Monday, January 24, 2011

Rumble Fish and Racing With the Moon

I did actually watch Rumble Fish last week but after reading Rich's review I couldn't think of anything intelligent to add. I will say, it's an incredibly surreal experience. I'm surprised I had never seen, let alone heard of the movie before scheduling the viewings for 365 Days of Cage. If you've never seen it, take a look. It's reminiscent of Hinton's The Outsiders mixed with a little bit of The Wanderers and a healthy dose of mind-fuckery. Diane Lane is gorgeous and it was great to see Larry Fishburne so young. 

Racing With the Moon is about two small town high-school best friends Henry (Sean Penn) and Nicky (Nicolas Cage) preparing to enlist in the Marines during the winter of 1942 in Northern California. Nicky is spending his last few weeks trying to stick his dick in anything that moves while Henry is looking for something with a little more substance. Everything is going well until Nicky finds out the girl he's been sleeping with is pregnant with 3 weeks left before he and Henry leave town. I won't give away any more of the plot, but it's a well rounded poignant drama worth seeing at least once. Compared to his previous performance in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Sean Penn is an absolute pleasure to watch and Nic Cage seems to be getting the hang of acting, delivering a solid supporting role.

Also of note in this movie, Crispin Glover who you might remember as George McFly in Back To The Future, makes his Hollywood debut around the 6 minute mark as a smart mouthed rich kid that gets his face smashed in by Sean Penn's character. About an hour into the movie is another small, yet notable appearance by Michael Madsen in his second movie role. He plays a hospitalized amputee soldier named Frank who shows Henry that going to war isn't fun and games and has actual real-life consequences. Also credited in Racing With the Moon is Dana Carvey as Babyface, but I wasn't able to spot him. Carol Kane (Scrooged, The Princess Bride) also has a small part in the beginning as the town hooker. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Evolution of Nicolas Cage's Hair

I know it's been about a week since I last posted but I only got a hold of Racing With the Moon earlier today. I should have a review up in about 48 hours. In the meantime, enjoy this Youtube video dedicated to the ever changing styles of Nicolas Cage's hair. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Crazy about Footwear (The First Great Mystery of 365 Days of Cage)

So, I have been working on this blog for about two weeks now. And I've only watched about three Nicolas Cage movies so far. But, I think I have found a mystery about Nicholas Cage (that probably only interests me). Check out the following pictures.

These are the same boots, right? I'm not seeing things, am I?

So, my question to you fine folks is: Why do these boots keep appearing in Nicolas Cage movies? Do these boots have some sort of special significance that we the viewers don't know about? Feel free to offer your own theories about this particular in the comments section.

Rich's Youtube Tribute to Valley Girl

Uh, oh. Somebody got access to an editing bay.

Thanks to Netflix and the Temple University TECH Center, I was able to create this video tribute to Nicolas Cage's best moments from Valley Girl. Please be kind. I haven't done any serious video editing in about 5 years. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nic Cage and The Green Hornet

Lisa wrote in to tell us about an article in the New York Times about the troubled history of The Green Hornet's production. According to the article, Nicolas Cage was supposed to star as the movie's villain however it didn't work out because "For reasons known only to him [Nicolas Cage], he insisted on using a Jamaican accent." 

Am I the only one who thinks that would have been epic?

Rich Reviews Rumble Fish

"Even the most primitive of societies have an innate respect for the insane."
- the Motorcycle Boy

I always thought that I had seen Rumble Fish. But it seems that I confused this movie with the Fisher King. Considering that both movies have fish in the title, I think you can understand my confusion. But now I really wants me to see Nicolas Cage in a Terry Gilliam film.

Before we get into the movie itself, I need to discuss Nicolas Cage and his familial relationships. Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Coppola. His father was August Coppola, a famous academic and author. His uncle was Francis Ford Coppola (Director of Godfather and Apocalypse Now) and Talia Shire (Yo, Adrian!). Nicolas's two older brothers, Christopher and Marc, were also involved in the entertainment industry. Nic changed his name to Nicolas Cage in order to avoid the appearance of nepotism. But I guess when you get a chance to work with one of the most critically acclaimed directors of the 20th century (who just happens to be your uncle), are you really going to skip that opportunity?

Around 1983, Francis Ford Coppola was in the middle of filming The Outsiders, when he discovered another novel by S.E. Hilton named Rumble Fish. According to popular folklore, Coppola was drawn to the novel because of the strong personal identification he had with the subject matter - a younger brother who hero-worships an older, intellectually superior brother, which supposedly mirrored the relationship between Coppola and his brother, August (Nic's father). Coppola worked with Hilton to adapt the screenplay on off days during shooting of the Outsiders. And production for the film started almost immediately after the Outsiders shooting finished with almost the same cast and crew.

The film centers on the relationship between Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke), a revered former gang leader, and his younger brother, Rusty James (Matt Dillon), a teenaged hooligan who aspires to become as feared and respected as his older brother but doesn't quite have the ability. The movie opens with Laurence Fishburne walking into a diner and proclaiming "Biff Wilcox is looking for you, Rusty James. He's gonna kill you, Rusty James." And with that statement, the movie just bursts onto the screen. Through the use of camera movement and character action, Coppola is able to give the opening scenes a real sense of vitality and urgency. It's so exhilarating to watch that you might to forget to notice Tom Waits playing Benny (and looking grizzled as fuck even back in 1983) and Diane Lane (who looks about 14 in this film) playing potential love interest, Patty. All this frenzied camera work leads up to a great gang fight (cheorgraphed by Michael Smuin of the San Francisco Ballet) and first appearance of the Motorcycle Boy.

At this stage, the film changes gears drastically and enters an almost dream-like state. Voices get more subdued. Lighting and shadows become more accentuated and smoke starts appearing randomly (signs of German Expressionism?). I assume this is to portray the Motorcycle Boy's perspective (he is color blind and going deaf). It adds a nice claustrophobic yet desolate feeling to the proceedings. But then you get an out of body experience and things take a turn to the surreal.

Mickey Rourke as the Motorcycle Boy absolutely haunts this film like a specter. When he is not wandering around, whispering metaphors and being treated like royalty in funky pool halls, all the characters react as if he is still present in the scene. This is a great contrast to Matt Dillon's Rusty James character. Dillon plays his character with youthful rage, testosterone and alienation. His portrayal in this makes Nicolas Cage work look absolutely subtle.

And speaking of Nicolas Cage, he once again has a small part as Rusty James's best friend, Smokey. Nic plays this role with a nice combination of guile and quiet intelligence. His conversation with Rusty James near the end of the movie just comes across as smart and pure cool.

In conclusion, Rumble Fish is a weird little film. The second 2/3 of the film is trippy as hell but solid writing and a great performance by Mickey Rourke prevent this film from flying too far off the tracks. Plus it has some absolutely breath-taking cinematography and a great propulsive soundtrack by Stewart Copeland. Check this film out if you feel like venturing out for something different.

One final note about this movie that may bother only me: Is Nicolas Cage wearing the same boots that he wore Valley Girl? Why do I notice such things?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rich's Immediate Review of Rumble Fish

What the fuck did I just watch? I'll write more in depth a little later but in the meantime, enjoy the trailer.

Rich Reviews Valley Girl

"When they attack the car, save the radio."
- Randy
Valley Girl is a 1982 cult movie starring our hero, Nicolas Cage. The movie was based off the Frank Zappa song of the same name which itself is inspired by the San Fernando Valley. This is a very loose reinterpretation of a Shakespearean tale (Romeo and Juliet, Randy and Julie, get it, GET IT?) in which our protagonists don't need to commit suicide by the end of the story.

Like Alex stated in his earlier review, this movie is just all over the place. You have an entire subplot involving Suzi and her cougar Mom, Beth fighting over some dude named Chip. This subplot adds nothing to the main love story and feels like it should have been in the hands of a better production like "Days of Our Lives". Next, you have some wonderfully inept acting such as Michael Bowen doing a poor man's "Johnny Lawrence" which can be viewed below. And finally some of the writing is downright horrible. "That techno-rock you guys listen to is gutless." We get it. You like punk rock. And you probably hate New Wave because a couple of preppies beat your asses at their concert. We didn't need that message beat over our heads repeatedly. It just seemed very heavy handed and forced.

But for all of its faults, this movie has some real solid things going for it. First, even though this movie is plagued with some subpar writing, Nicolas Cage gives a solid performance as a devil may care, cocksure punk rocker from Hollywood. Sure, this might be the first appearance of Nic's "intense stare" and some weird ass eyebrows. But, this entire movie hinges on the fact that Nicolas Cage needs to portray a crazy romantic that will go to any length to get his woman. And he knocks that role out of the park.

An honorable mention should go out to Frederic Forrest. Besides looking like Sonny Bono's stunt double, Frederic plays Julie's father (and aging hippie) with a subtle but comforting touch. Watching the scene where Julie asking her Father for advice on which boy to choose is probably the best acted scene in the entire film. And Frederic's performance seems to give the whole scene an added sense of gravitas. I guess it just makes me miss my Dad.

Finally, how can you hate any movie that has such a great 80's soundtrack? I approve any movie that has Eddy Grant, Modern English and The Psychedelic Furs on it's soundtrack.

So, in conclusion, this movie is all over the place. In a way, it kind of almost feels like a John Hughes film. Except with worse writing and acting. It makes me wonder if John Hughes saw this film and said, "Hmm, I think I could do it better..." and then did make a better movie. Can we call this a John Hughes Beta project? I guess that is food for thought for another occasion. If you like Nic Cage and you like cultish 80's films, then go watch Valley Girl. It's worth your damn time.

For Sure, Like Totally

Alex's favorite line from Valley Girl ...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jumping on the Nicolas Cage Bandwagon

Gee, we start a blog about watching Nic Cage movies and then Moviefone turns around and decides to host Nicolas Cage Week on their website. Of course, if we had Moviefone's budget (or drive), we could afford to list 47 facts about Nicolas Cage and maybe even interview the man himself. But we are just two men. So the best thing we can do is just link their site and blatantly steal their shit later. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Valley Girl

Valley girl is Nicolas Cage's first leading role as well as the first role he is credited as Nicolas Cage as opposed to Nicolas Coppola. Very loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, Julie and Randy are lovers from diametrically opposed social circles and the resulting plot is mostly predictable. My favorite Nicolas Cage line from the movie takes place at the point where Randy realizes Julie is dumping him because her friends think he's too weird for her. As he leaves her house he yells back to her "Fuck off for sure! Like Totally!". With its weak plots, poor acting and lack of any real talent involved I had a hard time paying attention to Valley Girl... I found myself looking for the snooze button on this movie... like totally... gag me with a spoon...

The only other actor of note in the movie was Elizabeth Daily, who had a short-lived music career in the 80s and is probably most well known as the voice of Tommy Pickles from Rugrats. She has a successful career as a voice actress and has over 100 credits to her name.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, apparently there's a remake in the works and it's a musical... which reminded me of this... which I found on Reddit earlier this week:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Nic Cage

Kate wrote in to remind us that today Nic Cage turns 47... and here's the latest trailer for his new movie Drive Angry. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Where's Nic?

After talking to Alex, I decided that it would be an amusing idea to list all the scenes that we could find of Nicolas Cage in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. . We listed what we could find below. All times are approximates.

  • 7:43 - Gives Judge Reinhold a high-five after he pulls up in his car.
  • 8:37 - Standing with Judge Reinhold looking awkward as fuck.
  • 30:55 - Working in the kitchen with Judge Reinhold.
  • 47:28 - Seen cheering for the other team.
  • 1:20:52 - Dancing in the crowd at the graduation dance.
  • 1:25:46 - Leaving the Mi-T-Mart with Judge Reinhold.

If you find more scenes with Nic Cage, let us know and we'll post them up here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Very Late Introduction to 365 Days of Cage

Awhile back my buddy Rich sent out an email to a our group of friends claiming that Nicolas Cage "is the greatest artist this generation has ever seen", including links to various YouTube videos of said actor doing what he does in various movies. His email got me started wondering about how many movies Nic Cage has actually done.

A quick check of IMDB reveals that as of this writing, he has 66 credits to his name, 6 of which have not yet been released. Looking at the listing, I have seen roughly half of his movies and initially thought it'd be fun to go back and take a look at the ones I missed over the years. I let the idea roll around in my head for awhile and thought it would be more interesting to watch his entire body of work over the course of the new year. To make it even better I've invited a few friends to join in the endeavor. Please feel free to post your own reviews, comment on other reviews or post anything Nicolas Cage related. If you'd like to be a regular contributor, let either Rich or me know... 

The first movie up was Fast Times at Ridgemont High which, as Rich mentioned, was not Nicolas Cage's first movie but I thought it would be a good start as he actually has a line and you can spot him in several scenes in the movie such as at 47:28 he can be seen cheering for the other team in the bleachers or at 1:20:52 he's dancing in the crowd at the graduation dance. Rich already wrote a great review of the movie so I won't go into too much detail but Fast Times is definitely notable for a few reasons but the only one I really feel like writing about is the Phoebe Cates's tits. They just don't make gratuitous T&A flicks like that any more... Did you know she turned down the role of Clarice in Silence of the Lambs? Instead she chose to work on the incredibly deep and moving psychological thriller Drop Dead Fred... she hasn't done much since... 

The next movie up is Valley Girl, Nicolas Cage's first leading role which I must admit I've never seen... It's directed by Martha Coolidge, who's only other movie I've ever seen (or for the most part, heard of) is Real Genius. I'll post my thoughts as soon as I've watched it. In the meantime, I leave you with this gem... 

Rich Reviews Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is not Nicolas Cage's first movie. It's actually his third movie. According to Wikipedia, his first film was as an uncredited extra in Brubaker. And as much fun as it would be to go back and revisit Stuart Rosenberg's wonderful film about prison abuse in Arkansas, I am much too hung over to sit there and play Where's Waldo looking for a split second of Nicolas Cage and Morgan Freeman. On a slight tangent, I find it slightly weird that Morgan Freeman keeps playing a lot of prisoner roles (Brubaker, Shawshank Redemption, Invictus). But then again, he also got to play God.

Nicolas Cage's second film is something called Best of Times. Not much is really known about this movie. Looking on Wikipedia and IMDB, they both have very different descriptions about what the movie is about. I would love to describe the plot just to make a complete record for the blog but the movie is all but impossible to find. Netflix doesn't have it. Hollywood Video doesn't have it. Even the Pirate Bay doesn't have it. I guess I could go scouring on EBAY to find it but that would require something like "effort" and money.

So, that brings us to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Much like Brubaker, it appears that Nicolas Cage has another really small role. Actually, his entire role can be summed up in one sentence: Being Judge Reinhold's non-speaking sidekick. Not that is necessarily a bad thing because Judge Reinhold is awesome in this movie. It's just not a really memorable role. I don't even think his character even has a name. His entire dialogue consists of one line ("How you doing Brad?") and looking awkward as fuck. But considering that this is Nicolas Cage's third movie, I can think his lack of memorable screen time can be forgiven.

But hey, don't let that get you down. It's a movie based off a Cameron Crowe book and there is plenty to love. First, you have the above mentioned Judge Reinhold playing a senior in high school with a promising future and then proceeds to have his life shit on for the remainder of the film. The look of horror on his face as his world spirals out of control is heartbreaking. How did this guy not become a huge star after this film? Maybe a mystery to explore in 2012. On the flipside, you have Robert Romanus's Mike Damone who plays the greasy, douchey, scalping, one-pump-chump, date rapist that feels way too familiar for comfort. I’ve sworn that not only have I met that guy in real life but I’m pretty sure that I may have lent him money. Other fun stuff include the iconic Jeff Spicoli - Mr. Hand relationship, Phoebe Cates and Jennifer Jason Leigh going topless at the drop of a hat and Forrest Whitaker just straight up jacking people on the football field. Plus, they used to let people smoke in movie theaters? When the hell did that stop?

In conclusion, Nic Cage's had a nothing role in this film (He was even listed as Nicolas Coppola), but the movie is awesome enough to watch in its own right. Now, I'm off to listen to some Pat Benatar.