You could never accuse Nicolas Cage’s hair of being boring. It fluctuates as constantly as the quality of his movies — and it’s starting to look like there might be a link between the two. The theory goes: the longer the hair, the worse the film. Does this hold any weight or is it a hair-brained idea? Let’s take a look.
Face/Off is surely one of Cage’s best films, and the face-swapping crime thriller sees him sporting a tidy short back and sides, with only a bit of length on top when the wind picks up. This correlates perfectly with the finesse of this critically-acclaimed feature, which also happens to be one of John Travolta’s finest.
The smart, darkly funny romance Leaving Las Vegas is a terrific showcase of Cage’s talents in the right context, and sure enough his barnet is about as short as an alcoholic character can sport: unkempt but under control with no attempt to disguise the thinning.
John Dahl’s neo-noir Red Rock West is one of Cage’s most highly-rated films ever, and he keeps his sideburns as short and tidy and the back of his hair, even shaving on camera in one scene. There is a daring amount of flick on top, however, which falls down onto his face from time to time, threatening to ruin the movie.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans sees Cage do one of his best bonkers acts as a drug-addicted cop, but his hair is kept relatively in check, slicked back in all but his most crazy scenes. In terms of body, there’s a reassuring bounce that’s in keeping with the film’s generally offbeat vibe.
Not only is Cage’s hair quite short in the excellent Adaptation but it is also unusually curly, not just in homage to the writer Charlie Kaufman, but surely in a nod to the film’s quirky and frequently baffling story which includes Cage also playing Charlie’s fictional twin brother, Donald.
That said, there are anomalies in the short camp: The Wicker Man is a woeful remake with a surprisingly curt cut, while the very average Gone In 60 Seconds sees Cage opting for an equally average ‘do.
Cage’s new film Mandy is getting rave reviews but the occult horror is seriously weird and disturbing — and not only does he have an unkempt mid-length mane, but he has the rare addition of a beard. Approach with caution.
Kick-Ass has many fans but it’s not universally acclaimed, with many critics reeling at the extreme violence in the superhero story. Accordingly, Nic not only sports a hint of length in this film, but a controversial moustache.
Wild At Heart is another cult classic but it only scores 65% on aggregator sites — accordingly, Cage’s jet black hair is a little longer at the back and has the habit of going, well, wild.
The Weather Man is an unusually forgettable Cage film that’s bland but watchable. The same can be said of his locks: longer on top with a brushed-forward fringe — quite the broadcaster’s combover.
While Nic’s back hair is cropped reasonably short in Ghost Rider, the top cut is unusually choppy and spiky, making this another audience-dividing comic book movie that only scores 26% from critics.
The misfire Drive Angry also has a highly unfortunate hair situation for our hero: a thinning, bedraggled longish sun-bleached mop with scraggy stubble. Avoid the look, avoid the movie.
A classic case of taking yourself too seriously, Season of the Witch is a terrible film with a mane to match. Cage’s windswept hair is almost long enough to get tangled in his chainmail. Look the other way.
Cage’s thick, flowing locks in the The Sorcerer’s Apprentice are far more spellbinding than the film’s perfunctory plot. Though the film is marginally better than other long-locked Cage specials, it confirms that he should be cautious of both family fare and longer hair.
Con Air should by rights be a mid-length Cage film, but his hair in this actioner is defiantly long and bouffant at the bottom, even giving a mullet effect when blowing in the wind. Most of us see Con Air as a guilty pleasure, but the guilty party here might be the hair and make up department.
So, there you have it. There are exceptions to every rule, but it seems that the Cage hair theory might just wash — much like how the quality of a Matthew McConaughey movie depends on how quickly he takes his shirt off. But that’s another story…