For a while, Nicolas Cage was one of the most bankable stars on the planet. With his long, hangdog face and twitchy performances, he found his way into the hearts of many a cinema-goer.
The Rock, Honeymoon in Vegas, Con Air and Face/Off showed he could appeal to a large audience, and Wild at Heart, Adaptation, Red Rock West and Kiss of Death displayed some seriously powerful acting talent, which was also demonstrated in his Oscar win for Leaving Las Vegas.
But now, with Next dropping like a cynical, polished turd onto the disc tray of your DVD player and National Treasure: Book of Secrets rolling like a tide of luke-warm cinematic slurry towards your local multiplex, it begs the question: where did it all go wrong for our Nic?
His last four films have been World Trade Centre, The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, and Next - a Generation Game conveyor belt of near-unwatchable crap if ever there was one. In fact, the single positive that can be said about The Wicker Man, a thoroughly ill-advised remake of the classic British thriller, is that Cage gets burnt alive.
However, perhaps Nic is not to blame, for at the moment wherever he goes, standards drop. Oliver Stone, Neil LaBute and Lee Tamahori, have all made great films (Mark Steven Johnson, the director of Ghost Rider, made Daredevil enough said) so why do they fail so badly with Cage.
And Cage’s co-stars, Julianne Moore, Wes Bentley, Maria Bello, Ellen Burstyn, Molly Parker are all superb character actors, yet even they cannot drag any quality into the proceedings.
Maybe, as a long-time fan of his, I am just unhappy to see him unleash stinker after stinker on me. Maybe my filmic tastes have changed and I’m just a little sick of his wide-eyed, shouty acting style. Or maybe I’m completely wrong, The Wicker Man is actually a modern classic, and I just didn’t “get it”.
Anyway, here are my five best and worst Nic Cage films.
Wild at Heart
Honeymoon in Vegas
The Rock/Con Air/Face/Off (his “Beige Volvo” trilogy)
The Wicker Man
Gone in 60 Seconds
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin