John Travolta and Nic Cage in Face/Off

Twitter Debates Which Nic Cage Movie Deserves More Recognition, but It’s Clearly Face/Off

Special mention goes to 'Raising Arizona.'

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I was five years old when the movie Face/Off hit theaters, and coming from a family with two older brothers and parents who understood my love of movies at a young age, I saw it in said theaters and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. We’re coming up on the movie’s 24th anniversary, so that means for 24 years, I’ve sat and thought about Nic Cage and John Travolta swapping faces. Why? Because this movie is truly baffling, and yet it exists and is good and I don’t know that I’ll ever stop thinking about it.

So when Film Lust on Twitter asked a simple question, I had a simple answer. That question? What Nic Cage movie deserves more recognition?

Now, someone did say the National Treasure movies, to which I ask: In what way did those movies not get enough recognition? They’re beloved, as far as I’m concerned. But as Abed Nadir once said on Community, Nic Cage is one of pop culture’s greatest mysteries.

abed nadir making nic cage noises

(NBC)

So why was my snap reaction to this question Face/Off? Well, let me explain this movie for the unaware. John Travolta plays Archer, an FBI agent who survives an assassination attempt but loses his son. Nic Cage plays Castor Troy, the terrorist who tried to kill Archer. As years go on, the two are still at odds with each other, and when Troy ends up in a coma and Archer needs answers, he agrees to undergo an experimental face transplant surgery so that he can pretend to be Troy.

Meaning that now Nic Cage is John Travolta, and John Travolta is Nic Cage. It’s so very ’90s action movie and so incredibly bizarre, and yet I was fascinated by it and still remain as such. Sure, I’m in a bit of a Nic Cage kick right now because of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, where Javi (Pedro Pascal) is an obsessed fan of Nic Cage and wants to reenact his movies for his birthday, but my point stands: I think about the movie Face/Off way too much.

My honorable mention would probably go to Raising Arizona, but I feel like we all universally agree that movie is one of Nic Cage’s best movies, along with Moonstruck and The Weather Man. (If you don’t like the 2005 movie The Weather Man, I don’t trust you.) But still, the movie we should all talk about more and embrace with our whole heart is Face/Off. And then probably this movie with Pedro Pascal, because The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent just feels like a dream I had once.

But now, the question has been asked, so I pass on this legacy to you all: What Nic Cage movie do you think deserves more recognition? Let’s embrace the madness that is Nic Cage’s filmography for the confusing journey that it is.

(image: Paramount Pictures)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.