Friday, April 17, 2015

In Praise of Nicolas Cage

We all know who Nicolas Cage is. He’s the batshit crazy actor that will literally star in anything that provides him with a decent paycheck. Well, maybe at this point it’s only half decent. I mean seriously, have you heard about the things this guy has spent his millions on? Comic books, dinosaur bones, A MOTHERFUCKING ISLAND?!?!?!?! After losing and spending so much cash over the years, it’s easy to see why he’d sign on to anything that offers him enough money. Studios and directors still seek to employ him, namely because his batshit performances have just escalated so much in terms of pure batshit-ness that it becomes ridiculously funny. I mean we’ve all seen those clips from that shit-sucking remake of “The Wicker Man” (“NOT THE BEES!!!!!!!!”), so we already have an idea of what to expect from the actor whenever we’re about to watch him in a movie.

But the one thing everyone seems to forget about Nick Cage is that once upon a time, he was a highly respected and regarded actor that had a string of critical and commercial successes that made him an A-list heavyweight. And every now and then, some director will see just what Cage has to truly offer as a performer and cast him in something that really uses his talents wonderfully. The most recent example I can think of offhand is a little film called “Joe”. The film stars Cage as an ex-con forest worker that becomes an unlikely role model for a suffering teenage boy. Without giving too much away, Cage is wonderful in the role. He’s so subdued and relatively melancholy in his performance that if you’d watch any of his shit-fests such as the “Ghost Rider” flicks or “Gone in 60 Seconds” you’d swear that this wasn’t really the same actor. Or that he dropped a bunch of Quaaludes before filming commenced. Either way, he’s awesome in the role. It’s almost a throwback to those performances he gave in “Leaving Las Vegas” or “Adaptation”; where he puts all he has into the performances without doing the Cage-shtick and he just becomes magnetic to watch.

Another recently acclaimed flick he did was Werner Herzog’s “re-working” of “Bad Lieutenant”. Now granted, Cage does dive into his shtick a bit in it, but it actually manages to work really fucking well. The film itself isn’t necessarily for everyone, but he’s magnificent in it. That’s mainly because he has a great director calling his shots. Actors in general have to put a lot of faith into their directors in terms of their overall performance. That’s why you’ll see Cage reminding us that once upon a time he was THE SHIT in films like “Bad Lieutenant” and “Joe”, whereas his performances in “Ghost Rider”, “Wicker Man”, and many others are just PURE SHIT. Yes, the THE makes all the difference.

With all the memes, YouTube montages, and jokes made at his expense, Cage remains one of my favorite actors regardless. Yes, I’ve suffered through my fair amount of shit because of my admiration for him, but every now and then when you dig in that shit deep and hard enough, you find an occasional gem among the turds. With that in mind, go watch “Joe”, and think to yourself afterwards (and during) “where the fuck has this guy been all this time?”

This blog is not sponsored by Nicolas Cage in any way, shape, or form.


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