Film/TV Jul 3, 2013 at 4:00 am

A One-Day Nicolas Cage Film Festival


I think I read a Werner Herzog interview around the time of Bad Lieutenant, when the interviewer asked Herzog if Cage was actually a good actor. Herzog, was taken aback, and said something like, "Of course, how could you even think of asking such a stupid question?" I take Herzog's opinion very seriously in such matters; he cuts right to the heart of things and isn't distracted by what an good actor is supposed to do, etc.
Sounds fun. Technical web-comment: With an article containing footnotes, considering that it is now the 1990s, er, 2000s, er, 2010s, maybe there is some sort of internet wizardry that could have the footnote be hyper-linked to the text so that I don't have to scroll down to the note and back up?
It's a mistake not to include Wild at Heart
What about Valley Girl? I'm not kidding. Great film, even has The Plimsouls in it.
As a young kid growing up in SC in the early 80s, that film meant so much to me.
I only recently saw 'Vampire's Kiss' for the first time, and I was completely gob-stopped. I found the movie irredeemably flawed in tone (comedy? tragedy? WTFery?) but Cage was riveting. At some points I felt truly uncomfortable, like a voyeur watching this guy lose his marbles...

Not sure that I want to see it again (so soon) but the movie and Cage's performance were certainly memorable... At any rate, the Nick Cage Match sounds hella fun!
I'd have loved to see Lord of War in this lineup, but otherwise it looks perfect.
Sounds rad. Wicker Man - Out, Wild at Heart - In.
As a Cage novitiate, I've got to wonder: Why no National Treasure? It's big, it's dumb, it's recognizable, and it has a treasure map drawn on the back of the Constitution.
Look, I know he won his Oscar for it, and therefore it's not worthy of consideration as a serious film but it has to be said. Leaving Las Vegas stands astride these also-rans like a colossus.
I watched most of Vampires Kiss a couple of weeks ago with no volume - I started at the gym and then continued it at home - it was so amazing to just concentrate on his face.
I love Con Air (so many good folks in that movie), and Valley Girl and I even liked Snake Eyes. And holy crap! IMBD says he is in Expendables 3!!!
Good luck on your Day of Cage.

I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire!
"Leaving Las Vegas" and "Red Rock West" are probably his two best performances as an actor. His best roles are that of a tragic hero and down in the luck hero.
I want to add another vote for Lord of War, a powerful (and highly entertaining) anti-war film. The opening scene shot from the bullet's point of view is sheer genius. As are Nic's voiceovers explaining the international arms trade, and the U.S.'s role in it. And lest you think it's Hollywood make believe, just Google "Victor Bout."
I would have picked a somewhat different set of movies, but then I enjoyed Amos & Andrew, Sir Mix-A-Lot end credits and all. Con Air is one movie that I have just never understood. If only I had Saturday free maybe the context of a film marathon would help my brain be flexible enough to understand the subtleties of its charm.
Had our tickets for weeks now. Can't wait. Sad to be missing Face/Off. But it's a solid list. Was most anticipating CONAIR on the bigscreen, but we've got pals doing the "Thankskilling" musical at Balagan. So going to have to sneak out of the festival (may have to miss the very end of Adaptation, darn it). Miss all of Conair, and return for the madness that is Wickerman. So an imperfect cagematch experience. Still, looking forward to it.
Why no leaving Los Vegas?
@13: The charm of Con-Air is that it's a complete piece of shit that KNOWS it's a complete piece of shit. There's an abandon to it that I like- not enough to see it again sober, mind you, but still pretty fun.
@everyone: As I said in the piece, there are a lot of great Cage movies that could've been swapped in or out of this mix. This isn't my list of the six best Nic Cage movies; it's six Cage movies that Clinton and I thought would work well together and represent a range of his work. All your recommendations are great, and in fact if we culled this comment thread, we'd have more than enough for Cage Match 2: The Nic-ening. (Though I am surprised by fl3tcher @13: you liked Amos & Andrew? I would love to hear more about that.)

Also: We are selling tickets for each movie individually on the day of the festival. If you only have one or two favorites you want to check out, feel free to stop by and say hi.
How can The Rock not even be mentioned?????
@18: The Rock was in serious consideration, too.

I was thinking about this thread last night, and it occurred to me that the fact that everyone has their own passionate opinions about what should've screened during Nic Cage Match is a better demonstration of Cage's acting ability than anything I could've said in the piece. Which is to say, you guys are awesome. Thank you! Sorry your personal favorite wasn't included.
Bringing out the Dead. Bringing out the Dead. Bringing out the Dead. Bringing out the Dead.

Martin Scorsese? John Goodman's second best role (King Ralph, fwiw)? Tom Sizemore's finest moment. The downfall of Patricia Arquette as a serious actress?

Oh, and who knew it was the last American title released on Laserdisc?

That said, I will never forgive Cage for building himself a pyramid-shaped crypt in New Orlean's Saint Louis #2. Heresy.
Part 2 (Nick Cagier) definitely should be: Bringing Out the Dead, Leaving Las Vegas, 8mm, Snake Eyes, Wild At Heart, Face/Off.

Ideally, I would have swapped Bringing Out the Dead for Adaptation, and Leaving Las Vegas to put The Wicker Man between Wild At Heart and Face/Off.

Then you'd have one day of normal-ish Cage films and one day of WTF?! Cage movies. Also, I just realized that my list is a who's who of directors. Scorsese, Figgis, Schumaker, De Palma, Lynch, Woo.
Without Birdy you don't have no Nic.
Are there really people that watched "Bad Lieutenant" without feeling embarrassed for Cage and the director and the screenwriter? The only interesting thing about the movie was, which of the 3 was most terrible.

The plot was so unrealistic and stupid that 1/2 the film's budget must have gone to the screenwriter's coke consumption. Cage's acting was so bad that the director must have been dumb enough to let him ad lib and then didn't cut it.

Folks, to call Cage an actor at this point is to say Bush the Idiot Son is a humanitarian.
Yes, Lee there are such people.
"Yes, sir. Everything I take is prescription. Except the heroin."
His delivery of that line has stuck in my mind for years now...that's not acting?
I love Nick Cage and appreciate this piece. He was great recently on Jimmy Fallon, check out that interview if you're a fan.

I really liked Family Man (although I knew it wouldn't be included here) and he did a great job voicing the dad in The Croods.
During the brief but fully glorious moment that was the Raising Arizona-Vampire's Kiss Era we can see, indisputably, that the man laid down groundwork for becoming what, in my humble layman's estimation, can only be termed: The Single Greatest Goofball Actor of All-Time. From top to bottom to all those tiny, hairy little places in between, nobody plays goofball like Cage. Cage pulls off the goofy goofyball, the evil goofball, the serious goofball, the mordant goofball, the sleazy goofball, the hero goofball, the love-interest goofball and even, if that's not enough, the voice-over goofball. Not that he doesn't have chops to pull-off more serious roles, but the first thing that ever comes to mind when I see/hear the man's name is "diaper chase". Oh yeah, that and those big, goofy eyebrows.
@21 I hate 8MM so much. Can't even get into all the problems with that flick. Blergh.

But otherwise, I like your proposal for CageMatch 2: Electric Boogaloo

@23 I really enjoyed Bad Lieutenant initially, and as part of the film fest. It seems to solidly know what type of movie it is and has a solid voice/vision throughout. Also, how had I completely blocked out all of the freaky LIZARD VISION moments. WTF?!? Man, and that dying gator in the car accident, with it's slowly flapping hind leg? Mesmerizing!
Sounds like fun, but The Wicker Man is a woefully wrongheaded remake of a stone classic that was both truly better and also "bad-better" ("better-bad"?) than Cage's weird outing.

Also, big mistake not to include Wild at Heart. That said, Bad Lieutenant and Vampire's Kiss would be worth the whole long, strange trip.

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