By George Bate
Nicolas Cage is in the spotlight once again as the build up to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a story in which the actor plays a semi-fictionalized version of himself, begins. Cage’s cult following is arguably the reason for this new film’s existence, and his immense fandom has grown throughout his long career. Cage has appeared in 104 films to date, with plenty more on the way, and in the past decade has moved to act in at least several a year.
Because of this, it can be hard to keep up with all of Cage’s work. However, in his long and storied career, the actor has made several under-appreciated and overlooked gems, particularly in recent years.
These are some of Nicolas Cage’s most underrated films:
Premise: A psycho-sexual thriller following a couple that buys an old motel in the desert looking for a new beginning, but what seemed at first as an escape is soon a thrilling ride through a mysterious world when Ray discovers a two way mirror and witnesses a horrifying murder. In a twisted game of cat and mouse, Ray must race to save his wife and himself from a gruesome secret connected to the motel and the strange people who visit there.
Color Out Of Space
Premise: When an iridescent meteorite plummets from outer space and into the property and foundations of a remote New England estate, a malignant force begins to insidiously permeate the lives of an unassuming family. The effects are gradual – time begins to dilate, nature assumes an otherworldly hue – and all things bright and beautiful eventually mutate and corrupt under its influence. So proceeds this eerie adaptation of the short story by H.P. Lovecraft, one of horror’s most haunting, here presented by the enigmatic South African filmmaker Richard Stanley. Returning to Midnight Madness 29 years after his hypnotic killer-robot fandango Hardware first premiered in the section, Stanley summons his uniquely hallucinogenic sensibilities to envelope his endearing characters in surreal, incremental dread. At first, their domestic bliss is quietly fraught with an undercurrent of unnerving tension, before eventually boiling over into delirious, acid-fueled terror. The patriarch of this doomed brood is none other than Nicolas Cage, continuing his recent renaissance as a midnight-movie staple with an increasingly unhinged performance that reliably ricochets among every technique in the Stanislavski playbook. The rest of the ensemble, which includes Joely Richardson and Tommy Chong, play effective foils to Cage’s delirium, but the real star of the show is the alien entity itself. This all-consuming, dispassionate menace manifests itself in a series of grotesque, body-horror, and psychedelic spectacles, worthy of its ineffable literary origins.
The Frozen Ground
Premise: For more than a decade, an elusive sexual predator and utterly sadistic serial killer has been preying on innocent young women in snow-capped Alaska. Now, in early-1980s cold Anchorage, the inquisitive state trooper, Jack Halcombe, is burdened with piecing together a seemingly endless string of violent and meticulously premeditated murders, as he follows specks of circumstantial evidence. Unfortunately, the only survivor who miraculously escaped the nightmare–the runaway teenage streetwalker, Cindy Paulson–is reluctant to both ask for help and aid the investigation, while in the meantime, a soft-spoken member of the community and respectable family man finds himself entangled with the mysterious case. Will Halcombe ever unearth the secrets of the frozen ground?
Premise: Waters and Stone are two nobody police officers who work in the evidence room of the Las Vegas Police Department. When Stone discovers an unusually high bail receipt in connection to a drug bust, the two friends set in motion a plan to find the source of the money.
Premise: A small group of survivors are left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction.
Trapped in Paradise
Premise: Though tempted by crime, Bill Firpo has managed to stay on the right road, unlike his jailbird brothers, compulsive liar Dave and kleptomaniac Alvin. After overcrowding leads to an early parole for Dave and Alvin, they get Bill to take them to Paradise, PA., where on Christmas Eve, the three brothers pull off the easiest bank robbery imaginable. Leaving the literally nice-little-town of Paradise, though, is not as easy as they imagined…
Premise: As they’re held for ransom, a husband and wife’s predicament grows more dire amid the discovery of betrayal and deception.
Premise: A phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the former’s teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly.
The Family Man
Premise: On Christmas Eve, two days before he pulls off a multi-billion-dollar merger, Wall Street hot-shot Jack Campbell gets a phone message from a woman he almost married 13 years before. He also tells a gun-toting street tough that he has everything he needs. The punk laughs. Christmas morning, Jack wakes up next to his old girlfriend, in some sort of parallel universe, in a 12-year marriage. Over the next few weeks, he gets a glimpse of what his life would have been like if he’d married her: a house in Jersey, two children, bowling trophies, a job at his father-in-law’s tire store, and a lot of love from his wife Kate. When this Dickensian adventure ends, what will he do?