What's All The Rage With Nicolas Cage #3
We. Have. Returned. I feel like at this point I'm watching a Nicolas Cage film for every three normal films I watch. I don't know whether that is a complaint or not but let's say that it isn't. I wouldn't be this determined in this series if it was a complaint.
We all know why Nicolas Cage has taken most of these roles. Being over $10 million or so in debt means as soon as you're handed a role, you better be sure you take it. And it shows. Sometimes Nic is invested in the role and it shows. He is either in a good film where he always gives his best; in a bad film where he still gives his best; or a bad film where he doesn't even try. The latter is a dangerous mix because sometimes Nic is the reason we're watching the film, and when he doesn't try the whole film becomes even worse. It is always evident which of these films fall in which category and I hope this series helps you stray away from those that simply emit pain instead of enjoyment.
#10 Left Behind (2014)-1/5
Left Behind. We've all heard of this film. We all know it is the pinnacle of bad films. And for good reason, it is terrible. It is some pretty bad horseshit.
Not one character in this film is likable. I hated everyone. The atheists were stupid and violent and disorganized. The Christians were pretentious and rude and horrible. Nothing worked. For a film that wants to promote the ideals of Christianity, it failed oh so majestically. I'm already an atheist but this reinforced my atheism so much more. God here is seen as cruel and unbeknownst to the horror and tragedy he is causing billions of people. So Malala Yousafzai would not be permitted to heaven? She's one of the most benevolent people on the planet, but just because she was born into a residence that promoted a faith other than Christianity, she has to suffer. That is not Christianity. And what about the Westboro Baptist Church. They are the most deplorable people in this world, but because they technically follow a strain of Christianity, would they be permitted to heaven? This film is insulting.
Nicolas Cage is bad in this, sorry. I love Nicolas Cage, but Jesus he is not doing a good job. Nobody is really doing a good job. I watched this on the hottest recorded day ever in the UK and the heat mixed with this swill made me want to kill myself. Why was this film made? And why was it made with such ineptitude? The daughter wouldn't randomly kill herself. Who are these random passengers talking about bullshit like Area 51? How did that mum bring a gun on the plane? Why do I care? I don't. This film sucks.
#9 A Score to Settle (2019)-1/5
The most ominous and tense bit about this film was my uncle's cigarette smoke floating above my computer.
You know what this film is? F I L L E R . Nothing but filler. It's so fucking padded out for no reason. I know we need to hammer home the admittedly unexpected twist of his son being dead, but Jesus Christ, lay off, kill some people. One person dies other than Frank and it's the nicest guy in the whole world.
You know what pissed me off the most though? It wasn't Cage's ATROCIOUS acting, the bad dialogue, the bad lighting, the bad story, the bad cinematography, the terrible directing, the horrible editing, the abysmal score, the completely derelict sound design, etc. etc. It was the fact that they had a subplot with Cage's character essentially falling in love with a prostitute.
First of all, don't do my girl Karolina Wydra dirty like that. She is stupendous in House (the greatest TV show ever made, don't @ me) and it saddens me to see her in this. But most importantly, they dared besmirch the good name of Leaving Las Vegas. Leaving Las Vegas has the plot of Cage falling in love with a hooker, and the fact that this film is even remotely linked in that way sickens me. Leaving Las Vegas is a beautifully constructed film with incredible performances and a believably tragic love story that tears you apart of who to side with. This piece of fly-ridden trash does not deserve the honor of having a sub-plot even minutely connected in such a manner.
Overall, the old-man jokes got boring, the thirty something year old man calling Cage "Daddy" freaked me out, and the overall incompetency of this film pissed me off. The fact that this was released only a year after the perfect Mandy from 2018 just makes me really sad.
#8 The Best of Times (1981)-2/5
What the living hell is this thing? Just for your information, this is not a film but rather a pilot episode for a TV show that was never made. It has Crispin Glover as the lead and shows Nicolas Coppola (Cage's real name and the one he bore at the time) in his first ever role. Literally nothing made sense. It was like they wrote 47 jokes and tried to push them all into one episode. Let's break down my rating for this confusing mess:
1/2 star: young Crispin Glover 1 star: Jill Schoelen being cute 1 1/2 stars: Nic Cage being Nic Cage 2 stars: Nic Cage being jacked as shit (it's actually impressive how great shape he's in in this)
The YouTube version was only forty-five minutes of the supposed 95 minute long run-time. And thank god because I was so bored by the end of this I wanted it to stop. The genuinely only redeeming factor is Nicolas Cage. And I'm not even just saying that because of this series, the rest of this is just bad jokes, poor editing, stupid musical pieces, horrific camera quality, and dodgy acting. At least Cage was mildly entertaining. And it was interesting to see that he was a pretty decent actor even with his acting debut (as his seventeen-year old ripped self).
Overall, I think we can all collectively say we're glad this died after the first episode, because this was not good, sorry.
#7 Pay the Ghost (2015)-2.5/5
So Sara Tancre--Lori Gri-- Sarah Wayne Callies is in this. Yay?
Yeah this film is pretty bad and pretty stupid, but it's not terrible. They lose their son and only remember the information pivotal to the plot a year later, how convenient. The primary school teacher who helps them at the carnival thing says she doesn't know anything and then regurgitates an entire encyclopedia on the mystic arts/demon shit. How convenient.
I hate child actors and that opinion was only reinforced in this. It pisses me off how Cage didn't tell Sara Tancredi that he was literally holding the kid's hand the entire goddamn time. Also, did the Phantom just not appear in the video the kid shot, because he definitely recorded it. Also, how did not one single person notice the direct links between all these disappearances of the children? There's a fuckton of plot holes, an unnecessary timer for Cage to save the kids, and in general a pretty silly plot. But Cage seems like he's giving it his all, and the film could definitely be worse.
#6 Werewolf Women of the S.S. (2007)-3/5
I mean, it's still Nicolas Cage so go fuck yourself. Not enough of him but you can't really expect much from a 2 minute faux trailer. This is still a film according to Letterboxd so it is necessary if you want to watch Cage's fill filmography. I haven't watched Grindhouse yet but seeing this fake trailer for Nazi werewolf women makes me much more enthused to watch it.
#5 The Trust (2016)-3/5
I mean, I don't know really know what to think about this. If Nicolas Cage acted a bit better and the whole plot was just a little bit tighter, than this could have had the potential of being a B-rate buddy cop/heist film. The jokes aren't overall atrocious and you can kinda believe Cage and Wood's chemistry. There isn't any particular moment or whatever that makes this bad, it's just a mediocre film.
The two are cops who, after realizing this one house has got a gigantic safe filled with something valuable, decide to steal it. ???. Huh? The plot itself sounds dope, but when you're following the eccentric Cage and the super cautious Elijah Wood, then this plot does not follow through.
Elijah Wood is the only good actor throughout which is commendable. The story is incomprehensible and ridiculous after further thought. I thought the two were gonna expose the illegal dealings of this gang or whatever, but instead they decide to steal everything? It makes no sense and even if it did, there was no buildup or sense of development to that decision. Nic Cage is worse than average which is disappointing. His only defining moment is his rage-out which was pretty dope. Other than that, you're just left with an average movie that has no reason to exist.
#4 Season of the Witch (2011)-3/5
Wasn't great, but wasn't bad. Despite there being a million characters, they all still feel relatively developed, despite the short run-time. The story was wacky but entertaining to an extent. Claire Foy is a witch who is captured and is being escorted by two outcast knights (Cage and Ron Perlman) to a chapel where she can be exorcised. Nicolas Cage was decent in this which isn't saying much. Claire Foy was super odd in this but oh well, she's a national treasure, I'll let it pass. Ron Perlman was decent. Everyone was fine, this was an enjoyable movie, not an Oscar-winning one.
If Jon Turtletaub had directed this, though, it would have been so goddamn good. It would be on the same level of enjoyment as National Treasure. Cage and Turtletaub have known each other for decades since they were young, so mix their chemistry and Turtletaub's proficiency to make stellar children's films, then you would have had a classic on your hand. But oh well, still an alright film.
#3 Kick-Ass (2010)-3.5/5
Eh, it was alright, I don't get the hype. I fail to see why exactly this film became a cult classic, but oh well, it's an unconventional superhero film that hands out some good kicks (pun intended). Kick-Ass himself is a pretty weak superhero considering; weak in regards to his character, not simply the fact he's a weedy shit. Hit-Girl is the best thing about this film. I normally despise when young children/babies/animals are revered to the heavens in films just because they are what they are (Jack-Jack from The Incredibles 2 and Goose from Captain Marvel), but here it is deserved, because she's an excellent character. Nic Cage is the second best thing about this film.
He's a loving father who seems to have missed out every aspect of being a dad other than the emotional investment. I actually liked the love interest subplot between Aaron Johnson and Lyndsy Fonseca but it wasn't really developed; I think that might have been what they were going for but still, urgh. Half of it didn't really make sense even in the over-the-top world they were depicting. I don't know. It's an average film but I won't be revisiting it any time soon.
#2 Army of One (2016)-4/5
Yo, Nicolas Cage is amazing in this. There was never a single moment that I thought this was actually Cage. As in I never thought it was an actor reciting lines. Even when the character referenced Nic Cage, it still felt like Gary Faulkner.
Faulkner believes he is being instructed by God (played by Russell Brand) to go on an expedition to murder Osama Bin Laden. Genius.
This film is genuinely hilarious. Each scene is entertaining because the pacing and writing is brilliant. Scenes don't last particularly long and even when they do, they always keep your attention. Nic Cage is brilliant here, he portrays this insane but thoroughly committed guy who loves his country, religion and girlfriend. Marci the love interest (played by Wendi McLendon-Covey) is also really cool and has brilliant chemistry with Cage. And Russell Brand nails being God. A thing I really liked in this is the sense that everyone in the entire world is just going along with Gary's plan. He wants to get into Pakistan. Sure, seems reasonable. He wants to buy a hang-glider. Aight seems cool. He wants to take a samurai sword onto a plane. He can't but they can figure something out. No-one is too fussed by his plan and they don't react too strongly to his ridiculousness. Also the time framing of this is done pretty darn well. A month goes by in like ten minutes. Eight years go by in half an hour, it goes through a decade in a succinct and enjoyable way.
The fact that this film is critically panned is baffling to me coz I genuinely consider this to be great and to be one of Cage's best performances. Definitely worth a watch.
#1 Matchstick Men (2003)-4/5
Holy Moly! This is a roller coaster and a half. Do not read ahead if you haven't watched the film, because the ending is legitimately one of the greatest twist in film history. Just skip to the bottom of the review.
Half way through I looked up the actress who played Angela and was like, "Whoa, the actress was 24-years-old at this time!" They must have cast her because she was just that good. Well yes, she was good, but it wasn't because of that. The twist was that she was performing the ultimate con on Cage himself. She was never his daughter, she really was a grown adult who knew Cage's reputation and worked with Sam Rockwell's character to steal everything from Cage. Everything about that twist and the plot itself was done so elaborately and her acting was so fine-tuned that it was both believable and shocking; it's incredible. Naturally it relied on Roy granting her access to his safety deposit box and for Rockwell to not reveal anything and for Cage to not ask his ex-wife about this random daughter, but that doesn't matter. I didn't think of these plot-holes whilst I watched the film which is the best sign you've enjoyed it. If you can go through a film and not think "Well why did that happen?"/"Hang on, that doesn't make sense"/"Well that wouldn't have happened because X, Y, and Z" then the film was good. It means you believed in the reality of it.
The ending as a whole was pretty spectacular. The twist with Angela, the reunion between them a year later, and Roy expected to have a baby with the cashier soon. It was all heart-breaking and hopeful. Roy accidentally happens upon Angela a year later while he's working at a rug shop. I fully expected (and hoped to be honest) that Roy would've krav-maga struck Angela in the neck at the shop, but he doesn't. He lets her go. Also, you would've thought she would have had some humanity to give him some more money, Jesus Christ. Despite his kindness, Roy is left with the smallest stack of money available. Regardless, everything is done stupendously well. The only major critique I had was that sometimes the music was inconsistent. In tense situations the music was too upbeat and mellow which really killed the mood. Other than that, this is a great film that is built by its performances (notably Nic Cage and the girl) and its script.
I should go more in depth with some of these films but some are simply so bad, bland or uninteresting that there is simply no point. Also, if I went in depth into all of them, this article would be way longer than it already is. I think the necessity that needs to be here is the thoughts I have on the film, my rating, and my overall recommendation of the film. The film can be completely terrible but still worth a recommendation. Kim Possible (2019), for example, is a horribly shit film, but it so entertaining that I would always recommend it anyone. So let's take that approach with What's All The Rage With Nicolas Cage, because Lord knows we need to find some form of purpose with this god-forsaken list.
29. Left Behind
28. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
27. A Score to Settle
26. Between Worlds
24. Tokarev (or Rage)
23. The Best of Times
22. Pay the Ghost
21. The Runner
20. Werewolf Women of the S.S.
19. Never on Tuesday
17. Season of the Witch
16. Ghost Rider
13. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
12. Con Air
11. National Treasure: Book of Secrets
9. Lord of War
8. Army of One
7. National Treasure
6. Matchstick Men
3. Leaving Las Vegas
2. Mom and Dad