Nicolas Cage, The Real National Treasure

Years ago, a couple of things became readily apparent to me in regards to Nicolas Cage, Oscar winner and bizarre member of the Coppola family. The first was that the man was capable of turning his frequent toilet-dwelling roles into gleeful, over-the-top gold. The second was that he actually has the ability to be a first-rate thespian when he’s in the exact right situation and trying. As many of you have likely found out, the Cage is never boring; whether he’s screaming at the top of his lungs for no scripted reason, bugging his eyes in an effort to make us truly believe he has no eyelids, or somehow lending a solemn sincerity to his character, this guy is in it to win it.

The Cager once rose up to the ranks of Hollywood royalty, even scoring that aforementioned Oscar for his participation in Leaving Las Vegas. While his star power began to dwindle a bit, he was still able to succeed in niche roles like the ones he was given as a leading man in The Weather Man and Matchstick Men, thus leading me to believe he could only work in films with some permutation of the word ‘man’ in the title. And then Mr. Cage hit a wall, a financial wall in fact. That tends to happen when one has too strong a proclivity for haunted mansions, shrunken heads, and dinosaur bones. These aren’t the purchases of a frugal man, and I swear to you they’re all real.

The result of Cage’s financial indiscretions was a need to take on just about any role he was offered, and holy shit did he oblige the filmmakers asking him. Cage has starred in such decidedly non-prestige fare as The Wicker Man remake, Bangkok Dangerous, and yet another adaptation of Left Behind. The good news is that our hero was not willing to sleepwalk through the majority of these laughable roles, instead turning in memorable performances that make the actor seem nothing if not cocaine-addled. These are the kind of showstoppers that necessitate you telling a friend or three and making frequent trips to the fridge for another beer.

I’ve taken great joy in catching any Cage effort I can, but I’ll admit that various reasons kept me from the man’s work for far too long. As a result, I have plenty of catching up to do. I intend to chronicle the results on this very site, running down the insane plot points and wild Cage moments for all to see. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even catch a true gem here and there. After all, Cage’s subdued turn in Joe was masterful, and his unhinged psychosis is perfect for his Big Daddy character in Kick-Ass.

I won’t be sticking strictly to Cage during my newly-planned venture, however. Since my age had barely reached double digits I’ve enjoyed bad or bizarre films more than the average person, and I want to offer a snapshot of my experiences here. I believe I’ll call this new feature The Junk Drawer. I won’t approach these experiences with the expectation of offering a full review unless the mood strikes me, as I’d rather offer a peek into their nonsensical approach to creating entertainment instead. While the subject matter will be broader than just Cage viewings, just know that he’s my inspiration. In fact, I believe I’ll check out eBay and see if anyone has a prehistoric robot I can buy.

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