Nicolas Cage is one of the most interesting actors working. He has 103 screen credits released on IMDB, and it’s one of the most wide-ranging catalogs you’ll find for any actor. Some are marvelous, some aren’t and some are something else entirely. So, for the next three weeks beginning today, Binge Watch will be devoted to Nicolas Cage—The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I’ll be looking at 15 of his films, five in each category. Today we start with The Good.
Since Cage has so many films, and so many that fit into these categories, I’d like to guarantee this isn’t the last time I’ll take on this quest. But, if you have a favorite Cage film, please be sure to drop it in the comments or drop me a line on Twitter @knighthawk7734.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
About: Cage won an Oscar for playing Ben Sanderson, a failed screenwriter who moves to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There he meets a prostitute (Elizabeth Shue) who makes his last days a bit sweeter. Cage is incredible in this role and Mike Figgis does a great job bringing the story to life. It’s a bittersweet story at best, but it deserved the accolades it got. Cage and Shue are great together on screen.
The Rock (1996)
About: Cage had a pretty magnificent run here, releasing one of the under-rated Michael Bay films a year after his Oscar-winning turn. Here he plays a chemist who teams with Sean Connery, who plays a former prisoner, to help break into Alcatraz Prison to foil a terrorist plot. He has a terrible character name—Stanley Goodspeed—but otherwise I think this is a fun film. I might just be a Bay apologist and fan, but I think this is one of his better early films.
Con Air (1997)
About: Another Jerry Bruckheimer action film, this one from director Simon West. Con Air isn’t my favorite film, but it is a classic and Cage is good in it. He plays Cameron Poe, a recently paroled Ex-Con and former U.S. Army Ranger who is on a prisoner transport plane when the convicts seize control. He naturally has to rise to the occasion and save the day. This is a quintessential 1990s action film, and John Malkovich is a nice bad guy here and in other projects. It’s a decent action film, part of a real hot streak for Cage.
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
About: I know this is a personal favorite of my MCDI colleague Ricky Valero, but this is another winner from Cage. He plays Memphis Raines, a retired master thief who has to steal 50 cars in a hurry to save his brother (Giovanni Ribisi). Director Dominic Sena delivers some good action here, while Angelina Jolie provides a strong supporting performance and plays well off Cage. This one has a good soundtrack and is a fun film with some good chase sequences.
National Treasure (2004)
About: If there was a modern-day successor to Indiana Jones, it would be Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) and the National Treasure films. Someday we may get another, but the original, cited here, and its sequel in 2007 are a lot of fun. Cage is great here as a historian on a quest, and this has everything you’re looking for in an archeological adventure. Cage plays well with co-stars Justin Bartha and Diane Kruger. This is a really enjoyable film to watch time and again.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.