Nicolas Cage

Further Signs You Are Watching A Bad Nicolas Cage Movie

That beacon of movie magic, that icon of cinematic excellence, that scion of taste and culture, the one the looney Nicolas Cage is releasing a new movie this week. It’s called Trespass, about a family held hostage in their own home, so that robbers can use Nicolas Cage to give them access to some crap worth some money, but then he fights back and probably yells and twitches a lot in that way that he does. Also, natch, his hair looks terrible.

Oh, what’s that, you had no idea this movie even existed, two days before its release? That’s because it’s SO bad the movie studio wants to release it Direct-to-DVD (not even Blu-Ray, cause that shit’s reserved for the GOOD crap), despite the flick co-starring Oscar Winner Nicole Kidman (who knows a thing or two about making a kick ass trapped in a house thriller), and noted ab-haver Twi-villain Cam Gigandet. Did I mention Joel Schumacher directed it? I know, get excited!

Should we really be surprised by this turn of events?

Some of you out there may still have faith in Nic. You might be hoping that one day Quentin Tarantino decides to bestow his Comeback Magic on the Cagester, or that Tom Hanks graciously offers to step aside and let Nic star in one of those war movies he and Spielberg like to make on the weekends. And that may very well happen. For now, though? We’re smack dab in the era of full-time Nicolas Cage dreck.

To help you better sift through the mounds of movie garbage Nic is regularly delivering to the landfill that is The American Cinema, here is another edition of that handy guide known as “How To Tell You Are Watching a Bad Nicolas Cage Movie”.

- If Nic’s primary mode of transportation is anything besides a car, say a magical metal eagle or a witch carriage or a plane flown and operated by convicts, then you should drive yourself, angrily or otherwise, the hell away from the movie.

- If Nicolas Cage is playing someone considered “the best in their field” be it in driving, assassinating, magicking, acting like a human being, et al, you are watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie.

- Unless you’re looking at that creepy picture of Potential Civil War Vampire Nicolas Cage, any appearance of The Cagester in a movie set pre-1950 should be considered an automatic bad Nicolas Cage movie.

- Who directed the movie? Oh, it’s the guy who made Batman & Robin? Yeah, I’m SO sure he’s the guy to make a good Nicolas Cage flick. Except, oh wait, NOPE.

- Does the hot girl in the movie desperately want to bang Nic Cage? Then gross! Can you even imagine someone having lascivious feelings toward this guy?

- Is the title only one word? Best be adding a ‘The’ to it, otherwise you are watching bad Nicolas Cage movie.

- Are you watching a YouTube video of a gothic faux-ninja who vaguely resembles Nic Cage, doing spinkicks outside of a club and/or getting their ass beat in broad daylight while people stand around and watch cause the dude probably deserves it? Then congratulations, you’re NOT watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie, you’re watching a FANTASTIC viral video starring Nic’s idiot son! Good life choices you’re making right now, truly!

- Is Nic’s female co-star a former Oscar winner? Then you are watching her slum it hard (and/or pay for an addition to her house) in a bad Nicolas Cage movie.

- Is Nic’s female co-star the bad guy? Then chances are you are watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie, and some bitch is about to drop a bucket of bees on our boy!

- Is Nic’s female co-star January Jones? Then you are without a doubt watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie.

(NOTE: That last point is actually applicable to any January Jones movie co-starring anyone.)

- Is Nic still trying to pay off his massive IRS debt, cause he bought 14 houses, 92 cars, an island and a whole bunch of medieval swords, and then gave a whole bunch of power to his scumbag money manager in what is maybe the worst financial management decision since Rocky Balboa let Pauly give power of attorney to some idiot Philly lawyer who then bankrupted the Balboa’s and forced Rocky to fight dumb Tommy Gunn in the street until he hears that bell? Then you should maybe focus on paying off your student loan debt or your credit card bill, or hey, buy your Mom something pretty, cause you’re just encouraging Nic to make more shitty paycheck flicks, and you’re wasting money way more egregiously than him by watching said shitty paycheck flicks. (NOTE: Rocky 5 sucks worse than any Nicolas Cage movie ever made or will ever be made.)

- The movie was shot 3D. Three dimensions of Nic Cage SUCKITUDE!

- Does Nic Cage literally piss fire in the trailer? Then you will soon to be seeing a shitastic sequel to a craptacular comic book movie.

- Did Nic Cage’s character escape from hell in the movie? Then you need to escape the hell that is the movie theater you are currently in!

In all fairness, I truly hope Nic solves his financial woes, and can start being a bit more discerning about his movie choices. Much as I like railing on all the truly terrible flicks he keeps making, I’d far rather have the interesting character actor who lends his weight to get daring indie flicks made (like Adaptation and Red Rock West), or even the charming in-on-the-joke action non-star he gleefully became for a few years after his Oscar win. Here’s hoping that time comes soon, because we’re quickly heading to a point where it will be impossible to even make a Good Nicolas Cage Movie.

And by “heading a point”, I of course mean “we are already there”.


Cage and Travolta Team Up For Really Ugly Face/Off Sequel

Face/Off Sequel: Looks/Off

My official sleeper hit of the summer!


Nicolas Cage’s HIGH-Larious On-Set Shenanigans!

nicolas cageWhilst perusing through the gruesome (yet really well done) coverage of Death Ledger on Defamer this morning, I caught a story that made my left eyebrow shoot up like Kevin Arnold staring down a horny Winnie Cooper. It was a piece detailing some of the more juicy excerpts from one-time Body Heat uber-hottie and current Tranny To The Stars, Kathleen Turner’s, upcoming auto-biography. It was the usual bits of dishy goodness; Michael Douglas is ruthless, William Hurt loves him some drugs, yada yada yada. But then the piece went into Ms/Mr. Turner’s account of working with bad movie scion Nicolas Cage in Peggy Sue Got Married.

Apparently, in a fit of paralyzing nepotism-based insecurity, Mr. “How’d it Get BURNED!“, would act out to prove he was more than just Francis Ford Coppola’s dipshit mooch nephew (which he was at the time). Let’s see what the chatty Kath Man had to say on the matter:

“Everything Francis wanted him to do, he went against to show that he wasn’t under his uncle’s wing. Which was ridiculous. Oh, that stupid voice of his and the fake teeth! Honestly, I cringe to think about it. He caused so many problems,” Turner writes. “He caused so many problems. He was arrested twice for drunk-driving and, I think, once for stealing a dog. He came across a chihuahua he liked and stuck it in his jacket.”


I would kill, literally take a man’s life, to see Nicolas Cage scoop a random stray dog into his jacket and walk away like nothing ever happened. And to be the cop who had to book his petnapping ass? Bliss!

“The criminal is being charged with Grand Theft Doggo, as well as Assault & Battery on the movie-going public. Charges were dropped, though, due to the ham-fisted actor’s cooperation in helping us to determine just How It Got Burned.”

BTDub, that video is the only pop culture-y thing that makes me happy after 24 hours of HeathDeathGate. Well, that, and this one, of course:

Bapada Boopie?



You know I can’t let a story like this go without some severe celebrtiy skewering. Or at the very least, some minor lambasting. So as a result, here are some other on-set shenanigans Nicolas Cage was a party to:

- On the set of National Treasure, Nicolas Cage… payed the entire crew $10 a piece to call Justin Bartha “Jason Biggs” for a whole day. As a result Bartha had to be physically restrained from hanging himself, and is no longer able to look at Apple Pie the same way.

- On the set of National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Nicolas Cage… refused to call Helen Mirren anything but “Mommy Sweet Tits”. She was not offended. And I mean really, why would she be?

- On the set of Honeymoon in Vegas, Nicolas Cage… replaced Sarah Jessica Parker’s face cream with equine skin softener. This is why she now looks like a broked-out stable horse. Her marriage to an effete former hipster was unrelated (we think).

- On the set of Moonstruck, Nicolas Cage… robbed a liquor store on a dare from a drunken Danny Aiello and ended up shooting a man in the head. The man survived, but was rendered mentally challenged. He was in a coma for some time, then woke up and eventually completed physical therapy by painting pictures of Ritz Cracker boxes. This man’s name was Henry, and we regard him.

- On the set of Amos & Andrew, Nicolas Cage… continually put non-poisonous snakes in co-star Sam Jackson’s trailer. This is why he’s now had it with these muthafuckin snakes!

- On the set of Con Air, Nicolas Cage… requested a daily supply of five purebred llamas be brought to his trailer. Upon arrival, they were lined up by height and left to wait. Twenty minutes later, Nic would walk up and punch each of them square in the face three times; he did this to get into character. The llamas never fully recovered from the humiliation.

- On the set of It Could Happen To You, Nicolas Cage… developed a twitch that caused himseld to pull one hair off his head every time Rosie Perez spoke. This is why he currently has no hair.

- On the set of 8MM, Nicolas Cage… actually killed a guy on-screen. But since it was a really good take, Joel Schumacher didn’t want to say anything. So he yelled “Cut and Print” and everyone just backed away really slowly.

- On the set of Face/Off, Nicolas Cage… had to be told more than a dozen times that he wouldn’t ACTUALLY be switching faces with John Travolta. He was pretty bummed, too, cause he thinks Johnny T is a goodlooking dude and he was getting psyched to take that ridiculous chin out for a test drive.

- On the set of Gone in Sixty Seconds, Nicolas Cage… farted on the hood of every car he walked past. Why? Only the Cagebird knows…

- On the set of Leaving Las Vegas, Nicolas Cage… propostioned Elizabeth Shue every day with ever increasing amounts of money for sex, claiming it was for method acting purposes and had nothing to do with thinking she was in any way attractive (The Jay Note: I believe this.). Apparently, if you have $472,000 you can have one hell of a night with Elisabeth Shue. (Brother Andrew can watch, but it’s an extra hundy and you have to play soccer with him afterwards. Not worth it!)

- On the set of Ghost Rider, Nicolas Cage… insisted that his skull be actually lit on fire before every take. Nobody had any objections.

- On the set of Next, Nicolas Cage… finally opened his petting zoo of captured stray dogs. He called it Nic Cage’s Wide Wild World of Weiner Dogs and More! and featured the largest collection of confused chihuahua’s in the history of the world. The crew brought all their children, Purell was given out as a souvenir and Nic wore a purple top hat and green speckled parachute pants for the occasion. Admission was $39 for California residents.


The 2007 Year In Film Awards

The 2007 Year In Film Awards banner.

I’m rip roaring and raring to go on ’0JAY8 like La Lohan on an extended weekend in Capri, so before a Celebritard does something so dissgrossting that I have to break my Lost Girls ban and dip into my bag of fake whore words to describe their actions (“whoreititude” being my current favs), let’s start launching some award bombs (be forwarned, this post is HUGE).

And away we go (Read the 2005 and 2006 YIF Awards post as a refresher to their awesomeness):


Knocked Up – Universally loved by both sides of the Relationship Wars, personally loathed by this guy. As funny as it is to see Seth Rogen giggle like an idiot, smoke pot and heffalump all over that girl who used to be hot when she was on Roswell but now is a shrill harpy who’s about to banshee scream the awesome out of James Marsden in that exorable 27 Dresses abomination, I’d rather just watch the much better SSDD Judd Apatow manchild movie, The 40 Year-Old Virgin. Also, I liked it better when it was called Nine Months and it starred a far more charming bumbling idiot and a much better actress who was also slumming it in a lame romcom but still managed to show a modicum of gratitude for hit studio movie that launched her career, unlike some other wretched blonde yenta currently turning Grey’s Anatomy into a double-bloop fest. Yikes, this movie gives me the hatebumps. Apatow should have considered going to the Screenplay Smashmortion clinic and smashmortioning this twenty-minute too long unfunny fest like yesterday’s Spears bastard.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Despite making nearly a gajillion dollars at the box office, I got the sense that most people considered this episode a toss-off. A hurdle they have to jump to get to the infinitely more awesome Half-Blood Prince and the revelatory Deathly Hallows. But let me learn you all an education, this may prove to be the most intelligent, well put-together flick of the bunch. Book Five was nearly unreadable. Two hundred pages too long, full of lame, angsty teen balderdash and an anti-climactic finale that didn’t advance the story enough to warrant the preceding 700 pages (we all knew Harry wasn’t gonna get to keep Sirius, the whole point of the series is that he stands alone). Too my surprise, I found the movie adaptation positively mesmerizing. From the totes sweet over the shoulder shaky dolly when Harry and Dudley are running from the storm, to the dark tunnel Dementor fight where Harry wielded his Patronus like some mighty Jedi. From the crazy evil child torture scenes to the ku-reep-E Brooks Brothers-clad Voldemort on the train platform fever dream. And that’s before I get to the wrenching “LOOK AT ME!” scene. This film was playing to win the game. They didn’t think it was a damn exhibition. I must not tell lies dear readers, The Order of the Phoenix pwned hard.

HairsprayHairspray – I genuinely don’t care about musicals and I’m even more indifferent to John Waters, so imagine my surprise when I popped in the DVD and found myself bopping my head like I was the Kattan Roxbury jagoff for two straight hours (him? you? me? me? no? heh?). Full of infectious energy and crazy slick choreography, I had a blast with this movie. I dug Travolta so much I even forgave him for Wild Hogs. But it was a tough decision. I mean he does wear a bandana through that pile of shite. A bandana. Seriously. On his head. For two hours. And it was intentional.


Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man 3 – Tobey Maguire dyed his hair black, grew knock-off Petrelli-bangs and emo-Manero’d down the street in the most regoddamndiculously stupid sequence in blockbuster movie history and it was STILL not the worst musical number in the flick. That goes to Kristen Vampire Teeth McFlatboobs Dunst, who whilst singing in a play where she was the lead managed to sound like monkey shite even though she wasn’t actually doing the singing. Her performance was so terrible that the audience I saw the movie with actually applauded when Tobey decked her in that SECOND so so bad Dunst musical number. It was the one time in the movie where everyone got what they wanted: a scene where Tobey wasn’t weeping like a wee little girl and five fingers saying SLAP to the former Rancho Carne Cheer Captain who would NOT stop singing in the action-packed Comic Book movie.


Tobey Maguire, Spider-Man 3 - Did I mention he cries through most of the movie and gay dances like Travolta in Staying Alive for the rest of it? Also, that he sucks? Oh I did? Good. I didn’t want to forget mentioning that he sucks.


Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End - Not because of the actual movie, which was slightly better than Dead Man’s Chest, owing mainly to the Godzilla on Tokyo levels of kick ass rampage that is Chow Yun Fat, Keira Knightley in Asian Pirate fetish wear and Orlando Bloom getting dead, but because of how unbelievably long the movie was in relation to how much I had to pee. I was in the center row center seat of a sold out 400 seat theater and had to go pretty hard starting in minute 17. It was not pleasant. Here was a brief summary of events.

17:00 – Damn, gotta yazzer. I think can hold it, it doesn’t seem too bad.

24:00 – Maybe loosen the belt loop up one.

32:00 – Might be wrong about this. . .

46:00 – Shifty.

58:00 – Crap all, there’s ninety more minutes left!! How much more “Yargh-ing” can they do?

1:05:00 – Yayayayayayayayayay.

1:17:00 – If I hold my junk any more people are gonna think I’m actually enjoying the movie. Must be strong.

1:29:00 – And there goes the belt and top button.

1:46:00 – Starting to get numb.

1:53:00 – Slouchy slouchy, calm the belly.

2:06:00 – JUST FUCKING END ALREADY!!!!! Awesome effects and all, but can we just kill the Bloom already so I can save my kidneys?

2:15:00 – And my pants are officially off.

2:36:00 – Thank Jeebus it’s over. I survived. Eye of the Tiger saved me again!

2:45:00 – I will RAIN FIRE on you Valley bitches if you don’t leave the theater FUCKING FASTER!


2:53:00 – Wait. Waitwait. Ye… wha… more… AHHHHHHH!

2:56:00 – Jimmy Dugan ain’t got nuthin on me!


Live Free or Die Hard picLive Free or Die Hard - Psych! Trick award, fools. This movie ruled! I was skeptical. I thought it would be a whole bunch of man ass. But it turned out to be a whole bunch of man awesome (yeah, that just happened). I was cool with bald McClane. I was cool with him Supermannig the fighter jet. I was cool with villainous plot. I was SuperCool with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. And I was Super-Sized cool with Maggie Q. Hell, I was even straight with Mac Guy Sidekick (which bodes well for Villa De La Beouf in Indy 4). I missed a Hans-level bad guy and I hated John not dropping F-bombs everywhere, but kids, it could have been A LOT worse.


I Am Legend - So how come the Fresh Prince left his interesting character study to walk onto the set of a bad Sci-Fi network zombie flick? Did the producers refuse to let him drop a “Ah, hell no!”? Were they blocking him from getting jiggy with it? These are things we need to know!


TMNT – Sarah Michelle Gellar should never be prominently involved with ANYTHING from my childhood ever again. I swear to Xenu I will burn my Buffy box set if she even blinks in the direction of Cheetarah and the Thundercats. Dude, I miss Ninja Rap. (Go ninja! Go ninja! Go!)


Ben Affleck, Director, Gone Baby Gone - A subtle, powerful, beautifully photographed debut from the man who was the bomb in Phantoms, yo! I never had my doubts that he’d be a good movie director, but I never imagined he’d be that good. Wisely letting Ed Harris chew the scenery like they were yesterday’s egg bagels. Shooting close-ups all over the preternaturally pretty Michelle Monaghan. The brilliant credits sequence that established the reality of the Boston streets better than Mystic River could even dream of. Not to mention pulling an Oscar-worthy performance out of Amy Ryan. And that’s before talking about Morgan Freeman’s nuanced work and Casey Affleck’s surprise work as a commanding leading man. I’d love to have The Fleck in front of camera again, but I just may want him to stay behind it, more.


Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, Charlie Wilson’s War - There’s just something inherently creepy watching the Pretty Woman grab Forrest Gump’s ass. And something totally gross seeing Erin Brockovich and the voice of Woody, post-coital. I usually love seeing mega-stars onscreen together. But in this case I just wanted it to go away so I could see Phillip Seymour Hoffman cuss some more.


Anthony Hopkins - He’s now repeating himself worse than Tommy Lee Jones, and I’m pretty sure Tommy Lee Jones was actually credited as playing “Tommy Lee Jones” in that last Paul Haggis travesty. Ryan Gosling blew him off the screen in Fracture. It wasn’t even close. The Washington Generals put up more of a fight than Hopkins did. And with Anton Chigurh taking Hannibal’s mantle of most awesome screen villain we secretly love, what does Hopkins have to play for? Time to pack it in and start considering begging Aaron Sorkin to do a Welsh version of The West Wing.


Nanny Diaries picTie – Jessica Alba and Scarlet Johansson - I was thinking about this the other day while I was checking Alba off the list of girls I am attracted to (The Jay does not date girls with baggage. And by “baggage” I mean “intentional career-boosting celeb babies fathered by doofy civilians”), when was the last time either girl gave pop culture anything worthwhile beyond an occasional sex-A magazine photo spread? Match Point belonged to Woody Allen. And The Prestige was about Bale and Jackman. Lost in Translation was nearly five years ago. As for Alba, she was the worst thing about a bad FF sequel. She did a Dane Cook movie this year. Which, hello, pretty much forces me to stricken from the record her bra and panties work in Idle Hands. And she refused to go topless playing a stripper in a graphic novel adaptation. In my boy mind, they are both dead to me until one of them drops an intentional nipple in an indie flick or I get more from them than lame-ass Paul Walker action flicks and sub par Woody Allen movies.


Rush Hour 3 - Did anyone in the world need more of this nonsense? Did anyone in the world even notice than Chris Tucker dropped off the face of the Earth? Does anyone in the world really care about the words coming out of their mouths?


Nicolas Cage - I’ve already written at length about the CageMatch this year, so I’ll keep this brief. Nic should only make really absurd indie movies and National Treasure sequels. Any time someone asks him to play anyone with long hair, superpowers, a dysfunctional family not played for laughs, or a guy that has to say the words “Why’d it get burned?”, he should run the other way. Fast. Fast enough to rip his toupee off.


The Heartbreak Kid - Yes yes, we get it Ben Stiller, you are neurotic and awkward with insanely hot, out of your league girls. Stop complaining about having to bang a batshit crazy Malin Akerman before you turn into the Simian-looking older man version of Zach Braff. And as for the Farrelly Brothers, unless Matt Damon has a mortgage payment and agrees to a Stuck On You sequel, ya’ll can STFU and put down the movie camera. Gross out comedies haven’t been popular since Jason Biggs. And Jason Biggs was never popular.


Phillip Seymour Hoffman doggstyling Marissa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead - More on this in a moment…


Tie – Keri Russell in Waitress and Megan Fox in Transformers - My number one celebrity crush (despite having a half civilian half celebrity baby… a celivibaby?), was beyond reason fantastic playing a small town pie maker. I could watch her whisk chocolate for eight life times. And I could listen to her banter with Nathan Fillion in that wonderfully lyrical cadence until I ruined the spindles on my ears like a ten year old VHS player.

And as for Megan Fox, um, well, look at her:

Megan Fox on the cover of Maxim


Marissa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead - She was always a hottie, but never in that “I MUST see her nipples immediately” kind of way. She was more sultry sexy. Jersey sexy. The kind of sexy where we dug seeing her in purple lycra showing how her biological clock is “ticking like this” or sweetly falling for Christian Slater and his untamed pig heart, but never where we would drive twenty miles out of our way on the rumor that she went topless in a Gothic Southern flick directed by Sam Raimi. So how were we to know how utterly delicious she looked without her clothes on? And after all these years, even! Her body was so smokin hot its mere presence negated the retina-searing image PSH throw his freckled ass all over the medium shot. Hell, it might be the only acceptable reason to ever see PSH’s ass. Lemme put it this way… Marissa Tomei in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead was eight Megan Fox’s hotter than Diane Lane in Unfaithful. True Story.


Getting to drop the post title “Alvin and the Shitmunks” and make my mom laugh at it.


P.S. I Love You - Which I believe I’ve already covered.


the nines posterpride movie poster

gone baby gone posterthe descent poster

black snake moan posterplanet terror poster


Let’s drop some math to explain these:

1. Shooter - Marky Mark + Smart Action x Kate Mara in a see-thru shirt = The Very Definition of Awesome Sunday Afternoon TNT New Classic.

2. Superbad - “Fellashe” + The Jay = Overused movie quote of the year.

3. Ocean’s Thirteen - George Clooney’s Stache / No Julia Roberts x Matt Damon’s Nose – Don Cheadle in an Evel Knievel costume = Crap in a can, that threequel rocked!

4. Balls of Fury - Maggie Q in booty shorts + Christopher Walken imitating Christopher Walken = A missed opportunity for greatness, but thanks all the same for giving Jason Scott Lee some work.

5. Shoot Em Up - Clive Owen with guns + Monica Bellucci with tits + Paul Giamatti with villainy = Geek Splooge.


1. Spider-Man 3.
2. Vacancy
3. The Reaping
4. Ghost Rider
5. License To Wed

And finally…

Atonement picTHE JAY’S TOP TEN MOVIES OF 2007

1. Atonement
2. No Country For Old Men
3. The Bourne Ultimatum
4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
5. Waitress
6. Juno
7. The Darjeeling Limited
8. Gone Baby Gone
9. Hairspray
10. There Will Be Blood


More Signs That You Are Watching A Bad Nicolas Cage Movie

As the day approaches for yet another Nicolas Cage magnum opus (it’s treasure protecting time!), I felt it might be high time to brush up on our “How To Tell If Your Watching A Bad Nicolas Cage Movie” skills. Use these lessons as a guide to determine just how much of a sucker you really want to be when considering paying green kaysh money for National Treasure: Book Of Secrets.

- If at any point of the movie Nicolas Cage tricks himself into forgetting that he is an Academy Award-winning actor widely praised for his subtlety and character work, in order to put on a Bad Acting Clinic where his skills are free, you are watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie.

- Any time he yells a ludicrous, only logical in-context request like “Step away from the bike!” or “Put the bunny down!” or “300 Feet! Pretty neat, pretty neat!” or my personal favorite “We’re more like treasure protectors!”, you are watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie.

- I didn’t buy it when Sam “The Man” Jackson and Samantha Caine outran a fireball, why would I buy it when Nicolas Cage does?

Nic Cage outlandishly runs from a fireball in Con Air.

- If Nicolas Cage’s love interest plays the entire movie two corset breaths from swooning (ahem, Jessica Biel in Next) or with only her lips and spicy latina fire (hola, Eva Mendes in Ghost Rider), instead of you know, actually acting, then you are watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie.

- Speaking of which, Nicolas Cage is 18 years older than Jessica Biel. He should never EVER be playing her lover in a movie. This isn’t necessarily a sign of a movie’s relative merits, I just wanted to point out how creepy it is. In the immortal words of Chris Cocker, seriously Nic, LEAVE JESSICA BIEL ALONE!

- The presence of Giovanni Ribisi is the immediate tip-off that you are watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie. Not even a scuffed looking Angelina Jolie can fix the problem (though the “Donny, Low Rider. Low Rider, Donny.” scene helped)

- If this shows up in the trivia section of a movie’s imdb page: “Nicolas Cage wrote sections of the script”, well then, do I even need to tell you?

- Any time a scene calls for Nic to scream in pain, prepare yourself, as you are about to lay witness to a bad Nicolas Cage movie.

- If Nicolas Cage can see EXACTLY two minutes into the future, then you should have been able to see a full NINETY, cause you’re watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie and you didn’t do shit about it. How’s that college degree working out for you now, kid?

- Two Nicolas Cage’s can be a good thing (see: Adapation), but a baker’s dozen Nicolas Cage’s can NEVER be a good thing (see: Next, the end of).

- If a prominent actor shows up half-bored and obviously slumming it a low rent Nic Cage affair (Julianne Moore in Next, Ellen Burstyn in Wicker Man, Peter Fonda in Ghost Rider, Robert Duvall in Gone in 60 Seconds, et al), trust the “cha-ching” look in their eyes and triple bloop the hell outta there.

- If his hair looks rattier than Tom Hanks’ in Da Vinci Code then you are watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie.

Nic Cage looks ridiculous in Next.

- Any time you have a big, splashy CGI-enhanced comic book movie extravaganaza starring a huge A-list action star in the title role, it might be a good idea to have a big, tough, believable bad guy. As in, not the wimpy emo kid from American Beauty who liked to film plastic bags and spend time with Kevin Spacey. Cage was playing a dude with a skeleton head on fucking fire, OF COURSE he could take out the d-bag in blue face paint and gelled hair. C’mon!

- As a rule, anytime the director decides to show us Nicolas Cage’s abs, thereby confusing us for the rest of the movie as to why they were so inexplicably ripped for such a freakishly weird dude and then you get into a heated debate with your friends about whether or not he was wearing a Wrath of Khan-style chest plate, he’s trying to distract you from the fact the movie he’s making with Nic Cage SUCKS BALLS.

Bottom line, Nic Cage is always playing it straight, and I respect him for it. He makes no apologies for his style. His very essence is a heightened piece of sincere slapstick. Hell, I’m not sure he even has the ability to be tongue-in-cheek. You never have to worry that he’s winking at you, because he’s not. He’s flat out waving you down like John McClaine at the end of Die Hard 2 (“Here’s your fucking landing lights!”). The worry is whether the movie he is in is playing it straight.

nicolas cageNic Cage is out of his mind crazynuts in Adaptation, but the movie respects what he’s doing and runs with it. Same goes for Raising Arizona, The Rock, Leaving Las Vegas and to an extent, Peggy Sue Got Married. His crappy movies are the ones where you get the sense the filmmaker is making fun of him. The Wicker Man is a pile of shit, no doubt, but Nic is trying hard, you can see it. I got the sense that at the end of the day Neil LaBute went home and giggled himself to sleep that he got Nicolas Cage to scream bloody murder about bees. The entirety of Next seems like an on-set dare to see how far they can push Cage into absurdity.

Bottom line time… if you disrespect what Cage is bringing to the table, your film will suffer. And that’s the real sign you’re watching a bad Nicolas Cage movie. Nic will come off looking like an idiot and the audience won’t need my guide to see that the movie is bad. It’ll be all too easy to tell.

Here’s hoping Bruckheimer let Cage drop the crazy thunder on National Treasure 2. It’ll be nice to say I liked a Nicolas Cage movie for a change. It’s only been a half decade since I had the chance.


(Follow me on Twitter @jasonamatthews)

Ben Affleck Is NOT A Tool, And I Can Prove It!

This is the fourth definition listed in the Urban Dictionary under the term “tool”:

Affleck Is My Boy!“A person, typically male, who says or does things that cause you to give them a ‘what-are-you-even-doing- here’ look. The ‘what-are-you-even-doing- here’ look is classified by a glare in the tool’s direction and is usually accompanied by muttering of how big of a tool they are. The tool is usually someone who is unwelcome but no one has the balls to tell them to get lost. The tool is always making comments that are out-of-place, out-of-line or just plain stupid. The tool is always trying too hard to fit in, and because of this, never will.?

Here is my definition of the term “tool”:

“Carson Daly”

Now, which of those definitions applies to Ben Affleck? I say neither.

People who watch Orlando Bloom act and find him to be bland have sufficient reason for feeling so. Fact is he’s bland; there is a void of charisma when he’s on screen. Low-minded people who think Keanu Reeves is a sucky actor could probably make a case that there have been a few bad performances in The One’s illustrious oeuvre (Dracula comes to mind). Britney detractors could form a solid argument on her lack of singing ability simply by having eyes, ears, taste and an aversion to Cheetos dust (the last one is harder than you’d think).

But where do people get off thinking Ben Affleck is a tool?

Affleck Is My Boy!Is he the best actor in Hollywood? No, far from it (though he has gotten good reviews before, hello Changing Lanes). Has he been involved in a completely annoying celebrity couple? Absolutely, but Bennifer was no more or less intolerable than Brangelina, Vaughniston, TomKat or Nick and Jessica. Has he made way too much money starring in a slew of crappy movies? I think Forces of Nature, Surviving Christmas, Paycheck, Man About Town, Bounce, Reindeer Games and Pearl Harbor speak for themselves. But has he really done ANYTHING worthy of lumping him in with Carson Daly, K-Fed, Criss Angel and any white guy out on the town in a striped shirt? I aim to prove he hasn’t.

It’s a hard climb to the top of “Ben Affleck is NOT a tool” Mountain, so let me get the biggest obstacle out of the way right now: Gigli.

Picture this: You’re a well-known talent in Hollywood. A producer comes to you and says “Hey guy, I have a movie for you. It’s a love story between you and Jennifer Lopez where you get to make out with her on set and watch her do yoga in booty shorts. But you’re also a gangster, so you’re gritty and tough and get to rough people up. We got Al Pacino coming in to yell at you in a scene and be creepy. And we’re flying in Christopher Walken to do one of his patented loopy speeches while you writhe on the floor in pain cause he just shot you. It’ll be just like that awesome scene in True Romance. Marty Brest is directing. He’s done Beverly Hills Cop and Midnight Run, and he got Pacino his only Oscar. Also, we’re gonna pay you TEN MILLION DOLLARS!” What do you say to that? You’re saying hell yes!

So Gigli is not his fault. He’s looking a lot less tool-y now, isn’t he?

Affleck Is My Boy!You can’t say he’s untalented. Despite what urban myths would say, he wrote an Academy Award-winning screenplay. That happened. He’s won several significant awards for acting. And his directorial debut, “Gone Baby Gone” is getting filthy good reviews. I saw it and thought it was light years better than Mystic River (mostly because at no point in the movie did anyone melodrama into the camera “IS DAT MY DADER IN DERE????”). So the only real reason you could call him a tool is because of his relationship with J. Lo. Take that way (and I’ll explain why you can in just a minute) and the only mark is a few bad movies. If making a few bad movies makes you a tool than you can slap that label on George Clooney (The Peacemaker), Matt Damon (The Legend of Bagger Vance), Johnny Depp (Secret Window), Jude Law (his entire 2004 slate), and pretty much any male actor who’s toplined a few movies in his career.

Fact is Ben Affleck gets a bad wrap because he’s a fun, funny guy who dated one wrong girl, made a few bad movies and was a bit too omnipresent a few years back. I say he’s also made a slew of great movies, always makes me laugh on SNL, learned from his mistakes and settled down away from the tabloids with a nice girl and is well-liked by all his peers. For that and the following forty reasons, I think it’s preposterous to call my boy Affleck a tool. Let me prove it to you…

35 Reasons Why Ben Affleck Is NOT A Tool

1. The man has a very good chick stock portfolio. He sold high on Gwyneth, broke even on J.Lo and picked up a very dependable Jen Garner IRA. And he was never tempted by a risky celebritard-IPO (Britney, Lindsay, Paris, Brittany Murphy).

2. Created Project Greenlight as a way to develop new filmmakers. Not his fault that the contest winners sucked balls and their movies polluted theaters and DVD shelves worse than Forces of Nature. Although Gulager was fun to watch in a rubbernecking traffic accident kind of way.

3. Nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as George Reeves in Hollywoodland. Won the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival for the same performance. Not to mention getting rave reviews for his work in Changing Lanes, Shakespeare in Love, Chasing Amy and Smoking Aces. So you all can shove it with that “crappy actor” nonsense. Have you ever thought it might not be him, but instead be the movie, or the director? I swear, Ben could be Keanu’s spiritual cousin.
Affleck Is My Boy!
4. Unlike, some other fake sports bigamists (ahem, unfunny Dane Cook), Affleck is actually a TRUE fan of his favorite sports team (the Red Sox, if you didn’t know).

5. Gave us the chance to see Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman chew scenery together in Gone Baby Gone. Gotta love that.

6. He’s not nearly as skeezy or douchebaggery as Colin Farrell, a guy who’s made just as many awful movies as the Fleck (Hart’s War, Ask The Dust, Miami Vice, Alexander, American Outlaws).

7. More on the point of acting, a person’s relative talent level is fairly fact based. Either he’s good or he isn’t. But that has no relation to his relative tool level, which is entirely subjective. So he not being great in a couple of movies has no bearing on his perception of being a tool. I don’t judge Carson Daly’s toolishness on his Last Call monologue. I judge his toolery on his poser black fingernails, his manorexia, his goofball name, his propensity for dating idiots (hey Tara Reid!), and the fact that, you know, he’s a tool.

8. Can speak extemporaneously on a wide-range of topics, which makes him light years ahead of most of his Hollywood generation, and a good portion of our government officials. And by “a good portion”, I mean our President.

9. Gave his kid a relatively normal name (“Violet”). It could have been worse. His Chasing Amy co-star Jason Lee named his kid “Pilot Inspektor”. Hell, his ex named her kid “Apple”.

10. Brought his Mom to the Oscars when he won for Good Will Hunting. That’s class, kids, c’mon!

11. Made a tightly-constructed, soulful, gripping detective movie starring a group of fantastic actors and never once called attention to his personal baggage in the process. In other words, is not Bret Ratner.

12. Harrison Ford signed off on Affleck replacing him in the Jack Ryan series. If he’s good enough for Han Solo and Indiana Jones, he’s good enough for me.

13. Why is he a tool because his head and face are kinda simian-esque? McConaughey has T-rex arms. Damon has a fratboy pig nose. Brad Pitt is notoriously smelly. Orlando Bloom is a chick. Keanu is grody to the max. But Affleck is a tool because he has a square jaw? I don’t get it.

14. Even if he DOES wear a hairpiece, who cares? So have Sean Connery, Burt Reynolds, and Bruce Willis, and those guys rule.

15. Like Brad, Matt, George, Matthew or Jude was gonna pull off the animal crackers scene in Armageddon, any better? He had to drag crackers across Liv Tyler’s pudge and make it look sexy. That’s a Herculean task. Laurence Olivier would have been flummoxed. Cary Grant would have called in a stunt double.
Affleck Is My Boy!
16. Campaigns excessively for the Democratic Party, but never once comes off like a Baldwinian hypocrite-twit. Spends time at phone banks doing voter registration, makes speeches at rally’s and works to diminish lobby-influence on politicians. Said this about his own political aspirations: “My fantasy is that someday I’m independently wealthy enough that I’m not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that everyday people — be they singers or poets or bankers or lawyers or teachers — should be in government.” That’s honest activism I can get behind.

17. And is an actual TRUE activist, not to mention a good sport.

18. Morgan Freeman likes him (and he’s God!). That’s enough for me.

19. The man may not have the most range, but he can pull off a speech. A couple more You Tube-worthy monologues and he might just be our next Alec Baldwin.

20. Deflected most of the Bennifer hatred by immediately dropping off the tabloid circuit the minute he cut ties with La Lopez. Makes you wonder how much of the Bennifer nonsense was J.Lo’s fault, and not his. After all, do you EVER read Ben and Jen Garner pieces in Us Weekly? (see, I told you I had a good reason for eliminating this foible)

21. And now shows contrition for the hoopla surrounding that relationship and the negative impact it had on his acting career. Contrition! Would a true tool show contrition? I don’t see K. Fed apologizing for Britney. Or Carson Daly apologizing for himself.
Affleck Is My Boy!
22. This is from a report of Ben Affleck at the debut of his wife, Jennifer Garner, on Broadway with Cyrano De Bergerac: “Ben Affleck fought back tears of pride as he jumped to his feet to give his actress wife Jennifer Garner a standing ovation at the close of her official first night on Broadway recently.” The man loves his celebrity wife. How often is that true. Did K-Fed ever cry tears of pride when “Toxic” came on the radio? Does Chris Martin get teary when he watches Gwyneth be bitchy onscreen? Did Ryan Phillipe ever go ballistic in support when Reese would win an award? OK, that last one happened, but only because he was drunk. And is an idiot.

23. Is a great sport about people making fun of him. Example 1: The SNL Mango “Ben Whoffleck” sketch. Example 2: South Park’s skewering of Bennifer: “Taco flavored kisses for my Ben!”

24. Is an open and generous supporter of his homosexual cousin Jason, and has done work for the organization “Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays”. That puts him ahead of Kevin Spacey in my book.

25. Is considered one of the most loyal actors in Hollywood; why else would he agree to do Jersey Girl?

26. Speaking of, can laugh at his own limitations: Apple Sauce, BITCH!

27. His directorial debut was a short film titled “I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her On A Meat Hook, and Now I Have A Three-Picture Deal At Disney”. C’mon, that’s just awesome!

28. Was named People Magazine’s 2002 Sexiest Man Alive. George Clooney’s won twice. So have Brad Pitt and Richard Gere. McConaughey and Damon both have one win. So why is Affleck the tool in the bunch? They’ve all done their share of shitty movies and dated their share of questionable women. At least Affleck has the good grace to seem bemused by the whole thing.

29. His work as Big Bad Donnie Bartalotti in the Boston Teens sketches on SNL. (“I would never zap your lady. For serious, bro!”)

30. If you’ve never heard him do an audio commentary before, remedy that ASAP. He makes sitting through Pearl Harbor a breeze. I particularly like his commentaries for Chasing Amy (“I put on a clinic and my skills are free.”) and Mallrats.

31. Sure he’s made some shitty movies, but hell, it’s not like he’s Nicolas Cage!

32. Just to insure that his stint in rehab for alcoholism would stick, Affleck had legendary abuser Charlie “Ma” Sheen drive him to rehab. The MaSheen behind the wheel would get me to quit drinking, let me tell you. Moreover, has not publicly relapsed like some other celebrities we know and love (ahem, Lindsay). (btw, can you imagine the stories MaSheen must have told him to help him quit drinking. I quote John Turturro from Mr. Deeds: “The hideousness of [MaSheen] will haunt my dreams forever”.)
Affleck Is My Boy!
33. Has realized his time as a bankable leading man have passed him, and wisely decided to do smaller roles in cool ensemble films. Affleck is much more tolerable and likeable in small doses. And with a handlebar mustache (see Aces, Smoking).

34. Started supporting the non-profit organization A-T Childrens Project after he befriended Joe Kindregan, a wheelchair-bound child diagnosed with ataxia-telangiectasia, a rare genetic disease that causes neurological deterioration. Goes above and beyond to improve Joe’s quality of life, including paying for medical bills, taking him to premieres, and sending his family on vacations. Affleck even lobbied Congress for increased research funding. We call Tom Cruise a hero for changing some schmoe’s tire. Affleck is changing this kid’s life. Let’s show some respect.

35. You gotta admit that, regardless of everything else, he was the bomb in Phantoms, yo!


(Follow me on Twitter @jasonamatthews)

Honoring 9/11 Way: By Making Fun Of Celebrities!

Britney Spears is FOR America, ya'll!Better words will come from better writers today, and as such, I will not attempt to editorialize on the impact of 9/11 nor its unending societal reach six years later. I am not a newsman or a pundit, I’m not a D.C. blogger nor a member of a political party. I lost no one in 9/11 and I know very few people that were even remotely affected by the tragedy.

The biggest connection I have to the event is that 9/11 just so happens to be both my father’s and my best friend’s birthday. I don’t go out of my way to have a conversation about politics or world events, and I readily avoid discourse on President Bush. In short, I am exceedingly apathetic both towards the state of the nation, and my need to enact change in the world. I just don’t care all that much about politics.

But in an effort to honor the enormity of the day, I will write what it is I am good at writing about. And that would be sarcastically making fun of celebrities! We’re kicking it obvious style today by doing a star roll call and taking a big old clichéd swipe at each one of them. No subtext, no cleverness, no subtle creative genius, just blatant stereotypical jabs at the public personas of all the celebs who grace those wonderfully patriotic tabloid rags.

I can’t think of a better way for me to memorialize this sad day in American History than by calling Britney Spears a paunchy trainwreck with zero vocal talent (Gimme More!). Let’s start the blatant “honoring”…

Ben Affleck – Was the bomb in Phantoms, yo!

Jack Black – He’s so zany! Can you believe how zany he was in King Kong? I couldn’t get over all the zaniness! This is a tribute.

Orlando Bloom – Bland as an episode of Seventh Heaven. And with the same acting range, too! Moted, Will Turner! Moted.

Nicolas Cage – Hit or miss. Also, totally cooky! Love his choice of women (Michael Jackson’s ex, Alabama Worley, that Asian chick who waited on him at Sushi Roku).

George Clooney – Likes to bang hot chicks. Oooh! Consider yourself pwned, Danny Ocean!

Dane Cook – IS. NOT. FUNNY. For reals, yo!

Russell Crowe – Uh oh! Russell’s on the rag again, watch out for flying Black Berry’s. Zing!

Tom Cruise – Short. (Other jabs redacted for fear of litigation.)

John Cusack – Ah man, so edgy and cool! He’s like the personification of indie cred. Also he totally ruled in Con Air.

Matt Damon – MATT DAMON!

Colin Farrell – Kind of a manwho-er.

Richard Gere – It’s a myth, people! Suck it hard, urban legends! (But yeah, it totally happened! I know a guy who has a sister who dated this dude who used to buy weed from this drug dealer who knows a lab tech that sleeps with the nurse who blows the doctor who actually performed the surgery. You can’t buy that kind of intel!)

Mel Gibson – Jews are bad! Rawr!

Ryan Gosling – He’s intense. Grrr!

Paris Hilton – Talentless! Herpesfull!

Samuel L. Jackson – Why does he always say “motherfucker” in his shitty studio movies? That muthafucka crazy!

Scarlet Johansson – If you’re gay, you’re allowed to grab her boobs. Start tossing some salad, gentlemen!

Angelina Jolie – She used to be all gothy weird, but hot. Now she’s all momerific and philanthropic, but hot. Upgrade!

Tommy Lee Jones – Craggly!

Nicole Kidman – Was much cooler when she had the wall of red hair. Bring back the red wall, Ice Queen!

Diane Lane – She’s hot…wait for the qualifier…wait for it… for an older chick. Ka-BOOM!

J. Lo – Her butt is really big! Have you noticed that? Taco flavor kisses for her Ben!

Lindsay Lohan – Does a lot of drugs, rocks the ginger pubes. In your face, Parent Trap!

Alyssa Milano – Has hairy forearms!

The Olsen Twins – Food is overrated! Space alien faces are underrated!

Keanu Reeves – He’s dumb, but makes great movies. Whoa!

Winona Ryder – She steals stuff! Sacre bleu, Heathers!

Charlie Sheen – Yay for hookers and blow!

Will Smith – Has big ears. Aw, hell no!

Ben Stiller – Looks like an ape! Is quite neurotic in a diminishing comedic returns kind of way. Do it! No no, DO IT!

Hilary Swank – Big teeth. Might be a dude. Encourages Paul Haggis. Ditched her beard when she won her second Oscar. Used to be Steve Sanders’ plaything. Excellent credentials… for me to poop on! (that joke courtesy of Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Thanks for the solid, NBC!)

Donald Trump – His hair is weird! You’re fired! Who-damn that’s topical!!!!1!!

Vince Vaughn – HahahahaROTFLMAO! He’s so funny with all the fast talking and the jerkiness! I ignore his expanding belly, receding hairline and Gucci luggage-sized bags under his eyes to appreciate his ribald humor and his nailing of Jennifer Aniston on screen. What a pretty slash funny couple they make. Golly jee!

Reese Witherspoon – Perky and not at all a total bitch. Snapadoo, Elle Woods!

Renee Zellweger – Her face is so scrunchy! Why is her face so scrunchy? Someone tell her to layoff those Lemon Bitch shots. Hiyo! What what?

God Bless Celebrities. And God Bless America!

(Seriously on that second one.)