I’m sure by now we all know Nicolas Cage for his tremendous acting that has garnered him somewhat of a cult following, of which I am definitely a part. He’s the best at what he does. From Internet memes, compilation videos of some of his screaming “Rage Cage” acting, to the insane roles he picks out, to even pillow cases, people certainly love watching what unpredictable role Cage is going to do next. Well, if you think you’ve run out of Nicolas Cage movies for a while, boy, do I have a surprise for you. On Netflix right now is streaming a southern drama starring Cage as the title character in Joe, directed by the versatile David Gordon Green.
Why should you watch Joe? Well, it’s the first time in a while that Cage is doing a completely serious role, and going about it completely seriously, but there’s plenty of fun Cage moments. To start things off, Joe follows the story of Joe Ransom and a teenage boy named Gary, played by the new Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse, Tye Sheridan.
Gary is a new kid in town and comes from a family lead by his unemployed, alcoholic father Wade, played by an actual homeless man named Gary Poulter, who, despite having no acting experience, gives a tremendous performance but was sadly found dead just before the film’s official release. Gary wants to have a better life than his father and actually provide for his family, so he finagles a job with Joe, who runs a small tree removal company. Joe is a well-liked member of the community, but the law enforcement sees it more or less differently, due to his violent past and string of incarcerations, which definitely comes up multiple times in Joe. Remember, he is a man who uses violence as a means to an end.
It isn’t long before Joe sees that Gary is a hard worker, and layer on top the abuse that Gary and the rest of his family goes through at the hands of Wade, Joe decides to be somewhat of a mentor to Gary. One of my favorite lessons that Joe teaches Gary is how to flick open and close a Zippo lighter, because, as Joe puts it, the sound “lets all the hookers know you’ve got money.” So, as you can see, there is still some of that good ol' insane Nicolas Cage business going on as well.
Something you won’t see on Netflix that I’ll share you is some of the behind-the-scenes features. One in particular is how, in classic Cage fashion, instead of using a non-venomous snake to cradle in a scene like most other actors, Cage tells everybody on set he has to uses the actual venomous snake the snake handler also brought to set. I can only assume the snake handler had a feeling this was going to happen, because when dealing with Cage, you have to expect that he’s going to do the opposite of what anybody else would do. Since not much is known as to what Cage does in his own free time, there’s a chance that this isn’t the first time he’s held a deadly poisonous snake for fun. As I said, though, there’s only a chance. One can assume that the man just tries things for the hell of it.
I mean, Cage is a man that has some myths behind him, like this one from Idris Elba during his Reddit AMA about the set of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence: “Nic Cage came back one day on set, and he came down to set and he looked a little bit tired, a little bit - kind of like he'd ben up all night. So I was like 'hey Nic man, how you doing man' and he said 'i'm alright' and I said 'You seem a little spoked out' and he said 'Yeah man, I went up to Dracula's castle...the ruins up in the mountains, and I stayed the night' and i said 'What?! Why|?' and he said 'I just had to channel the energy, and it was pretty spooky up there.' We were shooting in Romania, Transylvania, and he just went up there to spend the night, as you do. And then he walked away. True story.”
All Nicolas Cage stuff aside, this is a really wonderful movie, and Cage, along with the rest of the cast, are incredible at what they do in this film. In another place or time, this could’ve been an Oscar-nominated film, but I think the same could be said for Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, so I may not be the best judge, but check Joe out on Netflix and make your own judgments. Loved it? Hated it? Okay with it? Tell us in the comment section below! But first, check out the trailer:
Also check out our interview with Tye Sheridan at SXSW to hear more about his experience working on this film!