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At Movie Mezzanine: A Defense of Nicolas Cage


When Nicolas Cage appears in a trailer, audiences cringe before he opens his mouth to utter even a single word. They don’t remember the solid actor from Moonstruck, Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas, or even the blockbuster mode Cage from the National Treasure series or Con-Air, all they see is the man screaming “Not the bees!”

Yes, Nicolas Cage appears in bad films, but is there an actor/actress who hasn’t? For all of the award nominations and critical acclaim that Meryl Streep has, she was also in She-Devil starring Roseanne Barr. No one is above a bad movie. What Cage does that other actors don’t is he firmly plants himself into the material, going haywire for maximum entertainment value. He certainly could have been more muted in The Wicker Man remake, but would that have made the film any better? Hardly. Yet, by going fully insane for the conclusion of that film, Cage elevates the material from forgettable thriller into camp masterpiece.

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