Fri
Feb 17 2012 10:00am

The Good, the Bad, and the Cage-y

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.

THE GOOD

When Cage is straightforward and dealing with a good script, he’s wonderful. Here are a few:

 

Kick-Ass

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.

 

Adaptation

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.

 

 

THE BAD

While almost every Nicolas Cage movie will be entertaining if Cage starts yelling, some are just sort of terrible:

 

Next/Knowing

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.

 

Ghost Rider

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.

 

 

THE CAGE-Y

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:

 

Wicker Man

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.

 

Face/Off

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.

 

Special Mention

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.


Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com. Stubby considers its rocket boosters to be a symbol of its individuality and belief in personal freedom.

18 comments
Matthew Bryant
1. Matthew Bryant
He was pretty loveable in Matchstick Men, definitely one of my Cage-y favorites. What I'm most surprised about was the lack of mentioning Bangkok Dangerous... which to this day stands as the absolute worst movie/waste of time and money I have ever seen in my life. I think I'd watch a Snakes on a Plane marathon over this movie, and that one was just crap.
Jim Nutt
2. jimnutt
You forgot "Raising Arizona", possibly the best Nicholas Cage movie ever.
Emmet O'Brien
4. EmmetAOBrien
I'm truly not seeing why the lack of love for the rest of Ghost Rider; sure it's a bad movie, but it's one of the best bad movies in a long time.

My favourite Cage would have to be Lord of War, though I reserve the right to change that if the Werewolf Women of the SS fake-trailer from Grindhouse with Cage as Dr. Fu Manchu ever gets made into an actual movie.
Chris Lough
5. TorChris
@2. Agreed! But we really had to limit the inclusions here, otherwise we would have posted, just, a million video clips from all of his films, so we erred towards more SFF-related stuff.

@3. The Rock is Connery's tour-de-force in our minds. And, in fact, in our minds Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage fight it out anew every day.

Also, quick note: We've added a recent video mashup of Cage's best lines from a lot of different films for a bit more "flavor." Enjoy!
Joseph Kingsmill
6. JFKingsmill16
My favorite Cage-y film is Con Air. His accent, the over acting, the over the top villians... it's perfect in its ridiculousness.


Also, Daredevil isn't that bad. They cut a ton out of that movie and it hurt it. Colin Farrell is great as Bullseye. But, Electra is a crime against humanity.
Matthew Bryant
7. trench
"I'll be taking the Huggies, and whatever cash you got in the register"

We definetly need some Raising Arizona love in here. That movie would fit in either the Good or the Cage-y
Katy Maziarz
8. ArtfulMagpie
No love for Cage's strangely deep, gruff voice in "Peggy Sue Got Married?" Ha!
Matthew Bryant
9. thehiso
The best part about Nic Cage movies are his characters names...
Castor Troy, Stanley Goodspeed, Cameron Poe, Sailor Ripley, H.I. McDunnough, Johnny Blaze, Memphis Raines... just to name a handfull!
David Thomson
10. ZetaStriker
This post may have been used before, but it's just as great now. The set of Wicker Man clips in particular is still one of the funniest things on the internet. Even though the movie was bad, it's amazing out of context. XD
Fake Name
11. ThePendragon
I like Ghost Rider, Daredevil and yes, Elektra.
Chuk Goodin
12. Chuk
Yeah, I actually quite liked The Family Man. Sure it has some formulaic bits, but it works.
Matthew Bryant
13. jennythereader
I've gotten the impression over the last ~decade that Cage doesn't care anymore if anybody else likes his movies, as long as he thinks they'll be fun to do.

If only we all could afford that attitude.
Risha Jorgensen
14. RishaBree
I never tire of Gone In 60 Seconds, which may be the purest expression of a Nick Cage movie. Right down to the name "Memphis Raines".

Also worth a mention: National Treasure, which surely must count as a genre film, "history" or no.

@jennythereader - in all fairness, I almost always do, so he's doing something right with that method.
B T
15. amphibian
Nic was ah-mazing in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans. That movie is destined to not be watched by many, but I view his character in that as the kindler, gentler version of "Sean Archer as Castor Troy" from Face/Off. The lizard scene had me in stitches.

Worst title given to a recent movie though.
Matthew Bryant
16. Shellywb
I can see sticking to sff, but c'mon! Peggy Sue got Married, time travel!
Matthew Bryant
17. SKM
Im with #14 -- Gone in Sixty Seconds is my guilty pleasure movie to end all guilty pleasure movies for the exact reason he describes, plus Christopher Eccleston. (Because...Christopher Eccleston.)
Joe Vondracek
18. joev
Ronny Cammareri in Moonstruck: "I lost my hand! I lost my bride! Johnny's got his hand! Johnny's got his bride!"

Randy in Valley Girl: "Oh, well, Peter Piper picked a pepper, I guess I did!"

The insane Little Junior Brown in Kiss of Death: "I have an acronym for myself. Know what it is? B.A.D. B.A.D... Balls, Attitude, Direction. You should give yourself an acronym... 'cause it helps you visualize your goals."

Bill Firpo in Trapped in Paradise: "In the Firpo family, the man with half a brain is king."

So much Cage, so little time...

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