Sometimes art comes in human form, and just like art, these humans are rarely appreciated at first glance. Their visibility makes them subject to volumes of criticism and sometimes having a staunch opinion on them can change the way your peers see you. The perfect example of this would be Nicolas Kim Coppola, or more widely known to the world as Nicolas Cage.
A mystery in his own unique way, Cage has recently become more widely known for his meme identity rather than his acting. Our parents know Nicolas Cage for this work in the 1980s and 1990s, whereas Millennials and Gen-Z are better acquainted with him in a more comedic capacity.
Cage has been booked and busy with a lot of random movies in an effort to pay the bills, but earlier this year, he starred alongside Pedro Pascal in an extremely meta film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, which was about his life as…Nicolas Cage. Since then, Cage has been confirmed to work on an A24 comedy titled Dream Scenario.
Since Nicolas Cage is climbing back up the ladder of success, if you truly want to see the range that this under-appreciated actor has to offer, let us curate a starter list of films for you to watch as he ascends. Are all of these going to be good? No, but they will be fun.
1. National Treasure (2004)
Where to watch: Disney+
Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is an American historian, cryptographer, and treasure hunter. Ben and his friend, computer expert Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), head an expedition financed by wealthy Ian Howe (Sean Bean) to find the Charlotte, revealed to be a ship lost in the Arctic. Within, they find a smoking pipe, whose engravings reveal the next clue is on the Declaration of Independence. When Ian reveals himself to be a crime boss and suggests stealing the Declaration, a fight ensues, and the group splits.
2. Face/Off (1997)
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, The Roku Channel
Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who has boarded a plane in Los Angeles. After the plane crashes and Troy is severely injured, possibly dead, Archer undergoes surgery to remove his face and replace it with Troy’s. As Archer tries to use his disguise to elicit information about a bomb from Troy’s brother, Troy awakes from a coma and forces the doctor who performed the surgery to give him Archer’s face.
3. Pig (2021)
Where to watch: Hulu
Robin “Rob” Feld (Nicolas Cage) is a former Portland-based chef turned reclusive truffle-forager. Living in a cabin deep in the Oregon forests, he hunts for truffles with the help of his prized foraging pig. He sells the truffles to Amir (Alex Wolff), a young and inexperienced supplier of luxury ingredients to high-end restaurants. One night, Rob is attacked by unidentified assailants as they steal his pig. He reaches out to Amir, who helps him locate a group of impoverished drug-addicts suspected by another local truffle-hunter of being the culprits.
4. Ghost Rider (2007)
Where to watch: Hulu
Years ago, motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sold his soul to save the life of a loved one. Now, he transforms into a fiery, avenging agent of justice at night wherever evil roams. As the only one who can walk in both worlds, Johnny is charged by Mephistopheles (Donal Logue) himself to destroy Blackheart (Wes Bentley), a demon that wants to overthrow Mephistopheles and create a worse hell than the one that currently exists.
5. The Wicker Man (2006)
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video ($2.99), Apple TV ($2.99), Youtube ($2.99)
A reclusive lawman (Nicolas Cage) travels to a secluded island to search for a girl who has gone missing. Once there, he discovers sinister forces at work among the island’s secretive residents, including strange sexual rituals, a harvest festival and possible human sacrifice.
6. Raising Arizona (1987)
Where to watch: Hulu, Starz, The Roku Channel
Fast-paced farce about an unlikely pair who go to extreme lengths to have a child. When an incompetent robber marries a policewoman, they discover that they are infertile. In order to appease his wife’s longings for a child, the man steals one of a set of quintuplets, but mayhem ensues when the child’s rich father sends a rabbit-shooting bounty hunter after the kidnapper.
7. Moonstruck (1987)
Where to watch: HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, The Roku Channel
No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta (Cher) accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny (Danny Aiello), she finds herself falling for his younger brother, Ronny (Nicolas Cage). She tries to resist, but Ronny lost his hand in an accident he blames on his brother, and has no scruples about aggressively pursuing her while Johnny is out of the country. As Loretta falls deeper in love, she comes to learn that she’s not the only one in her family with a secret romance.
We don’t know the ins and outs of what Cage is doing with A24, but if it’s anything like what The Idol is shaping up to be, we’re seated.
Photo via Disney