, 2018


Beaten to it on Birdy but.. but... no "Valley Girl"? Sacrilege! (link NSFW, lotsa cursing, Cage in a swimsuit.)

I can endorse this slate with some authority because in the 90s I dated a woman who (with her Georgetown housemates) used to put on an annual "CageFest" -- nothing but Cage films from noon to 2 am. Mandatory Peak Cage was Raising Arizona, Vampire's Kiss (mmmmm cockroach), Moonstruck and Valley Girl. Red Rock West and Wild at Heart were standards. Leaving Las Vegas had to go early in the day so as not to kill the mood. Choose one from the action subset like The Rock, Con Air or the insane Dace/Off, add lots of beer and wine, stir well and enjoy the fireworks.

And the best thing about an annual CageFest is that you know by next year there'll be at least two new films to add to the program...

PS: Said girlfriend and pals would always swoon/giggle over Valley Girl's swimsuit-clad Cage and the ridiculous shaved triangle of chest hair. Reader, I married her anyway.
posted by martin q blank at 7:14 AM on August 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


I liked Drive Angry, but less for Cage and more for Amber Heard singing "Fuck the Pain Away" in the car, and William Fichtner doing anything.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:19 AM on August 14, 2018


I will watch Con Air just for the hilarity ("put the bunny back in the box") and Birdy, which was extraordinary and made me like Matthew Modine, but honestly, the only movie I have ever really loved him in was Moonstruck. His over-the-top one-handed flour-dusted performance was, for once, absolutely the right thing.
posted by Peach at 7:23 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Get In The Cage with Nicholas Cage and Nicholas Cage -- "As everyone knows, my dream as an actor is to appear in every film ever released. However, until now, I have only been able to muster a measly 90 percent, bringing shame upon my dojo." (SNL, Andy Samberg and Seth Meyers talk about making the skit)

"That's high praise."

On Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - "it has all the characteristics of a classic Nic Cage action film: #1, all the dialog is either whispered or screamed, and #2, everything in the movie is on fire."

Really, I want to quote the whole skit for y'all, because it's a rock-solid classic, and much quoted around our dojo, er, house.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:24 AM on August 14, 2018 [9 favorites]


I can’t believe Moonstruck is being touted as “one of the good ones.” I rewatched it recently and it’s like Nic Cage is in a totally different movie than everyone else. Like he was being paid by the emotion. I have no idea why it was such a hit when it came out. Cher?
posted by greermahoney at 7:25 AM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Because in all likelihood--life is short, blah blah blah--I will never see Drive Angry, I am trying to read the Wikipedia synopsis and my brain and eyes are having trouble getting past "John Milton is an undead criminal who has escaped Hell and stolen Satan's personal gun"

it's just like what

how do you

...I need a lie down.
posted by Kitteh at 7:27 AM on August 14, 2018 [16 favorites]


It also ends with him drinking from someone's skull, so just, you know, let it go.

It was written by Todd Farmer, who also wrote Jason X, so it is useful to think there is a satiric quality to it. As I have often said, Jason X is a beautiful masterpiece.
posted by maxsparber at 7:37 AM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


But how, in the name of Zeus' BUTTHOLE! did you forget The Rock?!
posted by SPrintF at 7:37 AM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Absolutely The Rock. Face/Off is lucky to be in the top three of the classic Cage 1990s action trilogy.
posted by biffa at 7:48 AM on August 14, 2018


My favorite Cage movie is Knowing, in which a telepathically afflicted child writes a string of numbers on a sheet and includes them in the classroom time capsule, which gets dug up 50 years later by the class in which Cage's screen son is in. Naturally, the son gets the sheet. Cage plays a professor at MIT who medicates his recent widowing with alcohol, and who drunkenly discovers that the sheet of numbers corresponds to the date and body count of every disaster that occurred in the last 50 years...except for the last three, which are in the future.

I love this movie because I'm a sucker for disaster movies, it has the most realistic plane crash I've ever seen on film, and the kids are not annoying. Cage says things like, "We have to go where the numbers want us to go!" and because his co-star and many of the smaller characters actually do things that make sense. For example, someone carjacks the car with the kids in it, and the guy at the gas station who saw it actually remembers the incident and can actually say, "They went that way!" And then supernatural things occur and the world ends. Love it.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:59 AM on August 14, 2018 [14 favorites]


Also, my favorite Nicolas Cage story comes from film school where a bunch of us were discussing Leaving Las Vegas at one point. And a fellow student came in, a sweet young woman from the Caribbean (explaining the lilting accent that is so key to my memory of the moment, so it may not work as well for you, sadly). Anyway, she joins in and as we're talking about it she's clearly becoming more and more confused as our discussion of the film is not aligning with her memory of it.

Finally someone mentions Cage's death, and she just erupts, "He dies in that movie? Oh no! Is it when he's skydiving with the Elvises?"

And we all collapse in a laughing heap as we realize she hasn't actually seen Leaving Las Vegas, but thinks we are talking about Nicolas Cage in Honeymoon in Vegas.

SO many Nicolas Cage movies, they all start to bleed into each other after a while.
posted by Naberius at 8:25 AM on August 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


Drive Angry definitely understands what it is and is mostly enjoyable because of it. That is not always true of lot of other films Mr. Cage is in - Neil LaBute's Wicker Man comes to mind. Not that a lack of self awareness makes the films unwatchable it is just that you need to get your head around them.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:28 AM on August 14, 2018


"John Milton is an undead criminal who has escaped Hell and stolen Satan's personal gun"

And it was almost certainly unregistered so Satan can't even file a report on the theft.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:47 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Is Nicolas Cage good? Or Bad?

Community - "Introduction to Teaching"
posted by jkaczor at 8:48 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'M A VAMPIRE!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!
I'M A VAMPIRE!!
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:13 AM on August 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


The Wicker Man is mostly boring, which is kind of true to the original, except the original was building a mood while the remake is tedious until Cage starts running around Cageing it up. If I were running a Festival of Cage, I’d show the “bees” clip, and then move on to Con Air, which goes beyond good-bad into terrible-amazing.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:22 AM on August 14, 2018


...stolen Satan's personal gun...

Better to kick ass in Hell than kiss it in Heaven. Say hello to BeelzeBoom, suckers...
posted by Segundus at 9:36 AM on August 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


No one mentioned Deadfall... The $10,000,000 budget film that made $18,000. Directed by his brother Christopher Coppola who unleashed Cage in the 0% Rotten Tomato rated film.
posted by njohnson23 at 9:38 AM on August 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


i unironically love national treasure and no one can stop me
posted by poffin boffin at 9:41 AM on August 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


I also love Knowing. The ending is an emotional miniature of Cage's style in general - it's perhaps the only time I've ever watched a movie and audibly said "what the fuck was that?" when the credits rolled.
posted by aliasless at 9:42 AM on August 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


erupting into the kind of hullabaloo I imagine the Romans made for gladiators

SERIOUSLY THO this is how I want to always feel at a presentation of any kind of media.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:43 AM on August 14, 2018


i unironically love national treasure and no one can stop me

Yes, yes, yes. It's a good movie! The haters can suck it!
posted by cooker girl at 9:49 AM on August 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I also love Knowing. The ending is an emotional miniature of Cage's style in general - it's perhaps the only time I've ever watched a movie and audibly said "what the fuck was that?" when the credits rolled.

Cage sobs as though his heart will break, alone on a bed of rocks. He gets up, drives to his family's house through the debris of a rapidly crumbling society, and embraces them in a group hug. Seconds later, flames devour the planet.

Yeah, you're right. But I also like it because it doesn't lose anything through repeat viewings.

Are there actually people who DON'T like National Treasure?! Heresy.
posted by Autumnheart at 9:54 AM on August 14, 2018


The original Wickerman at leadt had an ass double
posted by thelonius at 10:01 AM on August 14, 2018


For the last two years, my wife and best friend and I have had a running monthly get-together we call a Cage Match, where we just eat Cool Ranch and watch Nic Cage movies.
posted by Beardman at 10:15 AM on August 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


The Wicker Man is mostly boring, which is kind of true to the original

The original is boring? No accounting for taste I guess.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:35 AM on August 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


maxsparber: “His recent movies include Joe, the abovementioned Mandy, and Mom and Dad. He’s still doing notable work.”

Indeed. Incidentally, everybody should go see Mom and Dad, because it is stupendously good. It is what it is – a zombie-flick variation with something of an edge – but Cage's absolutely insane performance elevates it to the level of some macabre masterpiece. He just plays a to-the-hilt awful, hideously bad father, who in the first scene sneers at his children "take my advice, never have kids," and who ultimately ends up ranting at them about "ANAL BEADS!"
posted by koeselitz at 10:43 AM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Boring in a good way. Many of my favourites are what I call good-boring (Stalker, McCabe and Mrs Miller) as opposed to bad-boring (action movies that are more than 2 hours of CGI).

Additionally, living on an island with mandatory folk singing is my idea of hell. There truly is no accounting for taste.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:10 PM on August 14, 2018


List is missing "Bringing out the Dead". List is invalid.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:57 PM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Did y'all forget Snake Eyes? If so, please explain how because I have been trying to forget it for years.

Though I love me some Nic Cage.
posted by chavenet at 2:44 PM on August 14, 2018


My favorite Cage movie is Knowing, in which a telepathically afflicted child writes a string of numbers on a sheet and includes them in the classroom time capsule, which gets dug up 50 years later by the class in which Cage's screen son is in.

I was so ready to announce that you are confusing Knowing with Next, which I thought was called Knowing, because Cage is a magician with a limited precognitive ability to see the immediate future. I enjoyed the hell out of that movie, especially because he was teamed up with Jessica Biel at her peak action movie days, and opposite Julianne Moore who can do no wrong.

SO many Nicolas Cage movies, they all start to bleed into each other after a while.

QFT
posted by numaner at 4:13 PM on August 14, 2018


Shame on you for assuming I would ever confuse Knowing and Next! A deadly solar flare is nothing like a rogue nuclear weapon! :)
posted by Autumnheart at 4:34 PM on August 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


I love The Weather Man.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:07 PM on August 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


It was his work in Adaptation that ultimately sold me.
posted by apis mellifera at 6:32 PM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


It was his work in Adaptation that ultimately sold me.

I thought his brother was more convincing, frankly.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:26 AM on August 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


No "Face/Off"? Tsk, tsk, tsk. The festival really missed out on airing the legendary collaboration of these two titans.

I think there's a logic to omitting it: Face/Off has -- pretty much by definition -- Nic Cage as an equal co-star. And thus it is less qualified for inclusion than, say, Con-Air in which he is unequivocally the leading man.

The Rock is kinda fuzzy under this too: is it a Cage vehicle or a Connery vehicle or a bit of both?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:27 PM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't know, but either way it is beautiful vehicle. Jumped in to add Family Man. And whaaat, no Gone in 60 Seconds or Matchstick Men? Or do I just have bad taste in Cage movies? Either way I'm now going to have to binge some.
posted by meowf at 1:46 PM on August 15, 2018


I read that same Ethan Hawke quote from his reddit AMA it stuck with me like it did the author of this article. Once I realized that I recognized his art. Picasso could paint in a naturalist style that accurately reflected his subject but he chose to deconstruct the subject and painted in abstraction. Cage is doing that with his acting style.
posted by ShakeyJake at 2:25 PM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Moonstruck is fabulous for so many reasons, none of which are Nic Cage but all of which combine to form a force field of awesomeness that is more than enough to triumph over any Cage-ness that may threaten to spill over into the rest of the movie.

These are (in no particular order): Olympia Dukakis, John Mahoney, Anita Gillette, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Vincent Gardenia, the older couple who waxes rhapsodic over "Cosmo's moon", Danny Aiello, and the tragic bakery girl who's in love with Cage but knows she can never have him.

But especially Mahoney and Dukakis.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:12 PM on August 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


We had a deal, Kyle: "The Rock is kinda fuzzy under this too: is it a Cage vehicle or a Connery vehicle or a bit of both?"

Yes, Connery is also at maximum ham in this movie, and gets the best lines, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:58 AM on August 20, 2018


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