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9 Nicolas Cage Films, Brilliant to Bonkers

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Nicholas Cage Raising Arizona image
20th Century Studios

As there is so much to go through, let’s look at nine Nicolas Cage films rated brilliant to bonkers.

Love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Nicolas Kim Coppola, aka, Nicolas Cage, has made some interesting films. And within those films some very interesting performances. He’s won an Academy Award; Golden Globe and been nominated for many other awards. He’s made 110 movies in his career so far that have amounted to over four billion dollars in box office sales worldwide.

He’s been a big hitter in the industry. But not all the films he’s made have been great. Some of them have been absolute turkeys. He’s also pulled off some quite bizarre performances throughout his career. Some of his more recent flops have somewhat overshadowed the genuine great films he has been in. With that in mind, it’s only fair to get stuck into his eclectic filmography.

1. Raising Arizona

This crime comedy pitted Cage with legendry actress Holly Hunter. Written and directed by the Coen brothers it focusses on Cage’s character who’s an ex-convict. He marries a girl and after finding out he’s infertile, they plot to steal a baby. That premise sounds rather dark, but it’s played out light-heartedly.

There are some brilliant over-the-top touches, as you would expect from the Coen brothers. Along with the direction and fantastic script, there is some electric chemistry between Hunter and Cage that adds to the charm of this movie. Yes, it’s a bid mad and some of the performances are over-the-top, but this is one movie where they are one hundred percent needed. Nicolas Cage is full-blown Cage before it was even a thing. A comedy classic.

2. Leaving Las Vegas

This 1995 drama was the film that landed Cage an Oscar and Golden Globe for best actor. The story revolves around the slow demise of Cage’s character into alcoholism after losing his job as a screenwriter. It also explores the relationship he builds with a prostitute, played by Elizabeth Shue. It’s a departure from the more upbeat and eccentric roles that Cage had done before, and a lot of it is quite dark. He plays the role very well, taking the viewer on an exhilarating and dark ride into personal destruction. There’s no wonder Cage won awards for this performance as he delivers a brilliant insight into the downward spiral of a man without hope.

3. Face/Off

This John Woo directed action thriller from 1997 is a cult classic. Not only for all the explosive actions scenes but for the actual story. Even over twenty years since it was released, the concept is still bizarre. Cage and John Travolta play a criminal sociopath and an FBI agent respectively. Cage’s character gets knocked into a coma after revealing there is a hidden bomb. Travolta’s character then undergoes experimental face transplant surgery to infiltrate his gang. Cage then wakes up and forces the surgeon to put Travolta’s face on his.

Now, in real life, this is just silly, but in movie land, it works brilliantly. The film is an action masterpiece with superb choreography, musical score and direction. But the crème de la crème is the acting from Cage and Travolta. They manage to switch between each other’s characters effortlessly to the point you’re not even sure who’s who. This is Cage at his absolute best.

4. Con Air

Another action movie from the 90s, but this time directed by Simon West. This is one of my personal Cage favourites. He plays Cameron Poe; an honoured war hero who is hitching a plane ride home after serving eight years for accidental manslaughter. The problem is the plane ride he’s on is transferring some of America’s most dangerous criminals to a new super-prison. Not surprisingly, the plane gets hijacked, and Cage finds himself caught up in a criminal plot.

There’s plenty of fine action sequences, but also a stellar supporting cast. John Malkovich and Steve Buscemi deliver some excellent performances. Cage ends up being the hero and saving the day (obviously), and he’s the perfect action hero. It’s a more understated performance, but he still delivers the punches and has some cracking one-liners. The bit where he tells one of the convicts to put the bunny back in the box is legendary. Grab a box of popcorn, sit back and enjoy.

5. The Rock

This action flick, along with the previous two films, makes up the final piece of the ‘holy trinity of Nicolas Cage action movies. All three of these films were hugely successful and The Rock is no exception. Set on Alcatraz, the plot follows an ex-soldier who threatens to destroy San Francisco with chemical weapons if his demands are not met. Cue a retired SAS officer (Sean Connery) and an FBI chemist (Cage) to lead a team to save the day. It’s a great movie in its own right with a superb cast.

The script is fantastic, and the direction and action is done with aplomb. Cage plays the role of a slightly crazy chemist, as you would expect. There are moments of cool and calm but also glimpses of pure Cage madness. The famous rocket man scene towards the end of the movie highlights that best. An already great movie made better with Cage in it.

6. The Wicker Man

As we descend our countdown into the realms of bonkers films, we arrive at The Wicker Man. This remake form 2006 is a bit of a turkey. It’s usually an unwise decision to remake a classic movie, and this one proves no different. The story is based around a cop who goes to an island to look for his missing daughter.

Unfortunately, the island is inhabited by neo-pagans, so lots of weird stuff starts happening. The problem is that Cage is not suited to the role. His one-liners don’t work with the films narrative and the whole things come off as unintentionally funny. A prime is an example of this is when Cage’s character is tied to the floor by a group of pagan women. He then shouts, ‘killing me won’t bring back your goddam honey’. You can’t help but laugh. He also dresses as a bear and punches a woman.

And who can forget the bee scene that’s now a world-famous internet meme? This one is worth watching if you need a laugh.

7. Deadfall

This crime drama from 1993 was actually directed by Nicolas Cage’s brother, Chris Copplola. This is another movie that you can’t help but laugh along to. It’s certainly not a comedy. It’s an attempt at crime noir, but it could almost pass as slapstick. This is mostly due to Cage’s conman character. Donning what looks like a wig and moustache, he spends the entire movie having cocaine-infused meltdowns. When’s he’s not screaming at random people, he’s spouting monologues of nonsense and even gyrates with a mattress. Classic Cage.

8. Mandy

This more recent offering features Cage’s character on a mission of revenge. The film is directed by Panos Cosmatos; son of Rambo director George P Cosmatos. It’s a psychedelic horror movie based around a hippie cult who kidnap Cage’s girlfriend. His character goes to seek revenge, but there is so much more to it. Visually, this film is stunning. And Nicolas Cage does a sterling job of slowly going mad as he wreaks his revenge through the cult. There’s plenty of violence and plenty of drugs. It’s almost as its Cage’s whole career was leading up to this performance.

Seeing his blood-soaked character wielding an axe that looks like it’s from Lord of the Rings is sublime. And this is a film that is set in the 1980s. It defies genres and will blow your mind. You can tell that Nicolas Cage knows he is something special here.

9. Mom and Dad

We’ve arrived at the end of our countdown. We’ve seen Nicolas Cage win academy awards and critical acclaim but now we are at the top end of crazy performances. Mom and Dad is a black comedy horror that was released in 2017. What’s interesting about this movie is that Cage delivers one of the most over-the-top performances of his career. But the movie also received critical acclaim. Which can’t be said for all of them.

The story revolves around a virus that makes parents want to murder their children. An interesting premise considering the recent global pandemic, but this is packaged as a black comedy. Nic Cage delivers a maniacal performance that is worthy of an award in itself as he tries various ways to bump off his kids. Selma Blair plays his wife and the two of them have great chemistry. There are many bonkers moments in this film. Highlights include the scene where Cage’s character smashes up a pool table. Another classic is where he and Selma try to blow up their kids in a gas cellar.

This is another of his films that seems like it was written especially for Nicolas Cage. Mad; crazy; unhinged and over-the-top. Just how we like it.


Thank you for reading our article on nine brilliant to bonkers Nicholas Cage films. Do you agree with our list? What would your order be? Did we miss any out? Let us know in the comments below.


Read our Leonardo DiCaprio performance ranking HERE.

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Movie News

Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters

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Marvel Studios & Warner Bros.

Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?

Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw

While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.

Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor

Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff

Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.

Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw

Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.

Thor- Gryffindor

Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.

Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor

Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.

Dr Strange- Ravenclaw

Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.

Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff

Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.

Loki- Slytherin

Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.

Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin

This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.

T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff

T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.

Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor

At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.


Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.


Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.

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