Last week, Film School Friday taught readers how to welcome in the New Year by throwing a party like Gatsby. How was that for you? Did you feel let down by the huge build up that inevitably disappoints on the big night? If so, then you know how I felt watching The Great Gatsby this year in cinemas. I'm not bitter though. Sure, I threw all my VHS copies of Titanic in the fire and have since created a petition begging studios to stop Carey Mulligan from ever appearing on our screens again but no, I'm not bitter...
Winter blues may be setting in now during the cold month of January but I am nothing if not caring, so as the writer of Film School Friday, purveyor of all things pure and wholesome, I feel that it's my sworn duty to lift your spirits with today's lesson. Who better to amuse us during these long nights than the ultimate clown of acting, the jester of Hollywood, the mental patient that is Nicolas Cage? With a career spanning over three decades and eighty-something films, you must admit that Cage is obviously doing something right - shame it's not the acting - so let's bring on the intensity, thicken out those eyebrows and get our crazy on as we learn how to emulate his success in today's lesson.
Lesson #18 - Acting Masterclass: Nicolas Cage
Whether you think Cage is talented or not, one thing we can all agree on is that being born into the right family can pay off no end. Unless of course you're Luke Skywalker. As a member of the Coppola's, Cage was given an instant all access ticket to Hollywood and that's great for him but what about us mere mortals? How can we get our foot in the door without being born into showbiz royalty?
Ok, first off, you'll need to pick a family with connections to Hollywood and then choose a member of that family who's roughly the same height and build as you. There's the Fonda's, the Barrymore's, even the Hemsworth's, but only go for the Hemsworth's if your physique was sculpted by actual angels. Decided yet? I'd choose Khloe Kardashian because we both have size 12 feet. Next, you need to kidnap this chosen family member, remove their face and use it to replace your own in a similar fashion to the classic Cage film... oh what's it called again? ... The Family Man... That's it!
Change Your Name
Good, you're still with me. So now you've got the face of a famous person's relative, you must use your newly acquired connections to gain small but interesting roles in films. Just change your name so people don't think you're coasting on your 'family's' success. Cage went the comic book route, naming himself after the Marvel hero Luke Cage, so I recommend something equally memorable like Mxyzptlk or Paste-Pot Pete. David Mxyzptlk... just has a ring to it.
Build A Fan Base
Cage gained attention with early roles in Coppola films such as Peggy Sue Got Married and Rumble Fish, before moving onto more critically acclaimed movies like Raising Arizona, Moonstruck and Wild At Heart. All of this eventually led to Cage winning an Oscar in 1995 for playing an alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas. That's a tall order for any upcoming actors but I know that the readers of Film School Friday are up there with the most talented, intelligent and presumably gorgeous people on the planet so you've definitely got a fighting chance. Oh sorry wait, I got you mixed up with one of the Hemsworth brothers again. Damn that new face is working out well for you!
Stop Taking Your Medication
So you've won an Oscar...maybe. For many, this would be the pinnacle of one's acting career but not for Cage. No, now that the whole world is watching with bated breath, the next step is surely to show everyone just how bat shit crazy you really are through some of the most mental performances in cinematic history. Sure, you'll lose all of the respect and dignity that you carefully cultivated over the years but who cares? Young frat boys will think you're wicked cool and when it comes down to it, what else really matters?
Up The Crazy
To maintain momentum, you must get a little bit crazier with each successive film. Con Air and Gone in 60 Seconds started off fairly tame in the crazy Cage stakes but by Drive Angry, there was no stopping Cage's insanity, which he refers to as the 'Nouveau Shamanic' style of acting. I call it 'too much crack with a touch of bipolar' but don't worry, crazy is definitely the way to go. Just ask Amanda Bynes. Her career has never been better since she started dressing up as animals and throwing bongs out of windows.
Some of Cage's poorer efforts of recent years have featured stories that explore the concept of alternate realities; Next, The Family Man, even his Academy Award nominated role in Adaptation. Cage's deft portrayal of twin brothers gave us a glimpse into an impossible world where the man can actually act still. It's important that you remind critics every now and again that you can actually be good in a film when you give a rats ass.
The Yes Man
Say yes to The Wicker Man, say yes to World Trade Center... say yes to anything that won't result in your instant death and even then, think carefully before making a rash decision. You don't want to miss out on anything potentially good. With over eighty films under his belt, Cage is the indisputable king of quantity over quality and you need to be too if you wish to emulate his success. Take on every film offer going and yes, that does include Uwe Boll films.
No matter how crappy or third tier a super hero is, always accept any chance of taking on the role. After failing to nab Superman, his all-time favourite, Cage then went and said yes to Ghost Rider, one of the least commercial super heroes ever created. The fact that some of you reading this may still be asking "who's Ghost Rider?" two films later sure does speak volumes for the character but hey; at least Cage got to urinate fire on the big screen finally. And who knows? If you get offered Aquaman, you might get the chance ejaculate sea water or something.
It's not all about making crap though. Despite being the dung beetle of movies, Cage does occasionally throw in a stellar performance just to mess with the critic's heads, impressing in such films as Bad Lieutenant, Lord of War and Kick Ass. That's how good the man really is at acting. He just turns it on and off like a lazy hooker.
So there we have it Cage fanatics; the ultimate masterclass in acting, inspired by the man himself. Oh and happy birthday Cage, you crazy old loon! January 7th is still a few days away so to keep you busy, here's a web site Cage fans might enjoy, called 'Being Cagey'. http://feelingcagey.com/ Brilliant. The following picture is just one of many treats that await you.
Next week, Film School Friday is going to teach loyal readers how to make a terrible superhero movie, inspired by Cage's own foray into the genre. Remember to comment if you like what you read and tell your friends! It gets lonely in the teachers lounge :(