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The Bizarre World of Nicholas Cage and the 10 Times He Made Us Feel Conflicted

Either shouting or whispering, yep that’s pretty much Nicolas Cage acting. More often than not, the adjective used to describe Cage is ‘weird’. It’s real not hard to see why. Recently his face is splashed out around town via the poster for Left Behind. And if you must know the film was based on an evangelical series of Christian books. It focuses on a world...after the Rapture. So of course Nicolas Cage had to take up this job. Here are some other roles he has held in his filmic career that has made us laugh, cry, and go "WTF".

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1. Wicker Man

In this bizarre remake of this 1970s British film (which scored 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, mind you), Nicolas Cage spends most of his time angry. Angry enough to sucker punch women, karate kick them to the wall, shout at them, call them liars, and then later, due to his lack of anger management meets his fatal end. Okay that and some underlying plot of a pagan community on an island. As dreadful as the remake is, Cage’s unintentional hilarious over-acting is pretty much the only reason you should watch the movie. Did we mention that it’s a horror movie? 

2. City Of Angels

The movie that catapulted Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’ to mainstream success, City Of Angels is one film that Nicolas Cage enjoyed as the romantic lead. He even plays an angel, walking on the face of the Earth, helping people and falling in love and stuff. Less shouting, and more whispery, it’s strange to see a subdued Nic Cage, in love and giving up eternity for a lady - and also not shouting/angry/manic. 

3. Ghost Rider

We know of them Marvel superheroes - X-Men, Thor, Spiderman, Iron Man, and so on and so forth. And then there is… Ghost Rider. Well at least Nicolas Cage can now say he took a crack at the very popular and money-making superhero genre, that from proof has been rather successful in film. Playing the bounty hunter of the damned, Nic can be seen skulking around a cemetery in Melbourne where it was shot and saying cringeworthy lines like “I feel like my skull’s on fire, but I’m good.”

4. The Matchstick Men

Okay, to be honest, this is probably the best film on this list. Matchstick Men weaves together three stories, each one as compelling and of course the hero heralding the three stories is our man Nicolas Cage himself. His character Roy suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and you see some fine acting work here by Mr Cage, albeit it’s a lot of freaking out and shouting at people. Good decision of picking the role Nic!

5. Vampire’s Kiss

The movie that started made Nicolas Cage a meme star - Vampire’s Kiss is a classic Nic film. Over the top acting, Nicolas Cage as a character going insane, this is the actor at his looniest and at his most indulgent. His antics get bolder the more he is convinced he is turning into a vampire, and the least you can do is to watch as this mess unravels. Vampire’s Kiss is every Cage enthusiast’s initiation moment. It is even you have truly stepped into The Cage.

6. National Treasure

This was when Nic Cage abandoned all the gangster/terrorist/drug-addled characters and went full-on Indiana Jones in National Treasure, where he played a Robert Langdon-esque character obsessed with the Declaration of Independence. While he was relatively stoic in the first film, the second one (with the added subtitle Book of Secrets) had Cage acting drunk to get out of a sticky situation, summoning crazy Cage into Disney territory.

7. Season of the Witch

While National Treasure already showed Nic Cage flexing his Indiana Jones leading-man muscles, he took it up three notches by going back in time to the Middle Ages. As a Teutonic Knight who just finished combating the Crusades, he’s tasked with escorting an accused witch to a monastery to lift the curse of the Black Death. As if the plot is already ridiculous enough, Nicolas Cage retains his signature Californian drawl alongside Ron Perlman, who looked fresh off an episode of biker gang TV show Sons of Anarchy. To make matters worse, he doesn’t look that far off from being a Chad Kroeger clone. A German knight in the Middle-Ages sporting an American accent while looking like the Nickelback frontman? Only Nicolas Cage can do that.

8. Deadfall

This little-known 1993 film was a box-office bomb, which according to critics was rightly justified for its unintentional campiness and hilarious attempt to replicate the subtlety of 1940s film noir. A string of wooden performances by acclaimed actors could have been the result of Nicolas Cage sucking in all dramatic flair with his most over-the-top performance yet. From a painfully awkward card game to humping mattresses, (along with lots of yelling, of course) you have no clue if Cage is being deliberate or not. But isn’t that the beauty of his acting in the first place?

9. Face/Off

It’s safe to say everyone has seen this film, either when it came out all the way back in 97 or the countless amount of times it’s shown on TV. The action-thriller, one of John Woo’s highlight Hollywood films, has the insane plot (a trait of a Cage film, we realize) of an FBI Agent (John Travolta) swapping faces with a menacing terrorist (Cage). While there are many crazy moments as Cages weaves in and out of being crazy terrorist and confused FBI agent, it’s the opening sequence that got us in stitches. We can’t even begin to describe it properly to do it justice but it involves Cage groping a choir member.

10. Gone in 60 Seconds

In a pre-Fast & Furious world, high-octane muscle car blockbusters were few and far between with not a lot of Hollywood appeal. However, Nic Cage clearly had a blast in Gone in 60 Seconds, playing a car thief who comes out of retirement to steal 50 cars in one night to save his brother’s life. The ridiculous plots never end in Cage’s world but even though the movie overall was a typical Bruckheimer action film, this scene showed exactly why Cage is one in his own league; rolling in confidence, awkwardness and hilarity all at once.

Words by Daniel Peters & Delfina Utomo

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