What Went Wrong With… Nicolas Cage?

Caricature of Nicolas Cage by

I’m not a fan of nepotism, but once in a blue moon a branch from a famous family tree unexpectedly grows into something special. Nicolas Cage is great example of this, he’s a Coppola relative who’s genuinely talented and his early movies proved he had a flair for acting. He first appeared in a few low-budget movies and in each film he left an indelible mark by stealing almost every scene he appeared in. His hilarious performance in “Raising Arizona” was just the right mixture of over-exaggerated and naturalistic, and this became his trademark style. Even when appearing in a sub-par movie like “Vampire’s Kiss”, Cage still gave a meaningful performance and elevated what could have been a mediocre film into something memorable. His body of work during the eighties and early nineties slowly grew to contain many classic movies and Cage was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in “Moonstruck” and he was nominated twice for an Oscar. Although he didn’t win an Academy Award for the right movie, he won a Best Actor Oscar for “Leaving Las Vegas” and Nicolas Cage worked his way up to eventually becoming an A-Lister. In the mid-to-late nineties he even became a bona fide Action star by appearing in back-to-back Action Blockbusters “The Rock”, “Con Air”, and “Face/Off”. But then in the early noughties, for some unknown reason his films became increasingly dire with each picture being worse than the last. How did the guy who played the violent Metallophobic asthmatic in “Kiss Of Death” end up in the dreadful “Wicker Man” remake?

For almost a decade now, Nicolas Cage has made several straight-to-DVD atrocities, and with each successive B Movie his success in Hollywood has dwindled. As Cage’s hair has grown thinner and higher, his roles have become more monotonous and his acting more lacklustre. If he continues to create appalling crap like “Tokarev”, these bad movies will begin to outweigh all the good that has come before. If not careful, the public will begin to associate him with “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Season Of The Witch” instead of “Raising Arizona” and “Peggy Sue Got Married”.

It’s now becoming tiring to see a wretched-looking Nicolas Cage playing a depressed bloke in every movie he’s in, and although his miserable face may be a reflection of his real life circumstances (which includes tax issues and debts) from the audience’s point of view, his films are beginning to congeal into a big gloomy mass; I seriously cannot tell one from the other. These latest filmic atrocities may simply be a string of pot boilers to a debt-ridden Cage, but that doesn’t explain the horrid shite he made during the early noughties since his financial troubles didn’t begin until several years ago. Regardless, the more drivel he appears in, the more his bankability as an Actor is waning, by the time he’s debt free he may never be able to recover from the back-to-back bullshit he’s made.

It’s sad to see a talented Actor’s career nose-diving into ever-increasingly shameful roles, and unfortunately his upcoming work doesn’t sound like it’ll revitalise his career. There’s a rumoured “National Treasure 3” in the works, there’s the satirical comedy “Army Of One” which may be entertaining or completely disastrous (Russell Brand plays God in the movie so it’ll most likely be shite), Oliver Stone‘s “Snowden” may be okay if Stone goes back to his “JFK” style of filmmaking, but Cage isn’t the leading man in that movie so it won’t make any difference in any case. Other than that there seems to be yet more low-budget (not in a good way) throwaway garbage. Surely it’s time to be discerning about the roles he accepts, either that or sack his frigging Agent.


11 replies »

  1. You have hit it right on the nail, I agree with you totally.
    I use to love his movies, especially Raising Arizona, I could watch that film over and over. Might watch it again today ha.
    To be fair I did enjoy the science fiction movie Knowing, that came out in 2009, he was still half decent in that one.
    But coming back to the present time and thanks to Sky movie package, NOT. I watched Rage this weekend, wtf was that? And why did they put a false hair do on him? I mean what was the point in him having jet black hair, and no talent??? It was beyond me, the storyline was shite and it wasted 1 hour and 38 minutes of my life, which I will never get back!!!
    Loved your article, hope Nicolas Cage gets to read it and takes your advice, because I’m afraid his ‘agent’ is running him down to the ground.

  2. If you want to go here, it’s a crime not to do one on the worst offenders… Robert DeNero and Al Pacino .

  3. He always be awesome , and the remake of the wicker man was better than the first , and LLV is ingrained on my soul forever .

  4. Have you seen Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation? Also starring Nicholas Cage in it. What did you think of his performance in it?

    Also, what do you think of Charlie Kaufman’s filmography so far? Especially Being John Malkovich, Sycnedoche: New York & Anomalisa?

    • Sorry, haven’t seen any of Kaufman’s films. I have seen clips of Nicolas Cage’s performance in Adaptation and it seems both believable and subtle but I’d have to watch the whole thing to comment with any authority. Looking at his filmography, that’s probably the last film where he genuinely “acted” rather than merely exaggerate his expressions.

      Similar to Nicolas Cage, Bruce Willis‘ career has gone from bad to worse in recent years… Precious Cargo anyone?

  5. Then I would really recommend you to watch any film written and directed by Charlie Kaufman since I’ve read a comment made by you somewhere before that you seem interested in any form of work revolving around existentialism. Charlie Kaufman’s works also encompasses works that explores existentialism & identity, besides the absurdities and surrealism of it all in his works (most notably Sycnedoche: New York & Anomalisa)

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