DVD Patrol: Our favorite Nic Cage movies

The team is back and they have picked some great movies! It’s never easy picking something for all of us to write about. With the new Ghost Rider coming out in theaters, I had to pitch this one to the guys and they really went all out. Nicolas Cage has proven to be an actor who picks a wide range of movies from action movies (which I love) to movies with a lot of drama (like Windtalkers and Leaving Las Vegas) or comedies (Valley Girl and Kick Ass). Maybe these movies will appeal to you and all of them are now available on DVD. See if you agree with some of their picks.

SHAWN MAGRATH

“National Treasure”

Nicolas Cage has always been near the top of my favorite actors list, regardless of what critics say about some of his weaker movie performances in the past. Even the overly eccentric, danger-seeking, desperate-for-attention Saturday Night Live rendition of the actor doesn’t seem to turn me away from his new movies.

My favorite Nicolas Cage movie? I have to go with “National Treasure,” which proved to be a big hit for Disney when it was released in 2004. Of course, being a Disney film, the movie offered a pretty mild role for the actor whose next character would be an illegal arms dealer in “Lord of War.” 

Maybe it wasn’t so much Cage’s acting in the film that got my attention as much as it was the plot: An historian and amateur cryptologist is looking for an ancient Egyptian treasure. Sounds Good. This treasure can only be found through a series of clues left behind by our nation’s forefathers. Sounds sort of plausible, I guess. A treasure map on the back of the US Declaration of Independence would lead to priceless artifacts hidden by a secret American organization during the Revolutionary War. That’s a bit of a stretch, but what the heck – I’m a dreamer. 

So perhaps this family adventure was a little far fetched – which is why it was received so differently among movie critics. It left a lasting impression on me. Now, when I think of the Declaration of Independence, I don’t think of American rebels’ quest for freedom from an imperialistic government in a yearning for democracy; I think of Nicolas Cage and treasure maps and stealing the Declaration of Independence in a fantastic, Disney adventure (which I know doesn’t do our nation’s heritage any justice whatsoever. After all, Nicolas Cage didn’t lead troops across the frozen Delaware River or write the Preamble of the Constitution). 



Who cares if there were a few too many twists in the plot that made it a little unbelievable? It’s a Nicolas Cage movie and as he’s shown in movies past, his persona can make it difficult to look away.

JULIAN KAPPEL

“Raising Arizona”

Alright, I never thought I’d have so much trouble picking my favorite Nicolas Cage movie, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Shawn put it best when he said it causes “mixed emotions.”

I wouldn’t call him my favorite actor but while reviewing his illustrious career, a few films stand out. I had just recently watched Ghost Rider for the 4th time when we got this assignment so that was my first thought (guilty pleasure movie.) Gone in Sixty Seconds and Con-Air also stood out as they are two movie I will watch every single time I see them on T.V. (especially Con-Air). I had one thought that I would do The Wicker Man just to point out one of his worst performances (”OH, NO! NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES! AAAAHHH! OH, THEY’RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAHHH! etc...) but decided against it.

So, I finally settled on my favorite, Raising Arizona. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Coen brothers (No Country For Old Men, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski) and Raising Arizona was very early in both their and Cage’s careers.

The concept is fairly simple. Robber meets pretty cop, they get married, they can’t conceive, they steal a baby from a furniture tycoon ... hilarity ensues.

It’s great movie with some excellent writing, but what makes it my favorite Nick Cage movie is his nuanced performance. There is none of the Cage-screaming insanely scenes we’ve come to expect from other movies (“THE BEES!!”) and instead we see a more dead-pan humor kind of Cage.

Therefore, I would highly recommend this film to anyone who has not had the pleasure.

BRIAN GOLDEN

“Kick-Ass”

As a fan of all things comic book related (not to mention artist John Romita, Jr.), the Matthew Vaughn-directed “Kick-Ass” was in many ways a breath of fresh air when it comes to Hollywood’s recent fascination with superhero franchises, and apparently fellow comic book collector and actor Nicolas Cage agrees with me.

Everyday, ordinary teenager Dave Lizewski – portrayed to great “comic” effect by Aaron Johnson – wants nothing more than to be a real-life superhero. As such, the young comic book fan takes crime-fighting into his own hands, crafting a one-of-a-kind costume and – with no real training whatsoever – taking to the streets to fight crime as the hero Kick-Ass.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) for Dave, his first attempt to do so leads to his being stabbed, beaten and run over, resulting in permanent nerve damage. Once he’s recovered from his wounds, however, Dave discovers he’s gained a “super” ability after all ... he no longer feels pain and – thanks to a number of surgical implants – is able to avoid further injury.

Eventually, Kick-Ass runs into a pair of fellow superheroes, although Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) both appear to be highly trained and are on a mission to take down crime boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong).

Cage, as I said, has a passion for comic books (he sold a copy of Action Comics #1 in 2011 for $2.16 million and has a son named Kal-El), and you can tell he and the rest of the cast had an absolute blast making the film. A note to parents, this movie is not – and I repeat – NOT for children, gloriously living up to its R-rating. For grown-ups, however, it’s one hell of a ride.

JEFF GENUNG

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

Sorry to throw a wet blanket on your teamup, Toddster. Turns out in searching through the IMDB list of Mr. Cage’s credits that I’ve never actually seen a Nicolas Cage movie in its entirety, hence my reaching back all the way to 1982 to find one. I’ll spare you my sophomoric review of this raunchy team sex comedy (in which Nic, under his given name Nicolas Coppola, appears as “Brad’s Bud”) because I’m pretty sure I wasn’t even a freshman when it came out. Back to you, Todd.

TODD CAMPBELL

“Ghost Rider”

I’m slowly finding out that my team have all been some kind of comic book collector at one time or another. Marvel Comics has been putting a lot of their characters out in movies in the last ten years and have really been hitting home runs with them like with Spider Man, X-Men, and Blade. When I heard that Nicolas Cage had been cast for Ghost Rider. I first thought ‘Will this work? I was pleasantly surprised. I read the comic when I was a kid and how would this translate to the big screen?

Director Mark Steven Johnson proved he had what it took to work with Marvel when he brought ‘Daredevil” to the big screen starring Ben Affleck. Johnson working with Cage just did an absolutely incredible job. Cage plays Johnny Blaze. Blaze is one of the greatest motorcycle riders and stuntmen. As a young man, he makes the mistake of signing a contract to save his father (Brett Cullen) who’s dying from cancer. The contract Johnny signs makes good and his Father is cured. The contract promises was given to by the devil (Peter Fonda) and we all know that’s never good. Johnny made mistakes and forgot to read the fine print. His dad dies in a stunt gone wrong. The man he signed the contract with also happens to be a demon and now he wants to collect. Johnny has been picked to be the Ghost Rider. As the Rider, he collects the souls of the those they prey on the innocent.

Years go by and Johnny is having some great success. Now he has to start collecting souls and his lady love Roxanne (Eve Mendes) has come back into the picture. The first assignment he has to go after Blackheart (Wes Simpson). He’s after an ancient contract that will grant the power to take over hell. Will Johnny be able to stop him and get his soul back in the process?

The special effects were great and Cage has this “wild streak” I like to call it that he puts into his performances that make really stands out. I have also reviewed the new sequel and that will be here next week.

Cage has a great and long resume of movies that really doesn’t disappoint. He’s going to be taking some time off but I do know that there is another “National Treasure” movie in the works. We’ll be back with some new DVDs next week along with some movie reviews that the Toddster has been busy with. We started the new year with a bang and we’re just getting started. The Toddster will return.

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