Nicolas Cage is the MAN!!! Even in bad movies, the man can act. If you are a fan or not, you cannot deny that the man has acting chops. Do I think he does things just for a paycheck? Hell, yes! “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “Nation Treasure” are key examples of this. But it seems when he is doing a not-so-mainstream film, he goes batshit CRAZY! Hell, the best part of the original “Ghost Rider” was the transformation scenes, other than that, the movie was sub-par (and this is from an avid GR fan!). But for pure Cage- going-nutz goodness, you have to catch these films:
5. Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
Probably the first film that Cage went C-R-AZY! His turn as Publishing Executive Peter Loew , who is “turned” into a vampire is one of the most peculiar performances of his career (even compared to MOST of this list). He ate a live cockroach for crying out loud! This whole film is odd and is basically one big freak-out from Cage for about the last 80 min. (The film is around 100min). If you aren’t a Cage fan but a fan of “kooky”, this one is for you!
4. “Kiss of Death” (1995)
You would think that a film would be nutball heaven with Cage AND Samuel L. Jackson in it, but no. Jackson plays the straight cop while Cage plays the psychotic mobster “Little” Junior Brown. Cage gets to go all out in this and is genuinely threatening. The scene of him using a stripper for weight lifting and asks “Damn, how much have you been eatin’?” is classic as well as hilarious! If you are a fan of Cage, Jackson, or hell even David Caruso (Who I feel is terrible and miscast), it’s a solid undercover cop flick.
3. “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (2012)
Like I said earlier, the best parts of the original GR were the transformation scenes, well in GR: SOV, these scenes are AMPED to 13! The movie just flows better and the director’s gave Cage free reign to the character and that made the movie at least a little closer to the source material. No more stupid southern accent, no more jelly beans, and NO cowboy hat! The only thing that wasn’t “Ghost Rider-y” was that there was NO love interest and Johnny Blaze has always been a romantic (even if he had a demon inside of him). Is this film perfect? Even as a comic film it has flaws, but is a VAST improvement in tone and execution than the original. Hell, at least the filmmakers let Cage perform the Ghost Rider bits and not some stunt guy, kudos for that!
2. “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans” (2009)
Cage: “SHOOT HIM AGAIN!!” Thug: “Why?” Cage: “HIS SOUL IS STILL DANCING!” This statement pretty much is a microcosm of this film. Nuts, NUTS, and NUTZ!!!! Nicolas Cage is slimy as hell and makes this film very hard to watch, but if you get through it, it is a masterfully crafted film. Eva Mendez plays well…Eva Mendez and is of no consequence. Val Kilmer turns in a unusually strong performance in this film about absolute power corrupting absolutely. Some of the best Cage-outs ever are in this film, especially with the 2 elderly ladies.
1. “Deadfall” (1993)
WARNING: This film is TERRIBLE! We have seen the story 1,000 times before and we can see the twists a mile away. But the cast is fantastic and makes the film watchable, Cage in particular. Cage as two-bit hustler Eddie, whose drug addicted rages make this ENTIRE film the greatest Cage freak-out ever! Whenever he is on screen, he is psychotic and unpredictable, not to mention a babbling incoherent mess! I can’t tell you much about the film because you have seen it before, but if you can get ahold of it, it’s worth at least a viewing for Cage alone!
I’m not saying that EVERY Nicolas Cage movie is great, his performances USUALLY are. One honorable mention for this list: The Wicker Man, if you have seen it, you know why it should be mentioned, If you haven’t seen it, watch it and have a chuckle.