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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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4:45PM on 06/18/2012

Reach Arounds

Travolta wins hands down....your pants.
Travolta wins hands down....your pants.
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11:48AM on 06/14/2012
I like Nic Cage, but he's a lunatic in real life.

[link]E2%80[link]
I like Nic Cage, but he's a lunatic in real life.

[link]E2%80[link]
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+2
11:09AM on 06/14/2012

Castor Troy Baby!

I wish these two could get back together for another John Woo movie... Both great actors with questionably career choices. But Cage is unmatched in the right role... People hate on him for some of the cheesier action roles, but he has consistently also turned in amazing work ranging from Matchstick Men to Bad Lietenant more recently. He is the man!
I wish these two could get back together for another John Woo movie... Both great actors with questionably career choices. But Cage is unmatched in the right role... People hate on him for some of the cheesier action roles, but he has consistently also turned in amazing work ranging from Matchstick Men to Bad Lietenant more recently. He is the man!
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9:37AM on 06/14/2012
Cage wins for avoiding the Scientology trap. A more interesting face-off would be between their respective wigs in various roles!
Cage wins for avoiding the Scientology trap. A more interesting face-off would be between their respective wigs in various roles!
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+5
8:57AM on 06/14/2012

COME on maaan

Travolta vs Cage? Travolta should be shot for even attempting to play in the Battlefield Earth sandbox. No contest man. Christ.
Travolta vs Cage? Travolta should be shot for even attempting to play in the Battlefield Earth sandbox. No contest man. Christ.
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8:28AM on 06/14/2012
Both actors are hit-or-miss, and both have taken certain roles and made them bigger than the movies they were in. But Nicolas Cage I think deserves this, because he can be more than an actor, he's like a force that can transform a film just by being in it.
Both actors are hit-or-miss, and both have taken certain roles and made them bigger than the movies they were in. But Nicolas Cage I think deserves this, because he can be more than an actor, he's like a force that can transform a film just by being in it.
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8:11AM on 06/14/2012
Definitely Nic Cage. Travolta's been in some good movies, and has sometimes been pretty good in them, but Cage is cooler, crazier and capable of amazing work even if he regularly just makes crap to pay the bills. I rarely totally buy Travolta in a role, but when Nic Cage nails it he's excellent.
Absolutely love Leaving Las Vegas - incredible movie.
Definitely Nic Cage. Travolta's been in some good movies, and has sometimes been pretty good in them, but Cage is cooler, crazier and capable of amazing work even if he regularly just makes crap to pay the bills. I rarely totally buy Travolta in a role, but when Nic Cage nails it he's excellent.
Absolutely love Leaving Las Vegas - incredible movie.
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+4
7:14AM on 06/14/2012
I think Pulp Fiction gives the edge to Travolta.

But 'consistency' is the clear loser here; WTF is up with both these guys?? They each have three embarrassingly awful movies for each great one.
I think Pulp Fiction gives the edge to Travolta.

But 'consistency' is the clear loser here; WTF is up with both these guys?? They each have three embarrassingly awful movies for each great one.
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4:50AM on 06/14/2012
First off, I'm glad it's kept clear that this column is entirely driven by the opinion of the writer(s). That said, Nicolas Cage wouldn't have a snowball's chance of beating Travolta for me - ever.

As usual, I find this so predictable, it's like, "Face-Off: Ashton Kutcher vs. Daniel Day-Lewis." Now I wonder who would win *that* one, huh?
First off, I'm glad it's kept clear that this column is entirely driven by the opinion of the writer(s). That said, Nicolas Cage wouldn't have a snowball's chance of beating Travolta for me - ever.

As usual, I find this so predictable, it's like, "Face-Off: Ashton Kutcher vs. Daniel Day-Lewis." Now I wonder who would win *that* one, huh?
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4:05AM on 06/14/2012

Both of them are my favorite actors...

But my pick is Travolta. Because:
1. He always seems alot cooler on screen than Cage. I mean, he's fucking Chili Palmer!
2. For the Biggest Comeback of all time: PULP FICTION. duh.
3. And come on, he's a waay BETTER & NASTIER Castor Troy than even the "real" Troy ever was.
But my pick is Travolta. Because:
1. He always seems alot cooler on screen than Cage. I mean, he's fucking Chili Palmer!
2. For the Biggest Comeback of all time: PULP FICTION. duh.
3. And come on, he's a waay BETTER & NASTIER Castor Troy than even the "real" Troy ever was.
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+12
2:33AM on 06/14/2012

Wait!

Travolta was Castor Troy as well! And honestly he was even more badass as Cage in that role!
Travolta was Castor Troy as well! And honestly he was even more badass as Cage in that role!
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12:45AM on 06/14/2012
These two dingbats epitomize "Hollyweird"
These two dingbats epitomize "Hollyweird"
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10:30AM on 06/14/2012
the thumbs down are from the guys who either want a massage from Travolta or want Cage to name their kid.

Truth is, these two have been in Hollywood for a long time and have been international superstars most of their lives. That will have an major effect on your judgement. Before long you're joining space cults, naming your kid after obscure comic book characters and believing your constantly shifting hairline is fooling anyone.
the thumbs down are from the guys who either want a massage from Travolta or want Cage to name their kid.

Truth is, these two have been in Hollywood for a long time and have been international superstars most of their lives. That will have an major effect on your judgement. Before long you're joining space cults, naming your kid after obscure comic book characters and believing your constantly shifting hairline is fooling anyone.
8:06AM on 06/14/2012
I love some of their roles, but you're right. The people giving you thumbs down are clutching their copies of "Pulp Fiction" and "Face-Off," and forgetting that one's a cross-dressing Scientologist, and the other loves Elvis so much that he briefly married his daughter. Weird, weird dingbats.
I love some of their roles, but you're right. The people giving you thumbs down are clutching their copies of "Pulp Fiction" and "Face-Off," and forgetting that one's a cross-dressing Scientologist, and the other loves Elvis so much that he briefly married his daughter. Weird, weird dingbats.
12:25AM on 06/14/2012

You should have added the Controversies

John Travolta: Scientology, is he or isn't he gay? Lawsuits from masseurs.

Nicolas Cage: tax and legal problems, arrest for public intoxication in New Orleans.
John Travolta: Scientology, is he or isn't he gay? Lawsuits from masseurs.

Nicolas Cage: tax and legal problems, arrest for public intoxication in New Orleans.
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12:42PM on 06/14/2012
What about the best controversy of all... Nicolas Cage is a vampire!!!

Being a several hundred year old undead vampire has to give Cage the ultimate trump card.
What about the best controversy of all... Nicolas Cage is a vampire!!!

Being a several hundred year old undead vampire has to give Cage the ultimate trump card.
8:08AM on 06/14/2012
If you don't know why Scientology is controversial - you should do some basic research. It's like saying you don't get what was so bad about Jonestown.
If you don't know why Scientology is controversial - you should do some basic research. It's like saying you don't get what was so bad about Jonestown.
1:39AM on 06/14/2012
don't get why Scientology is controversial. Is someone being a Christian controversial? Jewish? etc?
don't get why Scientology is controversial. Is someone being a Christian controversial? Jewish? etc?
12:11AM on 06/14/2012
Nic Cage all the way, but Face/Off was a huge win for both. Though, I think the tie breaker part seems to be really cheap for these articles.
Nic Cage all the way, but Face/Off was a huge win for both. Though, I think the tie breaker part seems to be really cheap for these articles.
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-20
12:08AM on 06/14/2012
Honestly for me, neither.
Honestly for me, neither.
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