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Face-Off: John Travolta vs. Nicolas Cage

06.14.2012by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face Off we had another close rose with Ridley Scott ultimately scoring a victory over his brother Tony. Well deserved win.

For this week it's inevitable I would eventually want to put together this obvious match up in the form of John Travolta vs. Nicolas Cage. Both of these men have had interesting careers, some good years and some bad ones. Some memorable roles and some roles we try our damnedest to forget. But the talent and charisma oozing from both these guys is undeniable. But who's had the better career, who has the style that tickles your fancy most? Let's debate.
Early Roles
Welcome Back Kotter. Carrie. Saturday Night Fever. Grease. Urban Cowboy. Blow Out. Staying Alive. Look Who's Talking.

Definitely a more memorable first few years for our disco loving Travolta. From a strong start on television to the charismatic entertaining parts like Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Urban Cowboy he hit the scene in a big bad way. The kid in me even has a soft spot for Look Who's Talking.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Valley Girl. Rumble Fish. The Cotton Club. The Boy in Blue. Moonstruck. Peggy Sue Got Married. Raising Arizona.

Looking back at these roles it's easy to see why I am such a big fan of this man. Me and my brother recently watched Moonstruck and saw a hint of the kind of cooky over-the-top performances we'd get from Nicolas Cage and you know what we loved it. A few of these roles are smaller, watch me break out jobs and it's no surprise that he did.
90's Era
Look Who's Talking sequels. Pulp Fiction. Get Shorty. Michael. Phenomenon. Broken Arrow. Mad City. Face/Off. A Civil Action. Thin Red Line. Primary Colors. The General's Daughter.

John's 90's got off to a rough start, he spent the first few of the decade fading off into obscurity until a young hot shot director named Quentin Tarantino took a chance on him. What we got was one of the most memorable characters of all time Vincent Vega. He ran with success to work for John Woo in great action flicks like Broken Arrow and Face/Off. The right roles gave Travolta the luck he needed to remind why he deserved to be at the top of the A list.
Wild at Heart. Honeymoon in Vegas. Guarding Tess. It Could Happen to You. Leaving Las Vegas. The Rock. Con Air. Face/Off. City of Angels. Snake Eyes. 8MM.

These are a few of the Nic Cage roles in the 90's that knocked my socks off, from blowing me away as an alcoholic (it's been said that to study for the role he had his friend record him while he was drunk and based his performance on those recordings), to holding his own with Sean Connery in The Rock. To that god forsaken southern accent in Con Air, to of course Castor Troy. Like the man or not Cage signed in the 90's.
Later Roles
Lucky Numbers. Battlefield Earth. Domestic Disturbance. Swordfish. Basic. Ladder 49. The Punisher. Be Cool. Wild Hogs. Hairspray. Bolt. Taking of Pelham 123. Old Dogs. From Paris With Love. The upcoming Savages.

I love me some John Travolta, one of my favorite actors despite a lot of the movies listed above but there is a problem when the most impressive movies of the above resume in my eyes is his nostalgic return to musicals in Hairspray and his complete badass turn in From Paris With Love. A secret it is not that a lot of those films are pure shite. The best thing I can say is that a few of them have the saving grace of John Travolta's presence.
Gone in Sixty Seconds. The Family Man. Captain Correli's Mandolin. Windtalkers. Adaption. Matchstick Men. Lord of War. National Treasure. World Trade Center. Knowing. Ghost Rider. Bad Lieutenant. Kick-Ass.

The 2000's is when the bandwagon came along of criticizing Nicolas Cage, from his hair, to his method of performance. Some of it no doubt is deserved, the dude made some shit choices recently. In those shit choices, is a few perfect examples of an actor picking unique and interesting roles that go against the grain. Namely roles like Matchstick Men, Adaption, Lord of War, and the Weatherman. This kind of taste in roles is right up my alley.
Tie-Breaker
As a said above, John Travolta is among my favorite actors. Over the years he hasn't made the best choices when it comes to roles but I promised myself that I would watch anything the man was in, we won't mention that I've regretted that promise here and there. But that's what a damn DVD collection is for, to take a stroll down memory lane and revisit a legends hits rather than his misses. I'm excited to see what John does with his upcoming role in the Gotti film and will continue to watch anything...and I mean anything...that the man his in. He deserves that loyalty.
Say what you want about Nic Cage, he's had some blunders, he's had some 'WTF' moments performance wise, and I'm not even gonna get into his hair (which I'm sure anyone could have gotten lost in with some of those) but he has impressed me with some of his choices. He's never been afraid of lending his talent to unique scripts and that is something I've always respected in an actor. And come on...HE'S. CASTOR. TROY.
Nicolas Cage
Did you see that verdict coming? After going back and doing a retrospective move on the careers of these two it's true that I have been more impressed with what Nic Cage has churned out. His over-the-top style of performance has entertained me and likely will continue to do so. But I know never to count out John Travolta. So what do you lot think?

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which actor is your favourite?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!
Tags: Face-Off

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