Nicolas Cage's Top 5 Best and Worst Films

In News by Matt Kiebus / July 15, 2010

He’s widely considered one of the weirdest people in a profession of wack jobs. In the past five years Nicolas Cage has been consistently delivering some mindblowingly bad performances in some of the worst films in Hollywood. In fact Cage’s performances have been so bad it’s almost become impressive.

Recent financial troubles have been cited by the media as a possible reason for Cage accepting and “phoning in” his roles in bad films. It seems no matter how many bad films he helps create it hasn’t lowered his value in Hollywood, where he still commands between $10 and $20 million a film.

This week the world waits in excitement for Cage’s newest masterpiece, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which is sure to be forgotten with the rest of the mindless trash he has put out in the past five years (excluding Bad Lieutenant and Kick Ass). It also means I’ll probably be watching it on TBS at 3 a.m. in six years, absolutely riveted.

Cage has become such a caricature of a human being over this time span it’s pretty easy to forget that when he actually cares he can put together a hell of a flick. This man won a fucking Academy Award for Best Actor. He also tripped on ‘shrooms with his pet cat, owns a castle, and named his kid Kal-el — a.k.a. Superman.

Here is a brief history of Nicolas Cage’s extremely unpredictable and sometimes hilarious career choices.

Nicolas Cage’s 5 Best Films

raisingarizona05Raising Arizona

For those of us who enjoy their Nick Cage weird and quirky, in a good way, this early Coen brother’s classic is just the ticket. Cage plays a convict who meet the love of his life when she’s taking his mug shot. When they find out she can’t get preggers they do what most reasonable couples do, steal a baby. This late-80s slapstick comedy with heart not only foreshadows the Coen brother’s talent for quirky comedies, but demonstrates Cage’s acting range as a crazy person. Something we would be become a lot more accustomed to over the years.


The film is known a Cher’s one and only memorable film appearance, it happened to also earn her an Academy Award for Best Actress. The italian romantic comedy staring Cage plays a passionate baker and Cher as an accountant looking to settle down with a new husband, has been hailed as one of the top romantic comedies of the 80s. Cage depicts the romantic, yet edgy relationship choice (even as a baker) very well. This may be Cher’s film, but without the crazed Cage it would have never gotten off the ground.

nic-cage-leaving-las-vegasLeaving Las Vegas

The role Nicolas Cage was born to play, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who’s drinking ruined his life and career. Cage’s character travels to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. During his intrepid binge drinking adventures he comes across Elizabeth Shue (the same goodie-two-shoes from Cocktail, The Karate Kid, and Back to the Future II) in the form of prostitute. Watching Cage’s self-destruction in the film seems all too real, and the poetic nature of a brutal death by favorite vice is tough to watch. Cage’s range in the film, and the Oscar he earned because of it, elevated him to being one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. However after Leaving Las Vegas he found the action flick and his career transformed ever since.


Speaking of action films, this one might have been one of the most ridiculous of all the 90s action film concepts, but wow did they pull it off. John Travolta is an FBI agent hunting one of the world’s most powerful terrorists, Nicolas Cage, over the course of the film the two of them do a little swicheroo with their faces. Director John Woo plays the explosions, and slow motion to epic perfection. Face/Off was extremely well reviewed for a popcorn flick, and it made me worry at Nicolas Cage could be anywhere. Think about that for a minute at the age of nine and try to sleep at night.


From the genius mind of Charlie Kaufman and the expertly unconventional directing of Spike Jonez, Adaptation was Nicolas Cage’s best film in the past ten years — and possibly his career. When Kaufman was trying to adapt The Orchid Thief into a screenplay he hit an extreme writer’s block. Instead of writing about The Orchid Thief, he wrote about his struggles to adapt the book and the incredible result is Adaptation. Cage plays both Charlie Kaufman and his made-up twin Donald Kaufman, both screenwriters. Charlie struggles to write something meaningful, while Donald is rich and successful writing simple murder mysteries. Meaning Cage needed to play two polar opposite brothers at the same time, and he did so flawlessly. The identical twin gimmick has been tried a tested plenty of times in Hollywood, yet no one has touched Cage’s performance in Adaptation.

Nicolas Cage’s 5 Worst Films


Everyone loves a good disaster movie, and who better to freak the fuck out about the end of the world than Nicolas Cage? Right? Anyone? Well, this wasn’t a great disaster movie, in fact it just wasn’t a decent movie at all. Lets check out that premise, shall we? Cage finds a time capsule that has predictions about the future, and Nick Cage takes the future seriously and he was sent to earth to protect us, in the form of a school teacher. Welcome to the mid to late 2000s and the golden age of Nicolas Cage’s tremendously stupid movie roles.

300.cage.bangkokdangerous.090208Bangkok Dangerous

Cage plays a hitman named Joe (he’s too cool for last names), and he’s hanging out in Bangkok looking to kill some people before taking in some sightseeing when he falls in love with a local death girl and gains a sidekick in an errand boy. This was supposed to be his last job, a couple more dead bodies and he’s out of the game. Killing a lot of people for a living can wear on a man. Apparently Joe never realized that being a relatively tall American with long hair toting guns might stand out in Thailand. Therefore making Bangkok pretty fucking dangerous. I definitely recommend this film as a “what not to do” for any contract killers visiting Asia.


Uh oh looks like Nick Cage can see the future again, without the help of a cop out time capsule. This time he’s a Las Vegas magician who can see into the future. I’m seriously wondering what Hollywood executive greenlighted a film with this premise? “Think Siegfried and Roy with a dash of Chris Angel plus Miss Cleo running around Vegas helping cops solve crimes. Played by…wait for it… the universally loved and respected Nicolas Cage.” Seriously, fire that man. Also this goes to show that Nick Cage planning nuclear attacks is a lot cooler than Nick Cage stopping them.

inside-comingatt-ghostriderGhost Rider

I understand when an actor does a paycheck movie, I mean it’s gotta be hard to turn down $15 million, even if the premise of the movie means giving up your soul to become a “hellblazing vigilante.” But every movie Cage was choosing between the years 2007-2009 seemed as though he didn’t care anymore. In this piece of cinematic gold, Cage becomes the Ghost Rider to prevent some evil dude from creating hell on earth. Also starring: no one.

G Wicker Man(1)Wicker Man

The granddaddy of them all, Wicker Man could be considered art for how this “thriller” it epically failed to thrill anyone. Wicker Man has become Cage’s best known bad movie because of the wonderfully edited YouTube video marketing the film as a comedy trailer. Cage spends the film trying to find a missing girl and in his efforts he punches two women in the face, once while wearing a bear suit, and screams at little children. What’s sad is the original British version of the film is downright creepy. Nicolas Cage’s version is downright hilarious.

All these past five films were nearly back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. He’s gotta be fucking with us right? We’ll probably never know. For now audiences will flock this weekend to see him portray a New York City sorcerer, and he’ll manically laugh at his millions and maybe eat some more ‘shrooms with his cat. This is Nicolas Cage’s world, we’re just leasing a townhouse.

Honorable Mention For Best AND Worst: National Treasure I & II. Critically both films were not very good in any respect. However neither has failed to entertain me when I’m home on Friday or Saturday night.