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A Letter to Nicolas Cage

Dear Mr. Cage,

I know you can act. I have seen you do it. You have put out some performances that have been extraordinary--for example, The Weatherman, Lord of War, Guarding Tess, Adaptation, and apparently Leaving Las Vegas (though that one I have never seen.) And I have certainly enjoyed some of your movies that were...well, let's say they are not going to be contenders in the "Top 10 Films of the Century" contest. I mean, I enjoyed The Rock and Trapped in Paradise a lot , but they are not winning you any Oscars. However, I think you could do even better if you'd take a few pieces of advice from me.

1. YOU CANNOT DO ACCENTS. PLEASE STOP TRYING. I don't care what accent it is, don't do it. You are not fooling anybody. New York, deep South--no. Just no no no. You suck at them and it's time you admitted that and stopped trying. I think Moonstruck, Ghostrider, and Con Air would all have benefited from this advice. Weak or stupid dialogue is easier to camouflage if it's not delivered in a shitty fake accent.

2. YOU NEED TO HIRE A GOOD STYLIST. You are balding, okay? You know it, we all know it. Putting a long, scraggly wig on is NOT going to fool anyone (see Con Air and Next). Showing off your muscles is not going to distract anyone. You need to get in touch with someone who get you a really good hairpiece, or you need to take the Bruce Willis route and just stop trying.

3. YOU NEED TO BE A LITTLE PICKIER ABOUT YOUR MOVIE CHOICES. Do you really expect me to believe that you thought The Wicker Man was going to be good? That you read the script of The Family Man and were like "Hey, this is really great!" If that does happen to be the case, you need to get a much MUCH better agent. Even Ghostrider (which I enjoyed despite myself) should have set off some alarms with its occasionally horrible dialogue. I mean, yes, it IS cool to play a bad-ass flame-headed guy, but perhaps you should look for more than that in your search for scripts. I sometimes think you just throw darts at script to choose what you do, because some of your movies are spectacular and some are pig vomit. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, either.

4. DON'T OVERDO IT ON THE TEETH-BARING, CRAZY-EYED, "LOOK AT ME, I'M LOOOOOSING IT!" FACE. This is a minor peeve, but you sometimes overact quite a bit. I'm a fan of campy (What else can explain my love for some of your work?) but there's only so much a girl can take. Your best roles tend to be the more subtle ones.

Please don't think that my bluntness indicates that I dislike you; on the contrary, I think you're usually pretty entertaining. I am a sucker for Valley Girl and Moonstruck, and I totally LOVE Con Air, even though you commit every sin I've listed here (and a few I've neglected to mention.) You are not untalented, you are just misguided. You can turn it around--I believe in you :)

I hope your upcoming films are good.
The Caustic Critic


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