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RAGIN’ CAGE MOVIE PAGE

I am Gary Faulkner. I am the Donkey King.

— Gary Faulkner from Army of One (2016)

About ten days ago on February 23rd, 2020 I created this site. Couldn’t figure out how to work it. I started watching Nicolas Cage movies because I’m going to talk to a local professional wrestler about his work. It was only supposed to be two movies. I’ve since watched 20 Nicolas Cage films in those 10 days. I’m pretty sure this is my mid-life crisis. I wrote 4 whole fucking pages about my journey and it was published on another site I write for, www.bandsaboutmovies.com. I have become a man, wildly obsessed about another man’s film output. All hail Cage, the world’s 8th wonder, a true international treasure.

Arsenal (2017)

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A powerful action thriller, ARSENAL tells the intertwining stories of the Lindel brothers, Mikey (Johnathon Schaech) and JP (Adrian Grenier), who had only each other to rely on growing up. As adults, JP found success as the owner of a construction company, while Mikey became a small-time mobster, mired in a life of petty crime. When Mikey is kidnapped and held for a ransom by ruthless crime boss Eddie King (Nicolas Cage), JP turns to the brothers’ old pal Sal (John Cusack), a plain clothes detective for help. In order to rescue his brother, JP must risk everything and unleash his vengeance against King’s relentless army of gangsters.

I found Arsenal on Tubi the other day. I had previously passed over it numerous times while browsing because I did not realize that Nicolas Cage was in it. I finally gave it my full attention today after starting it and shutting it off about 20 minutes in, a few days ago. Arsenal is about two brothers on separate paths in life and how the older brother’s life of crime catches up to him when a low level crime boss in Bilouxi, Mississippi decides to collect on a debt.

This is a solid film about Mikey, who has up until JP grows up and becomes a business owner, taken care of his younger brother, only this time it’s JP who has to take care of him. Mikey is trying to make ends meet and takes 10 grand from JP and attempts to flip it into 20 grand by buying some cocaine. Unfortunately, it gets stolen from him and while out on the town after a bad night at his brother’s house, Mikey is kidnapped by Eddie King, here played brilliantly by Nicolas Cage.

Nicolas Cage is a coked out toupee sporting scum bag with a penchant for violence named Eddie King in this film. He also happens to be my favorite part of it. Nicolas Cage plays this character as a beautifully broken and twisted human. We first meet King when Mikey is a kid. Mikey comes across him in the back of the arcade he frequents after his uncle kills himself. King is working over someone who couldn’t keep quiet, and ultimately ends his life by placing a pipe in the guy’s mouth and driving it through the back of his head with a baseball bat. This really sets the tone for what kind of person King is.

I don’t think there is nearly enough Eddie King in this movie but I am being pretty biased here being a fanatic for anything Cage related. I would like to see him unravel a little more than just the bit we see. When his brother comes to town because Eddie is getting a little too cavalier with his criminal activities, Eddie is forced to kill his brother before he can kill him. Seeing him lose his cool and beat his brother to death was a thing of insanity. I’ve never seen that much red in a beating before. Eddie also reads a note that he was writing to his brother to Mikey in one of the most poignantly unhinged moments in the film. 

Cage is hardly in this film but for the time he is in it, he adds an element that elevates the rest of it to a height I wouldn’t have expected. If you want to see Cage in wild makeup, a fake nose, a toupee, and the oddest black mustache I’ve seen a criminal sport, you owe it to yourself to check out this movie which currently is streaming free on Tubi with ads.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)

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Balthazar Blake is a modern-day sorcerer with his hands full defending Manhattan against dark forces. When a seemingly average kid show hidden potential, Balthazar takes his reluctant recruit on a crash course in the art and science of magic to become the ultimate sorcerer’s apprentice.

Disney took that scene where Mickey uses some sort of conjuration on mops and crap to clean for him from the 1940 film Fantasia and decided maybe we can make a movie out of that and by golly they did it.

Merlin the wizard had 3 apprentices, Balthazar (Cage), Veronica, and Horvath. Horvath was taken with Veronica but Veronica chose Balthazar instead. Horvath joined Morgana LeFay, Merlin’s enemy. Merlin is mortally wounded by Morgana but Veronica merges her soul with Morgana’s and is then encased inside the Grimhold by Balthazar. With Merlin on death’s door step he gives Balthazar a ring that will lead him to the Prime Merlinian who will rid the world of Morgana for good.

Balthazar walks through the ages capturing the souls of Morganians while searching for the Prime Merlinian. He search finally proves fruitful in 2000 when a young boy by the name of Dave, stumbles upon Balthazar while chasing after a note on a field trip. Balthazar says Dave is the one. Unfortunately Dave unleashes Horvath from the Grimhold,  forcing Balthazar to use a spell to lock himself and Horvath inside a jar. Ten years later they emerge from the jar, Balthazar to look for Dave and Horvath to find the Grimhold that he may release Morgana so she can complete the ritual she was set to perform so many years ago.

I had absolutely no preconceived notions about this film prior to viewing, I just knew it was a family adventure fantasy that starred Nicolas Cage. I am so happy I watched this. I used to love fantasy as a kid but I haven’t really been invested in the genre really in my adult years. This movie takes some inspiration from Arthurian legends and gives us one of the best urban fantasies I have ever seen. Seeing Cage as a long haired wizard who runs around NYC in a slick as hell antique car who has to train Dave fast so they can save the world is something everyone should experience at least once.

One thing I dislike is the notion that some folks have that Cage is always over the top in all his roles. He really is a well balanced actor who gets to take things to unexpected places in a lot of his roles but who can be restrained when it is called for. His restraint is on display in a large way in this film, we still get the wild eyed Cage at times but his portrayal as Balthazar is a well meted performance. When you see a Cage movie, it’s not just a film viewing, I truly feel like it is an experience. Cage takes you on a ride through varied stories and situations and my ride through NYC with a bolt blasting wizard was one of my favorite experiences of the month,

This movie should have been a massive hit and I wish I had watched it when it hit theaters because I’m pretty sure I would have ate it up. If you’re into Disney movies, urban fantasies or just want to see Jon Turteltaub direct Cage in yet another fun adventure film this is definitely the one for you. Now when can we get us a third National Treasure film?

The Runner (2015)

In the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, an idealistic but flawed politician is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed in a sex scandal.

I’ll pretty much watch anything genre wise but one genre that I don’t usually venture far into is political drama. In fact I don’t know how many films that I have seen in my lifetime that fall into this genre but I bet it’s few and far between. However, when it comes to Nicolas Cage I will watch ANYTHING, even stuff that isn’t my cup of tea.

Colin Pryce (Cage) is a well liked politician lobbying for accountability and energy reform after the BP Oil Crisis in the state of Louisiana. He gets himself into a bit of a bind when it is revealed he is having an affair with a local fisherman’s wife. He resigns despite protests from his wife who vows to separate from him if he does. His resignation throws him deep into despair which leads to him drinking again. The movie follows his ups and downs as he struggles to recover from his mistakes.

This movie was pretty damn boring, so much so that I forget most of what happened in it except for a few details. After his wife leaves him Colin falls in love with his publicist who is having issues with her husband. Colin truly feels like they were meant to be together but she becomes distant and returns to her husband. His father is an alcoholic ex-politician who comes to his aid during Colin’s sex scandal. His father eventually passes away from complications that arose from his constant drinking. Colin starts to drink a lot again and eventually crashes the gate at his old house, before he decides to stop mucking about and straighten himself out even if it means selling out his interests.

Nicolas Cage really is the highlight of this film, I absolutely would have not watched it if it weren’t for him. He is fairly measured in this film except for his major breakdown and alcoholic binges. He elevates this film entirely. It’s a pretty standard dramatic outing with some decent acting but I really liked it because of him. Nicolas Cage treats his roles with care no matter the budget of the film.

After watching a large amount of Nicolas Cage performances in such a short time, some of the stuff has really begun to blur together but I will continue watching anything and everything he is in, even if it is about subjects I have little desire to learn about. If you are a fan of political dramas this one will interest you. I may even find myself revisiting this one despite it’s forgettable nature.

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016)

The harrowing true story of the crew of the USS Indianapolis, who were stranded in the Philippine Sea for five days after delivering the atomic weapons that would eventually end WWII. As they awaited rescue, they endured extreme thirst, hunger, and relentless shark attacks.

Someone gave Mario Van Peebles $40,000,000 to make this war/survival epic, and I cannot be anymore happy that they did. I didn’t know the story of the USS Indianapolis before seeing this film, I hit play because there was going to be a blown up ship, shark attacks and Nicolas Cage. It is a well done movie and it looks stunning. Apparently some folks have called the sharks Sharknado level bad but they looked pretty decent to me. This movie was relegated to a handful of theaters and VOD which makes absolutely no sense to me. I find it hard to believe people wouldn’t throw down their hard earned money to see this on the big screen if given a wide release.

Nicolas Cage plays Captain McVay, who is ordered to take his vessel and crew to take cargo across the Philippine Sea, completely unescorted during the latter days of World War II. The ship is attacked and destroyed on its way back from it’s clandestine mission by a Japanese submarine, leaving hundreds of men stranded at sea. Now some folks watch Cage for his so called over-acting but let’s face it the dude turns in a great performance in most of his material. In fact in the 20 films I’ve seen him up to seeing this film earlier this week I would go to bat for every single role in those 20. This stands out as one of his most balanced acting performances of those twenty.

This movie isn’t all about Captain McVay at first. It focuses more on the stories and struggles of the sailors aboard the USS Indianapolis most of the film but McVay really gets the shaft during this whole ordeal. McVay is blamed for the destruction of his ship and the loss of a majority of its crew to exposure, injuries, and freaking sharks. The sharks are real dicks in this movie; a sailor is told to not vomit in his rescue craft and while leaning overboard to regurgitate, his head is completely bitten off!

Captain McVay is a troubled man after the remainder of he and his crew are rescued. Near everyone is blaming him for the disaster at sea because the US Navy really needed a scapegoat and he drew the short straw. People are harassing him at home at all hours of the day via telephone and letter telling him he’s a real piece of shit and it is all his fault they aren’t spending holidays with their sons.

The lost at sea parts are really harrowing to watch and you come to relate and care about even the nameless sailors. War is hell but I cannot imagine anything more horrifying than floating on debris or dangling in my life preserver for days at a time in international waters surrounded by hungry sharks. This is based on a true story and apart from some embellishments the things depicted in the film actually went down.

McVay was put on trial for incompetence and the Japanese submarine commander even came to attest to the fact that McVay could not have prevented the sinking but he was still found guilty. This weighed heavily on his conscience up until his suicide.

Cage puts on a hell of a performance as McVay, he doesn’t go full on Cage as some would say in this film. He mostly turns in a measured performance and I found his character portrayal to be realistic. I don’t know shit about Naval procedures or anything so I cannot speak to the accuracy of his role but I believed this guy was a Captain. Cage gets to show his chops off in this film because McVay goes through a very large swathe of emotions in this film.

It really is a bummer this didn’t get more eyes on it when it opened because, damn, if it isn’t a good war film! Lucky for us we can check it out on Netflix currently and it is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Please check this out if you have any interest in war dramas or survival/disaster genre flicks.

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