The Rock
Kevin Etten: 5 Essential Nicolas Cage Movies to Watch
Kevin Etten
Kevin Etten
Screenwriter

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent makes a meal of its references to Nicolas Cage's filmography: Shout-outs to Face/Off and Gone in 60 Seconds and Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Easter eggs for Wild at Heart and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, a winking nod to Cage's much-memed role in The Wicker Man and more.

Which only seems fitting considering Kevin Etten and director Tom Gormican were so inspired by the actor that they wrote an entire movie for Cage to star in as himself -- or at least a version of Nicolas Cage who finds himself living out the kind of '90s action flick he became famous for -- without any guarantee that he would actually star in said movie.

Though both filmmakers remain hard-pressed to choose only one favorite amongst Cage's illustrious career, below, Etten shares with A.frame five of his most essential Nicolas Cage movies.

1
Moonstruck
1987
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It's a performance I just remember. Growing up, it's a film that my parents watched a lot. Anytime it was on, we would watch it. Nick doesn't have a ton of screen time -- it's Cher's movie -- but, when he comes in, it's this blend of his naturalistic acting with some more heightened expressionistic acting. It's a character that just gets stamped onto your brain.

2
Raising Arizona
1987
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Where to watch

A breakthrough comedic performance that really threw him into our consciousness.

3
Leaving Las Vegas
1995
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Obviously. It's a character piece with an Academy Award-winning performance.

4
The Rock
1996
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The Rock is, I think, probably my favorite film of his. I saw it when I was probably 13 or 14, so it stuck in my head. It's the interplay between Nick and Sean Connery that is both simultaneously over-the-top but somehow you buy into this whole story. Also, Ed Harris as the bad guy is so great. Michael Bay spends the first five minutes making you buy into Ed Harris, and you're like, "This guy is on a mission that is completely insane!" But you understand him. Everybody's great in the film.

5
Adaptation
2002
Adaptation

He's playing two characters, and that character was someone that we channeled for our version of Nick in this film, as this more neurotic, angst-filled guy. And you love seeing Nick just in his own head. He's so funny, and I think that is his funniest mode.

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