It’s Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew’s birthday, and in that honor, we present our top 5 favorite Nic Cage roles. Why? Because: Nic. Cage.
Movie: Kick-Ass (2010)
Role: Damon Macready/Big Daddy
Why it rocked: This ultra-violent comic book adaptation about a kid who happens to have a really high pain threshold was an instant cult classic. Cage played “Big Daddy,” a Batman-stylized vigilante who had also trained his daughter to be the most lethal 11-year-old on the planet. While we LOVED the movie, Cage gets a tip of the hat for his channeling of 1970s Adam West in this role.
Best line: “Mindy, no more homework, Babydoll. Time for Frank D’Amico to go bye-bye.”
Movie: Vampire’s Kiss (1989)
Role: Peter Lowe
Why it rocked: The story centers around Cage’s Lowe, a literary agent becoming completely unhinged over the course of the movie. Believing himself to have been bitten by a vampire, he spends the rest of the film alternately torturing his secretary, Alva, (Maria Conchita Alonso) and hiding under his couch. It’s pinnacle Cage-Craziness at its finest.
Best line: “Alva, there is no one else in this entire office that I could possibly ask to share such a horrible job. You’re the lowest on the totem pole here, Alva. The lowest. Do you realize that? Every other secretary here has been here longer than you, Alva. Every one. And even if there was someone here who was here even one day longer than you, I still wouldn’t ask that person to partake in such a miserable job as long as you were around. That’s right, Alva. It’s a horrible, horrible job; sifting through old contract after old contract. I couldn’t think of a more horrible job if I wanted to. And you have to do it! You have to or I’ll fire you. You understand? Do you? Good.
Movie: Raising Arizona (1987)
Role: H.I. McDunnough
Why it rocked: Cage plays McDunnough, a parolee petty robber who marries a cop (Holly Hunter), finds out they can’t have kids, then decides to steal one from a family of quintuplets (since they have so many and all). It’s arguably the funniest movie in the Coen Brothers’ canon.
Best line: “…This whole dream, was it wishful thinking? Was I just fleeing reality like I know I’m liable to do? But me and Ed, we can be good too. And it seemed real. It seemed like us and it seemed like, well, our home. If not Arizona, then a land not too far away. Where all parents are strong and wise and capable and all children are happy and beloved. I don’t know. Maybe it was Utah.”
Movie: Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Role: Ben Sanderson
Why it rocked: Cage plays Ben Sanderson, a depressed alcoholic who has decided to cash in his chips, head to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. Along they way, he falls in love with a hard-hearted prostitute (Elisabeth Shue). It’s not exactly a feel-good movie, but this plummeting descent into an existential tragedy is Cage at his best: ugly, deranged and frenetic.
Best line: “We both know that I’m a drunk. And I know you are a hooker. I hope you understand that I am a person who is totally at ease with that. Which is not to say that I’m indifferent or I don’t care, I do. It simply means that I trust and accept your judgment. “
Movie: Wild at Heart (1990)
Role: Sailor Ripley
Why it rocked: Director David Lynch’s twisted homage to the Wizard of Oz centers on star-crossed lovers Sailor Ripley (Cage) and Lula (Laura Dern), on the run from a succession of hit men hired to kill Ripley. It’s Lynch at his theatre-of-the-absurd finest.
Best line: “This jacket represents a symbol of my individuality, and my belief in personal freedom.”