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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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9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies

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Wayne's World image
Paramount Pictures

There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.

1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)

Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.

2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)

Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.

3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)

You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.

4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.

5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)

Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.

6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)

I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.

7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)

This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.

8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)

We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.

9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)

Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.


That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.

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