Love him or hate him, you can’t quite resist the allure of Nic Cage. Having built a career over the past thirty years on a multitude of platforms, from quirky indie pics to full throttle actioners, it seems pegging down exactly what Cage does as an actor is a difficult prospect.
Sadly, thanks to some wayward career choices (perhaps motivated by his unfortunate financial situation) the answer is a lot easier to guess at recently: what he does is make poor movies, with a few, all-too-sparse flashes of brilliance.
That he can act is not for debate – his turns in Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation and even Kick Ass prove he has range, emotional depth and an ability to sell a diverse gallery of characters – but he is too often hampered by poor material, and by the perverse attraction to his characters “flipping out.” It’s a reductive pleasure, no matter how entertaining, and it tends to gloss over the fact that he has done some fine work in the past.
But then again, that shouldn’t hide from his various missteps, or the films that would probably have been terrible had he actually been cast in them after flirting with the idea in one way or another. So, to celebrate the man himself, here’s a list of movies that would almost certainly have been ruined had he been cast.
But on reflection, The Wrestler might not have been all that bad with Cage involved – he does pathos surprisingly well, when given the opportunity, and though he is horribly wooden at times, his career is far more infuriating because of his potential, and the skill he has shown in more restrained roles over the years.
And Randy The Ram would have been a career-fixing role for Cage – though it didn’t exactly stop Rourke throwing away his career again after it.
This article was first posted on August 29, 2013