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The Tao of Nicolas Cage: The Only March Madness Bracket that Matters

As the madness of March dwindles down and the month comes to a close, we present to you the only bracket that matters.
By  · Published on March 30th, 2018

As the madness of March dwindles down and the month comes to a close, we present to you the only bracket that matters.

It’s that time of the year when everyone gets the fever…bracket fever. For the last few weeks or so it’s been impossible to open Twitter without having some sort of bracket thrown squarely at your face. Naturally, those brackets made their way into #FilmTwitter with brackets popping up for Disney/Pixar, A24, and Tom Cruise to name a few.

While these brackets are mostly a waste of time they typically spark a fun debate. I’ve seen some interesting arguments to be made and some piping hot takes but what I haven’t seen is the bracket we need. I love Tom Cruise as much as the next guy but you don’t need a bracket to determine his best movie. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol wins in a route every time. A24 has had a ton of success since releasing A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III back in 2013 but we can easily declare Good Time to be the best thing they’ve ever done.

I want a bracket that’s going to test my limits and make me an emotional wreck. I need a bracket where every seed is favored to win it all. I need a Nic Cage bracket.

When you have a career littered with achievements in cinematic excellence, how do you choose the cream of the crop? That’s like asking Steven Wright to be an auctioneer. You could do it but it’ll likely leave you mentally, and potentially physically, broken.

Fear not, Internet, because I have done the dirty work for you and not only made a Nic Cage bracket but have also chosen the winner. It was challenging, and I’m now emotionally scarred for life, but I have done it.

I started by picking my 16 favorite Cage movies. After completing this first grueling step, I decided to pull the IMDb user ratings for each movie to determine the seeding. I went with this approach because if I chose the seeds based on how I personally rank the movies this would all be incredibly boring. I can’t say I agree with the seeds, and if I’m being honest all the IMDb ratings were too low, but below is the official Nic Cage bracket.

Some of this isn’t too shocking. Drive Angry coming in at 16 seems about right. That’s not the sort of film that is going to win over the general populous. Con Air at 11 though? That caught me off guard. I figured the IMDb users would eat that one up. If you’re looking for a sleeper Bad Lieutenant makes for a dangerous 12 seed.

Now that you know the bracket, let’s get on with the tournament!

Round One

1. Adaptation vs. 16. Drive Angry

The overall favorite to win it all, Adaptation, gets a scare from upstart Drive Angry. With a chance to shock the world, Drive Angry loses its composure late and veers off the side of the road. The double dose of Cage comes up in the clutch and seals the victory for the Spike Jonze masterpiece.

5. Moonstruck vs. 9. Red Rock West

Moonstruck comes out strong with a 1-2 punch of Cage & Cher that form the most beautiful and arrogant duo since Christian Laettner and Grant Hill. Red Rock West is a feisty neo-noir that won’t back down. With a huge assist from Dennis Hopper and a change in strategy in the final minutes, Red Rock West pulls off the upset.

4. The Rock vs. Valley Girl

The Rock jumps out to a commanding lead as Cage flexes his megastar, action muscle for the first time. This one appears to be like a total blowout, for sure, but then Modern English checks in off the bench and clears the path for new wave Cage to pull off the bitchin’ upset!

5. Face/Off vs. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Bad Lieutenant, clearly offended by its low seed, comes out swinging so hard and fast that whispers of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs spread throughout the arena. Under doping suspicions of its own, Face/Off is able to absorb the early onslaught and cruises to victory in the second half.

2. Leaving Las Vegas vs. 15. Honeymoon in Vegas

In the battle for Vegas, Honeymoon attempts to speed things up and cause havoc with frenetic energy right out the gate. That energy isn’t enough as Leaving Las Vegas is able to control the tempo, slowing the game to a grinding halt and crushing any hope of joy.

7. Wild at Heart vs. 10. Bringing Out the Dead

In one of the more competitive matchups, Wild at Heart and Bringing Out the Dead go back and forth alternating between trading serious jabs and darkly humorous dropkicks. In the end, the pairing of Cage and Laura Dern is just too much to handle.

3. Raising Arizona vs. 14. Vampire’s Kiss

Two crowd pleasers square off in the comedy battle that pits the screwball against the dark. The unpredictable nature of Vampire’s Kiss keeps things interesting throughout, but Cage and Hunter eventually handle business and Raising Arizona coasts into the next round.

6. Matchstick Men vs. 11. Con Air

The final matchup of the first round sees everyone’s favorite underdog, Con Air, go up against the most underrated upper seed, Matchstick Men. Con Air’s all-star team puts in real work and keeps it close, but Cage, Sam Rockwell, and Alison Lohman make the win look as easy as 1, 2, 3.



1. Adaptation vs. 9. Red Rock West

Riding high off its first-round upset, Red Rock West looks to keep the Cinderella story alive. Unfortunately, the clock hits midnight sooner than expected and Adaptation cruises to the finish line in our tournament’s biggest margin of victory.

13. Valley Girl vs. 5. Face/Off

Valley Girl, the lowest seed to advance, tries to keep the dream alive by jumping on Face/Off early. The two go back and forth in a heated contest that ends with Face/Off snatching away the glory with a 30-foot heave at the buzzer.

2. Leaving Las Vegas vs. 7. Wild at Heart

Two love stories from opposite ends of the spectrum meet at center court and chaos ensues. Leaving Las Vegas quickly goes to its go-to depression tactics but Wild at Heart is too wild to be phased and pulls away late.

3. Raising Arizona vs. 6. Matchstick Men

In this fierce matchup between criminals Matchstick Men may have the brains, but Raising Arizona has the heart. After both squads pull out all the trick plays, the long con finally comes to a close for Matchstick Men.



1. Adaptation vs. 5. Face/Off

The tournament experiences its first overtime thriller with Adaptation and Face/Off going head-to-head. Throughout the first two rounds Adaptation was able to get a big lift thanks to the double Cage action, but if there’s anything better than twice the Cage it’s the Cage/Travolta combo. Face/Off scrapes out the win.

7. Wild at Heart vs. 3. Raising Arizona

In the most shocking moment in all of bracketology, Wild at Heart forfeits the match. Cage and Dern declare that they have no need to test their love against anyone else and hit the road to dance away their days.


Championship Game

5. Face/Off vs 3. Raising Arizona

In a matchup more anticipated than any matchup ever, Face/Off and Raising Arizona throw down and they do not disappoint. This donnybrook goes into triple OT and leaves behind a path of destruction. While John Woo’s clever move to have Cage perform half the film in his best Travolta impression is a brilliant strategy, the zany antics from the Coen Brothers and the home court advantage prove to be just enough to fly through the fluttering flurry of doves and bring home the crown for Raising Arizona!

This was an emotionally draining experience. Choosing my favorite Nic Cage movie is like choosing my favorite cat. You never want to have to do it, but sometimes it must be done. Twitter is making brackets and to not have a Nic Cage bracket out in the Twitterverse would have been a travesty.

Difficulties aside, I am proud to have declared Raising Arizona the winner. It’s a well-deserved title for the undisputed king.


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Chris Coffel is a contributor at Film School Rejects. He’s a connoisseur of Christmas horror, a Nic Cage fanatic, and bad at Rocket League. He can be found on Twitter here: @Chris_Coffel. (He/Him)