Look, it’s terrible out there, and if the worst thing that happens to us is that we get a bit bored stuck indoors on our own, then my goodness, we’re all very lucky indeed. But boredom and loneliness are foes nonetheless. We may fight them with too many snacks. We may fight them with increasingly odd video chats. Round these parts, we’ve recruited someone for whom the world is never boring, to aid us in our endeavours. Yep, there is literally never a dull moment when this guy is around.
And so began Cage-Fighting, Pajiba’s Unofficial Nic Cage Film Festival: a synchronised movie snark fest on Slack, spanning several international time zones. So far, we are three movies in, and it’s been joyous. And we wouldn’t want you to miss out. So here are some of the highlights from Cage-Fighting’s opening night.
There were reasons for starting with National Treasure, I think, but we didn’t write them in code in invisible ink on the back of a famous document, so you may need to take my word for it. While it probably isn’t anyone’s favourite Nic Cage movie (and it’s not part of Kate’s Holy Trinity — more on that story later!), it is a perfect example of a Cage movie. Without sounding too much like Stefon, this movie has everything: a plot that Dan Brown would be proud of; terrible jeans; exposition monologues; terrible wigs; a heist montage; questionable acting choices - and a hefty dose of OH YEAH AMERICA BABY.
Weirdly, my UK edition seemed to be shorter than the US version, so I feel like I missed out on some of that OH YEAH AMERICA BABY spirit. Maybe they dialed it down a bit for the Brits, though I can’t see why they felt the need to change something like this in a movie about secret codes hidden from the British on the Declaration of Treason and the Mutiny Bell. Complete mystery.
Representing the evil British: Sean Bean, sporting a bleached ‘do that borders on mullety, though in the current state of the world, I propose a Declaration of No Judgement on the state of people’s hair, because, roots, man. Bean is being Not Northern, which means he’s evil. It is known. Seriously, when he’s Definitely Northern, he’s probably fine. He might die, but you can probably trust him. When he’s Not Northern, don’t turn your back on him. He will probably still die, but he’ll do some damage first.
Also making an accent choice: Diane Kruger, whose accent was probably an attempt at Generican (you know, the generic American accent that doesn’t really exist, like the two generic British accents of Approximated Posho and Have You Dislocated Your Jaw, Bert?). Kruger’s character is an expert who gets history mansplained to her by Cage, but still finds him so irresistible that she makes him a sexy treasure map at the end. (It’s not yet confirmed whether this was because their house is so big he needs some clues to find the bedroom, or if this was her gentle way of giving him some direction in the bedroom, but there we are.)
Also, Justin Bartha is there.
But this is a Cage-fest, and so Cage is the only one who can follow the clues to find the code, then find the key to decipher the code, then follow the map and decipher the riddle and oh god, this is silly, but it’s a jolly romp and who cares? Sure, let’s just imagine that Jon Voight has a fridge full of lemons for no reason. Sure, I’ll totally buy that that delicate pipe thing survived the whole movie intact. Sure, the Masons made rickety wooden staircases to lead to their secret vault, that’s totally their favourite building material. It’s Cage’s unique manic charm that holds this bonkers movie together. His wig glue might have helped a bit, but it’s 95 percent him.
Cage-Fighting 1: Boredom 0. You might be incredulous and you will probably mock with gusto, but you won’t be bored. And that’s not something to sniff at, poppets.
Coming up on Cage-Fighting: It’s Kate’s Holy Trinity! Sean Connery was trained by the best — British Intelligence — but there’s still plenty of OH YEAH AMERICA BABY in The Rock. What on earth is that accent doing in Con Air? Who cares when there’s OH YEAH AMERICA BABY! And I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I have a feeling that someone’s face is coming off soon as well…