Top 5 Nicolas Cage Movies Since 2010–Top 5 Tuesday
Not the bees!
Later this week a new movie starring the impeccable Nicolas Cage is opening. Jiu Jitsu is a martial arts fantasy flick directed by Dimitri Logothetis which also stars Tony Jaa, Alain Moussi and Frank Grillo. However, for the purpose of this article I’m only interested in Mr. Cage.
He’s beloved by many, including myself, but for an extended period of time now he’s also been known for featuring in absolute schlock. Gone are the days of Leaving Las Vegas, in which he won the Oscar for best leading role. He’s attached to such a massive amount of inferior content these days that it’s difficult to ascertain where the good movies are. When approximately 90% (not exact math) of the flicks people see you in are garbage that tends to happen.
And yet he’s been in some legitimately great movies in the past decade, even as he stars in these direct-to-video masterpieces. Even when the movies themselves aren’t exactly memorable he still sometimes manages to put in fun performances in them. He’s not exempt from stinkers, but no actor is, especially as their career reaches longer lengths.
I want to discuss the top five films since 2010 that, in my eyes, exemplify the Nicolas Cage experience. Roger Ebert said in his review for Knowing–an underrated gem of a film that unfortunately I could not include because it’s from 2009, along with Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans–that Cage “has two speeds, intense and intenser.” I agree with this, and the rest of what he said in that paragraph about him being “an intriguing actor because he takes chances.”
I also once read that he looks at a script and decides based on the quality of it whether he’s going to ham it up or not. I can’t confirm this as fact because I don’t even know where I read it. It’s just something I need to believe is true.
So with that all out of the way, here are my choices for the best films starring Nicolas Cage in a role of any size since 2010. These can be based on his individual performance or the flick as a whole, but one tends to correlate to the other. Keep in mind that I have not seen every film because I would be 95 if I spent that much time solely watching his flicks.
5: Color Out of Space
This one almost didn’t make the cut, and perhaps it wouldn’t have if I had seen a film like Joe, which I hear is quite good. Unfortunately, that one was lost in the shuffle.
That doesn’t mean that Color Out of Space isn’t without its fair share of merit. It captured H.P. Lovecraft well and it is pleasant seeing a horror movie that delights in being colourful. It’s an overlooked film of this year, even if I don’t believe that it’s truly one of the best.
The main reason I’m iffy on including it is because the performance that Cage gives is a little more polarizing. I can completely understand why a viewer may disregard it as trash because he delivers some lines in a truly strange way that isn’t always endearing. At first I fell into that camp but as the film progressed so did my appreciation for what he was doing. It’s unclear to me whether my acceptance was just adaptation or being forgiving towards something that didn’t deserve it. Either way, it’s interesting.
Kick-Ass is flawed. The first twenty minutes are good but then there’s a period of time afterward that made me rethink my initial impressions. It redeemed itself in the second half, however.
When it’s at its best it’s an entertaining and dark superhero romp–it is also when it includes Hit Girl and Big Daddy, played by our boy Nicolas Cage. As seen in the video clip above, he completely nails the role and is easily the best part. He has a degree of craziness and, yeah, intensity that lends itself brilliantly to this subversion of Batman. Tapping Cage for the role was a stroke of genius.
Matthew Vaughn would go on to hone his craft and deliver an amazing flick like Kingsmen: The Secret Service, along with two of the better X-Men movies in First Class and Days of Future Past. Kick-Ass is lesser in comparison but it is a good place to come on board with the man’s work.
3: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
“We don’t pick the ballroom, we just dance.” While this is an animated film so we don’t get to see the live-action zaniness of Nic Cage, his voice is still perfect for the role of Spider-Man Noir, a guy yanked out of the 1930s and dropped into modern times.
The movie itself is extremely clever and deservedly beloved to those who saw it, but his performance still lent a lot to the effective writing. Sure, the lines might have still been relatively funny had a different voice delivered them, but they reach greater heights because he really knew what to channel that era.
2: Mom & Dad
Mom & Dad is an overlooked horror comedy about parents who are afflicted with a problem that makes them become murderous monsters… but only to their own children. The premise itself is intriguing but the masterstroke was, as you may have guessed from this article, the casting of Cage.
We all know he does crazy better than pretty much anybody in Hollywood. There are numerous compilations on YouTube of his best freak-outs, so with Mom & Dad we get to basically watch him freak-out for a decent chunk of the runtime. Let the man run wild like Hulkamania and you find gold.
Mandy came out the same year as Mom & Dad so to me he was one of the most exciting actors of that year–which in 2018 felt odd but satisfying to say. I gave him the award for the second best actor of that year in the Library Chess Productions Movie Awards that my friend and I did.
I wouldn’t be surprised if director/co-writer Panos Cosmatos penned this with Cage in mind because it appears to be tailor-made for his brand. It’s part horror, part revenge flick, and wholly originally. The visuals are drenched in surrealist colour and imagery, while Jóhann Jóhannsson’s (rest in peace) soundtrack was a banger that helped this atmosphere stay on point.
So the film works from both a technical and narrative standpoint. In the center of it, however, is Cage, who proficiently plays an angry, broken man who must exact revenge for the wrongs done to him. While the performance is certainly filled with unbridled rage, there’s an element of amusement present; he was having the time of his life and that translated.
Mandy has one of the best Nicolas Cage performances, but it’s also one of the best flicks he has ever starred in. Seek it out if you haven’t because it’s worth your while.
There you have it, the top five Nicolas Cage movies since 2010. What movies would you add or subtract to this list? Let me know in the comments below. I’m going to attempt to do more top five lists going forward, so that may end up becoming a semiregular Tuesday event.
There’s only one man who’s crazier than Nic Cage and it’s this guy.