Actor Nicolas Cage may be known for his, shall we say, less than discriminating taste in what films he’ll appear in, or for his wild onscreen persona, but there’s one point on which even his greatest detractor must concede: the man has a versatile head of hair. Nearly three decades in the business have primped, combed, and cut dozens of memories atop Nick Cage’s noggin, and below are the ten most disastrous, laughable, and outright awe-inspiring feats of his hairstylists’ prowess.
10. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Disney recently unveiled the trailer for its retelling of this classic poem, which casts a graying, bedraggled Cage in the role of the titular magician. When his salt and pepper locks aren’t tantalizingly hidden beneath his droopy hat, they’re blowing majestically in the night air and subtly complimenting his facial scruff. It’s really the perfect look for Cage to impart his wise wizardry to co-star Jay Baruchel… or at least to proposition him for change. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is due out next summer, and scores extra points for growing Cage’s hair to exciting new lengths.
9. The Vampire's Kiss
With as hot as vampirism is right now, there’s no ignoring the classic 1989 dark comedy, “Vampire’s Kiss,” which nips Cage with a slicked-back, Pee-Wee-Herman-with-bangs, look. Today’s moussed and mugging Robert Pattinsons would be wise to take note of Cage’s effortless (really, effortless!) style in this blood-sucking flick that proves, if nothing else, that vampires really can’t see their own reflections. The DVD cover art says it all.
8. Raising Arizona
You know, the mustache really brings the whole thing together. Individually, you have the caterpillar eyebrows, the 5 O’clock shadow, the almost-even sideburns, and a head of hair that looks like it could have washed up on the beach. Cage as McDunnough narrowly edges out his similarly disheveled character from “Moonstruck” in a heated tiebreak scenario for this eighth spot. I don’t want my judging criteria to become too transparent, but that mustache is really something.
7. Ghost Rider
Rumor has it that, like with the rings of a tree, an actor’s age can directly determined by the length of his hair (see: Marlon Brando Theory). Using this ingenious methodology in 2007, Nicolas Cage effectively reversed time for his role as Johnny Blaze in the critically abhorred “Ghost Rider.” The mat he sports here is short, dyed, and might as well have “Midlife Crisis” buzzed into the back. Sure, his face betrays a couple (dozen) years, but nothing melts those wrinkles away like a mane of fire. If you can find one of those.
Arguably the most bizarre and unique follicular appendage to snake its way from Cage’s cranium is the curly rug his dual characters rock in this second Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman collaborative weird-out. The twin Cages wear their frizzy ‘fros surprisingly well, and his hair delivers one of its top performances of all time, altogether redefining the art of the wig. Nicolas Cage’s hair needed this opportunity to branch out, and what results is probably the best film of 2002. Coincidence?
It gets to a point where the animal kingdom must be consulted to find more unusual allocations of hair than Cage himself has come up with. He plays the role of Speckles the mole in Disney’s 3D rodent-espionage film, “G-Force,” an animated critter whose pelt even bears a pleasing (if zoologically inaccurate) resemblance to Cage’s natural color. There’s definitely something to be said, however, about a short-haired, star-nosed mole being only the fifth strangest fur ball on this list.
4. Valley Girl
The year is 1983, and there’s a new Nick on the block. Nicolas Coppola no longer, Cage both embraces his new surname and sets an immediate precedent for what is to become a lifetime of innovative coiffures. Perhaps blown back by some great, unseen wind-cannon, and accented with, yes, red and blue highlights, Nicolas Cage’s inaugural look is most impressive for upstaging the Chippendales get-up. The tagline reads, “She’s cool. He’s hot. She’s from the Valley. He’s not." ...From this planet.
3. Con Air
Taken at just the head in this next photo, Nicolas “Braveheart” Cage wouldn’t look out of place hovering in the background of a Drew Struzan one-sheet. His enigmatic smile is ensconced in a sea of certified Angus man-gruff, and as a light breeze catches his tussled tresses, he embodies a distinct aura I can only label, ‘Fabio.’ Cage might have been cast as the hero in this 1997 thriller, but it’s his bad-boy, Middle Earth penal system aesthetic that really wins me over.
2. Werewolf Women of the S.S.
Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu is reason enough to wish that Rob Zombie’s faux “Grindhouse,” trailer would someday come to fruition. Donning some deliberately awful fake-facial hair, Cage continues to surprise and alarm us with the range of multi-ethnic styles he’s willing to suspend from his face. “Werewolf Women of the S.S.” may attempt to satirize the career Cage has etched for himself, but after seeing him in unleashed in “Bad Lieutenant,” his turn as Fu Manchu seems positively refined.
1. Peggy Sue Got Married
Open any 1950’s high school yearbook and you’ll see this guy. Dozens of him. If Elvis is the king of Rock and Roll, than this stellar pompadour is unquestionably the mother of all Nick Cage hairstyles. Directed by Cage’s uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, who’s better known for the incomparable “Godfather” trilogy or the Robin Williams knee-slapper “Jack,” “Peggy Sue Got Married” not only carries an 88% positive consensus score on Rotton Tomatoes, but beats out its formidable competition to receive the crowning honor of best (or is it worst?) Nicholas Cage hairstyle.
And the list doesn’t have to end here. Cage’s head-turning headpieces are as numerous as a star smattered sky. Post your favorite omissions below.