Nicholas Cage is a great actor, right? Well, let’s just start by admitting that he’s a successful actor: he’s in blockbuster summer hits that gross well over 100 million dollars, he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Leaving Las Vegas. He’s also a member of the dynastic Coppola family. Yet, in spite all of his accomplishments he regularly delivers sub-par performances in sub-par roles, typically in sub-par movies. At this point in his career he can afford to skip a few roles, yet his marriage to the King of Pop’s ex-wife may show how poor his decision making skills are. The following are ten of the worst films by Cage, as well as a few choice roles that makes all of us believe that a quality actor may still be lurking around in there somewhere.
This movie flopped because it tried to cater to too large an audience. The film just wasn’t action packed enough for the average action fan; and, it wasn’t written well enough or compelling enough to impress a general audience. It also doesn’t help that Cage was on autopilot and turned in a very flat performance.
In this attempt at a horror movie Cage delivers arguably his worst ever performance. The film is poorly written, and as a re-make of a decent movie, the real mystery is how the producers were able to convince two Oscar winners (Ellen Burstyn also) to appear in this movie. The upside is that the movie has started to achieve cult status due to its camp- factor, and has one must watch scene with Burstyn in full Braveheart makeup.
Amos & Andrew
The real problem with writing a comedy about racial prejudices is that it is better left unwritten. In producing this film, you risk trivializing the issue; on the other hand you can also get too preachy about the subject. This “comedy” does both all while being very unfunny
This dark thriller takes the viewer into the seedy underbelly of hardcore porn. At best, it was an attempt to piggyback on the popularity of Seven. The film is depressing, dark, unevenly paced, and poorly written. The only real spark in this movie is Joaquin Phoenix as a harelipped porn store owner, but he’s dropped halfway through the movie and never seen from again. Maybe he had to leave half-way through, in order to begin filming a better movie?
Gone in 60 Seconds
I understand why Cage continues to work for Jerry Bruckheimer, I really do. Money. And after this role, it’s safe to say that Cage has sold his soul to the Dark One in a modern day Faustian tale. Cage’s portrayal of ‘Memphis Raines’ is embarrassing at best, and this streamlined portrayal of a cool guy with a heart of gold does not cut it.
Trapped in Paradise
This is what happens when you write a comedy without jokes. Thank god movies weren’t $11.50 in 1994, or else there might have been an incident.
Some may remember this average film about Navajo code talkers in WWII. When you consider it came out just after the far superior Black Hawk Down, and the significantly better Mel Gibson vehicle We Were Soldiers, it really shines a light on an attempt to cash in on a trend. Whenever a movie gets massive returns at the box office, executives will try and make a similar movie to try and strike while the irons hot. When said producers cast that movie you can just imagine them saying, “We need someone with star-power, no scruples, and will say yes to any script put in front of them, GET ME CAGE”.
In an attempt to cash in on now-popular comic book movie franchises, Cage was cast as Johnny Blaze to the chagrin of comic fans worldwide. The filmmakers were so obsessed with whether this movie could be done they neglected to question whether it should be done. The film was delayed multiple times and spent a massive amount of time in script development and revision. No one could ever figure out how make the Ghost Rider story work on the big screen, and this much is evidenced by the final product. An interesting footnote to this movie is that Cage had his abs touched up with some CGI for one of the shirtless scenes.
Most would give Cage a pass on this one since it’s a fun summer action packed blockbuster with a large, star-studded cast. Strip away the fun performances by the supporting actors and you are left with one of the worst accents Cage has ever attempted, a pseudo mullet, and lines such as: “Why couldn’t you put the bunny back in the box”.
Again Bruckheimer uses Cage in a big action blockbuster. This one is the best of the worst because it was the first time most were introduced to Bruckheimer’s BIG SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS. Admittedly, this movie was fun to watch as a teen. What it led to however, as far as what is now considered standard summer movie fare, is unconscionable.
Films left off the list due to mediocrity: Snake Eyes, Bringing out the dead, Capt. Corelli’s Mandolin, Face/Off, City of Angels, Family Man, The Weather Man, Matchstick Men, National Treasure 1 & 2, and Lord of War.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Cage is in the credits as Nicholas Coppola, and only shows up on screen for about 1 second as Brad is getting fired. This is a great role for Cage because – he really was convincing as a burger flipper.
It is always a smart move to be in a Cohen brother’s movie. As an actor, no matter who you are, do it (save, The Hudsucker Proxy). It was in this quirky, hilarious movie that Cage was able to shine and show a true gift for slapstick and smart dialog.
Leaving Las Vegas
This was an altogether depressing movie about an alcoholic and prostitute who discover that being alone together is better than actually being alone. Now Cage shows his acting chops in this movie, evidenced by his winning an Academy Award for the role. But some critics dispute this, as Cage only had to act only two ways: extremely drunk, or sobering up. Whatever your opinion is as to whether he deserved the Oscar or not, he did a great job acting drunk.
This movie selection is important for Cage, because in this humble writers opinion it is the best movie he’s ever made. He plays two hapless twins: one an obsessive compulsive writer base on Charlie Kaufman; the other, a dimwitted jolly fool who is unwittingly hilarious. He is so ridiculously good in every possible way in this movie that I think you just might have to see it to understand. If you haven’t then queue it up, or rent it tonight, but I warn you it will make you wonder about why Cage stars is so much Hollywood drivel, and not more great roles like Adaptation.
Well here’s to you Nick, every once and a while you’re awesome. And that’s apparently good enough for the masses, so that’s good enough for me.