Nicolas Cage as a Succesful Actor
Nicolas Cage Is More Than Just a Bad Actor: He’s a Great One In my room is a poster for the movie Kickass. It’s a relatively colorful and active poster, featuring three young adults dressed as vigilante superheroes. Written at the top are the names of starring actors and actresses, including Nicolas Cage. One particular day I had a friend in my room, and he spotted this poster. He exclaimed something to the degree of, “Kickass was the worst, most unbelievable movie and Nicolas Cage ruined any remaining chance it had for me to enjoy it! Though I can’t appropriately place his exact words, as their profanity would taint the integrity of an academic tone, the paraphrase of my friend’s proclamation represents a mentality that I find very unpleasant concerning not only Hollywood but also the entirety of the entertainment industry. Kickass is one of the many comic-book-to-silver-screen movies to have been released in the last few years. Like many of its contemporaries, Kickass is colorful, loud, and exciting. But it differs from most of today’s superhero movies by it’s very adult content.
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Gratuitous violence, sex and profanity are as prevalent in Kickass as are tights and eye shadow. Kickass took all the extreme ideas and themes found in small doses in most comic books and compressed them into a single campy movie. On the surface Kickass is just another nerd-gone-hero story, yet it goes deeper. A crime-obsessed father brainwashing his daughter, an attention-starved son craving nothing but his mob-boss father’s approval, and a city full of victims and apathy, all refined and tied together by explosions and sprays of neon blood.
Kickass is a movie that shows a criminal kingpin blowing someone up in a man-size microwave in one scene and fighting to have a good relationship with his son in the next. It is a movie where a nerd can have rough public sex with a perfect ten on top of a trashcan in one scene and then deliver a moving speech facing gang-violence while wearing a scuba suit in the next. Kickass is a serious parody of comic book movies, by no means classy yet smart and provocative simultaneously.
Returning to my friend’s thoughts on the subject, he thought the movie was unbelievable and over the top, saying it was too ridiculous to take seriously, and Nicolas Cage’s performance was the outrageous cherry on top of a ludicrous movie cupcake. He didn’t get it: Despite his elitist opinion on the matter, there does exist a large audience in the market for this kind of entertainment: a group of people with a taste for a strange, extreme, compelling, or simply entertaining story. I call these people Nicolas Cage fans.
I don’t plan to summarize every movie Nicolas Cage has ever worked on; I merely describe Kickass in part to demonstrate a creative idea sorely misunderstood by too many. If Kickass truly were a cupcake, and Nicolas Cage actually a cherry, be sure that there would be a large enough group of people with the sweet tooth to eat such a confection, to be considered more than just a niche. Using Nicolas Cage as a vehicle for my idea, I believe that the entertainment industry as a whole, and more specifically the field of motion pictures, is sometimes regarded as more than just a pastime or distraction.
I do not defend Nicolas Cage because I think my love has to be justified; I only attempt to share his glory for the improvement of everyone’s quality of life. I cannot say that it is wrong to overanalyze every little detail of a creative work critically, or that those who do so are wrong. I merely propose that if one were to stop looking for flaws they would be less likely to find them, and more likely to just enjoy the show. Nicolas Cage is an actor of highly disputed reputation. He has a long working history in Hollywood, beginning in the eighties.
He has performed in over sixty movies in the last thirty years, and shows no sign of ending his prolific career anytime soon. Nicolas Cage wasn’t born with the name he is publicly known by. His real name is Nicholas Kim Coppola, nephew to famous director Francis Ford Coppola. He changed his name at the onset of his career to avoid any form of nepotism and make his own name by his own merits: a name taken from the comic book character Luke Cage. He has been nominated and awarded many titles, and is regarded highly by famous critics. IMDb) Merriam Webster defines acting as “the art or practice of representing a character on a stage or before cameras. ” I too-often hear the phrase “Nicolas Cage is a terrible actor! ” and that is simply inaccurate. He is a highly provocative and eccentric person who almost exclusively plays provocative and eccentric characters. By definition he is a successful actor. Alas, I realize I cannot use semantics alone to prove my point. Cage has played so many zany characters throughout his life, and is himself a zany character.
Cage once said “To be a good actor you have to be something like a criminal, to be willing to break the rules to strive for something new. ”(IMDb) No truer words spoken, or lived truer by their speaker. Cage is the quintessence of the eccentric Hollywood star. The man lives in a castle. A CASTLE! Cage is an avid Elvis fan, to the point of marrying his daughter Lisa Marie Presley, which was one of Cage’s many marriages, including Patricia Arquette and current wife Alice Kim Cage.
Cage once ate a live cockroach on the set of Vampire’s Kiss. He is a serious comic book fan, comparing them to modern-day mythology. He even named his own son Kal-El Cage, after the superhero Superman. Cage is even responsible for the acting career of Johnny Depp: after meeting Depp as a guitar player in Florida and playing a game of Monopoly together, Cage referred Depp to his agent and the rest is history. (IMDb) The list of Cage-trivia is long and compelling, and too much to list entirely.
Nicolas Cage is a consummate entertainer on and offstage, bringing laughs and smiles to movie-watchers and tabloid-readers alike. More convincing still are his achievements as one of “Hollywood’s Most Powerful People”. (IMdb) You might not expect that the man quoted describing his career-goal by saying, “I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion. ” (IMdb) would be capable of being successful.
But it was Nicolas Cage who said this, and he is rich as God. Or rather was rich, before he went bankrupt. Despite being one of the most highly paid and sought-after actors in Hollywood, he still managed to live beyond his means. “Between 2001 and 2008, Mr. Cage purchased numerous personal residences in places such as New York, Rhode Island, New Orleans (Louisiana), Newport Beach (California), San Francisco (California), Las Vegas (Nevada), Bavaria (Germany), Bath (England), the Bahamas, and many other places. (Cunningham) One may think that an annual income of over twenty million dollars is enough to satisfy the lavish lifestyle of even the most frivolous spenders like Nicolas Cage, consider the many properties he owns, including his 2006 purchase of the former California home of John Wayne for a cool $24 million. (IMDb) Cage claims a large portion of his money issues stem from poor and fraudulent choices his manager Samuel Levin made with his finances. Cunningham) These are highly disputed and the repercussions of Cage’s spending are still being addressed currently, which would explain Cage’s recent proliferation in so many sub-par movies. Admittedly, it would seem he is phoning in performances and cashing in on his name and fame to make a quick buck, but it wouldn’t be fair to judge an actor for acting, at the bottom line it is a paying job, regardless of the implications or position. Despite his financial missteps, Cage has been paid absolutely gigantic sums of money for absolutely gigantic performances in many major Hollywood motion pictures.
According to the Internet Movie Database, Nicolas Cage was paid five thousand dollars for a minor role in his Hollywood debut, 1983’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Slightly more than a decade later, Cage’s reported earnings for his award-winning performance in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas was $240,000. In another decade Cage earned $20 million for acting in 2004’s National Treasure. Given that figure is one of his heftier payments, Cage still has worked in over sixty-five movies in the last thirty years, accumulating payments to make him a very wealthy man.
More notable than his money are the many nominations and awards Nicolas Cage has earned during his career. According to Fandango, Cage was nominated for and won Best Actor of 1995 for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas by nine separate authorities on acting and filmmaking: The New York Film Critics Circle, Screen Actors Guild, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Chicago Film Critics Association, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, Independent Spirit Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
As well, he was awarded Best Actor for his 2002 performance in Adaptation, and again Best Actor in 2009 for his performance in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, both by the Toronto Film Critics Association. The last two awards bear much weight towards my argument for Nicolas Cage’s ability. Nicolas Cage is known for both outrageous and realistic character portrayals. In Adaptation Cage plays two characters, so successfully and believably he was awarded Best Actor.
Seven years later he was again given Best Actor for his extreme performance in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, where he played a cocaine-addicted police investigator in post-Katrina New Orleans. Nicolas Cage is an actor who takes his work seriously, but not too much himself. When asked what choices he makes on how to act a part he once said, “Thank you for noticing, because first of all, it’s difficult to talk about the work, right? Because when you talk about the work, it’s kind of stupid because the work speaks for itself. I don’t want to name it, because when you name it, if you name t then it loses its mystery. If I tell you exactly what I was thinking, or what I was up to – and I have been guilty of that – then you lose your secret connection with the work of art. And I digress, but I went on Dick Cavett many years ago and met Miles Davis. And I was talking about things like art synthesis and Picasso and you can do with acting what he did, or with music, and Miles came out and he got it, you know, he was looking at me, he gave me this, like – he nodded and he winked at me. Miles Davis, you know. And we were sharing the trumpet.
And ever since then, because he accepted whatever my philosophy was, I believe that I wanted to approach acting as jazz. And so he became like a surrealist father of sorts, along with Walt Disney. And I thought, “Okay. Well, this time, I’m going to just let anything come out, whatever it may be. Like Bad Lieutenant, you know. But sometimes, it’s really thought out and constructed and carefully thought out, like Adaptation. So I always like to mix it up. ” (io9) Cage is equally capable of delivering powerful performances in serious roles as well as playful ones.
His characters are always fascinating and believable, if slightly neurotic. Nicolas Cage is more than just a dynamic actor, he is a dynamic and engaging person, well deserving of his fame and fortune. His characters are loveable and his antics are entertaining. Nicolas Cage is a successful actor not just for his work on the silver screen, but for the life he lives. He is a provocative and interesting man, who inspires more than just movies and college papers. He inspires attitude, and brings his characters to life within his own. Nicolas Cage may not always deliver gold, but he always delivers.
He is a man who loves his job for what it is, and what he makes it. He never fails to entertain even in his most modest roles. He represents the best of Hollywood, nay, the best of entertainment. He creates enjoyable movies, and entertains millions. Nicolas Cage represents more than just an actor. He represents the soul of entertainment: Fun. One of America’s greatest exports, fun is simple and fun is good. Nicolas Cage’s work may not provoke the most profound or intellectual response, but it always provokes a smile. One can nitpick his shortcomings if they so desire.
At the end of the day, I can’t convince anyone to stop crying about Nicolas Cage if they don’t want to. Yet that is not my purpose: I don’t want to pick a fight or have a heated debate, you have your god and I have Nicolas Cage. As they say, haters gonna hate. I only want to improve the quality of life for anyone who will listen. It’s not really about Nicolas Cage, or any actor, nor any movie, song, or game. It’s about fun. The world is full diversions to put a smile on your face, and only if you let them. When it comes to entertainment, you can be a snob and look down your nose at simplicity, or you can just smile and watch the damn movie.
Works Cited “Nicolas Cage- Biography. ” IMdb n. pag. Internet Movie Database. Web. 21 Feb 2011. . (IMdb) “Nicolas Cage Awards. ” Fandango n. pag. Web. 21 Feb 2011. . (Fandango) “Acting- Definition. ” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, n. d. Web. 21 Feb 2011. . (Merriam-Webster) “Nic Cage Explains His Philosophy of Acting. ” io9. io9: We Come From the Future, n. d. Web. 21 Feb 2011. . (io9) Cunningham, Lawrence. “Nicolas Cage Broke on $20 Million a Year. ” Concurring Opinions. N. p. , n. d. Web. 21 Feb 2011. . (Lawrence)