Skip to main content

Worst To Best: Nicolas Cage

It Could Happen To You (1994)

The Movie: Charlie Lang (Cage) wins a $4m lottery pay-out. The only catch is that he promised half of it to a waitress that he couldn’t afford to tip.

So Cage It's Good? Cage lightens up significantly for this tongue-in-cheek comedy, and convinces as a straight-and-narrow everyman stuck in an incredible situation. Shockingly life-affirming stuff.

Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000)

The Movie: Car thief Memphis Raines (Cage) is dragged out of retirement for a one-night job that involves stealing 50 cars – all to save his brother’s life.

So Cage It's Good?
That name in itself is a marvel. Though Cage sports one of the worst hair dos of his career in this actioner, he gets by on charisma and mentor-like allure. Doesn’t hurt that he’s acting against Angelina Jolie, too.

The Sorcerers Apprentice (2010)

The Movie: Sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Cage) is about to go up against his arch-enemy Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Before that, though, he recruits a young guy (Jay Baruchel) as his successor.

So Cage It's Good? The film itself is middle of the road fantasy, but seeing Nicolas Cage wielding multi-coloured fire balls? It doesn’t get much better than that.

8MM (1999)

The Movie: Private investigator Tom Welles (Cage) tries to find out if a famous snuff tape is real or not.

So Cage It's Good? This is Cage on auto-pilot in a stretch of about five years (between 1998 and 2002) when he churned out some real cinematic turds. Still, auto-pilot Cage remains quality entertainment.

Knowing (2009)

The Movie: Teacher John Koestler (Cage) discovers that a sequence of numbers found by his son managed to predict some disastrous events that have already occurred – and some that haven’t yet…

So Cage It’s Good? In a film with a believability factor of about zero, it takes an actor of Cage’s pay grade to sell the film’s clunkier exposition – and he does it with aplomb. We’d believe this guy if he told us that Star Wars really happened in a galaxy far, far away.

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

The Movie: When Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner) faints at a high school reunion, she wakes up and discovers she’s gone back in time. Will she change the course of history?

So Cage It's Good? Rocking a truly amazing quiff and an even more amazing comedy voice, Cage’s brazen performance screams of “Look at me, ma, I’m acting!” It’s a cartoon performance that he miraculously shades with surprising depth. No Oscar nom, mind.

The Cotton Club (1984)

The Movie: Francis Ford Coppola’s ode to Jazz, and a biography of the famous Harlem Cotton Club and the people who visited it.

So Cage It's Good? Cage gets dressed up in a natty hat and coat (and grows a cool little moustache) to play Vincent ‘Mad Dog’ Dwyer. It’s an early loose-cannon turn that echoes the actor’s own desperation to flee the Coppola clan.

City Of Angels (1998)

The Movie: Weepy remake of superior German film Wings Of Desire , in which a doctor (Meg Ryan) spots an angel (Cage) while she’s in the operating room.

So Cage It’s Good? Cage dons the gooey eyes and reins it in as a stoic silent type. He does what he can with the material, but Cage obviously realised he wasn’t made of weepy romcom stuff – he’s favoured action heroes over romantic leads ever since.

National Treasure: Book Of Secrets (2007)

The Movie: Treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) investigates Lincoln’s assassination, and attempts to track down the missing pages from the diary of his assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

So Cage It’s Good? Cage returns for the sequel to his surprise family hit. Sly send-up of Tom Hanks’ similarly mulletted performance in Da Vinci Code ? Or genuine attempt at a clean cut nice guy? We prefer the former…

The Family Man (2000)

The Movie: Successful investment broker Jack Campbell (Cage) gets first-hand experience of what it’s like to live without money when he wakes up and discovers his life has changed completely.

So Cage It's Good? Forget the morality-pushing storyline, Cage here shares some phenomenal chemistry with Téa Leoni. Sure, her character is an idealised figure of male desire, but the sparks between Cage and Leoni are impossible to miss.