Cage

Nicolas Cage by decade: the best and worst

2014-04-17T00:00:00Z Nicolas Cage by decade: the best and worstMelinda Sue Gordon

Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

April 17, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Nicolas Cage has been in a lot of dumb movies, like 2005’s “The Weather Man.”

Nicolas Cage turned 50 in January, a good time to reflect on a career that spans more than 30 years and 75 films. Some of the movies have literally been “National Treasures.” Others, not so much. • Like the fiery skulled motorcyclist from hell he portrayed in the “Ghost Rider” franchise, Cage shows no sign of slowing down. • Five of his films are in post-production, awaiting release, including “Five Minutes to Live,” a bank-heist thriller with Julia Stiles due out in September. • Here’s a look back by decade:

The 80s — The nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola hit the ground running with strong, memorable performances in films such as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Valley Girl,” “Moonstruck” and “Rumble Fish."

The best: “Raising Arizona” (1987) — Cage and Holly Hunter kidnap a baby and clash with John Goodman in the Coen Brothers classic about life near our state capital.

The Worst: “Vampire’s Kiss” (1988) — Infamous for a scene in which he eats a live cockroach, Cage plays a yuppie who thinks he's turning into a vampire.

The 90s — Cage hit his prime as an action hero in the 1990s, taking out bad guys in thrillers like “The Rock" and “Con Air," while flexing his dramatic prowess in thinkers such as "Adaptation."

The best: "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995) — Cage won the Academy Award for his portrayal of a suicidal drunk.

The worst: "8MM" (1999) — Cage leads an all-star cast on a slow-moving, drawn-out hunt to see if a "snuff film" is authentic.

2000s—A forgettable decade in which the bad easily outnumber the so-so.

The best: “Matchstick Men” (2003)— Cage plays and gets played as a neurotic con artist in the Ridley Scott crime comedy.

The worst: "The Wicker Man" (2006)— This remake of the 1973 cult classic falls flat as Cage uncovers a mystery in a secretive, neo-pagan community.

2010s — Cage shows promise as the decade rolls along.

The best: “Joe” (in theaters Friday)—Cage delivers one of his strongest performances in years in this Southern gothic coming-of-age film that hopefully signals a renewed commitment to challenging, less bankable roles.

The worst: “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” (2011)— Cage returns as Johnny Blaze in a storyline that fizzles early. 

Tell us your picks for the best and worst Cage films in the comments.

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