Forty-eight years ago today, the world was blessed with an actor of bizarrely wide range, Nicolas Cage. Cage was born under the famous Hollywood moniker Coppola; his father is Francis Ford's brother. Cage wanted to do things on his own, and good for him for trying to do that. The first role he received was in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but most of his lines hit the cutting-room floor. His next role, in the movie Rumblefish, got him much more screen time; the fact that his uncle directed had little bearing, I'm sure.
For the next 30 years, Cage has been entertaining the world. Some of his roles fall on the side of genius and others land in the category of ridiculous, hot mess.
Best Cage Films
5. Leaving Las Vegas
Nic Cage can do serious roles and not just as a zany, wild-eyed nutjob. InLeaving Las Vegas
, Cage plays an alcoholic screenwriter who has no other desire than to drink until he can drink no more. According to lore, Cage did a lot of research for this role by drinking his face off. Method, man, method.
4. Peggy Sue Got MarriedPeggy Sue Got Married
was another break he scored from uncle Coppola, but no matter. Cage steals every scene he is in with his youthful yet obnoxious wannabe heartthrob persona.
How could you not fall in love with Cage's Ronny Cammareri in this classic comedy? He loves opera and art and he is a baker. Cage says some of the most romantic things in this movie, such as, "Everything seems like nothing to me now, 'cause I want you in my bed. I don't care if I burn in hell." Awww.
Not only does Cage excel at one role in this movie, but he also nails his own twin.Adaptation
finds Cage playing neurotic screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, a character "loosely" based on the screenwriter of the movie. But what's amazing is that Cage flips that role around and turns into Donald Kaufman, Charlie's id, the guy who gets things done even if he does it in the most sell-out manner. Cage nasally arguing with himself reminds us of what a good actor he really is.
1. Raising Arizona
H.I. McDunnough is one of the best characters to ever come out of the always golden Coen brothers, and no other actor could bring him to life in the way that Cage did. He makes McDunnough's thieving ways sympathetic, especially when he is wearing a panty on his head.Worst Cage Films
No, no, no. Do not think out loud for even a second that this is a good movie because it is not. And Nicholas Cage is even worse at acting like John Travolta than Travolta is at playing himself, if that is even possible to do.
4. Snake EyesSnake Eyes
started a period in the late '90s where Cage played the exact same role again and again, that of an overacted loudmouth with crazy eyes. In this movie, Cage portrays acorrupt cop
vying to take overSin City
, but falls short when his conscience gets in the way. Fill in the blanks with just about anything and you've got Cage's career for the few years that followed.
3. Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Uggg. Cage in a period piece with a bad accent. No thank you.
2. Ghost Rider (1 and 2)Ahhh... my body's on fire and I'm crazy!
I remember when the trailer for the firstGhost Rider
hit the airwaves and I kept thinking that it was a joke. There was no way that someone in Hollywood had greenlit this film. I was sadly mistaken. The writing is terrible, which is not Cage's fault per se, but you can blame him for taking the role and then taking the role again.
1. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
No feature-length movie should be made that is based on a Mickey Mouse musical short. In this debacle, Cage does his best impression of Steve Martin inSNL
's "Wild and Crazy Guys" but with a long black cloak and staff.
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Cage Movie That's So Bad It's Good National Treasure
I cannot tell a lie. I love these movies. They are so much fun and Cage is delightfully madcap.
Happy birthday, bro.