Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nicolas Cage: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Nicolas CageSo I have had a little bit bloggers block the last two days, and so I asked my facebook friends to come up with the subject for today's blog.  Only two people responded, and well it was a great suggestion.  My friend and former co-worker Kelsey Stockton stated that I should do a blog on Nicolas Cage: the Good, the bad, and the ugly.  For those of you who don't know Nicolas Cage was actually born Nicolas Coppola; he is in fact the nephew of fame Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola and cousin to Sofia.  Nic Cage changed his name in order to make his own success.  Although in the first major movie he starred in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982),  Nicolas Cage was billed as Nicolas Coppola.  Regardless of his name, the man has had some career highs, some bad choices, and some huge bombs.

The Good: 

Nicolas Cage's career started pretty strong; he starred in Francis Ford Coppola's film Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) as Charley Bodell the love interest of the title character Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner) who goes back to relive her high school days with full knowledge of her future.  This was not huge critical hit, but it was still a good start.

The year after Cage did the Coen Brothers film (before they were as cool as they are now) Raising Arizona (1987).  Cage starred opposite Holly Hunter, and this is a great feather in his cap.  This film is in line with all of the other Coen films, it's dark funny, and just one of those great under appreciated films in the year it was made.

 In 1988 he had another great film on his hand starring opposite Cher in Norman Jewison's Moonstruck.  Of all three of these films Moonstruck was the biggest success and gave Cage the most recognition; he would soon start to give him much more name recognition.  The recognition he wanted to gain by changing his name.

'Leaving Las Vegas' (1996) starring Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue
Within these three years Cage worked with great directors and started to build himself a wonderful career.  There were some not so great films for a few years (that will be in he bad), but in reality they were nothing that that would shatter someone's reputation.  In 1995 he did a film that in my mind brought him to the pinnacle of his career.  The film Leaving Las Vegas, brought Cage numerous acting nominations and awards including an Oscar for Best Actor.  Cage played an alcoholic who built an interesting relationship with a hooker (Elisabeth Shue).  This is Cage's best film and best work ever.

In 2002 Cage hit another career milestone playing Charlie and Donald Kauffman in the film Adaptation about, well about Charlie Kauffman trying to adapt the book The Orchid Thief, into a film that would be worth watching.  Cage played the the dual role with such ease and great comic timing; he earned an Oscar nomination for this role.

Cage had two other films in the 2000s that have received some critical support (and have actually been good films) The Bade Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans (2009), and Kick-Ass (2010).  Cage certainly has had some great career moments, but I am not sure if they can correct the bad and the ugly

The Bad: 

In his post Moonstruck years Nicolas Cage mad some bad films.  Here is the thing some of these movies are guilty pleasures for me, I think they are bad, but can't help but watch these movies.

1994 was a busy year for Nic with bad films.; he had Guarding Tess, Trapped in Paradise, and It Could Happen to You.  Guarding Tess is just not good, It Could Happen to You is an interesting premise, but Rosie Perez steals every scene, and Trapped in Paradise is awful, but is one of my biggest pleasures because of its three leading men (which includes Cage,  Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey).

Then there were his action years of 1996 and 1997.  Cage starred in The Rock in 1996 where he had to enlist the help of Sean Connery to help prevent biological weapons from being used on Alcatraz.  Then in 1997 he played a convict on hijacked plane  transporting prisoners in Con-Air (he was the good convict who fought against the bad guys).  The he starred opposite John Travolta in the absurdly bad Face/Off, which was just a mess.

The Family Man (2000) and City of Angels (1998) were his attempt in trying to handle love stories (fail).

 His second attempt at the action/adventure genre happened with with National Treasure (2004) was a less intelligent version of the Dan Brown books.

I would put many of these films in the category of bad, but not unwatchable.  A lot of these films did well at the box office, and had mass audience appeal.  They lacked the quality, but you could tell that Cage was still trying to pick things that interested him.

The Ugly:

With this group of films I don't even want to waster my mind thinking about them, but here is the list of what I would describe as some of the worst films ever (which happened to star Nicolas Cage).

Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
8 mm (1999)
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001)
Lord of War (2005)
World Trade Center (2006)
The Wicker Man (2006)
Ghost Rider (2007)
Next (2007)
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)
Season of the Witch (2011)
Drive Angry (2011)

14 films that are terrible and poorly made.  Cage has potential to be a great actor with two Academy Award nominations (1 win) to his name and a slew of other well made films he could have a better acting legacy.  Cage has picked some terrible films in the last decade, and has become what I like to call a paycheck actor.  Most of the jobs seem to be for a paycheck, and not to be more successful.  The only problem is many of these films did so poor at the box office, so why are people still casting him in films? I hope Mr. Cage has an agent who surfs the blogs and sees this, realizes that it's time to take a look back at his career and weigh what films to take in the future.

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