“Hey you. Yeah, you — Evil Nic Cage. It’s time for a Nic Cage Cage Match.”
[Scene: A sketchy, poorly-lit Hollywood backlot.]
[GOOD NIC CAGE is sitting on a turned-over wooden crate. A small, 13-inch TV/VCR with bunny ears is sitting on another crate a few feet away. GOOD NIC CAGE is looking into it wistfully.]
[This commercial plays.]
GOOD NIC CAGE: Ha ha. Good one, Good Nic Cage. What most people fail to appreciate about me is just how wittily ironic I can be. Contrary to what some might say, I don’t take myself too seriously.
VOICE FROM THE DARK: Is that so?
GOOD NIC CAGE: What? Who said that?
[There is a rustling in the shadows. A sudden gust of wind blows through the lot. It lifts the receding hairline of GOOD NIC CAGE just a little (like so) as he stands up and looks around.]
[From the dark, BAD NIC CAGE emerges. His face is half-covered in shadow.]
BAD NIC CAGE: Hello, Good Nic Cage. Reminiscing about the few-and-far-between successes of your long, bloated movie career?
[GOOD NIC CAGE and BAD NIC CAGE, eyes locked, begin circling one another from a short distance. They start snapping, West Side Story-style.]
GOOD NIC CAGE: So, we meet again, Bad Nic Cage. You have no idea the damage you’ve done to my good name.
BAD NIC CAGE: The damage I’ve done? Au contraire, Good Nic Cage. It is you who have no idea the damage you’ve done to my bad name.
GOOD NIC CAGE: I’m afraid you’ve got it wrong, my evil doppelgänger. I’m not the Nic Cage of 8MM and Snake Eyes, The Wicker Man and Ghost Rider. I’m the Nic Cage of Raising Arizona, Peggy Sue Got Married, Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation. I’m the Nic Cage who will always make you laugh when you hear me say, “You’ve been around a lot of dead bodies before. Is THAT normal?”
BAD NIC CAGE: Ah, Good Nic Cage. Your overweening self-regard is your fatal flaw. You think a few solid movies can atone for the grievous pile of cinematic crap you have dumped on moviegoers for the past 25 years? I mean, have you even heard of YouTube?
GOOD NIC CAGE: What are you talking about?
BAD NIC CAGE: I’m sorry I have to do this to you, my friend. But it’s for your own good that you see this.
[GOOD NIC CAGE looks increasingly perturbed as he watches the clip of him watching himself in The Wicker Man. He loosens his collar and swallows.]
GOOD NIC CAGE: I am better than the worst thing I’ve ever done, Bad Nic Cage. Movie stars got bills to pay too. Besides, you want to make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs. Or as I once said, “To be a good actor you have to be something like a criminal, to be willing to break the rules to strive for something new.”
BAD NIC CAGE: Are you just quoting yourself from your IMDB profile page?
GOOD NIC CAGE: Yes, and I’ll do so again: “I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion.”
[BAD NIC CAGE stops circling, his eyes glazed over. He mouths the words, “Heat-seeking panther?”]
GOOD NIC CAGE: Try this one on for size: “I’m at the point now where I know I’m doing something right when a movie gets mixed reviews, because then I’m not in the box. I don’t want to make it too easy for people and I don’t want to make it too easy for myself. I want to try something unusual. I feel good about the bad reviews because I feel like I’ve affected them on some level. They may not know what I was trying to do but they felt something.”
BAD NIC CAGE: I’ll tell you what I feel listening to you babble on: Complete pity. And you sure affected a lot of people with Con Air and Bangkok Dangerous. You affected them so much they wanted to throw themselves off a building.
GOOD NIC CAGE: You’re jealous I inspire such love and hatred — the true mark of a thespian trailblazer.
BAD NIC CAGE: You’ve deluded yourself into thinking that your career is some kind of landmark cinematic omelette instead of a rancid countertop full of rotting, broken eggshells.
GOOD NIC CAGE: Listen, there are a few things you may not know about me. Let’s review my illustrious career. First off I’m a Coppola, except I changed my last name to Cage to avoid all appearances of nepotism. I was #37 on Premiere’s Top 100 Powerful People in Hollywood in 1998. I’m one of only three actors with an Oscar nomination for playing multiple roles in one film, that being Adaptation. And I won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas. Plus I ate a real cockroach in Vampire’s Kiss.
BAD NIC CAGE: Let’s just go to the footage one more time:
GOOD NIC CAGE: You don’t get it! It’s tongue-in-cheek! I’m not afraid to spoof myself.
BAD NIC CAGE: Clearly not! Gone in Sixty Seconds. And — not to beat a dead horse, but I just have to keep coming back to it — Bangkok Dangerous and The Wicker Man. [BAD NIC CAGE visibly shudders as he says the last three words.]
GOOD NIC CAGE: So I slipped up once or twice! Don’t my chiseled good looks make up for it?
BAD NIC CAGE: Your chiseled good looks? Good God, man. Are you in denial? LOOK AT YOUR HAIR.
GOOD NIC CAGE: What’s wrong with my hair?
BAD NIC CAGE: [appalled silence]
GOOD NIC CAGE: You know what I don’t understand, Bad Nic Cage? How can we both be one and the same person?
BAD NIC CAGE: You mean, how can one actor have had such great roles and amassed a loyal fan base for playing screwy, idiosyncratic characters and at the same time have made such mind-numbingly bad career choices and embarrassed himself by playing second- and third-rate imitations of the very roles for which he won acclaim and endeared himself to fans?
GOOD NIC CAGE: Wow, that pretty much hits the nail on the head right there.
BAD NIC CAGE: Could it have something to do with the theological notion that while we are created in the image of God we are also a fallen people, mired in sin, composed of two natures in fierce battle against another — sometimes one prevailing, other times being prevailed against — with the higher nature seeking grace, atonement, and ultimately justification while the lower nature seeks to corrupt those things?
GOOD NIC CAGE: Sort of like FBI agent Sean Archer and evil terrorist Castor Troy?
BAD NIC CAGE: Wait, is Face/Off yours or mine?
GOOD NIC CAGE: Depends who you ask.
BAD NIC CAGE: We have that effect on people, don’t we?
GOOD NIC CAGE: Regardless, that was deep.
BAD NIC CAGE: Thanks, man.
GOOD NIC CAGE: Think we can get a drink together?
BAD NIC CAGE: So long as you don’t show me your Oscar.
GOOD NIC CAGE: And so long as you don’t bring up City of Angels.
BAD NIC CAGE: Deal. C’mere you big lug.
[GOOD NIC CAGE and BAD NIC CAGE embrace. They walk into the shadows of the lot with arms draped across one another’s shoulders.]
[A screen drops from the sky and this video is projected onto it.]
[photo credits: imdb.com; celebrityblahg.blogspot.com]