Feb 14 2012
Last week I wrote an article filled with suggestions for superhero movie-makers, and one was to never cast Nicholas Cage as anything or anyone. I don’t have anything against the man personally, but the first Ghost Rider was awful, and I have yet to see a Cage movie of any genre I’ve legitimately enjoyed. My biases were, however, coupled with a disclaimer: “[Note: I’m certain there are watchable Cage movies out there, but that’s an expedition I’m no longer interested in embarking on. Call me close-minded.]”
Whelp, a bunch of people literally took up this offer to call me close-minded. Probably should have seen that coming. A few Cage movie suggestions appeared in the comments section of the article, more found their way to my inbox, and the following evening my roommate grabbed me by the shoulders as I walked into our apartment. “Give me four hours of your time,” he seethed. “and I think I can change your mind about the Cage.”
I honestly had no idea until yesterday, but the Cage has been pretty busy lately. Whether it involves blaspheming his true vampiric roots, doing meet-and-greets with himself, or accepting high praise from his clone on SNL, Cage has been making the rounds to promote the movie we’ve all been screeching for: Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance.
“Hello, everyone. My name is Nicholas, and I’ll be riding your ghost today.”
Ah yes, just drink it in. If you saw Ghost Rider in 2007 and thought to yourself, “Well that was pretty damn good, but I would have liked to see me some fiery ghost urine,” then guess what? It’s your lucky. Friggin’. Year.
A movie destined for so much greatness the trailer pisses on itself in fear.
It was the SNL bit that clinched it for me, though. Obviously I wasn’t a Cage fan, but goddamn if that man isn’t a good sport. (Andy Samberg must love using his celebrity impressions to provoke confrontations, because he had a similar one with Marky Mark a few years back. Very very funny stuff.)
So, thanks to the serendipitous combination of Cage’s recent press coverage, the timing of my article, and the surprisingly strong grip of my ninja-like roommate, I decided to give Cage another chance. Hell, who was I kidding? My Sunday afternoons usually involve movies anyway. I conceded to watch two Cage movies back-to-back, and then revisit my opinions on the actor. My picks? Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas.
This is the part where I eat some of my words, because both of these movies are awesome. I chose Raising Arizona because dude, Cohen brothers, and it didn’t disappoint. I chose Leaving Las Vegas for the critical acclaim and darker themes; again, walked away a happy customer.
…just like some of Elisabeth Shue’s customers. Boosh!
And this is the part where I stick to my guns: I still don’t want Nicholas Cage in a superhero film. I don’t want to see him as a villain, sidekick, and I especially don’t want to see him as the lead protagonist. In Raising Arizona he plays a rugged simpleton, which is perfect because so does everyone else. His life is spinning completely out of control, and it’s hilarious to watch. But within the first ten minutes, I noticed something familiar about his character. Bad southern drawl, slower-than-normal intellect, conspicuous use of a wife beater. Wait a second. Wasn’t this the same character he played in Con Air? I always wondered what the hell Cage was doing in that flick that got me so cheesed off, but now I know. Raising Arizona’s H.I. is a great persona for certain comedies, but he doesn’t belong in mostly-serious action movies.
“I’ll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash ya got.”
Similarly, Leaving Las Vegas’ Ben Sanderson is a complete mess. It doesn’t get more rock bottom than using your severance package to move to Vegas with the express purpose of drinking yourself to death. It’s painful to watch sometimes, but again, Cage totally nails this character.
You see, Internet? Being open-minded can pay off every now and again, and I’m convinced there are at least a few more Cage movies out there I’d appreciate. As for all those action/adventure movies (e.x., Next, National Treasure, Face/Off, Gone in Sixty Seconds) I never cared for, I’m blaming the casting directors until further notice.
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