In most ways, Nicolas Cage seems like he inhabits a real life science fiction narrative. He owns an octopus, at some point had shrunken human heads, and named his son Kal-El in honor of Superman’s moniker on the planet Krypton. He also owns like a billion sports cars. So is Nicolas Cage an actor or a Bond villain? Despite all the mocking of Cage we’re about to do below, we honestly love the guy and are totally thankful for all the genre movies he’s given us over the years. Here’s an assortment of the good, the bad, and the Cage-y.
When Cage is straightforward and dealing with a good script, he’s wonderful. Here are a few:
Sure, they changed Big Daddy’s costume in the movie to make it more like Batman, but Cage’s Adam West homage is just perfect. The scene below is also wonderfully creepy because it is really what this relationship is all about.
Not exactly science fiction, but the meta-fictional way in which “Charlie Kaufman’s” story warps around him is wonderful. Cage also stars twice in this movie as his own twin brother, Donald. Finally, he imagines writing a movie that will depict the birth of the entire world, complete with dinosaurs and everything.
The Family Man
As alternate universe movies go, this one is pretty great. Sure, it has kind of a cheesy Scrooge kind of feel to it, but Cage really owns it, and as such, this is an underrated movie. Though, there is a 1990s rom-com saccharin quality to it, something about it kind of stays with you.
While almost every Nicolas Cage movie will be entertaining if Cage starts yelling, some are just sort of terrible:
It’s a shame so many Philip K. Dick stories are adapted into bad movies and it’s too bad Nicolas Cage is in so many of them. We know Knowing isn’t based on a Philip K. Dick story, but whatever.
Where to begin...? Don’t see this movie. This scene is all you need. Take a look through it. Okay, you’re done. Also, don’t see Daredevil. Or Elektra.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice/Season of the Witch
We’re not sure Cage is magical or involved with magic. With madness, yes. Magic? No.
Sometimes there are Cage movies in which the Cage-y-ness of Cage defines the movie and creates irrational enjoyment despite how preposterous everything is. Sometimes it’s like movies were created in order to give us a great Nicolas Cage freak-out scene. Here’s what we mean:
Sure, this is based on a somewhat scary movie with Christopher Lee, but the remake with Cage is batshit crazy. Famous playwright and director Neil LaBute adapted the screenplay and directed this movie. And as great as some of his work is, LaBute’s involvement sort of explains everything. This is also the best video on the internet.
If Nicolas Cage weren’t allowed to play himself in a movie, you’d think the universe would end. But no. Because in this one, he got to play himself and John Travolta at the same time. Score.
City of Angels
This is the kind of movie you usually walk in on other people watching. And you usually want to leave, but for some reason, you just can’t. Is it that Goo Goo Dolls song? Is it the beauty of Meg Ryan falling in love with an angel willing to become mortal for her? Nope. It’s casting. Nicholas Cage is playing an angel. And not the angel of Death or Vengeance. He’s playing the angel of Cage. Also, what is Dennis Franz doing in this movie? Forgive the poor audio quality, but this is the version you must watch to understand why this movie is so absurd.
Wild at Heart
Most David Lynch movies are just David Lynch movies. This one is also a Nicholas Cage movie. He’s never looked cooler/weirder, and he’s never been funnier. You want to try and tell me that every single David Lynch movie isn’t fantasy? No way. David Lynch is totally a genre film maker, and this is one of his best. This clip in which Sailor (Cage) sings “Love Me Tender” will make your day.
Okay. So this isn’t really Nicolas Cage. Instead, it’s Andy Samberg doing an impression of Nicolas Cage in an alternate universe playing Marty McFly from Back to the Future. No explanation needed. Just watch.
And finally, because Nicholas Cage never stops giving, the internet gives us this supercut of 100 of his best lines spanning his career. It’s concentrated crazy, definitely NSFW (if you don’t have headphones on), and a perfect crystalization of the walking tripwire that is Nicholas. Cage.
What are you favorite Nicolas Cage moments? Let us know, but try to do your best Cage impression as you type.
This post originally ran on Tor.com in 2011.
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