Monday, June 30, 2014

The Talent of Being Terrible: A Tribute to Nicolas Cage

The primary reason for starting this blog with Dave is a simple love for movies.  Most of the time these movies are what one would call, “Good movies.”  A few my faves, Brick, Slumdog Millionaire, Titanic, The Dark Knight, The Hurt Locker could all be classified as good movies, dare I even say cinematic treasures.  But today’s post dives a bit deeper into a pleasure of mine (I don’t believe in guilty pleasures because I live my life without permission/apologies).  


I’m not talking about quality Cage films like his Academy Award-winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas (yes, Nic Cage has an Academy Award… take a few deep breaths and let that sink in #sorryleo), I’m talking about his mass-produced ridiculous movies that have been hitting cinemas rapid-fire for the last decade or so.  If Gary Oldman is Whole Foods, Nic Cage is Costco because his product comes in BULK.

This love story really began with National Treasure.  I remember having this irrational obsession with what is essentially a bad movie.  To this day I have trouble even remembering the name of the main character because as of 1999 Nic Cage only plays himself in every movie.  Why they even try to pass him off as someone else is beyond me.  It always comes to me though… Benjamin Gates.  I mean he’s cruising around the east coast, solving riddles with his majestic bald eagle haircut and just stealin the Declaration of Independence and stuff!  How AWESOME is that? Then he awkwardly and uncomfortably kisses Diane Kruger in one of the most forced romances of all times.  But what choice did she have?  When the Cage puckers you kiss back.

I bought advance tickets for Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance.  It’s a piece of my life story and I’ll never hide from it.  How many stars would I give it?  Like -2.  -2 stars.  Two fewer than Alvin and the Chipmunks: The squeakquel.  But Cage operates on a different grading scale than the rest of the world.  For most people it’s Great, Good, Average, Poor.  But for the Cage it’s Decent, Pretty Bad, Awful, AH-MAZING.  Nic Cage (technically Johnny Blaze) fights the son of the devil… AND WINS.  And I won too because me and the other 4 people in the theatre shared something transcendant.

Who.  WHO.  Could ever forget Nic’s inspiring performance as Balthazar Blake in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?  Most of the critics saw a crappy excuse for Nic to make a couple bucks (I think he goes bankrupt monthly) but I saw the film for what it really was.  Nic Cage, dressed as the lead singer of Nickleback, riding animated steel eagles seeking out the real descendant of the greatest wizard of all time, Merlin.  SIGN. ME. UP.  It’s also fun to compare who acts alongside the Cage in his films.  When I saw Alfred Molina playing Horvath I was like, “Really, you’re gonna waste your time on this?”  But when I saw Cage as Balthazar I was like, "This role has so much depth for you!"  Changed my life.

It was super convenient that Cage could use the same costume for Season of the Witch too.  Don’t remember this one?  Let’s just say Cage and Ron Perlman are Teutonic Knights who have to exercise an ancient demon from a girl named Anna before the demon destroys a book that will make it’s powers limitless.  YOU’RE WELCOME.

The Cage will never be up to Tom Hanks or Leonardo DiCaprio status.  Or even Jonah Hill at this point in time.  But his entertainment value is through the roof, as long as you can accept the fact that you’re watching an actor who is no more talented than you.  I'm comfortable with that. Just another exception to the rule commanded by the Cage. And yes, I will see Left Behind on opening night this October.