Monday, November 30, 2015

The best of Cage, the worst of Cage

Nicolas Cage returns to indies with his title role in the hardluck Texas tale 'Joe.' It's the veteran actor's first stab at something down home and real in a long time. A quick look at the Oscar-winning, Razzie-nominated, Coppola family man's up and down career.

The best of Cage, the worst of Cage

Tye Sheridan sports the firearm, Nicolas Cage sports the look of woe, in "Joe."
Tye Sheridan sports the firearm, Nicolas Cage sports the look of woe, in "Joe."

In Joe, the hardscrabble tale of a whiskey-stoked, cigarette-smoked ex-con who runs a tree-poisoning business in backcountry Texas, Nicolas Cage gives the kind of performance we haven’t seen from the guy in years – it’s rooted in the real.  Directed by David Gordon Green, adapted from the 1991 Larry Brown novel, Joe opens Friday at the Ritz Bourse and the Bryn Mawr Film Institute – and serves to remind moviegoers that Cage is capable of more than cartoonish turns in comic book actioners, Hollywood horror and high-concept fare.

The actor turned 50 in January, and, according to IMDB, has 74 screen credits to his name. Here’s a quick look back at the best and the worst the Oscar-winning, Razzie-nominated star is capable of -- a Cage match of the stellar, and the cellar, roles.

The Best                                                                                             

Leaving Las Vegas (1995) -- Cage wins Academy Award for his portrayal of a suicidal drunk

Moonstruck(1987) -- Cage courts Cher in marinara-sauced Brooklyn romance

Raising Arizona (1987)– Cage and Holly Hunter, in Coen Brothers kidnapping srewballer

Wild At Heart (1990) -- Cage and David Lynch, and a crazy Elvis impression

Adaptation (1991) – Cage in twin roles, in the nutty Charlie Kaufman/Spike Jonze uber-angster

The Worst

Season of the Witch (2011) – Cage IS Behmen von Bleibruck in Crusades catastrophe

The Wicker Man (2006) – Cage in remake of pagan sacrifice cult classic

Ghost Rider (2007) – Cage as chopper-gunnin' Satanic bounty hunter in adaptation of Marvel comic

Bangkok Dangerous (2008) – Cage as hitman hamming his way through Thai capital

Amos & Andrew (1993) – Cage and Samuel L. Jackson in race-themed comedy matchup

Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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