It's Nicolas Cage Week here at Moviefone! In celebration of this Friday's 'Season of the Witch,' we have examined every facet of the Cage phenomenon -- from tiny nuggets of trivia to a one-on-one with the man himself.
But how did we reach this point as a society, where we're obligated to honor him with a week-long national holiday? Moviefone examines the long and winding acting path that Cage's career has taken -- starting out as a name-shunning Coppola and heading all the way to the one-man school-of-acting he has become.
Join us please, as we look at the evolution of Nicolas Cage.
First Starring Role With 'Valley Girl' (1983)
Nicolas Coppola's first movie credited as "Nicolas Cage" saw him star as a Hollywood punk who dared to cross social boundaries and date a girl from the Valley. The movie was a nice little hit filled with a still-cool new-wave soundtrack, and serves as a genuinely well-done slice of teen pop filmmaking.
First Serious Acting Cred With 'Raising Arizona' (1987)
After doing a couple movies with his uncle Francis, Cage starred as "Hi" McDunnough, perpetual convenience store robber and paramour of former police office Edwina. Amidst the crazy hair and crazy accent was a truly off-kilter performance done in the style of a classic screwball comedy. The film was ranked No. 31 on AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Laughs list of the best comedies of the 20th century.
First Blockbuster With 'Moonstruck' (1987)
The $80 million-grossing romantic comedy won three Academy Awards -- plus three additional nominations -- for its Brooklyn-set Italian love triangle. Cher is engaged to be married to the bumbling Johnny, but she can't seem to get her mind off Johnny's younger brother, Ronny, the one-handed baker, played by Cage. His lovestruck puppy routine is met with one of moviedom's most famous quotes.
First Glimpse Into the Crazy With 'Vampire's Kiss' (1988)
Cage gained attention for manic, quirk-filled performances like 'Wild at Heart' and 'Red Rock West,' but the first off-the-deep-end role came with his cockroach-eating, delusional corporate yuppie -- who may or may not be a vampire -- that goes so crazy, so fast, you're not prepared for it.
First Academy Award Nom (And a Win) With 'Leaving Las Vegas' (1995)
Cage's turn as the depressed alcoholic who decides to drink himself to death and spend his last few days with a hooker with a heart of gold, earned him an Academy Award, at the age of 31. To research the part, based on the semi-autobiographical book by John O'Brien, Cage went on a binge drinking tour through Ireland and visted with hospitalized alcoholics.
First Action Role With 'The Rock' (1996)
Once he nabbed Oscar gold, Jerry Bruckheimer called. The mega-blockbuster producer turned Cage from an eccentric, well-regarded character actor into a roundhouse-kicking, double-gun-blazing man of action. 'The Rock' was just the first in a long, looooooong list of action movies, ranging from 'Con Air' to 'Gone in 60 Seconds' to 'National Treasure.'
First Second-Wind With 'Adaptation' (2002)
After becoming Mr. Hollywood, Cage started to wear himself thin with movies like 'City of Angels,' 'Snake Eyes' and 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin.' Fans of the man who delivered Elvis-loving crazy like 'Wild at Heart' began to worry that he had lost his touch. Luckily, 'Adaptation' came along, giving Cage the chance to stretch his character-acting muscles by playing real-life neurotic screenwriter Charlie Kauffman and his fictional twin brother, the vapid Donald. His second Oscar nomination quickly followed.
First Internet Meme With 'The Wicker Man' (2006)
If it wasn't for the internet, a D.O.A. dud like 'The Wicker Man' probably would have been forgotten about. But the Internet was there to extract Cage's performance -- like a scientist breaking down a complex compound. And there underneath it all was pure, elemental Cage in all its substance. What else could be said about 'Wicker Man'? Just watch the chemistry.
First Meta Parody With 'Kick-Ass' (2010)
At this point in his career, Cage is pretty much bullet-proof. Sure, he has to pay off a lot of debt, but he's going to on whatever acting job he desires. If he wants to be a sorcerer, Fu Manchu, the Spirit of Vengeance, the voice of a talking mole or an Adam West-sounding, comic book-obsessed vigilante who trains his daughter to slice up hitmen, then damn it he's going to do it.
And check out our week of Nicolas Cage coverage:
Monday -- 47 Facts About Nicolas Cage
Tuesday -- In Defense of Nicolas Cage
Wednesday -- Nicolas Cage Q+A
Thursday -- The Evolution of Nicolas Cage
Friday -- 10 Best and 10 Worst Nicolas Cage Movies