We were recently discussing the newly released trailer for David Gordon Green’s film Joe, a moody drama set in America’s Deep South starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan who form a close relationship despite a series of difficult situations. So far the film has received a very strong reception and looks to continue David Gordon Green’s recent success following last years Prince Avalanche.
But this discussion inevitably ended up at Nicolas Cage, the man who is riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, his film choices fall between the unintentionally genius and the frustratingly awful so we’ve decided to list our five best and worst Nicolas Cage films, and it also gives us an excuse to use some of the thousands of amazing GIFs of him.
So to start off we thought we’d give Cage a fighting chance and list, in no specific order, our five favourite:
Leaving Las Vegas:
What better way to start off than the film that gifted Cage not only a Golden Globe, but also a Oscar (this man has an Oscar and Di Caprio doesn’t?). One of his stand out performance Cage plays Ben Sanderson, a man on a rapid decline who is dealing with his crippling alcohol addiction.
From the brilliant minds of the Coen Brothers comes one of Cage’s more memorable comedies, early on in his career it looked like he could go on to do some great things and this is one of his best performances, if you haven’t seen it go look it up.
A movie that got Cage another Oscar nomination was the brilliant Adaptation from Spike Jonze in which Cage plays Charlie Kaufman and his twin brother, the film is written by Kaufman himself as he attempts to adapt a screenplay for a book, without giving too much away this is another must see.
The Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call – New Orleans
This one might not be in most peoples top five Cage hits but it is the perfect example of the good work he is capable of. The story follows a different narrative to the original Bad Lieutenant which starred Harvey Keitel. Directed by Werner Herzog bizarrely, this is Cage at his best giving a full on performance as the morally inept cop.
Matchstick Men is another diamond in the rough in which the big man plays Roy, a Con Artist with OCD, alongside the always brilliant Sam Rockwell. The film itself is a fast paced Crime Drama that has an element of family comedy that Cage brings with his on screen daughter.
Honourable Mentions for the top of the list are; Kick Ass, Lord Of War and The Weatherman.
While discussing our five worst Cage films it was difficult to decide what actually constitutes as a bad film, so we thought we’d include a sub category of movies that are so bad they are actually good – The Rutdogs:
Possibly Cage’s best hair cut in a film, Con Air see him star amongst a myriad of talent including John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, and John Cusack as Cameron Poe an ex army Ranger trapped on a prisoner transport plane, this is probably the highlight of his Rutdog years.
The film in which John Travolta plays Nic Cage better than he Cage does himself, Face Off is another 90s classic that was directed by John Woo with whom Cage would team up with later on in his career. There was too many scenes to pick but essentially the entire second half of the film Cage is almost unbearable with both Travolta and Cage trying to out do each other, it leaves you feeling physically exhausted by the end.
I don’t really know what to say about this one, Drive Angry epitomises everything wrong with Cage’s film choices and I would struggle to convey everything that is wrong with this film so just watch the trailer and revel in this god awful film.
This Michael Bay film epitomises 90s action and in it Cage is eclipsed by Sean Connery and lead to Cage getting the title role in Con Air so I guess it can’t all be bad.
Again I feel that Cage might have been ill advised on this one, if you can I would recommend seeking this out because the trailer doesn’t do it justice.
Five worst movies:
What defines a truly awful Cage movie is the fact that he tries, he does see himself as a really great actor and this is reflected in his performances, whether these are passion projects or films that he thinks he could stand by ten years later is anyones guess but we’ve attempted to pick the five worst Cage Films.
Amos & Andrew
You might not know this one but Samuel L Jackson and Cage were in this little gem, a comedy that attempts to deal with racial stereotypes and ends up playing out more like an episode of Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia that anything else. With a soundtrack from Sir Mix-a-lot and Cage in full blown blackface in one scene this really is a low point in his career.
Another one that flew beneath the radar is Knowing, from the director of I Robot this came between two of Cage’s better performances in Kick Ass & Bad Lieutenant. It sort of plays out like some bastard child of the films 2012 and the number 21, and like both of them this is fucking terrible.
Now Nicolas Cage is a huge comic book fan which explains why he chose to take the titular role in Ghost Rider but a little unknown fact is that he was also chosen to play Superman in a Kevin Smith written film (you can find pictures of him in full costume on the internet) thank god this never happened. Ghost Rider is everything wrong with comic book films and his performance in both of them is typically over the top, if you haven’t seen either of them, avoid them like the plague.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
America’s answer to the Da Vinci Code the National Treasure films are both pretty average but the sequel is beyond comprehension. A script that clearly didn’t get past second draft, a story line that makes absolutely no sense and Cage doing what he does best, National Treasure: Book of Secrets should never have happened.
You knew it would be in here, and we didn’t disappoint, the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man should never have happened and with Cage taking the lead role it was doomed from the beginning. There are too many scenes in here that highlight how awful it is, from Cage dressed up as a bear knocking out a woman to the infamous “How’d it get burned?!” scene, but you can do no better than the one below with Cage truly at his most intense