Nicolas Cage: Having the time of his life while earning millions

I love the actor Nicolas Cage. I’ve been preparing to write a film column for the school paper on Nicolas Cage. Not surprisingly, given the recent release of the Cage movie “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” Mr. Cage is getting a lot of ink lately.

As this article in The Atlantic states: he is the least pretentious actor in Hollywood. The author of the article wonders how in the world Nicolas Cage went from being a revered actor to being one of the most criticized actors in the industry. He has two theories: either Cage has decided to stop being serious and just have fun or he’s just desperate to collect a paycheck.

I think it’s a case of both. Marlon Brando wrote in his autobiography, “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” that after he spent his youth giving everything he had emotionally, he realized it took too much out of him. He “acted” in schlock movies towards the end solely for the paycheck. There’s no doubt Cage has a paycheck in mind. After all, the man has two castles to pay for. I really hope he learns to be more financially responsible because he owes the IRS a hefty sum.

However, Nicolas Cage never pretends to be something that he’s not. I cannot wait to see him re-unite with Charlie Kaufman next year in “Frank or Francis.”  Some of the most snobbish critics have argued the last “good” movie Nicolas Cage was in was “Adaptation,” which was also written by Charlie Kaufman.

Nicolas Cage isn’t some self-righteous charity case or a serious thespian who has to act on Broadway to avoid the label of “sell out.” Nic Cage embraces the label and churns out box office hits time after time. And quite honestly, this isn’t anything new. Here’s a YouTube video that collects the greatest Nicolas Cage quotes. Before you check the video out, let me warn you that there is R-rated material involved (profanity and a disturbing scene involving bees). The scene at 6:45 might be the highlight. As the video shows, his zany acting can be traced all the way back to his beginnings. Cage knows his movies aren’t all cinematic masterpieces. So, he embraces them for what they are: pure entertainment. And it isn’t like he doesn’t still try to make good films. Working with Werner Herzog on “Bad Lieutenant” being a good example. Nicolas Cage just might be the most brilliant actor who simply isn’t appreciated because he’s so far ahead of his time. Then again, maybe he’s just an actor having the time of his life.

Follow me on Twitter @ehilkert/twitter.com/ehilkert

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