5. Deadfall (1993)
Directed by Cage’s own brother Christopher Coppola, Deadfall is a complete dreg of a movie that doesn’t even attempt to hold Cage back from doing whatever the hell he wants with his screen time.
In it, Cage plays Eddy King (for the first time), premiering the porn-star moustache and fake rubber nose, utilising every frame he’s in to try and out-Cage even himself.
In one scene that finds King accusing his lover of cheating, Cage lets loose a tirade of hilarious ‘Cage-isms’ culminating with him having a hysterical hissy fit on the bed.
This could easily be Cage at his worst. Or best, depending on your outlook.
4. Kick-Ass (2010)
Nicolas Cage is big fan of superheroes. Over the years he’s played Ghost Rider in two sub-par outings, lent his voice to the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and was even up for the role of Superman in an ill-fated 90s reboot. But in the Mathew Vaughn directed adaptation of cult comic book Kick-Ass, Cage gets to flex his superhero powers once more. This time though, he’s a tough-loving moustached father by the name of Big Daddy.
In a scene that finds Big Daddy (looking all-budget Batman) and our hero Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) tied up and ready for a live broadcast execution, Big Daddy is set on fire and begins burning to death as he shouts out tactical commands to his superhero daughter.
It’s Cage’s delivery of the lines here that elevate the generic dialogue into something only Nicolas Cage could deliver.
3. Face/Off (1997)
John Woo gives us two Nicolas Cages performances for the price of one.
Nicolas Cage is big bad terrorist Caster Troy who’s being hunted by FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) until a plane crash nearly kills Caster and, along with him, information about a bomb set to go off somewhere in the city within the next few days. So, being a highly trained and rational human being, Archer decides to get a little face transplant and go undercover as Caster Troy (stay with me) to gain information on the bomb’s whereabouts. Meanwhile, the real (and now very faceless) Caster awakes and forces the surgeon to put Archer’s unused face on his and play him at his own game.
There are so many scenes to pick from here, but we’ll take ours from the opening credits where Cage is disguised as a priest, and generally chewing up the scenery.
After a celebratory dance and belting out a few lines of ‘Hallelujah’ with a performing choir, Cage grabs the backside of one of the young singers and gives a big, wide-eyed, orgasmic gaze to the heavens.
2. Vampire’s Kiss (1989)
In this offbeat black comedy, Nicolas Cage plays a troubled publishing executive who slowly descends further and further into madness when he believes a bite from a strange woman has begun his transformation into a vampire.
The whole film acts as an exercise for Cage to indulge in his bizarre acting choices, letting him fully off the reins and, in doing so, giving us some of the most GIF-worthy takes of his career.
For this list though, we’re focusing on the ‘alphabet scene’ in which Cage’s character, Peter Loew, is having trouble understanding how someone can misfile a document. The result is a full-Cage explosion of dramatically reciting the alphabet before some hilariously over-the-top physical posing.
1. The Wicker Man (2006)
Few performances demand as much attention as Nicolas Cage’s in The Wicker Man.
There’s no getting around the quality of the film. It’s bad. Really, really bad. And it’s frequently regarded as one of Cage’s worst films (no mean feat considering some of the other entries on this list). But Cage’s ability to fully commit to whatever ridiculous scenario the script has him doing is one to be admired.
This film had it all. Cage yelling at small children, punching women in the face, and Cage in a full-blown bear costume, just… punching more women in the face. But there is one scene in particular had Cage dig deep to deliver one of the most excruciating takes of his whole career.
Having been caught by a predominantly female pagan cult on a secluded island, Policeman Edward Malus has both his legs broken at the knee and a nest of bees poured all over his face. Yelling such lines as “This won’t bring back your honey” and “The bees! They’re in my eyes!” should be enough to warrant this as number one on this list of Most Cage Moments.
I write film articles, sketch comedy and prose fiction.
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