He’s played an ex-con child snatcher, a paramedic, a ghost-rider and a suicidal
drunk. He is bombastic at times and can even launch into full-blown insanity at the
flick of an eye.
He can also break your heart.
Welcome to another vs. series. I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you to your seat.
Today, I’m going to review the versatility and emotional capacity of none other than
In "Raising Arizona", released in 1987 and directed by Joel and Ethan Cohen, Cage
plays H.I. McDonough, an ex-con torn between settling down and raising a family and
his own criminal tendencies. With any other actor cast as the lead role, "Raising
Arizona" probably never would have made it to the big screen.
The film works because Cage makes it work. It has his panache oozing all over it.
There’s a scene where he holds up a convenient store wearing panty-hose on his
head. He goes through all that trouble just so he can give the baby he kidnapped a
new pair of Huggies.
Later, when McDonough’s buddies from jail realize what the child’s ransom is worth
and kidnap him for themselves, Cage grabs a shot-gun out of nowhere and says with
a cheesy enthusiasm only Nicolas Cage can deliver, “Let’s do it, honey. Let’s go get
"Raising Arizona" is one of those movies you know is totally over the top and yet you
can’t take your eyes away from it. That’s because, odd though it may seem, Cage
looks like he belongs in that role.
He owns it.
During those scenes and many others, Cage gives viewers an inkling of what they
can expect from him later on in his career.
Although erratic behavior is undoubtedly his signature trademark, Nicolas Cage has
a softer side you might not have noticed. You might, perhaps, have been so
distracted by his antics that you glossed over his more emotional moments.
Observe this stream of consciousness.
“That night I had a dream. I dreamt I was as light as the ether, a floating spirit
visiting things to come. The shades and shadows of the people in my life drifted
their way into my slumber."
Every word in this sequence is spoken with an inflection of wonder. Cage makes
you want to go through the dream with him and hope that it doesn’t end.
He evokes a similar sensation in another movie released in 1999, directed by Martin
Scorsese. "In Bringing Out the Dead," Nicolas Cage plays a Manhattan ambulance
paramedic struggling to keep his sanity through three severely stressful nights. His
narration matches the film's serious tone.
“Saving someone’s life is like falling in love,” he says. “It’s the best drug in the
world. For days, sometimes weeks afterwards, you walk the streets, making infinite
whatever you see”
Cage makes you feel what he’s feeling inside. It is as if he’s reading straight from
his own personal journal.
Hopefully, by reading this you can come to appreciate that he is just as convincing
speaking from the heart as he is going out of his mind. He is truly a versatile and
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you to your Cage.
Do you agree with my review? What are your favorite Nicolas Cage moments?
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