ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I’m so excited that Paul Andolina has contributed this, as he has gone through the same vision quest that I have taken so many times in the past. While my road has been the trail of Stallone and Van Damme, he is brave enough to enter the cage, as it were. The world of the California Kinski, Nicolas Kim Coppola, forever to be known as Nicolas Cage.
To read more of Paul’s writing, check out Wrestling with Film and Is the Dad Alive?
For the past two months I have felt like I am slowly going insane. This is pretty normal. I’m always teetering on the brink of being stable or careening wildly down a slope into depression, however, it almost feels like it’s becoming sort of a crisis situation. It might have turned into this crisis when I had the idea to do a small talk with a local wrestler, Chet Lasseter, about Nicolas Cage. I’ve always enjoyed Cage so we decided to talk about a couple movies; Ghost Rider and National Treasure. That turned from an evening with a couple drinks and a few Cage movies into what has now almost been a two week bender of films that star Nicolas Cage.
It wasn’t my plan to fall into a black hole of Cage’s wonderful performances. Cage is a passionate man, he’s so passionate about acting that even if the movie he is in is subpar, his role will make you pay attention to it anyway. A Cage role can lull you into a sense of feeling what you’re watching is just another movie, but then completely takes a turn into something profound, grabbing you by the scruff and screaming in a typical Nic fashion. You see, Cage adds these little touches to everything he is in; the intonation in his voice, a facial contortion, even his wardrobe or what he eats. I mean the dude eats fucking red and yellow jelly beans from a martini glass in Ghost Rider. Well, he actually drinks them if that makes any sense. In another film Next, he drinks a martini at a diner in Vegas. I guess alcohol is served everywhere in Vegas, perhaps there are even cash bars in their churches. I’m getting off track here though, the point is it’s been about 10 days, and I’m on my 19th film that stars Cage. Cage and I have become so intertwined that I’ve come to feel like maybe I’m a character in a movie he happens to star in. Like reality is all about Nicolas Cage, the person, the actor, the phenom, and I’m just some background character in a cruel picture.
Here are some of my thoughts about my binge:
February 23rd I started small with National Treasure (2004) one that I’ve seen so many times since its release that it feels like a friend. I hadn’t noticed it yet but so many of the characters Cage has played are haunted by his past. In National Treasure, he is haunted by his family’s past, a curse almost, the lust to solve the mystery of the Templar treasure. He is successful, though, in finding it. Cage’s performance of a riddle solving, neurotic, new age Indiana Jones is something I never knew the world was missing until he crashed onto the scene. That same night I attempted to watch Ghost Rider but was a bit too tipsy.
Two days later on February 25th I watched Kill Chain (2019). I loved it, I don’t remember much other than I knew right then and there, Cage was a force, a tornado that comes crashing in and out of films, with a precision level of destruction that leaves entertained people in its wake. A series of killings comes full circle. Cage plays an ex mercenary, Araña. It’s good, I need to visit it again. I may have actually started this on the 24th and finished it in the wee hours of the 25th. I don’t remember because time has become irrelevant.
The 26th of February saw not one or two films starring Cage, but fucking three of them. A Score to Settle (2019), more being haunted by the past, Cage plays an ex mob enforcer, he wants revenge on the men who fucked up his life and got him thrown in jail for 22 years. Excellent little thriller, Cage is unhinged as fatal insomniac, Frank.
This far into the unintentional bender I haven’t met a film I haven’t been fascinated by to almost an obsessive level before thrusting myself into the next movie, which was Ghost Rider (2007). Ghost Rider is about Johnny Blaze, he’s a stunt cyclist, so is his dad. His dad has cancer, he sells his soul to heal his father but then his father wrecks his cycle in the worst filmed crash I’ve ever seen. People hate this movie. I watched it in theaters when it came out, MESMERIZED, I still like it. It has its flaws, many. But its still great. I love the music, Cage’s Johnny Blaze is what I think of when I think of the comic book character now, he is one cool customer. When he turns into Ghost Rider and is doing the penance stare and saying his lines, I can’t think of anyone else portraying him.
My third movie was Rage (2014), also known as Tokarev. A former mobster’s daughter is abducted and murdered, he goes on a murderous rampage with two of his ex mob buddies. It’s nuts. It’s ugly and fucking melancholic. It was great.
The 27th saw three more movies, because, why not? Season of the Witch (2011), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), and Bringing Out the Dead (1999).
Season of the Witch (2011), I always get this confused with Black Death (2010), they’re similar but not in tone. Season of the Witch sees Cage as a former crusader, haunted by killing women and children, who is tasked with bringing an accused witch to an abbey to stop a plague. It gets crazy. Ron Perlman is in it. There’s a wacky ass CGI demon too.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) More adventures of Benjamin Gates, his past is brought up. A Gates might have been a traitor of the United States. Mount Rushmore is filled with gold. Indigenous people gold.
Bringing Out the Dead (1999) sees Cage as a paramedic haunted by the death of a young girl he couldn’t prevent. It’s been one of my very favorites so far. Earlier Cage, starting to spread his crazy wings wide, He is actually literally haunted by his past in this one, often seeing the spirit of the young girl he cannot save. There’s a pretty great drug trip sequence in this. This movie is very artistic, downbeat and filled with black comedy.
I watched three more movies that starred Nicolas Cage on the 28th of February. It seems like seven weeks ago instead of just a few short days, the day saw me experiencing, Next (2007), Army of One (2016), and Mom and Dad (2017).
Next (2007) is a lot of fun, I wasn’t expecting a sci-fi thriller from the title and short plot description I read but I got it in spades. Very loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s “The Golden Man”. It sees Cage as Vegas magician, Frank Cadillac who can see 2 minutes into the future if it involves himself. He is waiting to meet a woman, he keeps seeing in his visions. He meets her but the government is after him, they want his abilities to assist them in stopping a thermo-nuclear attack. I really enjoyed this one. It was more than what I had been thinking that it would be.
Army of One (2016) is fucking hysterical. Cage is amazing as Gary Faulkner, a man with a shit kidney who is convinced God has told him to go to Pakistan to capture Osama Bin Laden, O.B.L., the Bearded One. This movie is everything I never knew I wanted. Based on the true story of Fary Faulkner, who actually did go to Pakistan to hunt Bin Laden. Gary Faulkner’s voice is funny and he does and says some pretty outlandish shit, both in the States and Pakistan. I feel I will be quoting this movie often. I already have screamed I fucking love Pakistan while traipsing around my own house, and I may or not refer to myself as the donkey king and thank baby goats often. Everyone should see this it is peak Nic Cage. I think it may be a masterpiece.
Mom and Dad (2017) was insane in a good way. Nic Cage acts like a maniac as a father who is overcome by a mysterious illness that is causing parents to attempt and in many cases succeed in killing their offspring. It must be seen because this level of bonkers isn’t something I often come across when watching stuff. Then again I have been watching Cage for 10 days straight so maybe I am not the best judge of levels of crazy. Selma Blair plays his wife.
The 29th saw me watching two films, Outcast (2014) and Knowing (2009)
Outcast (2014) sees Cage as a crusader again, this time alongside Hayden Christensen. Both are haunted by their pasts. They run off to Asia, they get into some shit and have to save a young prince and his sister from being murderized by their brother who plans on killing them and taking over the throne after having killed his own father.
Knowing (2009) is one of the most original films I’ve seen in a while. I loved it. Spooky whispering men, doomsday prophecies in a time capsule from the 50s, and Cage being haunted yet again by the past. A past that could have been prevented if that damn capsule was opened earlier, not that it matters. Earth is fucked.
The 1st of March I watched Seeking Justice (2011) and Between Worlds (2018).
Seeking Justice (2011) is about a secret organization trying to right the wrongs of the world one unsuspecting chump at a time. Cage is roped into this mess after his wife is raped and a man offers to help him punish the rapist. So get two forever bars, and find out why the hungry rabbit jumps when the MASSIVE COUNTRY WIDE conspiracy about these cells doing the same shit all over comes to light
Between Worlds (2018) is a mess. It’s actually very well structured and is a great movie but it feels like a mess. You will feel like you need a shower after you watch this movie. Supernatural bullshit wrapped in a horrifying failed romance when Cage helps a woman bring back her daughter from a coma but surprise it’s actually Cage’s character’s dead wife. Bloodshed, sex, odd wardrobes, and different dimensions. Need me an alligator head shirt with a sick ass shark tooth necklace. I’ll never be a trucker but I can pretend to if I have this get up.
I watched another two films, on the 2nd of March, Bad Lieutenat Port of Call New Orleans (2009) and Left Behind (2014).
Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans (2009) is one of the best movies Cage has ever done. It has a star studded cast. Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Xzibit, Fairuza Balk, Brad Dourif, and Michael Shannon all star in this. Cage shines as drug addicted Lieutenant Terence McDonagh, who steals from evidence rooms, conspires against Xzibit’s character, Big Fate, and ends up getting a slew of mafia enforcers knocked off, while high on crack. Fairuza Balk is in her underwear straddling Cage at one point who is so messed up on heroin he doesn’t want anything to do with her sexually, instead instructing her to take drugs from her precinct’s evidence locker and to make sure she loses the vouchers. Terence is in love with a prostitute, played by Eva Mendes. Eva puts on a heck of a performance. Werner Herzog directed this and it shows, there are some really off the wall shots with handheld cameras and reptiles, mainly iguanas and alligators. McDonagh and his imaginary iguanas will stick with me for a while. I gave this movie 5 stars and it earns every single one. It’s a tour de force of fucked up people, Terence is the most fucked up yet somehow comes out on top after almost messing everything up because of his addiction. He also learns nothing in the end.
Left Behind (2014) was one I wished I had never watched because it’s weak sauce. Cage is great but it’s too much rapture on a plane and not enough crazy happenings.
Today is the 3rd of March, it is 5 pm. So far I have watched Trust (2016) and Adaptation (2002).
Trust (2016). Nic Cage, the guy who played Frodo, a heist by two cops, an amazingly twisted film. See it for the fact that Cage somehow turns in a seemingly normal performance with peppered in crazy. He speaks German in a scene, He says, “David!” in an octave I’ve never heard him use before.
Adaptation (2002) is a movie. I enjoyed it. Not as much as everything else I have watched. Cage plays twin screenwriters. Meryl Streep cradles her foot like a baby, high out of her fucking skull on a drug extracted from an orchid. A guy gets killed by an alligator. Must see because there are two Nic Cages in it. Probably will enjoy this more when I’m in a less frenzied state.
Time is a funny thing, something I think I may have too much of to write this much about Nicolas Cage films. It’s been a journey, one that won’t end any time soon. I like Nicolas Cage, I will watch a goat eat grass as long as Cage is the farmer who owns that goat. I don’t care if Cage is in it for a half hour out of the movie’s 2 hour running time. He’ll make it the most compelling movie about a goat the world ever could bear witness to. At one point in these 10 days I attempted to start another site just strictly for Nicolas Cage stuff. It might happen one day. I started it but never published it. Maybe this piece gets hosted there some day. Maybe it sees itself on B&S About Movies. Maybe it just sits on my desktop under the file name NIC CAGE BITCH until the world ends. Maybe I am mad and will stay mad but I hope Cage continues to make as many films as he can a year because I will find them and I will watch them and maybe just maybe I’ll feel a little more chipper because it’s Nicolas fucking Cage and he is all the rage.
Footnote #1: Since this is a Nicolas Cage roundup, be sure to check out our recent, individual reviews for the Cage in Arsenal, Color Out of Space, Mandy, and Willy’s Wonderland. We also reviewed Drive Angry, The Rock, and Gone In 60 Seconds.
Footnote #2: And be sure to join us as we check out Gone In 60 Seconds as part of our “Fast and Furious Week” of film reviews of all the red linin’, rubber burnin’ flicks of The Fast and the Furious franchise, along with its associated knock-offs, rip-offs, and hot-leather n’ chrome antecedents from the ’50s through ’90 with our “Exploring: The Clones of the Fast and the Furious” and “Savage Cinema (and “Fast and Furious Week”) Recap!” featurettes.
We also get into the Cage’s oeuvre with his work (with another review) of Adaptation, along with Shadow of the Vampire, as part of our “Drive-In Friday: Movies About Movies Night” and — speaking of Werner Herzog and Cage’s Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans — our “Drive-In Friday: Klaus Kinski vs. Werner Herzog Night” featurettes.
Footnote #3: We recently reviewed The Argument (September 2020), the latest directing effort from Nic’s cousin, musician Robert Schwartzman (you’ve heard his songs on TV’s The O.C., One Tree Hill, and Pretty Little Liars).
We just dig ya’, Nic — and anything within your universe. For we are your bitch. E nomini patri, et Fili e spiritu sancti. Amen.
Outstanding, Paul. Outstanding!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
LikeLiked by 1 person