#41 National Treasure: Book of Secrets

#41 National Treasure:  Book of Secrets
Year: 2007
Director: Jon Turteltaub
MPAA Rating: PG
Epic Co-stars: Jon Voight, Ed Harris, Ty Burrell, Harvey Keitel, Diane Kruger
Running Time: 124 mins
Cage Time: 99%
Cage Kills: 0
Cage Flip-outs: 2
Skyler's Review: 
Alright, here we go. A second National Treasure. This time Ben Gates (Cage) is super famous  for finding all that gold in the last movie. So Gates is telling the story of his ancestors  and some guy (Ed Harris) stands up and reveals that he has a page from of a diary that indicates that the Gates family might be traitors to Lincoln and the Union during the Civil War. This, of course, upsets Nic Cage, so he goes into full-on high-powered investigation mode: he has to prove that there is another amazing gold treasure room to somehow prove his family's standing.
Ed Harris blackmails Cage into jumping into clue finding mode.
To set up the movie at the beginning, Riley makes some kind of  joke about the IRS taking his car due to "taxes." That actually sounds a lot like Nic Cage, and how the IRS took his stuff due to "taxes." Did he write this movie? Later they show the inside of a giant house that is supposed to be Ben's. Was that actually Nic Cage's house? This all made the movie extra special, making us feel closer to Dr. Cage's personal life. 

We may have stole this out of a desk in Buckingham Palace and security/bad guys are moments behind us, but let's take a moment to look at it in plain sight.
The rest of the movie unfolds in what you would expect from a quest-based farce. Nic Cage and his crew break into high-security venues to steal historical artifacts and run away from bad guys with guns. No target is too high profile, no location is too high of security. I mean, he's Nic Cage, for goodness sake. His charisma is off the charts, so he can bluff his way out of any situation. There is no catching this guy.

They always end up in some cave with some kind of ancient yet unrealistically sophisticated technology.

All in all, this is a great film. Nicolas Cage is totally in his element: freak outs, ridiculous lines delivered with conviction, and every emotion that they make. I can't wait to see what they try to steal and break into in the next one! Bravo, Cage!

Movie quotability:
  • "Do you know what the taxes are on five million dollars? Six million dollars." -Riley
  • "Of course someone else is after the treasure. That's the axiom of treasure hunting."-Riley
  • "That's ABSURD." -Dr Cage

  • "So let's recap: We've broken into Buckingham Palace, and the Oval Office, stolen a page from the President's super-secret book, and actually kidnapped the President of the United States. What are we gonna do next, short-sheet the Pope's bed?" -Riley
  • "I'm gonna kidnap him. I'm gonna kidnap the President of the United States." -Cage
  • "Bangers and mash. Bubbles and squeak. Smoked eel pie. Haggis!" -Cage
  • Riley: "So, what's new with you?" Ben: "Well, my girlfriend kicked me out, I'm living with my dad, and my family killed President Lincoln." Riley: "All right."
  • "That was not love. It was excitement, adrenaline, and tequila. I was trying to get course credit." -Helen Mirren
  • "This movie even insults the intelligence of Nicolas Cage fans." -James

Plot Holes:
  • Ben Gates doesn't speak French? I thought he spoke like every language ever. 
  • Ben Gates can smell perfume around a giant bouquet of flowers. She must really reek.
  • Everything about the hack into the London Police Database
  • There is no Section 25 of Article 1 of the Maryland Constitution. Lawyered.
  • If the Presidents' Book is a book known only to the presidents, then how does Ben Gates (non-president) know about it?
  • Giant stone teeter-totter. What the fuck.

Exceeds Expectations
!Stayed in the CAGE!

#40 Next

#40 Next

Year: 2007
Director: Lee Tamahori
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Epic Co-stars: Jessica Biel, Julianne Moore
Running Time: 96 minutes
Cage Time: 99%
Cage Kills: 0
Cage Flip-outs: 0
Skyler's Review: 
Whenever I see a movie by Saturn Films (Dr. Cage's label), I like to imagine how the Master of Film picks out a screenplay. For "Next" I imagine Nic sitting in a hot tub with a buddy of his and Cage says, "I really want to make out with Jessical Biel. I wonder how I could do that." His friend says, "I always thought it would be cool to have a movie where the main character can see the future; but, like, only the next two minutes, or something. That'd be pretty cool." And hence, film history was made.

Nic Cage's character has the magic power to scry into the future. The fire-flower thing is just CGI.
Basically the plot works like this: Frank Caddilac (Cage) has some sort of mutant power that lets him see 2 minutes into the future. This allows him to dominate in fist fights and elude the cops pretty well. He also makes a decent living at the blackjack table. Other than that, he tries to keep his abilities secret, fearing that the government will want to take him for their own ends. Frank then sees a girl, the same way he sees the future, but this is much more than 2 minutes into the future. He makes it his mission to find this girl (Biel) so he can have sex with her. There is a scene in which he gets to try out about 20 pickup lines before finding one that works, thanks to his abilities. 

Then comes the bad guys. There is a group of terrorists that want to blow up LA. The counter-terrorism guys are completely inept and are essentially useless. They know there is a bomb in the city, somehow they are good enough to know that, but that is all. Then that chick from The Big Lebowski has an idea when she sees surveillance video of Nic Cage totally evading the casino police. She decides that he must be able to see the future and that he is their only hope of finding the nuclear bomb. The CTs then spend 100% of their resources trying to apprehend Frank Caddilac for his "see the future" ability, NOT look for the bomb. You can figure out the the rest on your own.

At this point, Cage's character is fully cooperating with the authorities. Why then do they need to hold his eyes open?
There are some real problems with trying to make a movie with a plot like this work. For starters, the guy can see the future and so he reacts to it. That means that what the audience sees is Cage fail at something, try again; fail, try again; fail, try again; such that a 10 second action can be dragged out into minutes. This is cute at first, but then you start to think, "alright, I get it, he is virtually trying out many options, cut to the chase..." That is the 10 second stuff. Then there are also full 2 minute conversations that happen, but are then erased because Frank decides to change his mind at the last moment.

The film Next is most widely known for the Nicolas Cage "my hair is a bird" internet meme.
It is a cool idea, however, so you get a pass for that. As far as the counter-terrorism guys though, it is ridiculous. First of all, ZERO "experts" have any problem with trying to hunt down a guy because Julianne Moore says that "she thinks he has clairvoyance." Nope, they go in full lock stock and barrel to get this innocent civilian so that he can tell them where the bomb is. Remember he can only see 2 minutes into the future. This means they are going to all this trouble tracking down "some guy" (which takes multiple days) so they can get a 2 minute head start on a nuke in LA. What is their magic plan for this? How will he know where the bomb went off? They stick him in front of a TV saying that "as soon as that bomb goes off, the news will report the location." As soon as it goes off? Yeah, right. Even breaking news takes a minute to get on the air. What if they are at commercial? So this eats into the 2 minute window, we're talking 1 minute, tops.

On the plus side, we do get to see some epic slow-motion bird hair, and a moment when there are 20+ Nicolas Cages on screen. It was worth it for that alone. If Nicolas Cage could really make copies of himself, there is no end to how many National Treasures he could find/steal!

Movie quotability:

  • "Did you know that Nicolas Cage looks great without a shirt on, even though he's a forty-year old man?" -James
  • "We need to use all of our resources to find the guy who can see two minutes into the future!!" -Skyler
  • "Oh my god, a dead hooker! That's awesome." -James
  • "I've seen every possible ending. None of them are good for you."
  • "It happened. It just hasn't happened yet."
  • "Here is the thing about the future. Every time you look at, it changes, because you looked at it, and that changes everything else."
  • "You have one way out of this... that wasn't it."
  • "Every once in a while what we think is magic is the real deal hiding behind a $50.00 trick, because the alternative is impossible for others to live with."
  • "Did you hear about the zen monk who ordered a hot dog? He said he'd have one with everything."
Plot Holes:
  • Nothing in this movie makes sense. Let's just leave it at that.
  • Sheets stick to Jessica Beal's boobs even when she's sitting up in bed.

Exceeds Expectations
!Baked in the Cage!

#39 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

#39 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 
Year: 2011
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Epic Co-stars: Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba
Running Time: 95 mins
Cage Time: 
Cage Kills: 43
Cage Flip-outs: 1
Shauna's Review: 
If you were waiting for the movie where you get to see Nic Cage piss fire, you've finally found it. Your expectations for this movie, like ours, may be incredibly low following Ghost Rider I, but Spirit of Vengeance at least represents a measurable improvement over its predecessor. 

The directors (previously of Crank) bring a touch of Shoot 'Em Up (or, you know, Crank) to this film, which can only help it. The most significant improvement is to Cage's character Johnny Blaze. Whereas in the first film Cage's great dynamic range was stifled to a terribly dull, Kevin Costner-esque moderation, in this movie Cage's true dramatic and comedic abilities are showcased to great effect. Heaven knows I could happily watch the flesh melt off of Nic Cage's screaming face for hours on end. 

Ah, bliss.

The creative "minds" behind this movie have made a few changes to the canon. The Ghost Rider is basically the Hulk in this movie. Although more familiar with his alter-ego, Nicolas Cage still sweatily strains to hold it in check. Also he appears to be high on crack (you may notice a common theme among Cage's greater films). I know if *I* were playing the main character in this movie, drugs would help tremendously. 

I'm not sure if you know this, but... I've got the magic in me. Also cocaine.

The penance stare seems to have evolved a little bit... in that it now takes longer and is more like a makeout sesh, ending in the baddie dissolving in a fiery poof. Also the Rider is announced by that same sci-fi noise you've heard before in the Matrix/Lost/Transformers/Every Sci-fi Movie Ever, which is (redundant, but) creepy and awesome. I'll allow it.What makes this movie so much better than the first is that we get to see Cage AS the Rider, instead of as a boring do-gooder who morphs into a CGI Non-Shamanic Rider. 

I'm not going to bother with a recap of the plot of this film, because it is utterly ridiculous and wouldn't hold up under the slightest of scrutinies. Needless to say, every moment of film without Cage is one wasted, terrible moment, and slowly those moments wear you down until you are praying for merciful death. The writing is so awfully bad that Blaze actually compares murder to illegal downloading. And not in like a funny, ironic way. On the plus side, Cage's interviews with Nathaniel Lippiett are beautiful and amazing

Have you ever been dragged out to the sidewalk and beaten until you PISSED FIRE??

In sum, I'm not sure if Cage's performance is SO legendary that you should voluntarily subject yourself to it (outside of your AYITC requirements, of course); I'm sure you can think of at least one Cageriffic alternate. But he does give an enjoyably Shamanic experience in an otherwise crap film. 

Movie quotability:
  • "Same plot as Dennis the Menace?" -Skyler, hopefully
  • "I did a bare ass 360 triple back flip in front of twenty two thousand people. It's kind of funny, it's on Youtube, check it out."
  • "Why does the devil walk in human form anyway? I have no idea."
  • "And you don't want to be around when that happens, see there's good and bad in all of us, and maybe you're not a murderer, but you did something that you didn't want the Rider to see, a white lie, an illegal download, what about you? And you?"
  • "That's the guy? He looks like he works on a crew ship."
  • "No, I got it. You're the devil's baby mama."
  • "Yeah, Black, French, kind of a dick? You know him?"
  • "That guy does looks like a younger, more attractive Kurt Russell." -James
  • "He's scraping at the door! Scraping at the door!!!"
  • "Good girl."
  • "There was a bee. I thought it was going to sting your face."
  • "They made a mistake with Christian Bale. They should have just gone with him as Batman." -Skyler
  • "Go. Home."

Plot Holes:
  • Shotgun RPGs?
  • Martine (a mom) says that chick is not convincing as a real mom.

Exceeds Expectations
Fell asleep in the Cage. Hell yes.

#38 Lord of War

#38 Lord of War
Year: 2005
Director: Andrew Niccol
MPAA Rating:
Epic Co-stars: Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan
Running Time: 122 minutes
Cage Time: 100%
Cage Kills/Deaths: 6 billion
Cage Flip-outs: 0
Special Guest Review By the Die Hard Cage fan simply known as "Steve": 

"Normally I don't bother to count the Cage flip-outs because I quickly run out of fingers to count on. This time I was easily able to keep track of them, there weren't any! He even manages to keep his cool after getting shot and even after his brother gets killed.

Just another day at the office for a typical business man.
There were plenty of plot holes to go around, such as stripping the plane down to its skeleton in one night, including removal of 4 massive engines and numerous gallons of jet fuel.  This movie was mildly entertaining and was supposed to have a message regarding governments supplying arms to various conflicts around the globe, but in the end is a fairly forgettable movie. I know, because it wasn't till there were about 30 minutes left in the movie that I realized I had seen it a couple years ago."

Unfortunately for us, Cage plays the most calm Ukrainian in the history of loud angry Ukrainians.

A few things you in for in the two hours after you push play are...
  • Great opening sequence, life of a bullet including the ending when it hits a kid in the face. 
  • Hot chick walking on jets at German defense show.  
  • Nicolas Cage (Yuri Olav) scrapes cash up while children are being shot next to him with his guns.  
  • A Badass office located in a shipping container.  
  • Nic Cage lets his brother snort a kg of Coke.  
Cage figures out why you should never let your brother snort a kg of Coke.
  • AK-47 is the best gun ever.  
  • Ethan Hawke looks like Christian Bale in the Machinist.  But unlike Christian Bale, Ethan Hawke unfortunately looks like this all the time.
  • A Free gun give-away from the back of a plane.  
  • Cool shot with a plan being disassembled overnight.
  • Snorts Coke mixed with gun powder.  Falls in to a drug induced haze and ends up hanging out with Hyenas in the desert.
  • If you only have one phone call, call your lawyer not your wife.
  • Cage is just a cog in a much larger arms dealing machine controlled by the US government.
  • Nic Cage looks at the camera and talks.

Movie quotability:
  • "The first time you sell a gun is like the first time having sex.  It's really exciting and somehow it's over way too fast."
  • "This is shit.  This is shit."
  • "Faster or I'll send your ASS! IN!"
  • "I don't believe in fate..."
  • "It's not 'lord of war,' it's 'warlord.'"
  • "Any friend of my brother's is a... friend of my brother's."
  • "The only problem with an honest buck is they're so hard to make - the margins are too low, too many people are doin' it."
  • "At four and a half months old, a human fetus has a reptile's tail, a remnant of our evolution. And maybe that's what I can't escape. You can fight a lot of enemies and survive, but if you fight your own biology, you will always lose."

Plot Holes:
  • Nicolas Cage talks on the phone to speed talkers.  Based on his replies nobody on earth could talk that fast.
  • 30 minutes after being shot in the abdomen Nic Cage is seemingly unfazed for no other reason than that he is NIC CAGE!
  • Simultaneously night time in both Ukraine and New York.
  • Africans holding baskets can't hear airplanes 100 yards away.
  • Ethan Hawke chases Nic Cage all over the world and continually lets him go on technicalities.
  • [SPOILER] Nic Cage's wife thinks her husband is selling arms, so she brings her 4 year old son with her to trail him and discover his awesome shipping container lair.

Exceeds Expectations
!Put down her book for the last 30 minutes of the CAGE!