For The Love Of Film is UTG’s newest creation from film nerd and lover of all movies Justin Proper. Sometimes you need some help to figure out how to enjoy movies, and we are here to help! No longer will you need to fear movie night because your friends have no taste in film. With this column you will be able to love even the worst gems to ever grace the silver screen.
The month of November is upon us, and we here at UTG (well, Dane and I anyway) have decided to dedicate this month to the greatest actor in the entire history of cinema: Nicolas Cage. I can tell that some of you reading this think this is some dumb hipster thing where liking something so obviously bad is cool. I assure you this is not the case. Nicolas Cage is not an ironic mustache, he is a full blown wizard beard that has taken decades to perfect. Loving Cage is no easy feat, it takes hard work and dedication. Much like a beard, appreciating Nic Cage will take some effort but in the end it is worth it. Welcome to Nic-Cage-November.
You may think you know Nicolas Cage, but in case you do not I will give you a quick bio. Cage was born in 1964 as Nicholas Kim Coppola. Yes, that Coppola family. He dropped out of high school at age 17 to pursue an acting career, which you should not do if you are an impressionable youth reading this. His first acting role was in the 1982 film Fast Times At Ridgemont High (look for him as an employee at the burger joint). Shortly after that he changed his last name to Cage and started getting more work. Over 70 films later Nicolas Cage is now a household name (if you live in my house).
As with any great actor there are people out there just waiting to take shots at Nicolas Cage. A word often thrown around when talking about him in movies is “overacting”. This has always confused me. His job is to act, so how can he be overacting? When Michael Jordan dominated basketball by scoring a million points in one game (or whatever) was he overcompeting? After Stephen Hawking invented time and black holes did anyone say he was overscienceing? When I compared Cage to these great men at the top of their fields was I over-exaggerating? Probably, but the point remains, Cage is not overacting, he is just acting way too much for most eyeballs to handle.
A lot of movies Mr. Cage have been in are terrible. There is no denying it. That does not mean he did not act well in them. I have seen Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance more times than most folks and I assure you that Nicolas Cage is Ghost Rider. I do not mean he played the character of Ghost Rider, I mean he became Ghost Rider. It is like that with all of his roles. Regardless of the script, Nic makes damn sure he is giving his all to be the character he is supposed to be.
Not only does Cage dedicate himself to his roles, he also worked hard to become successful. As I previously mentioned Cage was born into the Coppola family. This would make it pretty easy for him to get roles (or be a director) but instead of participating in Hollywood nepotism he changed his name early on to ensure he was getting roles based on his abilities. Speaking of that name change, Nicolas decided on Cage as his last name based on the comic book character Luke Cage. Not only that, he also named one of his kids Kal-El, which is Superman’s alien name. Clearly, the man loves comics.
The next time someone says that Nicolas Cage is a bad actor I hope you stop and think. Think about how he has been in over 70 films. Think about how he dedicates himself to his roles. Think about how convincing he is as his characters. But most of all, think about how he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Leaving Las Vegas. Would a bad actor win that award? Next week I will dive in to some of his “bad” movies and explain why they are actually awesome, in the meantime I will leave you with a quote from legendary film critic Roger Ebert.
“There are often lists of the great living male movie stars: De Niro, Nicholson and Pacino, usually. How often do you see the name of Nicolas Cage? He should always be up there. He’s daring and fearless in his choice of roles, and unafraid to crawl out on a limb, saw it off and remain suspended in air. No one else can project inner trembling so effectively…. He always seems so earnest. However improbable his character, he never winks at the audience. He is committed to the character with every atom and plays him as if he were him.”
Yeah, Nic Cage rules.