Age of Cage: Four Decades of Hollywood Through One Singular Career

Holt. Mar. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781250773043. $27.99. FILM
Nicolas Cage has fascinated audiences since his breakthrough debut in the 1983 film Valley Girl; here, pop culture critic Phipps looks to give new context to Cage’s filmography in an industry that has alternately embraced and ridiculed his work. Emerging from the shadow of his famous Coppola lineage, Cage won an Academy Award in 1996 for his role in Leaving Las Vegas and continued to chart his own path to cult film infamy with movies like Con Air, Face/Off, and National Treasure. Phipps also uses Cage’s career as a lens through which to view the film industry—for instance, in the mid-’90s, as indie films were surging in the wake of Pulp Fiction, Cage chose to star in the relatively low-budget Leaving Las Vegas. In recent years, Cage’s bizarre personality and the gossip about his personal life have often eclipsed his acting choices, but Phipps provides a convincing assessment of his career. The narrative meanders at times, yet the book proves to be a surprisingly intriguing read, written in an accessible, magazine-like style.
VERDICT Fans and detractors alike will find films to revisit and new things to ponder about Cage’s protean career.
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