America loves a good fight. America also loves a bad fight. I think it’s safe to say America loves a fight. To satisfy our country’s seemingly endless bloodlust I propose the greatest match this nation has ever witnessed. Cage vs. Cage vs. Cage vs. Cage. Two Cage characters enter. One Cage character leaves.
Round 1: Randy (Valley Girl) vs. Ronny Cammareri (Moonstruck)
Both characters are running on our body’s strongest muscle, the heart. Randy is a misunderstood punk from Hollywood, the kind of “punk,” who hangs out at one club which features one band (The Plimsouls) who only plays one song (“A Million Miles Away”). Ronny is a first generation Italian immigrant fueled by disdain for his family and bread from the bakery where he works.
Both men get the girl in the end but Ronny gets Cher who believes in life after love and whose ghost believes in love afterlife. Ronny’s going to win this round because he steals his lady from his brother and that’s some real Shakespeare type shit right there. Also, only the strongest man can soothe the savage beast that is Cher, a woman who once wore a pair of chaps on an aircraft carrier and gave cinematic birth to a Mask. Hey Eric Stoltz, why the long face?
Round 2: Peter Loew (Vampire’s Kiss) vs. Jack Singer (Honeymoon in Vegas)
On the one hand you’ve got Peter Loew, a literary agent who is sinking swiftly into the depths of madness, so much so that he convinces himself he has been turned into a vampire after a hot and heavy, possibly-didn’t-actually-happen night, with Jennifer Beals. She’s a maniac! OK, he is. On the other you’ve got Jack Singer, a man who promised his mother he’d never marry but falls head over heels in love with Sarah Jessica Parker Lewis Can’t Lose That Jawline. When he loses a bet to James Caan (did the bet have something to do with barrel chests because he’ll always win that one) she agrees to spend a night with him. What an indecent proposal.
This will be close but Peter Loew is going to come out on top. When a man goes insane he has very little left to lose and Cage ate an actual cockroach in this movie, which I assume is still alive somewhere in his body today. Plus I think we can all agree that being married to Sarah Jessica Parker, real or not, is punishment enough. Right, Matthew Broderick?
Round 3: H.I. McDunnough (Raising Arizona) vs. Doug Chesnic (Guarding Tess)
You can meet someone at the gym, or maybe the grocery store…but have you tried starting a relationship with your arresting officer? H.I. McDunnough did in the form of his tiny but tough cop Holly Hunter. Nothing brings two people closer together than a rap sheet. It’s like a love letter from the law. When the two marry things are great until they discover Hunter is as barren as the second Academy Award spot on Cage’s mantle (WHAT A TRAVESTY. HE DESERVES THEM ALL). Because of McDunnough’s criminal record they can’t adopt so they decide to kidnap a baby instead. Next time forget about the kid part and just nap. Doug Chesnic is the polar (vortex! topical!) opposite of McDunnough. A secret service agent stuck with the detail of guarding the former president’s wife (Shirley MacLaine), he longs for bigger things. Sounds like Doug is getting nothing but Postcards from the Edge with nary a Term of Endearment in sight from this Steel Magnolia (honestly I could do this all day). Here we have the quintessential good vs. evil.
I’m a sucker for an underdog so H.I. McDunnough is the victor who gets the spoils of this match. Despite being a good guy at the end, McDunnough will resort to fighting dirty because Chesnic is bound by the suffocating, calls-10-times-a-day, always-needs-to-know-where-you-are arms of Johnny Law and he is a son of a bitch (just ask my 28 unpaid parking tickets or whatever). The real winner here is Cage’s moustache in Raising Arizona. You just can’t bash a ‘stache.
Round 4: Memphis Raines (Gone in Sixty Seconds) vs. Ben Sanderson (Leaving Las Vegas)
You cannot mix drinking and driving but we are about to throw an alcoholic into the ring with a professional car thief. What a hoot! Memphis Raines is trying to walk the straight and narrow but gets sucked back into the world of car theft when his younger brother can’t hold up his end of a stolen car bargain. Hilarity ensues when Angelina Jolie shows up with blonde dreadlocks. I wish those were gone in 60 seconds. (BOOM. ROASTED.) Speaking of gone in 60 seconds, that’s how long it takes Ben Sanderson to down a fifth of vodka. After losing everything to the bottle Sanderson has decided to drink himself to death in the saddest city in America, Las Vegas (runner up is of course every city in Texas but Austin). This plan is slightly derailed by the healthiest looking prostitute I’ve ever seen, Elizabeth (my brother is Andrew Shue of Melrose Place fame) Shue. Raise your (Arizona) hand if you also constantly confuse her with Jennifer Jason Leigh. Sadly their relationship isn’t enough to save Sanderson from himself. As Lit once deeply crooned. It’s no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy. Those guys really knew me well.
It’s easy to believe Memphis Raines is going to get it done because he doesn’t die at the end of his movie. Sadly a man with a deathwish always has the upper hand and a drunk man can really take a punch, just not the emotional kind. I declare Ben Sanderson the winner of this fight despite mostly losing in his life.
Round 5: Seth (City of Angels) vs. Charlie Kaufman/Donald Kaufman (Adaptation)
I refer to this round as the sissy versus bigger pussies round (pussy is a great word, let’s reclaim it). Seth is an angel whose sole job is to stare at the ocean and sit on very tall buildings while wearing a Columbine-esque black trenchcoat. While he and his angel buddies languish on the beach I saw zero sets of footprints so I guess Jesus was carrying me and the angels were carrying both of us on their backs while they flew. I’d rather see that poem hanging in everyone’s bathrooms instead of this one:
Seth gives up his angel duties (of just milling about and watching things) when he falls in love with a doctor, Meg Ryan. When Seth met Sally. Of course she dies because God is hilarious. Charlie/Donald Kaufman are twins. Charlie is a struggling screenwriter. Donald is the kind of guy who always gets by, resilient like a cockroach (that will at some point be ingested by Nic Cage FULL CIRCLE). While Charlie struggles to adapt a book into a screenplay Donald fires off some bullshit action script that gets optioned because Hollywood (let’s assume this bullshit script is Gone in Sixty Seconds FULL CIRCLE ). Eventually the brothers work out their differences but one has to die in the end. There can be only one.
In the fight to the sad, who will win? This is a trick question. When you’re down no one really wins but if pressed to choose I’m going with Seth. He gave up being an angel and all the perks that went along with it: hovering around humans when they can’t see you, kind of being a creep, standing in an operating room without the burden of wearing scrubs or washing one’s hands, and of course wearing all black. Charlie Kaufman may have had bad hair and writer’s block but he lived, damn it! He lived. Sorry Meg Ryan, you fucked up.
6. Round 6: Cameron Poe (Con Air) vs. Castor Troy/Sean Archer (Face/Off)
This is the final round and by far the most dangerous. In one corner we have Cameron Poe…a veteran turned reluctant criminal when he is sentenced to prison for killing a man using excessive force while attempting to protect his pregnant wife. Oh come on, define excessive. I guess that would be murder. Murder is excessive. In the other corner we have Castor Troy/Sean Archer. Castor, a freelance civil terrorist (this means he has to file a 1099 when it’s tax time) is being hunted by Sean Archer (John Travolta) who is the kind of believable FBI agent that Keanu Reeves was in Point Break. Castor has planted a bomb somewhere in Los Angeles (hopefully inside of the script of yet another Star Wars sequel) but ends up in a coma before Archer can figure out where it is. Cut to Castor and Archer switching faces. When the FBI can’t get it done, pull a Buffalo Bill and stretch someone else’s skin over your face.
Cameron Poe. Hands down. He’s cool…calm…collected…has a mullet. The man singlehandedly takes down an entire airplane filled with dancing criminals led by the always delightful John Malkovich. Bonus: Con Air has one of the best lines ever uttered in all of film history:
At the end of the day the one man that will destroy them all is Benjamin Franklin Gates of National Treasure. He stole the Declaration of Independence and in doing so…stole our hearts. Happy Birthday, Nic Cage! Here’s to 50 years and hopefully 150 more because I assume you will have your head cryogenically frozen until science can figure out a way to break the boundaries of mortality.