We all know the old adage. It’s a statement that rings truer than anything Confucius ever said, and philosophy’s greatest thinkers (somehow) never saw it coming. Nicolas Cage is the John Coltrane of acting. It’s not “old” in the technical sense — fellow Bit Player Clark spewed it out after a wine-fueled viewing of Season Of The Witch about two years ago — or an “adage” in the traditional sense — I’m fairly certain that to be an adage, more than one person has to have said it — but that doesn’t make it any less true.
The reasoning is simple (I think): where John Coltrane constantly shifted his style and helped revolutionize jazz music, Nicolas Cage constantly shifted his hairstyle and helped revolutionize bad film.
To be fair, Cage wasn’t always associated with bad film. Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Wild At Heart, and Leaving Las Vegas all colored his early career with promise and even an Oscar — not to mention stone-cold action classics like Face/Off, Con Air, The Rock toward the middle of his reign — but for every Kick-Ass or The Weather Man later on in the game, there’s about five or six Drive Angrys, at least three Bangkok Dangerouses. However, Cage is the one actor who has actually profited off of his hilariously awful choices in films. While stars like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise — heroes of ’80s and ’90s film — seemingly never recovered from their Troy or Valkyrie choices later in their careers, Cage has only grown more revered.
Groups of friends much like my own will gather around a television and watch objectively awful movies such as Knowing or Ghost Rider simply because they feature Nic Cage. Entire sites are dedicated to the actor, placing that million-dollar face on just about anyone or anything’s head, turning his can’t-turn-down-a-role reputation into a recurring joke. He seems to take it all in stride, however. In fact, I would argue that he relishes in it.
I have nothing to prove that, except the fact that the man simply keeps taking these roles. Just a cursory glance at Cage’s Internet Movie Database entry shows he has nine films planned between now and the end of next year. It would be a shock if even one of them was good, yet they’ll make millions of dollars and the world will eat them up. The point is, we relish in it.
I really couldn’t tell you why, either. I think it’s just to do with how unabashed Cage is about selecting these movies. I don’t think he’s read a script before signing on in about fifteen years. It’s also of import that Cage hasn’t taken a short-haired role in just as long. It’s really best not to question it. Just throw on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and enjoy. Here’s your hero.