Nicolas Cage is a walking meme. You can’t find an actor who’s churned out more ridiculous films than he has. Yet, he’s also a pretty good actor and is even an Oscar winner. As Nic has descended more into cheesy films than quality ones, we’ve somehow become fans of these kinds of movies.
In this list, we’ve (mostly) included those films that are lame, but not necessarily bad; their cheesiness factor comes in due to either how cliché they might be, Nic’s over-the-the-top acting, or just because the premise is cheesy in itself.
10 It Could Happen To You (1994)
Romantic comedies are inherently cheesy, but this one really adds in the sappy quality in great numbers. The story had a cop share his lottery winnings with a waitress, and it portrays the resultant love story between them. What makes the film so cheesy is how the protagonists conveniently have everything fall into their lap so they can be together. They win the lottery; out of the blue, the hero’s wife leaves him; the couple just happens to feed a homeless man who’s an undercover reporter; they become rich through donations and recover the money they lost.
Cage, meanwhile, seems to think that opening his mouth as less as possible while speaking somehow makes him sound like a romantic hero, as he mumbles his way through It Could Happen to You. But you know what? We do like how everything works out, and there's nothing wrong with liking a happy ending, is there?
9 Vampire's Kiss (1989)
What’s the point of detailing the plot of this film when you know just by looking at the picture why we love watching it? This movie is thirty years old, but it lives on in memes to this day. Vampire’s Kiss is part horror, part comedy, and completely ridiculous.
When you’ve got a story where the main character thinks he’s becoming a vampire, there’s not much room for quality. Yet, we can’t say watching Nicolas Cage ham everything up with his provocative expressions doesn’t make us laugh. It’s all so very stupid, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Vampire’s Kiss is a must-watch when you’ve got the guys over and want to laugh in unison.
8 Con Air (1997)
The film’s title is kind of a play on words of its own premise – a plane filled with convicts, leading to the name Con Air. As you can see just by the name alone, this film was filled with exaggerated characterizations of its main characters.
Cage played the only good prisoner, as he resembled a stallion set on the loose what with his long hair and stubble, accompanied by his wearing a vest for most of the film. His accent sounded like he wasn’t sure if he should stick to country or go with his actual one, although his performance wasn’t really bad. Every character was over the top, but there’s a sense of warmth you feel once Cage’s character is reunited with his daughter. The jokes are lame, but you do find yourself laughing at them, too.
7 The Family Man (2000)
Flip around It’s a Wonderful Life, and you’ve got The Family Man. It’s a completely predictable tale of a man whose superficial lifestyle is proven to be empty when he’s thrust in an alternate timeline where he has a family.
There’s no wit or smart direction here, and the times where you see Cage’s character bond with his children are incredibly lathered on in feel-good moments that are very obviously shoehorned for character development. Of course, he ends up choosing the alternate life over his original one, because that’s the whole point. However, the film is made in the holiday spirit, and you don’t want to watch a movie that ends in a sad way, do you? It’s cliché-ridden but still has enough goofy charm to work.
6 National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
This is actually a pretty good film and is highly intriguing due to the history that accompanies it, but Ol’ Nic once again manages to cheese things up by delivering one crazy delivery after another in comedic scenes.
The craziest one you’ll find here is when he’s feigning a meltdown and goes off on a rant in Buckingham Palace; complete with an awful English accent, sliding down the stairs, screaming at the top of his lungs, and basically hamming it all up. And yet, you can’t say it's not entertaining since Nic does a bang-on job at acting like a fool. Other than that, the film’s climax is a fun ride in itself, even though he achieves impossible tasks like kidnapping the President and finding a city of gold.
5 Drive Angry (2011)
If you want to shut your brain down and just roll with it, then this Nic Cage movie has been made for you. Using your brain cells for Drive Angry is an insult to your intelligence, and to enjoy it, you need to shut down any kind of logical thinking.
Once you do that, then Drive Angry turns out to be a pretty enjoyable film, due to Nick doing the best he can to make the ridiculous premise seem something of substance. He’s entertaining in his role as a man who’s escaped Hell (hence the driving angrily part), and the film is good if you want to be entertained without needing to think about anything. Who among us doesn’t want to turn our brains off for a couple of hours?
4 Next (2007)
2008 was a relatively quiet year for Nic, which was probably because he’d had his fill of ridiculous movies in 2007 – the most moronic of which had to be Next. To be fair, the film isn’t bad for almost its entire runtime; it’s when at the very last five minutes that you find out everything was a vision that you sigh in exasperation at another Nic film jumping the shark.
Like Drive Angry, Next is also an enjoyable affair once you overlook the hundreds of plot holes and silly premise and just appreciate the action-heavy execution for what it is. Next is kind of a guilty pleasure you watch when coming across it at random on television, or finding it on a plane ride – although why a plane keeps this as part of its watch list is the real mystery.
3 The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)
It was like the developers thought, “How can we make Nic Cage even crazier?”, and then settled on turning Cage into a wizard, because that just spells money all around, doesn’t it? Seeing as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice made over $200 million, maybe the studio wasn’t wrong.
Cage has nothing to do in the film other than tango around with Alfred Molina’s equally bizarre dark sorcerer, and that’s pretty much it as far as his role goes. However, the movie’s real protagonist, played by Jay Baruchel, isn’t bad at all, and Cage’s role supports him not all too badly, either. It’s a film that delivers best in its special effects; you can excuse the cheesiness of the dialogue, plot, costume, and pretty much everything else thanks to the cool effects on display.
2 Ghost Rider (2007)
Nic tried twice to make Ghost Rider work, and both times he succeeded in making further memes out of his face. While the second part was all kinds of awful, we find ourselves going back to watch the first film, as Nic’s insane acting contributes to an equally crazy premise.
The film’s direction really isn’t good, but it’s a worth a watch thanks to the performances of the cast, and Cage is charming in his own way. His quips and transformations into Ghost Riders are lame as heck, but somehow they make for great replay value. As far as bad superhero movies go, Ghost Rider really ain’t too bad.
1 The Wicker Man (2006)
Speaking of bad, this film deserves all the awards it can get for being so bad that it has become legendary. Loving The Wicker Man is an open secret, as the film gave us crazy Nicolas Cage moments galore. You can find a hilarious quote to fit any given situation – whether it is crying about your grades (“Not the Bees!"), or getting burned food to eat (“How’d it get burned!?”), Nic’s got you covered.
Plus, we’ve got Nic in all his hammy glory, as he punches someone while wearing a bear suit (really, we are not even making this up) and cries while getting burned alive as if someone stole ice cream from his hands. It’s a terrible film made enjoyable thanks to just how hilariously bad it is. It’s most likely the most re-watched Nic Cage film you could find.