IFC Center’s Midnight-Movie Hot Streak Continues with Nic Cage Series

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04/21/2010 8:59 AM |

His individuality, and his belief in personal freedom, are unquestionable: Nicolas Cage, wild at heart and weird on top (especially in recent years, with the hair plugs and everything).
  • His individuality, and his belief in personal freedom, are unquestionable: Nicolas Cage, wild at heart and weird on top (especially in recent years, with the hair plugs and everything).

From the theater that brought you midnight-movie tributes to Paul Verhoeven and the too-brief Cameron-Bigelow union comes another tribute to a contemporary multiplex icon whom smartypants cinephiles love with an irony that transcends irony (I think): beginning this Friday, fasten your seatbelts for Cage Heat: Nicolas Cage at Midnight. Rockin’ good news.

Brilliantly straddling ridicule and awe, the official series description salutes: “a national treasure and one of the most versatile and eclectic actors of his generation… always unpredictable and never boring”, while the program itself fetes Cage’s chops (opener Bringing Out the Dead; his Oscar-winning turn in Leaving Las Vegas), Cage’s Elvis-memorabilia-collection-underwriting schlock (The Rock, Con Air), and Cage’s… singularity (yes, The Bad Lieutenant; and, though it’s not online yet, The Wicker Man).

The series is bulleted with a quote from the man himself:

I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion.

Now seems as good a time as any to revisit Nick Pinkerton’s long-gestating, definitive Cage tribute, published last winter in the Voice: For starters, “Right now, Cage’s perceived standing among screen actors is as questionable as his hairline… just this year, Entertainment Weekly asked, ‘Nicolas Cage: Artist or Hack?’ As with Style vs. Substance and Humanism vs. Condescension, such Manichaeism betrays the vagaries of art. Cage is Artist and Hack…” Et cetera.