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Nicolas Cage Challenge

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brokenface
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#121

Post by brokenface »

Sounds like that can be at the bottom of my priorities for Cage completion..

Bump of this thread reminds me I still haven't seen Color Out of Space, never got a chance at the cinema, bloody pandemic :(

-

Noticed it was exactly a year since last rank update, so I've got it up to speed (please let me know if you spot any mistakes). We have officially hit 10 players :party: And this challenge has been running for over 5 years :party: :party:

blocho 22
albajos 21
Carmel1379 15
brokenface 12
Lammetje 8
OldAle1 6
nimimerkillinen 5
vortexsurfer 3
allisoncm 1
funkybusiness 1
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#122

Post by blocho »

23. Rage

The movie: Please note that this movie was originally titled Tokarev and was released as such in Europe. It's a more interesting and appropriate title, but I just assume the producers couldn't resist the opportunity to rhyme Cage with Rage in advertising copy. Anyway, it's an unremarkable revenge thriller. A successful developer with a shady past returns home one evening to learn that his teenage daughter has been kidnapped. Suspecting that someone from his criminal days is responsible, he sets out to find the perpetrator. There is some stylish camerawork, but also some lackluster editing. I have to admit that the ending surprised me and made the trite storyline a little more satisfying.

Cage: Is Cage better when he spend most of the movie in nutzoid mode or when he works up to that state? I tend to think the latter based on movies like this one and The Trust. It's more enjoyable to see the transformation. Plus, there's always the disappointing possibility that he'll spend the entire movie doing his calm thing, so when he actually erupts, it's feels more exciting to see him lose his shit. And yes, Cage definitely lost his shit in this one.

Standout Cage moment: There are two great ones, but I'll put them in spoilers in case anyone wants to see them without being forewarned.
Spoiler
- Cage's preferred method of interrogation involves shooting a corpse eight times and then kicking it in the head.
- Cage gets into an argument with a friend. According to Cage himself, he was trying to channel the music of avant-garde German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen in his screaming. It's pretty fucking great.

CAGE RAGE!!!

Image
Last edited by blocho on July 23rd, 2020, 4:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#123

Post by blocho »

I haven't actually seen Tiger King, but I know my colleagues at work have described it as one of the most fascinating things they've ever seen. On that note, here's something to look forward to:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12261642/
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#124

Post by blocho »

24. Kill Chain

The movie: Two men walk into a shabby hotel in Bogota. There's a bloody woman upstairs whom they do not see. Instead, Nicolas Cage walks out to greet them as the desk clerk. It soon becomes apparent that they are there to kill him, and he's been expecting them. He willingly surrenders his weapon, but asks if they'll hear a story before they finish him off.

That's the start of Kill Chain, and it's a pretty darn good one. We all know that Nic Cage has made a stupendous number of movies over the past ten years because of his financial problems. And a lot of those movies have been action thrillers. And a lot of those action thrillers, though they may have some memorable moments, have been somewhere between terrible and mediocre. Well, this one is different. This was a genuinely good thriller.

Cage: Restrained, but not doing the typical weary everyman schtick that characterizes most of his restrained roles. Instead, he's laconic and playful. Nutzoid mode is in the overhead compartment, stowed away for the whole movie. And I'm glad. Cage's approach worked for this role.

Standout Cage moment: Not a moment, but a ten-minute scene, which arrives in the second half of the movie, once the story loops around to show us how the movie's opening scene gets resolved. The script is solid here, providing strong dialogue between Cage and the two killers. Cage makes the most of it.
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#125

Post by blocho »

25. Birdy

The Movie: An oddity. The Vietnam War is a big part of the plot, but it's not really a war movie. Much of the movie is set in an asylum, but it's not really an asylum movie. Rather, this is a teenage buddy movie, though not a comedic one. It's about a cool kid (with his own problems) who makes friends with an outsider weirdo. That's a common enough narrative trope in movies -- think of Rebel without a Cause or The Mudge Boy (in which birds are also important to the plot). But the movie doesn't begin with these two friends in high school. Rather it begins, with the two reuniting in an asylum after returning from Vietnam, where both have suffered some trauma. The story of their earlier friendship then unfolds in flashbacks. But what really separates this movie is the characteristic that defines the weirdo (played by Matthew Modine) - an interest in birds that slowly grows into obsession and then delusion. There are so many ways this movie could have gone off the rails with such a character. And to be fair, in the final five minutes it does kind of go off the rails. But until that point, Birdy offers a sensitive portrait of the title character as a young man who is simply attuned to the world differently than most people.

Cage: He is the relatively cool friend of Birdy. This is a much different Cage than the one we know from the past decade. This was his sixth movie role, and he was only 20 years old. In some ways, his character is very similar to the one he played that same year in Racing with the Moon (an underrated movie that co-starred a young Sean Penn). He brings the same cool swagger to this role that he brought to that one. The man is a natural performer, after all. What's different is that in the non-flashback scenes in Birdy, Cage's face is swathed in bandages as his character heals from wounds suffered in Vietnam. And given that Modine's character in the asylum is near catatonic, Cage has to carry this entire half of the movie by himself while using only half his face. It's one of his best performances.

Standout Cage Moment: While this is a very good movie, there are some scenes in the asylum when the script becomes leaden. In those scenes, Cage has to deliver what might be called obvious emotions -- the unadorned, overwhelming emotional outbursts that we expect to emerge from moments of great sadness. These scenes are difficult even with a good script. They're near impossible when the script is serving up wooden lines. And Cage nails them all.

Also, check out the two images below. It certainly felt like the Modine/Cage pose was copied from the famous Arlen/Rogers scene in Wings.
Image
Image
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#126

Post by blocho »

26. 8MM (1999)

The Movie: A pretty standard thriller, distinguished only by its taboo topic -- snuff films. I have to quibble with the filmmaking: some unnecessary Dutch angles, a score that just doesn't work, and an inability to ratchet up the tension with effective editing.

Cage: Carrying a heavy load here, Cage has to keep the psychology of his character in the foreground of the movie even as its second half focuses heavily on action and confrontation. His role is to make an action thriller into an exploration of a man's descent into an underworld that batters his mind and his conscience. Cage, as usual, is game for this transformation, even if he's a bit restrained. A solid, if unspectacular performance.

Standout Cage Moment: Plenty to choose from. How about Cage screaming, "I'll never get tired of hurting you" at a bleeding James Gandolfini? But I favor the tender scene where he asks the mother of the missing girl whether she really wants to know what happened to her daughter. Cage finds true emotion in that moment.

We also get the transformation below:
Image

Image

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#127

Post by Torgo »

You guys are doing God's work here.
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#128

Post by blocho »

Torgo wrote: October 24th, 2020, 4:47 pm You guys are doing God's work here.
Cage is the only true deity.
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#129

Post by Torgo »

:D
r/OneTrueGod checks out
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#130

Post by blocho »

Torgo wrote: October 24th, 2020, 5:19 pm :D
r/OneTrueGod checks out
Oh wow. These are definitely my people. Thanks for telling me about it.

Image of Cage found in a paint can:
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#131

Post by weirdboy »

I have not really been participating in the challenge per se, but I did watch Kiss of the Vampire a week or two ago and that was great, and yesterday I watched Dark (2017) which I thought was a pretty good role for him.
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#132

Post by blocho »

27. Valley Girl (1983)

The Movie
An unremarkable teen romance, with a few hints of mediocre comedy thrown in. Colleen Camp and Frederic Forrest as the hippie parents simply did not work. There are also subplots that go nowhere, and narrative turns that make no sense.

Cage
"I don't want to go to the valley." That's the second line Cage says in his first starring role. A man after my own heart. Cage is doing his big-eyed sensitive hunk schtick here (see below). It's a mode he hasn't really used since the 1980s because ... well, it's hard to pull off when you're no longer very young. He's very good at it because he's not cookie-cutter. He mixes in enough gonzo energy and random weirdness to make an interesting character.
Image

Standout Cage Moment
Cage gets dumped by his girlfriend, which leads to this great rejoinder: "Fuck off, for sure! Like, totally!"
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#133

Post by Lammetje »

9. Honeymoon in Vegas (1992): 3/10

A cringy poker scene, boring Hawaii scenes with Sarah Jessica Parker and plenty of unfunny bits. The story wasn't very convincing either. Nic did okay though.
Seen
1. Vampire's Kiss (1988)
2. Raising Arizona (1987)
3. Wild at Heart (1990)
4. Moonstruck (1987)
5. Fire Birds (1990)
6. Lord of War (2005) (rewatch)
7. The Trust (2016)
8. Mandy (2018)
9. Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
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#134

Post by blocho »

The rules of this challenge mention only movies, so I'm not counting this toward my total. But it's worth mentioning.

xx. History of Swear Words (episodes 1-2: "Fuck" and "Shit")
When I heard the premise -- Nic Cage stars in a series about cursing -- I was pretty sure I had found my new favorite thing. Unfortunately, the series is only OK. Cage makes for a charming, rascally host, but the episodes I saw focused, unsurprisingly, on the actual topic promised in the title: the history and use of curse words. We get commentary mainly from comedians and some linguists. Cage pops in occasionally. It's all OK but not good enough to keep my interest.
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#135

Post by brokenface »

Anything is eligible as per the usual rules for TV etc
Back when this challenge started, he had not yet deigned to dip a toe in TV.
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#137

Post by blocho »

28. Mandy (2018)

The Movie: Cage and Andrea Riseborough are a married couple who live in the woods, slightly odd but mostly content. Then their home is invaded by a cult of hippie freaks and some psycho mutant bikers. After some brutality, Cage sets out in revenge, which leads to even more brutality. It's all trippy stuff, amply bathed in surrealistic and psychedelic imagery. The Lynchian influence is strong here. Some of that stuff contributes to an intriguing atmosphere of the bizarre, but some of it just feels like padding. The whole thing is highly abstracted, awash in filters and weird lighting, with the plot shorn to a minimum.

Cage: The first hour of the movie is focused on Riseborough and the main villain. And then, almost at the exact halfway point, Cage takes center stage. And boy does he make the most of it (check out the transformation below). The man is just glorious. There are a few superb freakouts, but his character is surprisingly quiet for most of the second half, channeling his rage and intensity into a glowering mask of pain and vengeance.

Standout Cage Moment: There's just so much to choose from, but my favorite is the scene in which a severely wounded Cage stands in a bathroom, clad only in tighty-whities and a t-shirt with a tiger on it, and spend two straight minutes either screaming, crying, taking swigs of hard alcohol, or pouring the hard alcohol on his wounds.

Cage's Take:
I got this script that was pretty cool. I mean, 'You are a vicious snowflake' -- I've been dying to say that line in a movie since 1987. But I wasn't sure about it until I showed it to my haberdasher, Grigori, and he said, 'Go for it, Nic.' And I said, 'Thanks, Giorgio!' Also, the director's name is Panos, and that was the name of my first pet mongoose, so I had a good feeling about the whole project. I had to work hard on this character because so many of his feelings are unvoiced. In order to channel his passion, I had to sharpen my instrument to a fine edge, much like the fine edge of the axe I planted in that psycho mutant biker's head. I was reading a lot of Calvino during the shoot, and in some ways I put a lot of Marcovaldo into my performance. I'm covered with blood in some scenes, and I made it more authentic by acquiring my own rattlesnake blood rather than using the fake stuff the makeup people like.
Image

Image
Last edited by blocho on September 4th, 2021, 7:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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#138

Post by Torgo »

blocho wrote: May 23rd, 2021, 2:01 am 28. Mandy (2018)
Standout Cage Moment: There's just so much to choose from, but my favorite is the scene in which a severely wounded Cage stands in a bathroom, clad only in tighty-whities and a t-shirt with a tiger on it, and spend two straight minutes either screaming, crying, taking swigs of hard alcohol, or pouring the hard alcohol on his wounds.
This, definitely this. My #1 Cage scene of the decade.
https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comment ... rom_mandy/

Reddit comment: "Wait, we were rolling?!?" :lol:
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#139

Post by blocho »

29. Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)

The Movie: A screwball comedy about a reluctant-to-wed private eye played by Cage, his girlfriend played by Sarah Jessica Parker, and the rich, sleazy cardsharp (James Caan) who comes between them. The movie doesn't start well. It has a very unnecessary voiceover narration, and a lot of the set-up feels flat and uninteresting. But eventually, as the absurdities grow (and the voiceover disappears), it develops a likable charm. This movie also has a ridiculous cast. Besides the three top-billed actors, there are cameos by Pat Morita, Anne Bancroft, Peter Boyle, Seymour Cassel, Ben Stein, famous boxer Earnie Shavers (as himself), Tony Shalhoub, a six-year-old Bruno Mars as a child Elvis impersonator, and college basketball coaching legend Jerry Tarkanian (who I only recognized because he was biting a towel, which was a signature Tarkanian tic).

Cage: He does something he rarely does: play the straight man. He's an ordinary guy who's a bit tightly wound, and much of the comedy stems from his increasingly angry reactions to ridiculous situations and characters. Well, Cage nails it. Half of acting is reacting, right? That's an old acting class chestnut. Most of Cage's performance here is reacting, and it's delightful.

Standout Cage Moment: Plenty of solid moments, but my favorite is this freakout Cage has at Ben Stein in the airport:


Cage's Take:
I was at the bullfights in Cuernavaca, and this guy walks up to me and says, "I want you to be in this movie called Honeymoon in Vegas," and I said, "Hey, why don't you stick to the cape, Torero." And then he said he was a writer/director with a two-picture deal at Columbia, and I said, "Horseshit! I know you. You cut my hair at that salon on Beverly three weeks ago." Well, I decided to hear him out after he promised me a new hairdo, but I told him that I was done with light romantic comedy. But when I heard that I'd get the chance to go skydiving with a gang of Elvis impersonators, I told him I'd do the movie for free (plus the haircut). Heck, my only regret from this picture was they didn't let me do my Elvis impersonation the whole way through. I won in the end, though. I got to marry Elvis' daughter ... and divorce her. That's just fate -- you jump out of a plane dressed as Elvis and you will someday marry someone related to him. You can try it yourself.
Last edited by blocho on July 7th, 2021, 5:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
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#140

Post by blocho »

Double post. My mistake.
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#141

Post by Torgo »

Edit gone wrong?
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#142

Post by blocho »

Torgo wrote: July 5th, 2021, 5:50 pmEdit gone wrong?
Yes, indeed, will fix.
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#143

Post by blocho »

30. Color out of Space (2019)

The Movie: An adaptation of one of Lovecraft's more famous stories, with that signature Lovecraftian blend of gothic horror, alien horror, and body horror. It's also a return to directing for Richard Stanley, last seen getting fired from The Island of Dr. Moreau 23 years earlier. It's quite a successful return! The story involves the five-member Gardner family, which lives on a small farm somewhere in Massachusetts, and the bedlam that ensues when a meteorite lands on their property. From that moment on, you know that some horror freakfest is inevitable, but the movie builds the tension slowly for an hour before things get really weird. That slow development is delightful, featuring plenty of weird, gorgeous set design (the titular color is a shimmering magenta) and some top-notch Cage.

Cage: This feels almost too easy for Cage. The meteorite's effect on his character is psychological; it turns him at moments into a font of edgy petulant pique. He goes back and forth between solid family man and rage-driven weirdo. There's probably no actor on earth better suited for the role. Early on, I felt like his weirdo mode was a bit Brando-ish, and what do you know -- Brando shows up briefly on a TV late in the movie. But I've also read other people claiming that Cage was doing Trump in those scenes, and I see merit to that interpretation as well.

Standout Cage Moment: Plenty of great weirdo scenes. There's one where he keeps jamming freshly picked fruit into his mouth, spitting them out, and then yelling about how bad they taste. But here's my favorite.

Cage's Take:
A Lovecraft movie? Are you shitting me? I would have given three of the toes on my left foot to be in a Lovecraft movie. Instead, I kept all my toes and they paid me as well. What a bunch of suckers. I really got into Lovecraft back in the 80s after doing Moonstruck. Cher gave me a Lovecraft anthology, and I got obsessed. I spent the next six months wandering around Massachusetts like a hobo looking for Arkham and the Miskatonic River. The closest I came was a river called Housatonic, which isn't really the same thing, although that river, I can tell you, was plenty evil. Anyway, I got a call in 2018 from Richard Stanley about Color out of Space. I call him Ricardo because he was once my astrologer and that was also the name of a castle I own in Europe. Movies like this keep me sharp. It's all about this method I call Effective Performology. Ricardo thinks it's mostly based on not taking uppers until after the shoot is over, but there's a whole philosophy there.
Last edited by blocho on May 17th, 2022, 2:26 am, edited 6 times in total.
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#144

Post by Torgo »

:thumbsup:
Showin' the Cage love.
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#145

Post by blocho »

31. The Cotton Club (1984)

The Movie: An eclectic mix of gangster, musicians, and artists interact at a popular nightclub in interwar Harlem. Some are fictional characters, but there are also plenty of real-life figures such as Dutch Schultz, Lucky Luciano, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and the Nicholas Brothers (unnamed, but it's clear who they are). The cast itself is a similarly starry bunch with Richard Gere and Gregory Hines headlining and also featuring Cage, Gwen Verdon, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Waits, Woody Strode, and Jennifer Grey. And the script was written by the great William Kennedy from a Mario Puzo story. You can see what Coppola was going for -- the stars of today play the stars of yesteryear in a gorgeous, high-class period piece that celebrates some of the great popular culture of the 20s and 30s. And when it focuses on song and dance, the movie is enjoyable and occasionally spectacular. Unfortunately, the rest of it is an incredible mess. Most noticeably, it's a technical disaster. The editing is really bad -- there's a complete lack of pacing and rhythm. Similarly, the sound is some of the worst I've heard in a major studio production. I'm not talking about some fancy effects, either. Basic looping and mixing are atrocious. I don't think there's a single bit of live audio in this movie. I understand that for the big musical scenes, but why are the small, indoor scenes dubbed as well? How could this movie cost so much and be so bad at the basics? In addition, none of the characters have any depth. And the movie has a big problem in asking us to buy Richard Gere as a hep cat cornettist. No one buys that, not least Richard Gere.

Cage: Lost in a small, uninteresting role. He plays Gere's younger brother, a character we've seen a thousand times: a young gangster on the make who gets too far ahead of himself. This was Cage's sixth movie, and even in his few scenes it feels like his rough edges have been sanded off. No weird energy, no nouveau shamanism, not even any 80s-era quirkiness.

Standout Cage Moment: None, sadly.

Cage's Take:
Francis called me when I was practicing taekwondo in my dojo. I have no idea how he got the number. I specifically told Miki, the front-desk lady, not to take any calls for me, least of all from my uncle. Anyway, he said he wanted me to play a gangster, and I said definitely. I didn't know he was going to trap me as the eleventh lead. How the fuck did I end up as a guy who doesn't sing or dance in a song-and-dance movie? I said I was done with Francis after that, but he forced me into doing Peggy Sue Got Married a couple of years later by cheating me in a card game. Lesson learned: Never play stud poker with your family at Thanksgiving. Stick with draw or pai gow. I got him back though when I fed his pet hamster to my two boa constrictors, Hideki and Umberto.
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#146

Post by blocho »

32. City of Angels (1998)

The Movie: The American remake of Wings of Desire that nobody asked for and nobody wanted. It's not actually that inferior to the original, just kind of mawkish and conventional. Beyond that, the major changes are the creepiness factor going way up and the substitution of Los Angeles for Berlin. The title is an obvious play on LA's name, but it's also ironic because it's hard for me to think of a less numinous city. And despite the extensive use of other LA locations, the movie does not use the LA Central Library (one of the very few buildings in the city that actually looks good) for the several library scenes. Also, the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" was written for this movie before going on to dominate every middle school dance I ever attended.

Cage: Quite well suited for this role actually. Like all great stars, Cage has the ability to capture attention with just his presence, and he leverages that quality for otherworldly and spectral results as an angel in this movie.

Standout Cage Moment: None really. Cage went against every fiber of his being and played this character with minimalism. It was what the role demanded.

Cage's Take:
Just when the audiences and the trade papers expect you to do one thing, you go the other direction. That's the old Hollywood shuffle. Charlie Bronson taught me that one day after I won his Cadillac off him while laying bets on a bass fishing contest. He said, "Nic, how am I supposed to get home?" And I said, "Chucky baby, don't worry about the car. You can get it back if you give me some of that great Lithuanian wisdom." So he told me about the shuffle, and that's what I was doing with City of Angels. Everyone thought I was this tremendous tragic actor after Leaving Las Vegas. So what do I do? I hit them with the three greatest action movies of the twentieth century all in a row: The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off. Boom, Boom, Boom. Now I'm the biggest man of action since Harry Ford was in those Indian movies. So what do I do? Give them the romantic drama. But I want to make one thing clear. I had no idea City of Angels was a remake. I'm doing the press events for the release, and someone tells me I'm playing a role that Bruno Ganz played, and I'm like, "That's crazy." I would never do that to Bruno intentionally. Yeah, Bru-dog and I go way back. We've been good friends ever since we met at the Biennale in 1993, where our pet roosters got matched against each other in a cockfight.
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#147

Post by blocho »

33. Stolen (2012)

The Movie: Cage re-teams with Con Air director Simon West, but they can't summon the old magic. Cage plays a safecracker who get into a conflict with his partner (Josh Lucas) in the middle of a job and is ultimately arrested right after burning all of his loot. Eight years later, he's out of prison, but Lucas wants his share of the non-existent stash and kidnaps Cage's daughter in order to get it. Now Cage is chasing Lucas all over New Orleans even while the FBI is chasing him. This is not a bad movie. It's just sort of a blah movie. Very paint-by-the-number with no surprises, plus some clunky dialogue and plot holes.

Cage: On rare occasions, Cage gets cast in the wrong role. It happened to him in Dog Eat Dog, where Willem Dafoe was the nutjob and Cage was the straight man. And it happens here, where Lucas is the nutjob. Cage does a fine straight man, but why waste him when you need a nutjob in your movie?

Standout Cage Moment: Not much to really enjoy here, though Cage does well in several action scenes. There's also this shot of him with a thermal lance:
Image

Cage's Take:
Elia Kazan said talent never dies. It can be discouraged, but it never dies. I also like to use the words genius loci. My ability coalesces with the genius of a place. New Orleans has a genius loci. I became a man in New Orleans, if you know what I mean. The city has a soft spot in my heart, though there are things that can go horribly wrong there ... wait, what was your question? Stolen? A movie I shot in New Orleans? No, I have no memory of that ever happening.
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#148

Post by blocho »

34. Trapped in Paradise (1994)

The Movie: Some quirky, cynical people get trapped in a small Pennsylvania town by a snowstorm and eventually have their hearts warmed by the generosity and good spirit of the townspeople. Yes, this is clearly a cash-in on Groundhog Day. It only lacks the fantastical elements and any of the quality. Instead, we get a crime comedy that leaves out the comedy part. Cage is the straight arrow who gets roped by his two jailbird brothers (Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey) into a bank job in PA. The early going here is pretty bad. The latter half, where the ensemble cast is more present, is better, but there's nothing to recommend this movie. Not even strong supporting actors like Richard Jenkins, Donald Moffat, and John Ashton can save it.

Cage: He's doing something that sounds maybe like a New York accent here, though he drifts in and out of it. Beyond that, he adds a little gonzo energy, but there's not much he can do to improve the shallowly developed character and the bad script. He also has no real chemistry with Lovitz (who does a decent job) or Carvey (simply dreadful).

Standout Cage Moment: One of Cage's classic tics is to draw out words just a bit too long. It always adds a little oddball pizzazz. "Expressioooonnn ...."


Cage's Take:
It's supposed to be Pennsylvania, but we shot this whole movie in Canada. That suited me just fine because it gave me the opportunity to stop by Marlon's lake house for quite the wild weekend. I remember at one point, I was in a sweat lodge with Kris Kristofferson and George Harrison, and Marlon had the bright idea to go streaking the streets of Thunder Bay. Anyway, that led to an unfortunate meeting with wildlife control, and I'm not welcome in certain parts of Ontario to this day. Trapped in Paradise, for me, was really an exploration of Personality Vibratology, which was an acting technique I got from Klaus Kinski. The key is to rub the essential oil from rare Himalayan herbs all over your body every morning of the shoot. It all goes back to shamanism. You have to get into the headspace of the character, and sometimes you just need to snort some cornstarch to do it.
Last edited by blocho on September 2nd, 2021, 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#149

Post by Torgo »

What a WEIRD scene. :lol:
Thanks for digging up the Cage gold nuggets!
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#150

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

What's gold are those Cage Takes. Keep it coming, blocho.
We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.Image
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#151

Post by blocho »

Perception de Ambiguity wrote: July 15th, 2021, 2:24 pm What's gold are those Cage Takes. Keep it coming, blocho.
I think I'm done for now, but I'll get back in the Cage for the Low IMDB rating challenge in September.
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#152

Post by brokenface »

Splendid work blocho, you are certainly leading this challenge, though there is still plenty of time for others to catch up (challenge runs until the heat death of the universe or this forum expires, whichever comes first)

--

In Cage news, Pig is sounding promising, but the Joe Exotic tv show has been ditched.
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#153

Post by blocho »

Remember that time last week when I said I was done with the Cage Challenge for now?

I lied.

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35. Pig (2021)

The Movie: One of the charms of Thieves' Highway, the Jules Dassin movie from 1949, is that it sets a story of noirish intrigue among the West Coast fruit trucking business. Getting those tasty apples to the markets in San Francisco ahead of the competition becomes a life-and-death affair. Such nefarious deeds associated with such a prosaic topic. There's a theme at work here -- the contrast between the surface glimmer of those delicious fruit and the sordidness that lies underneath. I thought of Thieves' Highway as I watched Pig, which ludicrously proposes the haute cuisine scene in Portland, Oregon, as a venue for all sorts of skulduggery. That's only the beginning of unexpected developments in Pig, which refuses to hew to any genre conventions. In its own peculiar way, it's one of the strangest movies I've ever seen. It was described to me before I saw it as "John Wick but with a pig." That's wildly misleading, not to mention a good example of missing the forest for the trees. Yes, the movie begins with a loner having his beloved pet stolen from him. But if you think you know what's going to happen next, you'll be consistently wrong. In the end, the only thing I can confidently say this movie is about is loss, which is another way of saying it's about being human. It's not about the pig, you see. Although in some ways, it's very much about the pig.

Cage: Early on, I thought Cage was doing a gruff, grizzled thing as a recluse in the woods, using a minimalistic approach and centering his performance behind hollow eyes and a matted beard. But there's a moment nearly halfway through the movie, as he delivers a monologue about what I suppose could be called the geomorphology of Oregon, when you realize that Cage is playing a man who has collapsed in on himself, so awash in grief and bitterness that, upon being forced back into human society, he sees only greed, cynicism, and doom. None of this is ever openly stated. But with Cage's performance giving life to a peculiar script, it doesn't have to be.

Standout Cage Moment: Cage, whose character was a chef, has a quiet conversation with a former employee and the current hot chef du jour. And with only a few concise remarks, he discombobulates the other man so thoroughly that it lays bare the hypocrisies of the character, fine dining, and commercial endeavor itself. Also, at another point, Cage says, "I don't fuck my pig."

Cage's Take:
Sus Domesticus, the domestic pig. I think it was Francois Rabelais who said that the nose of the pig reflects the soul of man, always seeking, never satisfied. Or maybe it was Frankie Rabola, who used to play the trombone in my middle school band. Later, Frankie and me played in the same horn section when we went on tour with Men at Work in 1979. In some ways, Rabelais was the trombonist of French renaissance humanism.

I saw this role as a chance to investigate porcine methods of theatricality. In Ancient Greece, there were plenty of pigs who played leading roles. Then that tradition got carried over to America in the 1920s. Some of the earliest vaudeville stars were half pig. That Dr. Moreau stuff is based on real life, you know. Anyway, that's how I ended up building a shrine to George Burns and Porky Pig in the backyard of my second smallest Rhode Island mansion. But it's a mistake to use pigs to find truffles. I learned that once when I was staying at Daniel Day-Lewis' place in Florence. You need werewolves instead.
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#154

Post by blocho »

36. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

The Movie: I dimly remember seeing the first Ghost Rider movie after it first came out, though I couldn't tell you more than three or four things about the plot. I also remember it was mediocre. This sequel is worse. The plot is some nonsense about the son of the devil, but it doesn't really matter. The makers of the movie are convinced that a skeleton on motorcycle with an unhealthy disregard for fire safety is the coolest thing in the world. And for some viewers, I'm sure they're right, but I found it mostly boring. Idris Elba is along for the ride as a French priest for some reason, and Ciaran Hinds makes a delightful devil. Though there are a few cool shots, most of the camerawork and editing are subpar. Too many Dutch angles for no reason. And the few attempts at humor are pathetic.

Cage: Cage doesn't need his whole face to turn in an excellent performance. We saw that in Birdy, where he did just fine with half a face for a good part of the movie. The problem here is that Cage has no face for most of the interesting scenes. Instead he has a skull. And here you see the problem: Why put Nic Cage in a movie if you're not actually going to use the most important part of Nic Cage?

Standout Cage Moment: There's only one standout moment, which means there's only one good sequence in the whole movie. It comes during Cage's first transformation into Ghost Rider. He manages to cram every idiosyncratic Nicolas Cage tic into 60 seconds -- the breathless laugh, the elongated words, the hoarse screaming, the jaw jut, the head shake, the yelping. It's an astonishing, delightful scene, as if Cage were plopped in front of the camera and given one instruction: "Act more than you ever have before." Have a look:


Cage's Take:
Back when I was 12, I had this camp counselor named Shabi Szalabi who was a part-time poet and full-time Hungarian nationalist. He was also a huge Ghost Rider fan and shared all his comics with us kids in the cabin. Last I heard, Shabi was working at the greyhound racing track in Reseda, but I was thinking of him when I took the role in the first movie. I didn't feel like I got the character quite right in that one, so in between Ghost Rider 1 and Ghost Rider 2, I decided to lose tens of millions of dollars to shaky investment schemes, unwise real estate holdings, and just plain stupidity. Also the IRS owns part of my soul now. I needed that sort of edgy financial desperation in order to access the edgy existential desperation of the Rider.
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#155

Post by blocho »

37. Army of One (2016)

The Movie: There is a type of character who can best be described as the kook -- a deeply eccentric person, possessed by odd beliefs and enmeshed in odd behavior. Kooks are strange but not scary. The only harm they usually do is to themselves. When they come by, you keep your distance but you don't feel the need to call the cops. Objectively, I know that kooks exist everywhere and they probably show up at equal rates in most societies. But for whatever reason, it often seems like America produces the most kooks or at least publicizes them to the greatest extent. For most of my life, we never really had to worry about kooks. They were bizarre, but that was their saving grace -- their bizarreness meant that no one took them seriously. Elevating kooks to positions of power in our culture and government is only a recent tendency. Certainly, we have plenty of kooks in my home town, New York. And a lot of kooks end up as ex-pats. I'm thinking of the guy I encountered in a bar in Buenos Aires in 2008 who insisted he was the first American army helicopter pilot in Vietnam despite being about 30 years old when I met him. Or the guy I met at a hostel in Uruguay in 2011 who said he left Texas and came to Montevideo in order to found a new community based on Christianity and marijuana.

Gary Faulkner is a real person and a genuine kook, perhaps even the platonic ideal of a kook, played in this movie with manic energy by Nicolas Cage. A part-time construction worker with failing kidneys, Gary hallucinates that God (Russell Brand) wants him to go to Pakistan to capture Osama Bin Laden. So he goes, and hilarity ensues.

Cage: Who else could play this character? A bunch of names come to mind: Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, maybe Zach Galifianakis. I'm sure they would have done fine. But none of them are better suited than Cage, himself one of the world's greatest kooks. This movie is almost entirely Gary Faulkner -- there are only two or three brief scenes when he's not on screen. And that means it's a whole lot of Cage, who adopts the most nasal voice you've ever heard, along with a scraggly beard and a mangy gray ponytail. If 90 minutes of that sounds unappetizing, this is not your movie. I thought it was fun.

Standout Cage Moment: There are plenty. Pretty much any scene where Cage explains his quest to normal people, which happens about ten times in the movie. There's also the moment when Cage, playing Gary, explains how he wants to eventually be depicted in a movie by Nicolas Cage. Not the first time Cage has gone meta in a movie (Between Worlds).

Cage's Take:
Everybody in America contributed to getting Bin Laden. Like when Bruce Willis put his own personal bounty on Bin Laden. So at first I thought I would play this guy as a poorer Bruce Willis on dialysis. But I figured Bruce wouldn't appreciate that, and me and Bruce have been good buddies ever since that barfight at the Calgary Stampede in 1988. The Swiss philosopher Paracelsus once said, "Dreams must be heeded and accepted. For a great many of them come true." Or maybe it was Jon Voight. I'm not sure. But I was thinking a lot about Voight when I was visualizing this character. I had just seen Heat, and Jon's rocking a pretty sweet ponytail in that movie. And Gary Faulkner is also a ponytail guy. A ponytail guy whose dream came true. The ponytail lifestyle can be rough. I tried to wear one while filming Con Air because I grew my hair out for that role. But John Malkovich cut it off while I was napping.
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#156

Post by brokenface »

bit of a catch up from the last year or two:

13. Mom and Dad (Taylor, 2017) - fun enough, in a limited way
14. Birdy (Parker, 1984) - one of his notable early roles, pretty powerful
15. Color Out of Space (Stanley, 2019) - was suitably weird, not quite as effective as Mandy.
16. Ghost Rider (Johnson, 2007) - blocho only dimly remembers this from seeing it when it came out. I only dimly remember it from seeing it a few weeks ago. Always good to see Cage and Sam Elliott. But the material is just bad.
watched
1. Bringing Out the Dead (Scorsese, 1999) Rewatch
2. The Frozen Ground (Walker, 2013)
3. Kiss of Death (Schroeder, 1995)
4. Matchstick Men (Scott, 2003)
5. Peggy Sue Got Married (Coppola, 1986)
6. Valley Girl (Coolidge, 1983)
7. The Wicker Man (LaBute, 2006)
8. Dying of the Light (Schrader, 2014)
9. Dog Eat Dog (Schrader, 2016)
10. Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018)
11. Army of One (Charles, 2016)
12. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman, 2018)
13. Mom and Dad (Taylor, 2017)
14. Birdy (Parker, 1984)
15. Color Out of Space (Stanley, 2019)
16. Ghost Rider (Johnson, 2007)
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#157

Post by Lammetje »

Can you please update the OP, Broken?
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PeacefulAnarchy wrote:Active topics is the devil. Please use the forums and subforums as intended and peruse all the topics nicely sorted by topic, not just the currently popular ones displayed in a jumbled mess.
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#158

Post by brokenface »

17. World Trade Center (Stone, 2006) - Cage under rubble for half the film
watched
1. Bringing Out the Dead (Scorsese, 1999) Rewatch
2. The Frozen Ground (Walker, 2013)
3. Kiss of Death (Schroeder, 1995)
4. Matchstick Men (Scott, 2003)
5. Peggy Sue Got Married (Coppola, 1986)
6. Valley Girl (Coolidge, 1983)
7. The Wicker Man (LaBute, 2006)
8. Dying of the Light (Schrader, 2014)
9. Dog Eat Dog (Schrader, 2016)
10. Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018)
11. Army of One (Charles, 2016)
12. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman, 2018)
13. Mom and Dad (Taylor, 2017)
14. Birdy (Parker, 1984)
15. Color Out of Space (Stanley, 2019)
16. Ghost Rider (Johnson, 2007)
17. World Trade Center (Stone, 2006)
Last edited by brokenface on September 9th, 2021, 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#159

Post by brokenface »

Lammetje wrote: September 6th, 2021, 9:26 pm Can you please update the OP, Broken?
sure, done. Here's the latest:


Participants (update 09 Sep 2021)
blocho 37
albajos 21
brokenface 17
Carmel1379 15
Lammetje 9
OldAle1 6
nimimerkillinen 5
vortexsurfer 3
allisoncm 1
funkybusiness 1


View count
8
Mandy (2018)

4
Valley Girl (1983)
Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
The Wicker Man (2006)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

3
Moonstruck (1987)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Wild at Heart (1990)
The Trust (2016)

2
Birdy (1984)
Fire Birds (1990)
Zandalee (1991)
Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
Face/Off (1997)
8MM (1999)
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
National Treasure (2003)
Lord of War (2005)
World Trade Center (2006)
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)
Season of the Witch (2011)
Left Behind (2014)
Army of One (2016)
Dog Eat Dog (2016)
Arsenal (2017)
Color Out of Space (2019)

1
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Rumble Fish (1983)
The Cotton Club (1984)
Racing for the Moon (1984)
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted (1990)
Red Rock West (1993)
Trapped in Paradise (1994)
Kiss of Death (1995)
Snake Eyes (1996)
Con Air (1997)
City of Angels (1998)
The Family Man (2000)
Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)
Adaptation. (2002)
Matchstick Men (2003)
Ghost Rider (2007)
Bangkok Dangerous (2008)
G-Force (2009)
Kick-Ass (2010)
Seeking Justice (2011)
Stolen (2012)
The Croods (2013)
The Frozen Ground (2013)
Joe (2013)
Dying of the Light (2014)
Rage (2014)
The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? (2015)
The Runner (2015)
Snowden (2016)
USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016)
The Humanity Bureau (2017)
Vengeance: A Love Story (2017)
Mom and Dad (2017)
Between Worlds (2018)
Looking Glass (2018)
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018)
Kill Chain (2019)
Pig (2021)

67 titles in total
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#160

Post by blocho »

38. Inconceivable (2017)

The Movie: A domestic thriller. Or is it? This movie is so thoroughly devoid of thrills and suspense that it may be more accurate to call it an anti-thriller. Perhaps it's really an exploration of the limits of genre or a parody of the concept of cinematic entertainment. I found myself far more interested in the rudimentary set design, which seemed like a ghoulish satire on the aesthetic nihilism of suburban affluence. Cage and Gina Gershon play a rich couple with a young daughter. Nicky Whelan comes into their lives as a single parent who becomes a live-in nanny, and yadda yadda yadda who cares? I'll give the movie credit for three things: (1) revealing just how much cosmetic surgery Faye Dunaway has had done, (2) a few decent plot turns plus a final one that's ludicrously bad, and (3) a title which accurately describes the movie's own existence.

Cage: Pallid. A ghost. I've never seen a movie in which Cage had less presence. Admittedly, he's only the third lead here, but he was the 12th lead in The Cotton Club, and he made more of an impact in that role than in this one. Why did they even cast him for such a boring ass character? I normally expect Cage to do at least something of interest with a role, but it would have been impossible here.

Standout Cage Moment: None.

Cage's Take:
It was nice working with Gina again. We hadn't worked together since Face/Off. That's the movie I made with Michael Bay and Sean Connery, where I played an alcoholic in Las Vegas. I remember Sean saying to me once, "The aesthetics of acting are like the cruelest sunlight." Or maybe that's what the bartender said to me when I was doing bumps off the hubcaps at the car dealership with Mickey Rourke. But I want to be clear: I am completely antidrug. I don't do drugs. Anyway, once Sean and I were done with the snot fuel, we made Con Air into a hell of a movie. I don't remember which role Gina played, though.
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