The best of Cage, the worst of Cage

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