The news networks and the blogosphere have been atwitter with news of Nicolas Cage’s recent arrest for domestic violence and disturbing the peace. Domestic Violence is a very serious issue, one that effects us all. And Nicolas Cage is not a first time offender. He’s been committing acts of domestic violence since the early 1980s.
The big question — and the one that seems to have escaped all the major news outlets — is with a rap sheet 66 movies long, has it taken so long to bring him to justice?
The problem seems to be that, like most victims of domestic abuse, the majority of Americans are in denial. We minimize the damage. We tell ourselves that Season of the Witch wasn’t that bad, that Bangkok Dangerous wasn’t the worst movie ever made. We blame ourselves. Maybe we just don’t get it. Sure he’s Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, but he has an Oscar. Maybe we’re just not trying hard enough to understand him.
But any good therapist will tell you that the denial and the excuses are just part of the abuse cycle. Nicolas Cage is terrible. Every single one of his movies sucks. Yes, even Adaptation. Sure. It wasn’t as painful as the others. Not even Nicholas Cage can completely destroy a movie crafted by Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jones. But is someone who – once — managed not to completely ruin an otherwise entertaining movie really worthy of your attention?
And, of course he was good in it. He played a pair of depressed twins (the second one did not manage to come off less depressed than the first). And depressed people have just one face: their depressed face. And Nicolas Cage is good at just the one face. Which is perfect if you don’t really need to tell what an actor is feeling in a scene; if joy, rage, anger and tenderness are irrelevant to the story line. If years of abuse and mistreatment have driven you into a dark hole where nothing really matters anymore.
But, although we know we should, leaving is always harder than it sounds. He lures us back in. Not satisfied with the campy science fiction or action movies, tailored for those unfortunate enough to have acquired a taste for him, Nicolas Cage preys on good films. Films with story lines, films that require their main characters to emote, films that have promise until you find out he’s in them. He isolates you from your loved ones; makes you question the decision making skills of your favorite directors; leaves you wondering why. Why Wim Wenders? Why Werner Herzog?
And you swear you won’t watch it. You told yourself you’d never go back. You remember the pain. But it’s lonely out there. Nothing good has come out in so long, and Andrew Niccol is such a good director. Surely there were some good times. Maybe things will be better.
And then the title credits roll, and Nicolas Cage comes storming on screen with his terrible hair piece and his one expression, flailing his arms, stomping his feet and screaming “acting, acting, acting”. For 190 minutes. And it hurts every time.
But, remember, you don’t have to live in fear. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Together we can stop the abuse and learn how to heal.