>Worn Out Welcomes: Nicolas Cage, Part II

3 04 2011

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Greetings, readers.  I apologize for the delay between parts I and II of this particular Worn Out Welcome but I’ve been quite busy as of late.  Between the last Overrated, the 3DS launch, The Chinlock and having to make money at my day job some things had to be moved to the back burner.  I also had to take some time to rewatch some of his more forgettable films.  Not to worry, nothing has changed between then and now.  Nic Cage still sucks.

Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

  • We begin the 2000′s with Nic Cage butchering a 1970s classic.  The original Gone in 60 Seconds was a 1974 film about insurance agents who led double lives as car thieves.  This remake however completely drops what would be the best chance for actual character development.  Cage plays Memphis Raines, master car thief, with all of the exuberance of Steven Wright playing a librarian.  Giovanni Ribisi is more entertaining than Cage in this film and that is really saying something.  It also doesn’t help that this film was directed by Dominic Sena, who brought us such classics as Swordfish and Whiteout.

Windtalkers (2002)

  • The abyss of Nic Cage knows no bounds.  Not only has he butchered classic action and horror movies, and make otherwise great directors look painfully mediocre, Mr. Cage is also partly responsible for one of the worst World War II movies ever.  His hammy performance in Windtalkers can only be described as ‘Will Ferrell from Old School but is supposed to be taken seriously.’  Adam Beach, fresh off of playing Kicking Wing from Joe Dirt does this film’s credibility no favors either.  Just completely appalling all around.  BUH!
National Treasure (2004)
  • National Treasure to this day is a complete mystery to me.  How was this movie so successful?  Were the blue balls for Indiana Jones this severe?  Once again Nic Cage plays what could be an interesting, or at least bad ass character absolutely flat and boring.  Noticing any trends yet?  Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates (Get it? Ben Franklin?  Because the movie is called National Treasure), a treasure hunter who is as bored with his life filled with adventure as Star Trek extra.  At least in this film he is paired with director Jon Turteltaub of 3 Ninjas and While You Were Sleeping fame.  This is the company you should keep, Nic.  Just stay away from the Coens and Lord Scorsese.

The Wicker Man (2006)

  • Everyone knows about this abortion of cinema.  Everything about this film is just wrong.  The Wicker Man (1973) was the story of a catholic policeman sent to investigate a kidnapping on pagan island village.  Whereas that film had great atmosphere and great performance by Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee we are treated to a hilariously stereotype of lesbians and bees being poured into someone’s eyes.  If you paid for money for this movie without seeing the original I will pray nightly for your soul.  If you’ve seen the original and still paid for this I demand a written apology from all of you.

Ghost Rider (2007)

  • I’ll be the first to admit:  I’m not the biggest fan of the Ghost Rider character.  I like his origin story but I’ve never understood how this could have been more than a one off, or maybe one 12 comic issue long saga.  But just like with Windtalkers where Cage proved people had seen enough WWII movies, Ghost Rider proved that people had also seen enough comic book movies.  Cage tries to channel his inner Clint Eastwood in this film, squinting and grunting his way through his dialogue just waiting for the worst CGI of a flaming skull to take over all of the action scenes.  A horrible casting choice to be sure but Cage really put in some effort to make this movie as bad as it was.

Next (2007)

  • Next is one of the aforementioned movies that I had to rewatch during the delay between parts I and II.  This film also convinced me that Nic influences the scripts of his movies by doing Mad-Libs.  ‘I need a noun:  douche bag.  I need a nonsensical job: magician.  I need something that goes BOOM:  nuclear bomb.’  Next follows the journey of Las Vegas magician Cris Johnson who can see two minutes into the future.  Instead of using this ability to do something cool like buy a winning lottery ticket right before the drawing he uses his gift to work at a casino and hustle blackjack.  Way to aim high, asshole.  Before long he is enlisted in the search of a bomb planted by a terrorist organization.  Again, Cage seems too preoccupied (probably with his IRS bill)  to focus on his role.  There are scenes where it feels that he forgot his lines several times, or couldn’t remember them but the director finally gave up and just left his ad-libs in the film.  2007 was an awful year.  We got Ghost Rider and Next yet Cage got to be close to Eva Mendes and Jessica Biel.


Knowing (2009)

  • Where could I possibly begin with this gem?  Knowing is the product of Alex Proyas (director of The Crow, Dark City, and I Robot) losing a bet and having to make a movie with Nicolas Cage.  I will save you all two hours of your life right now:  alien angels blow up the world and take Nic Cage’s and Rose Byrne’s kids to a new planet where the immediately eat from the Tree of Knowledge.  In this shit storm we are exposed to ‘Mourning Drunk’ Cage and ‘Loving Father’ Cage.  Drunk Cage does such great things like drink, hold his head in his hands and crack code that would take Rain Man a decade to figure out.  Loving Father Cage neglects his kid, yells at him, almost gets him killed and treats us to either standing around with his mouth agape or squinting with his eyebrows contracted in confusion.  All joking aside avoid this at all cost, despite the fact that Roger Ebert gave this four stars.

The Bad Lieutenant:  Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

  • Werner Herzog has always been known as a maverick film maker.  While he has made some great, unusual films he is often heralded by the critics and indy crowd for simply doing what isn’t expected of him.  Case in point with Port of Call.  In this film we see Nic Cage portray a policeman who is addicted to drugs, gambling and dicking over everyone he comes across.  We get to see manic Face/Off era Cage and gloomy, Loving Father Cage from Knowing.  Herzog pulled the wool over the general audience’s eyes with this movie scoring an 87% on Rottentomatoes.com.  If this film had Brett Ratner’s name on it it would have been an all time Razzies winner.  This movie sucks and blows at the same time with Cage at his absolute Cage-iest.

Kick-Ass (2010)

  • Kick-Ass is the ultimate love it or hate it movie.  Fans will make reference to the self aware jokes, the coolness of Hit Girl and the hilariousness of Big Daddy.  Detractors will say that the movie completely drops it’s main character and is totally mean spirited.  They would both be right.  I’m still trying to figure out if I like the movie but I do know one thing:  Nicolas Cage does a pretty good Adam West impression.  As much as people have told me they enjoyed Cage in this I’m just not on board with it.  It was funny for the first scene or two with Big Daddy dressed as Batman and speaking like Adam West from the 60′s TV show.  Is that enough to be thought of as a good performance?  Not unless he stars in a biopic of Adam West titled West of Quahog.

Drive Angry Shot in 3D (2011)

  • My expectations were extremely low for this movie.  The 3D gimmick is already on its last legs which made me think that Nic Cage would be the final nail in the coffin.  I was hoping at best for a movie along the lines of Grindhouse or Machete.  While those films aren’t particularly memorable they were self aware and encourage audience participation.  They succeeded in being ‘Midnight Movies’ where fans cheer and yell throughout the movie.  Drive Angry Shot in 3D doesn’t make fun of itself enough to be considered a Grindhouse type of movie but it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to be seen in the same light as Escape From New York.  And the biggest obstacle holding this film back from achieving either end of this spectrum is Cage himself.  Amber Heard is surprisingly effective as the hot white trash sidekick and William Fichtner is a blast as The Accountant.  Cage seems muddled and confused, as if he doesn’t know which movie he himself is starring in.  His acting and dialogue delivery is the worst of anyone in this movie, and not in the ‘so bad it’s good’ way.  It’s in the ‘so bad its distracting from an otherwise enjoyable b-movie way.’

What did we learn from all of this?  Hopefully that Nicolas Cage can do no right.  He is the antithesis of Christopher Nolan.  Everything he touches turns to shit, even if its shiny shit like Raising Arizona or Wild at Heart.  You would think that after his recent string of horrendous movies (many of which I have not and will not watch) Hollywood would learn.  You would be dead fucking wrong.  According to imdb.com Nicolas Cage has five movies either in post production or currently filming.  At least one of them isn’t a sequel to Ghost Rider.  Oh wait………..

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