Anything worth doing is worth overdoing…
Wise words from a wise, dinosaur skull-owning man. That man is none other than Nicolas Cage. He is a national treasure, a genius, and an iconoclast to be celebrated and admired. Last month, the members of his fanbase with some time to kill did just that as they left Las Vegas and raised up out of Arizona to descend upon the Motor City for the annual celebration of cinematic achievement known as Nicolas Uncaged V.
The latest installment of Uncaged paid tribute to the actor’s more-is-more eccentricities, while screening two of the actor’s best and most notorious pictures (carefully curated from Cage’s stacked deck of nearly ninety films). I joined my friend Michelle for our second pilgrimage to Uncaged, and it was magical.
We were barely in the door when we spotted Lauren, wearing a badass cowboy hat and hocking sweet Screaming Cage enamel pins that she made. They’re fucking adorable, and so was she.
We then learned of Lauren’s true passion: alligator wrestling. In case you’re wondering if Nic Cage has yet to wrestle an alligator on film, the answer is no. He has, however, appeared in a magazine spread posing sensually with a gator.
I pinned Nick’s crazed face onto my lapel and headed the bar to grab one of the evening’s drink specials. I drank more than my share of the Picolas Cage (shot of Jameson with a pickleback). Let me tell you, friends, Nicolas Cage-themed drinks — like Nicolas Cage’s acting — will fuck you up.
Keeping in step with its carefully-curated predecessors, Nicolas Uncaged V screened David Lynch’s violent 1990 road flick Wild at Heart, then balanced it out with the first National Treasure film. “We’re moving from David Lynch to Disney tonight,” co-host Jerilyn Jordan said of the intentional mismatch, “because we’re that fucked up.”
Wild at Heart, one of Lynch’s Lynchiest films, was a pure joy to watch with the crowd. Sure, the plot is incomprehensible… but who needs a plot when its got everything else? We have thrash bands, self-immolation, Cage singing Elvis, motel sex, mosh pits, manslaughter, and a crusty old matriarch’s dramatic lipstick facial.
The crowd was there for it, shouting encouraging words towards our hero; such as, “Kiss her, bro!” While Wild at Heart may be a violent nightmarescape, we all agreed that it’s a romantic violent nightmarescape.
By the time Cage had finished navigating the sexyscape, his skills had clearly swept the room… because several Cagers staged a lovely talent show. These poets, impressionists, musicians, and performance artists jumped at the chance to channel their inner Nic, and all brought their A-game.
Just like the films of Nicolas Cage, it’s impossible to pick a favorite act from the talent show. However, a best-in-show ribbon could potentially go to the awesomely-named Nick, who performed a skit as the ghost of Elvis Presley watching an intimate moment between his daughter Lisa Marie and her ex-husband, Nicolas Cage. The room erupted into laughter as Elvis’ initial horror gave way to the inevitable begrudging respect that so many have for Cage. Hey, the King may be a gentleman, but he’s human. Just like the rest of us, Elvis can’t deny the pure sexual artistry that is Nicolas Cage.
Jerilyn Jordan transformed “Love Me Tender” into a touching tribute to the night’s feature presentation (and the film that sparked her Cage love), National Treasure.
Jordan was one of the few, if only, attendees who’s had a direct connection with Nicolas Cage. She recently spoke with the Academy Award-winner for a lovely profile in Interview magazine.
So, what of Cage himself? Did he make an appearance? Sadly, no, but there is hope.
Last January, the actor made a surprise appearance at C4GED 4-EVER; a similar, Cage-themed marathon at Austin, Texas’s Alamo Drafthouse. Cage kept Austin weird (and elevated himself to near-Bill Murray status) by performing Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart in full while sipping from a goblet, and then answering fan questions.
Nicolas Uncaged V organizer Jack Schultz sees this as a good omen. “We had a strong feeling he may come this year,” Schultz said. “The last Riot Fest article published a phone number [as an attempt to aid in securing Cage’s attendance]. I called it and actually spoke to his agent.”
However, Schultz fears that the limited lead time of two days and his approach may have spoiled his chances, “I imagine the email I submitted explaining our request read like I was a psychopath.”
A psychopath Schultz is not. He is a goddamn hero, and I think Nicolas Cage would be impressed. So if you or someone you know is connected with Cage, please stop what you’re doing and contact Jack Schultz now. Nicolas Cage, and the world, will thank you for it.