Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Croods Trailer Breakdown

This is the 6th entry of 10 in the Cage Countdown to 100 blogs. Viva La Fucking France!

The trailer begins with Nic narration, already a good sign based on Cage history, remember how good Lord of War was? Yeah, so do I.

Cage’s character looks like a lumbering goof Neanderthal, but he weaves magical stories to children like no one else. I pray each night that Cage will record every children’s book on tape, so that my children can hear every story as it’s supposed to be read.

I like to believe that this movie will actually discuss the ills of curiosity i.e. death and that everyone comes over to Cage’s character’s point of view.  “Never leave the cave” is a great rule, this stupid upstart daughter can learn something from her father.

If you told me that Nicolas Cage would eventually say the words “Crispy Bear” in a movie, I’d tell you that it would complete my life and everyday after that phrase would be a bonus. Well, it’s happened, and not in the movie, it’s in the trailer for the movie! Which translates to: Nic Cage will be delivering a multitude of catch worthy quotes throughout the film.

 Other great news: This is a kids’ movie, and where there are kids, there’s franchising, and where there’s franchising, there’s toys. I’m going to get my first Nicolas Cage action figure! His character looks nothing like him, but that won’t stop me from re-enacting every scene alone in my room.

Is it wrong that I clap every time I see Cage’s name in the opening credits? It scares the other theater patrons, but it alerts them to greatness. It’s all about give and take.

 It’s a shame I have to wait for this spring for this movie, especially since the world ends in 2012. Stupid 2013 Nic Cage projects at least I get 1 more before the end of the year: Frozen Ground.

The last words are perfect: Everything Begins March 2013. The only thing missing: Everything Begins March 2013 with Nicolas Cage. It’s nice to imagine that we have all descended from Nic, the first modern man. I can sleep well at night knowing that through a fictional movie that Cage is my ancestor. I can check off becoming related to Nic Cage off my bucket list. 

The Hollywood Defender

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nicolas Cage: The Transition to Action Star

In Coda (wrote this in college, can’t find the citation, sorry Coda) mentions that Nicolas Cage is a child of Jerry Lewis. If there is any question of this relation, check out Peggy Sue Got Married, Nic’s performance as Charlie Bodell is the vaudevillian descendant of Lewis’ wackiness. In the movie, Cage operates in a world that doesn’t understand his broad actions, Charlie stands out “like a Tarantula on a birthday cake” to quote Raymond Chandler. He was heavily criticized for his portrayal and severed relations with his famous uncle Francis who left him out of Godfather III because of his artistic choices. Much of the same persecution Lewis faced for his broad comedies that were hated by American critics and worshipped by the French. I hate putting myself in the vein of the French, but the only thing that holds up in Peggy Sue (a bad Back to the Future) is Cage, he’s wonderful, charming, and over the top. When he is not on screen the movie drags leaving you begging for more scenes with Charlie.
However, Cage had more license than Lewis, who desperately wanted to make serious films. If you ever listen to an interview with Lewis, he’s an angry cuss obsessed with the human universality of comedy, which explains why he made the vaulted away The Day the Clown Cried (A circus clown is imprisoned by the Nazis and goes with Jewish children to their deaths-Imdb). Cage, on the other hand, has been able to dabble between serious and comedy for his entire career, even from the beginning. Then he did something even more surprising, he became an action star in the nineties.
 This begs an interesting question? What does the action film and the comedy have in common? The most well-known and critically acclaimed action films of all time are the Indiana Jones series, especially Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). In fact when Indy runs from the rock in the beginning of the film, which is actually Spielberg’s tribute to Buster Keaton’s running away from large boulders in one of his early films. In fact most of Spielberg’s chase scenes are essentially the comic chase scenes of Keaton, but with more dire seriousness attached, they have their jokes, but also their inherent danger.  Comedy is also intertwined in the James Bond series when he delivers a punch line after someone has gruesomely died. He makes a joke on death to make his character seem less sadistic than the character Fleming had created, who was basically an assassin. However, the joke also reveals sadism while trying to mask it. The joke is vicious, but because it is about a villain it seems less so.  The comedy in action adventure films suppresses the drama and as an audience we are able to engage in the adventure without constantly worrying that our hero will die. Instead we enter the film usually knowing he will not, joy we get from watching a magician’s stunts. However, in an action film we are so instead of worrying about his death we wonder how he will escape his death similar to the able to see the magicians magic and the cleverness of his escape usually results in a humorous and clever escape. So in fact Cage’s transition is not strange, in fact it is much like the escape of an action hero in the film, for the action hero escapes using devices and connections that the audience has not thought of and evades his previous predicament. 

The Hollywood Defender

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Nic Cage Debut: Best of Times

To celebrate the Countdown to a 100 blogs, The Hollywood Defender is writing 10 Nic Cage blogs in a row, this is number 4. Today, we break down Nic's first appearance in movies or television in the 1981 show Best of Times. Note that maybe things haven't changed all that much from his first appearance to now. Obviously, it will be more fun if you guess what he's doing in the show, so I've listed crucial Cage moments in multiple choice format for extra fun. 


Nicolas Cage is introduced to the American viewing public in which of the following ways in Best of Times:

A.     Smoking Cigarettes
B.     Doing one-armed push-ups shirtless
C.     Getting a haircut
D.    Giving a nerd a swirly

Answer: B. Cage does one armed push-ups shirtless and then switches to the other arm.

In Cage’s first monologue he discusses which of the following films:

A.     Godfather
B.     Alien
C.     Annie Hall
D.    Rocky

Answer: D. Nicolas Cage’s first monologue is shirtless in cutoff jean shorts that ride too high.  If they rode any higher, Nic’s nuts would have also made their debut appearance in Best of Times. Cage reinacts the scene where Rocky spars with a slab of meat.
“Remember Rocky? Boy! Whata Movie! The best scene was when Stallone kept hitting that side of beef. Remember that? He kept hitting that side of beef. Just smashing with his fists and it was all raw. Hit! Smash! Hit! Make it all bloody! He sure did a job on that beef. “
The perfect intro for Nic, to be completely honest. Talking about other movies and doing karate as he delivers his monologue. He’s so hyped up and ready to rock the world, you can just see the energy that pulsates out of him already, he doesn’t hold anything back and he never has.

Nic’s instructions for picking up women includes which of the following:

A.     It's based on how you walk
B.     The voice
C.     Your smile
D.    Don’t be happy, people think you’re stupid

Answer: A, B, D, 
The scene is quite funny, despite how dated it is. I'm hoping Cage plays an aging ladies' man at some point because to watch him re-enact these mantras would be hilarious. 

What Nic thinks when he is talking to women because “Women pick up on mental vibrations”:

A.     I can see down your shirt, but you won’t catch me looking
B.     I am the most beautiful man, you have ever seen, my magnificient biceps drive you wild with desire
C.     My pectorals are molded by Zeus’ hands
D.    You can’t have me, but I can have you

Answer: B

In the grocery store Nic participates in which of the following with his buds:

A.     Musical Number with groceries as instruments
B.     Shoplifting
C.     Pinball
D.    Extensive video game playing

Answer A: Nic plays a comb, a bag of hostess, and a can of Pringles.

Nic sings the following song_______, wearing ______________, working at a ___________________:

A.     9 to 5, Overalls, car wash
B.     I will Survive, corduroys, shoe store
C.     Dancing in the Streets, a cowboy hat, pharmacy
D.    Mrs. Robinson, a trucker hat, ice cream store

Answer: A. By the way he isn’t wearing a shirt under his overalls, he had all the makings of a Matthew Mcconaughey. Oh, and he has a red bandana around his neck as he sings into a gas pump. He also screams at a car after he crashes it during the middle of the song. He’s a genius.

Nic races which of the following:
A.     Bikes
B.     Cars
C.     Go-carts
D.    Skateboards
E.     Roller skates

Answer: Go-carts, actually Nic is the only one that doesn’t wear rollerskates in the musical number.

Nic worries about being drafted for which potential war:
A.     Nam
B.     Korea
C.     El Salvador
D.    Cuba

Answer: C. El Salvador, which he reveals in his first monologue directed at the audience. He would prefer the war be in some place nice like the French Riviera or Bermuda, but chicks dig war so “it has its good points.” Then again “war would kind of spoil things, you know what I mean?” Nic eventually lies he’s going to war to seduce a woman, Oh Nic! Then he throws off his coat and break dances, this guy had talent oozing from his pores as a kid. He nails the comedy and the serious speech about war. He destroys any other actor he’s on screen with in this show, it’s no wonder he made it. 

The Hollywood Defender

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Reasons Nic Cage Chooses Movies Other than Money... Or Elaborate Lies

The 3rd Cage Blog in the Countdown to 100 HD blogs: 

Since Cage has been in financial debt, people have assumed that every movie he makes is based strictly on repaying taxes to the IRS. However, in interviews Cage offers detailed and succinct, if not bizarre, explanations for his artistic choices. 

The guiding explanation for all movie choices in his own words:

[Winning another Oscar] is not important to me. In fact, I think that if you go about making movies to win Oscars, you're really going about it the wrong way. I think that it's ... right now, what I'm excited about is trying to create a [pauses] kind of a cultural understanding through my muse that is part of the zeitgeist that isn't motivated by vanity or magazine covers or awards. It's more, not countercultural, but counter-critical. I would like to find a way to embrace what Led Zeppelin did, in filmmaking. Do you know what I mean? They did no press, you know... And they were the biggest band in the world and they remained intimately mysterious -- because they just went about it their own way, or against what the advice might have been or what the council might have been. And I admire that. And I would like to tap into more exploration of horror films and just everything that I shouldn't be doing, according to representation.


I. G-Force

Tagline: A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world.

Salary: not listed

“I think Guinea pigs are boring… I want a character with a long tale that says I dare you to pick me up… I need a character with opinion and purpose, I need that guy.”

He played a mole. 


II.   Drive Angry

Imdb Tagline: A vengeful father escapes from hell and chases after the men who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter

Salary: $6,000,000

Nic's Explanation:

"Yeah, well I read the script and they said that…when I read it my eye was going to be shot out and I remember on a movie called “Season of the Witch” I wanted them to shoot my eye out with an arrow. And the producers didn’t go for that, so when it was handed to me in this movie that they were going to shoot my eye out with a gun I thought, “yeah I’m going to make that movie.”


III.   Season of the Witch

Tagline: 14th-century knights transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague.

Salary: Not available

Nic's Explanation:

“I think there’s a strong buddy film aspect to it relationships amongst the boys in the movie, there’s a road trip aspect to it almost like Wages of Fear except without nitroglycerin in this case with Claire Foy playing with the witch and that’s really why I wanted to make the movie was the scenes that we had together, which kind of pushed the movie into these philosophical big questions of about the unexplained.”


IV.   Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Imdb Tagline: Master sorcerer Balthazar Blake recruits a seemingly everyday guy in his mission to defend New York City from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath.

Salary: The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010): $12,000,000

Nic's Explanation: 

“Well the reason this all happened for me was I had an interest, began to have an interest in arhturian mythology and the grail cycle particularly acient England. And I was trying to find a way to start making a movie that resonated that in some way. At the same time I wanted to make family, I’m eclectic, I like the midnight movies as well, but I wanted to make family movies that would entertain parents and their children, give them both something to look forward to congregating together and smiling together  I think that’s one of the better ways I can apply myself as an actor.  So it made sense to me that if I could do a character that relied on magic and not bullets, I could entertain the family. “

V.   Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Tagline: As Johnny Blaze hides out in Eastern Europe, he is called upon to stop the devil, who is trying to take human form

Salary: $7,500,000

Nic's Explanation: 

Ever since I was a child, I gravitated towards the monsters, be it The Hulk or Ghost Rider. I couldn’t understand the complexity of something that looked that scary but also was in some way “good”. To me that already gave it a level of depth that seemed to be missing in some of the other characters. For someone who was interested in becoming an actor, that made sense that I would gravitate towards that. I’m very happy with the way this worked out. This was the character that Marvel and I teamed up on...

...When I read the script, I thought,Oh, boy. Here we go. This is it. Really, man? I'm really going to be peeing fire in a movie? Am I really going to have the guts to go on record with that? And then I said, "Well, it's a Neveldine and Taylor movie and I have to be a part of the club." And I just did it



In this instance Cage even took a pay cut for the film to be made.

"He decided to make this personal sacrifice for his craft, despite the personal hardship it may bring"
according to ScrapTV.


VI.   Trespass

Imdb tagline: As they're held for ransom, a husband and wife's predicament grows more dire amid the discovery of betrayal and deception.

Salary: $7,000,000

   Nic's Explanation:

"Voice is one of the tools of film acting, at any chance I can get to play with it, I’m gonna jump on it. I wanted Kyle Miller to be somebody that would, in your mind, be the last person that could rise against this untenable situation that he finds himself and his family in. You wouldn’t expect him to defend himself and his family, so I wanted to play with that. One of the things I said to Joel Schumacher when I agreed to do the movie was that I’d like to play him with a stutter as well, we talked about it as, but as we begun principal photography he kind of talked me out of that, and I take his point, it probably works better without it. But then again we might be wearing tuxedo’s later this year if he had a stutter (laughs).
   ...I wanted to show someone who speaks in a way, that might be fragile, could still surprise you, could still be tough, could still take unexpected chances and risks. The other way I wanted to confirm that idea was that I added a little line where I said to Ben Mendelsohn‘s character, ‘I’m worth more dead than alive.’ What that means is that he’s not afraid to die, and if you can take me out, maybe I can solve all this for my family, because I am worth more dead than alive. So that was another way to demonstrate that he was not afraid. I like counter-point, I think of acting as music – any kind of new sound with the voice, any kind of surprise I can give you, any counter-point I can give you, to keep you guessing, is what I’m gonna go for."


And in case you were wondering about his often cited changing hair, he has an explanation for that too:

VIII. Nic's Hair Explanation

"It’s amazing because sometimes people think I’m wearing a wig when I’m not wearing a wig and then sometimes they think I’m not wearing a wig when I am wearing a wig. You’d have to go through it carefully to pick which one is which. For example, Drive Angry I’m not wearing a wig. Behman and Sorcerer’s Apprentice I was wearing a wig. Even in Deadfall, if you look at that sequence, I even put a nose attachment on so the nose went out and then up, when I’m saying, “Vive la France,” that dialogue I was improvising.

... I don’t wear wigs in my own life or in public so I have no use for them. I did keep the look on Drive Angry because I had dyed my hair blonde and I didn’t have any time to dye it back before the next movie which was Trespass. Once I got back from my press tour for Sorcerer’swhere I had the Drive Angry blonde hair, I went back to my normal color."


All salaries are according to: