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Career Watch: Nicolas Cage Risks Overexposure

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 19, 2010 at 7:02AM

Nicolas Cage's latest movie The Sorcerer's Apprentice is dead on arrival. What went wrong? There's nothing wrong with his performance. But are people getting tired of seeing Cage? After 60 movies, has he started to exhaust the possibilities? Here's a taste of my latest Career Watch column.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Nicolas Cage's latest movie The Sorcerer's Apprentice is dead on arrival. What went wrong? There's nothing wrong with his performance. But are people getting tired of seeing Cage? After 60 movies, has he started to exhaust the possibilities? Here's a taste of my latest Career Watch column.

Biggest Problem: Overexposure, formula familiarity -- and that hair. For an actor who says he approaches acting like jazz, Cage has starred in too many Bruckheimer action pictures with the same plot -- 'The Rock,' 'Con Air,' and 'Gone in 60 Seconds' all blur into one another so much that some critics accuse Cage of making the same movie over and over again. Familiar markers: t-shirt, stringy hair, racing against time to seek truth, multiple explosions and a flashlight. And who can distinguish between 'The Weather Man,' 'Family Man,' 'Knowing' and 'Next'? Cage shouldn't have to do the obligatory sequel to 'Ghost Rider,' which is written by David Goyer and directed by Mark Neveltine and Brian Taylor of 'Crank' fame.


Assets: The guy can act. No matter how strange and awkward he can be in person (he should stay away from Comic-Con), Cage is an experienced veteran who knows what he is doing. The guy is willing to try anything, from cockroach-swallowing horror roles to 1000-year-old wizards. And he never phones it in, no matter how bad the movie. Cage's ability to carry action films, romances and comedies have kept him constantly employed. He can be scary, loverly and hilarious, sometimes all in the same movie. Like it or hate it, his vengeful assassin-dad in 'Kick-Ass' and drug-addicted detective on the loose in 'The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans' were not easy to pull off. "He's daring," says the agent. "I am always intrigued by his movies."

This article is related to: Box Office, Headliners, Studios, Career Watch, Summer, Nic Cage, Disney


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.