“Carla Was The Prom Queen”.
The year was 1996. Those five words were uttered on screen, and I laughed like a giddy ninth grader. Why did I laugh like a giddy ninth grader? Cause I was a giddy ninth grader. Oh, you meant what makes that statement funny. If you don’t know, then you obviously haven’t seen “The Rock.” This movie marked a pivotal time in my young life. I was raised pretty conservatively by my parents and was never allowed to see R rated movies, unless a responsible adult was around and told us when to use ear muffs and blinders of course. But somehow, my friend Jason Harlow and I made it to see The Rock IN THEATERS! Did his dad buy us tickets? Or was my other friend Chris’s (last name omitted) fake ID business doing the job? Or, did we convince the ticket takers that we were worldly, learned young cinema enthusiasts? I can’t exactly remember, but it WAS a Michael Bay film, so you can probably scratch that last one. Jason and I enjoyed The Rock perhaps like only giddy ninth graders could. We laughed at all the profanity, felt awkward during the sex scene, and stared wide eyed at the over the top action (I mean, there was poison, and stabbing your own self in the heart… Crazy. Oh, and special shout out to the score as well, great music). Jason and I came away from that movie wanting to be Sean Connery, and thinking, “Hey, that Nic Cage guy was alright.” How could I have known what was to come?
Did you know that Michael Jordan didn’t make the basketball team his sophomore season in high school? Michael Jordan. He was only about 5’11, and deemed too short to be a legitimate player. So, his coaches put him on the junior varsity team. He played really well, including scoring over 40 points on several occasions. But, there’s no way he could do anything like that at a higher competition level. No way. Of course over the summer, Jordan grew four inches. The rest, as they say, is history. So now you’re thinking, “This idiot is about to make a Cage/Jordan comparison. No way.” Yes way, dude.
Nicolas Cage is my favorite actor. I first became aware of him watching movies like The Rock and Con Air. I’m aware he did some pretty critically acclaimed stuff before then, like Honeymoon in Vegas and Raising Arizona, but I was a bit young for that. He kept popping in and out of my conscience over the years, dropping decent to very good flicks like Gone in 60 Seconds, National Treasure, and Adaptation. All of these movies walk a tight rope between fun and serious, while using “crazy” as a balancing pole. And all of this was prelude to the year 2010, the year I began falling in love with Nicolas Cage. In the 14 years after The Rock, Cage grew a proverbial four inches. And it was time to dominate.
2010 – Kick Ass happened. Never has there been a character that someone was born to play like Cage as Macready/Big Daddy. He was a lunatic, but man, he was lovable. And that scene. THAT SCENE! Goosebumps. Every time. Cage acts it perfectly. It could have been anyone else’s flesh melting off in that chair, and I would not have cared as much. But Cage’s crazy take on Macready made me instantly love him. The way he cares for his daughter, the way he cares for his cause, and the bizarre Adam West-ish dialogue delivery. It was perfect. This made me say “whoa.”
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Cage is playing a Criss Angel/old rockstar inspired magician named Balthazar. This was the year Hollywood wanted Jay Baruchel to be a leading man. There was this movie and that other one, She’s Out of my League. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, but I’m not sure he’s a leading man. In the Jordan analogy, he’s Bobby Hansen. Anyway, this was just a fun little Disney movie, but Cage owned it. Well, Cage and Teresa Palmer. The way he stalked to screen in his rock star clothes, like an angsty tween, but straight crushing fools in magic fights, like THIS angsty tween was awesome. It was not Kick Ass, but then again what is?
Now let’s move on to 2011, the year I fell in total love with Nicolas Cage.
Season of the Witch – Cage obviously loved his wig from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, because he kept it for this movie, which featured a character named “Debelzaq” which is actually pronounced “da ball sack”. No joke, and they said it in this move over and over. This has the be the most blatantly obvious joke-name-that-makes-the-crew-snicker since (click this link, you won’t be sorry) “Ahamo”. This was a great movie for Cage. He got to play a medieval warrior alongside Ron Perlman and fight the devil. Lots of great heroic posing and strutting.
Seeking Justice – This movie had a great plot, and a terrible supporting actress. Cage was giving it his all, going big on even the slightest of gestures or expressions, all to make up for the beautiful, but lifeless January Jones. Seriously. Has anyone ever been more of a painting than her? This had great plot twists, and Cage NOT playing a bad ass for once in this brilliant stretch of movies. See, that’s called range people!
And now, for the crowning jewel that is Nic Cage movies. Go watch this. It’s ok, I’ll wait. Back? Good. This movie fulfilled me as a person. It’s everything I want. The plot is over the top, the action is insane, the 3d-ness was actually used effectively, and most importantly, Nicolas Cage ruled. He was so awesome in this movie. There was a scene…. Hold on I need to compose myself. Ok… There was a scene where he meets a young lady at a bar. Oh, and did I mention that he looked very much like a shiftless hobo? So, Cage, very much looking like a shiftless hobo, meets a young lady and beds her uttering only 5 or 6 words. Smash cut to his hotel room where a fully clothed and sunglasses wearing Cage is blowing this girls mind (in THAT Way), all while smoking a cigar. She is confused as to why he is still wearing clothes (I’m not sure why. Of COURSE Cage keeps his leather jacket on when he’s getting down). He replies “I never disrobe before a gunfight” and the audience is treated to a slow motion battle full of death, awesomeness, and a scared bar fly covered in bad guys blood and not much else. The rest of this movie is incredible. Cage delivers each movement and line with the precision of a mad surgeon. No doubt, this movie is his masterpiece.
So, to recap. 2010 and 2011 are the years Cage cemented himself on the Mount Rushmore of my acting mind. The only catch is, each of the four faces are Cage, acting in his varied roles from these glorious two years. Think about it. If you want to have a fulfilled career, what do you want? Cage has it all. Money? Check. The opportunity to take chances on himself? Check. And probably the biggest perk, having fun. Yup, another check. Is anyone in Hollywood having more fun than Cage? I submit, no. Thank you, Nic! And thank you, reader! I leave you with this amazing, totally not safe for work, YouTube clip of Nic Cage losing his shit.