The Tao of Nicolas Cage

By  · Published on December 9th, 2016

A deep dive into the mind of America’s most interesting actor.

“Every great story seems to begin with a snake.”

I’m not entirely sure what that quote means. I don’t know if anyone really does. It certainly can’t be taken literally. I know thousands of great stories that not only fail to begin with a snake but they never even have a snake appear. So perhaps it’s some type of metaphor? I suppose but do all great stories contain a metaphorical snake of sorts? I don’t think so.

The quote is attributed to the one and only Nicolas Cage. When he said it exactly, I have no clue. Surprisingly Google can only tell you he said the quote, there seems to be no sign of the where and why. I have no doubts that Cage did truly say it, however. It’s quite possibly the most Cage-ian of quotes to exist.

What does this all mean? Nothing, really. This is merely the introductory piece of my new weekly column, The Tao of Nicolas Cage, and it only felt appropriate to open up with a bizarre quote from the Oscar winner. Of course this isn’t the craziest thing he’s ever said, but it is something that is often on my mind.

So what is The Tao of Nicolas Cage? It’s my attempt to find out what makes Cage, Cage.

Nicolas Cage is my favorite actor of all time, hands down. Is he the best? That’s subjective but I’d vote yes. What’s indisputable, however, is the fact that he is the most interesting. You may not always like what he does, but it’s nearly impossible to say he’s not interesting. The goal with this column is to figure how Cage makes the fascinating choices he makes.

This won’t be my first Cage rodeo either. I recently wrote about Army of One and it wasn’t that long ago that I made a case (a very strong one I might add) for why Cage must be included in the next installment of the Fast and Furious franchise. In fact the first piece I ever wrote for One Perfect Shot was a passionate reminder to everyone that we mustn’t forget just how special a talent Nicolas Cage truly is. I won’t go as far to crown myself a Cage expert (yet) but I’m without question well-versed in the ways of Cage.

The format will be pretty loose. Each and every Friday for the foreseeable future I will tackle a film from the illustrious career of the Coppola Family’s shining star and dig deep into his performance. Mostly. On occasion I may poke around with a specific aspect of Cage’s career and/or personality. Like what’s the deal with his Elvis infatuation and how does it impact the choices he makes.

Ideally his films will be discussed in chronological order because it’ll be fun to examine his evolution over the years. But I make no promises of sticking to that. I reserve the right to jump around depending on my mood, new releases and so forth.

So join me, won’t you? We can have some fun with Cage and who knows, maybe we’ll even get to the bottom of that snake quote.

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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)