I watched Kick-Ass for the umpteenth time last night (it truly does kick ass), and it occurred to me while watching it that Nicolas Cage is actually a damn fine actor. I mean, we give the guy a lot of crap because he’s made some pretty terrible movies – Ghost Rider, The Wicker Man and Next come to mind – but if you look at his complete filmography, you’ll also spot some incredible films such as Raising Arizona, Adaptation, and Bringing Out the Dead. What’s really interesting is that he is often the deciding factor when it comes to his movies, as it is his performance that can truly make or break a Nicolas Cage picture. That’s something you can’t say about many actors!
Cage is another celebrity without an official website, which is a damn shame, in my opinion, because he has played such a wide variety of roles that the introductory clipshow video that might open the site would be nothing short of amazing. Ya hear that, Nic? Get yourself a website, dude!
Nicolas Cage is not only remarkable in that he has played such a wide range of parts, but also in that he has managed to keep his off-screen life fairly low-key. I can’t remember the last time I heard any scandalous news about Cage, which is saying something, as apparently no one is safe from the Hollywood gossip engine. But that isn’t to say his life hasn’t had its ups and downs.
Cage has been married three times (his most famous wife is probably actress Patricia Arquette, with Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie Presley in a close second) and has two kids named Weston and Kal-El. Yep. Kal-El, just like Superman’s Kryptonian name. Did I mention that Cage is a fan of comics? He apparently sports a Ghost Rider tattoo that makeup artists had to cover when he played the character in the film of the same name, and he and his son Weston have created a comic together called Voodoo Child that is currently published by Virgin Comics. Even his name is a comic book reference, as his real name is Nicolas Coppola. Since he’s the nephew of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, Cage decided that he didn’t want his famous relations to overshadow his own acting ability, so he changed his last name to Cage after superhero Luke Cage (a.k.a. Powerman)! This man is one dedicated comic book geek!
Getting back to Cage’s films, I find it really interesting how they can be so hit-and-miss, but I think it’s a sign that Cage is always willing to take risks. He’s never really typecast, and his range is pretty impressive. He’s done comedy (Raising Arizona), drama (Leaving Las Vegas), action (The Rock, Face/Off, Con Air), and even arthouse surreality (Wild at Heart). In a way, I do wish that Cage would stick with the material he’s best at – usually either hicks or psychos – but I think it shows some serious courage on his part that he always seems to be trying something new. I really hope that, like Machete and Hobo With A Shotgun, the phony grindhouse preview for Werewolf Women of the S.S. gets made into a full-length feature, if only so we can see Cage play Fu Manchu.
But when he’s bad, man is he ever bad. Some of his worst films are truly atrocious, and it’s tough to take him seriously again after sitting through a viewing of something like The Wicker Man remake. But somehow, in spite of all his mis-steps, he can still win us back after we’ve almost written him off for good. Seriously, though, The Wicker Man sucks.
For all that people slag him, you cannot deny that Nicolas Cage is a great actor. The man works really hard, and even though some of his movies are totally rotten, others are magnificent. One thing is for sure: none of them would be the same without him.