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Opening with a resounding and unsurprising FOUR percent on Rotten Tomatoes this week is Season of the Witch, the latest in a string of shit movies containing Nicolas Cage. To be fair, the failure of the film isn’t solely his fault; certainly blamed can be attributed to the director, writer, cinematographer, and other actors, but for me Cage’s presence definitely didn’t help. For Player Affinity’s own glowing review, I refer you here.
Research has indicated that Cage made 28 million dollars in 2009. Lemme ask you a question. Can you remember any movies that he was in that year, let alone any that would justify that price? (Unrelated note: said research also uncovered that Ben Affleck was paid 12 million for Gigli. Oy vey.)
Hey, cut off half this picture and we might have something here...
Yeah, me neither. (As it turns out, those films are Astro Boy, G-Force, Knowing, and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans, which, granted, Ebert put in his Top 10 that year). The fact that the nation’s most preeminent critic has a soft spot in his heart for Cage gives me pause, as though my dislike might be unwarranted, but try as I might, every time I see him in a movie I see him as Nic Cage, not as the character he’s supposed to be playing, who...tends...to...enunciate...every...word...of...dialogue...like...it’s...the...most...important...word...ever.
There are a couple of films that he’s in that are watchable, but this is in spite of his presence, not because of it. Nonetheless, since I’m tasked with recommending cinematic fodder in this column, I suppose I will throw at you a couple of Cage movies that I found less than reprehensible.
The Rock - Cage plays a chemistry geek working for the government whose specialty is a potent nerve gas. When rogue military operatives capture the island of Alcatraz, he is sent along with an elite infiltration team and a former Alcatraz escapee (Sean Connery) to eliminate the team and disarm the missiles full of gas aimed at San Francisco. The film is not just one of Cage’s best but also Michael Bay’s. The action is plentiful and intense, and Connery’s performance as well as Ed Harris’s as the main bad guy are really good. Even the ridiculous action scenes with the weird underground railcars on Alcatraz are fun to watch. A must for any action fan.
Leaving Las Vegas - A selection for someone who is in too good a mood. Cage actually won the Oscar that year for the film, and truthfully it is his best performance. He plays an alcoholic who moves to Las Vegas, where he simply intends to drink until he dies. He meets a hooker with a heart of gold in Elisabeth Shue’s character, and the two form an interesting relationship as they drearily weave their way through the darker side of Vegas. The relationship comes with conditions. “Don’t ever ask me to stop drinking,” he says.
Backhanded compliment time. Like I said before, it is Cage’s best role, and I suspect that a tired, quiet drunk is an excellent character for him. It requires him to tone himself down. One of the main reasons I don’t like Cage is because he overacts to an insane degree. This character wouldn’t allow him to do that, and as such, he does a good job. Great movie, but don’t watch it with your kids or if you need to feel better about life.
Yeah, there are a couple others that aren't so bad. Face/Off and Lord of War come to mind too. Got any Cage flicks that you don’t hate? Think Cage is good? Put me in my place in the comments section.