Nic Cage for prime minister 

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Cage Animal What exactly does Nicolas Cage do?
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  • Cage Animal What exactly does Nicolas Cage do?

Just playin'. Nic Cage is not running for prime minister (I wish) but he does play a politician in the upcoming The Runner so there's no doubt he'd do a better job than the clowns who have been running the show lately. Because Nic Cage rules. Born Nicolas Kim Coppola in 1964, Nic changed his name early in his acting career in hopes of succeeding without the Hollywood favouritism intrinsically linked to his last name. Francis Ford Coppola is Cage's uncle and his extended family is infested with talent.

Whether that made a difference or not, Cage's career has skyrocketed since those first few appearances in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High and a starring role in Valley Girl the next year. Since then, Nicolas Cage has acted in 73 films and few can argue he's the best there is at what he does.

But what exactly does Nic Cage do? His acting style is unique — film-critic Roger Ebert once summed it up as, "Nic Cage has two speeds: intense and intenser" — and Cage himself has admitted he's basically developed his own style over the years. It's called "Nouveau Shamanic." Basically Nic Cage acts by crossing over to a parallel, historical universe and tapping into the wisdom of ancient shamans then comes back with all that transcendent energy and channels it into the role of a car thief or the dude who has to break IN to Alcatraz with Sean Connery in The Rock. You can see why few thespians are as polarizing — people either hate Nic Cage or they love him.

But it works. Cage flicks generally make money and Ebert also once said, "Nic Cage is good in good movies and essential in bad ones." Cage has an Academy Award for 1995's Leaving Las Vegas and was nominated again for Adaptation in 2002. He also threw down a world-class performance as a 23-year-old in the 1987 Coen brothers breakout comedy Raising Arizona.

My bud Amy, a local Cage critic, will say it was all a fluke, that anyone who acts in two movies a year for 33 years will eventually nail something and that for every Moonstruck Cage delivers a dozen or more Ghostrider 2's, that for every $1 million he donates to Hurricane Katrina victims he also dishes up a Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Nic Cage has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Global Justice since 2010 but many can't get over the fact that he handles live snakes to relax on set and has a near-random role selection process.

But that is the genius of Nic Cage. He can handle any role from arms dealer to weatherman to wizard to corrupt cop to superhero to identical twins — he's the most diverse one-note actor working today. And I say one-note in the most affectionate way; Nic Cage is like Samuel L Jackson, he plays himself in almost every movie he's in. It works though, because whether you like it or not, Nic Cage is everyone. He's the living embodiment of the collective unconscious, the amalgamation of all human history packed into a single wild-haired entity. When aliens come to study us they will take Nic Cage first; perhaps they already have.

Certainly, Nic Cage makes some of those movies because he needs the money. In the mid 2000s the dude reportedly bought a medieval castle in Germany, another castle in England, a 40-acre island in the Bahamas and a 12-bedroom, 10-bathroom manor in Rhode Island, among other things. Needless to say he was stretched pretty thin and I don't think it ended well but whatever #blowitifyougotit because Nic Cage knows you only live once (unless you're Buddhist).

That's why he'll eat a cockroach for a scene like he did in Vampire's Kiss (1989) or wear two pairs of sunglasses at once, or marry Michael Jackson's ex-wife (and Elvis Presley's daughter) for 108 days and then spend 202 days getting divorced, or name his son Kal-el after Superman's Kryptonian name. Such a fine appreciation of chaos and open lust for life could indeed stem from the fact that, on the surface, Nicolas Cage is batshit crazy.

But scratch below the surface and we all are.



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