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. 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...
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