Paramount Pictures courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Paramount Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)

Nicolas Cage Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

There’s a lot to be said for consistency, and for film fans, the ability to count on reliably great performances from an actor can be the difference between pre-ordering tickets weeks in advance or waiting until a movie comes out on home video. On the other hand, there’s also an undeniable excitement that comes with unpredictability, and Nicolas Cage‘s filmography is a perfect case in point. From toking up with Sean Penn’s Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High to waging chainsaw vengeance against the cultists that murdered his wife in Mandy — and beyond — Cage has racked up more than 100 film credits over the last several decades, delivering performances that range from Oscar-winning (Leaving Las Vegas) to wildly over the top (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) and starring in blockbuster fare (The Rock, National Treasure) as well as acclaimed indies (Raising Arizona, Joe), and we wouldn’t want him any other way.

Most recently, he’s gotten career-best accolades for the drama Pig. Nobody captures the camera’s attention quite like Nicolas Cage, and to honor all those years of singularly entertaining achievement, we’ve rounded up all of his major film roles, sorted by Tomatometer. Read on to see where your favorites rank, and remember: Not the bees!

#88

Deadfall (1993)
0%

#88
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A New Yorker (Michael Biehn) heads to California to find the look-alike brother (James Coburn) of his con-man father.... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Coppola

#87

Grand Isle (2019)
0%

#87
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Walter and his neglected wife lure a young stranger into their Victorian home to escape from a hurricane. When the... [More]
Directed By: Stephen S. Campanelli

#86

Left Behind (2014)
1%

#86
Adjusted Score: 3289%
Critics Consensus: Yea verily, like unto a plague of locusts, Left Behind hath begat a further scourge of devastation upon Nicolas Cage's once-proud filmography.
Synopsis: The entire planet is thrown into mayhem when millions of people disappear without a trace -- all that remains are... [More]
Directed By: Vic Armstrong

#85

Arsenal (2017)
3%

#85
Adjusted Score: 4355%
Critics Consensus: Aside from an opportunity to watch a mustachioed Nicolas Cage acting from under a wig and behind a prosthetic nose, Arsenal has depressingly little to offer.
Synopsis: The Lindel brothers, Mikey and JP, only had each other to rely on growing up. As adults, JP finds success... [More]
Directed By: Steven C. Miller

#84

Outcast (2014)
4%

#84
Adjusted Score: 4031%
Critics Consensus: Unforgivably dull, Outcast fails to deliver virtually all of the goofy fun that should come from a movie starring Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen in ancient China.
Synopsis: A fugitive Chinese prince and his sister enlist the aid of two war-weary Crusaders (Nicolas Cage, Hayden Christensen) to help... [More]
Directed By: Nick Powell

#83

211 (2018)
4%

#83
Adjusted Score: 4606%
Critics Consensus: 211's disjointed assortment of action clichés and uninspired set pieces adds up to roughly zero.
Synopsis: Officer Mike Chandler and a young civilian passenger find themselves unprepared and outgunned when fate puts them squarely in-the-crosshairs of... [More]
Directed By: York Shackleton

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 5506%
Critics Consensus: Loaded with talent but borderline unwatchable, Trapped in Paradise will leave viewers feeling the first part of the title and pining for the last.
Synopsis: Fresh out of prison, Alvin (Dana Carvey) and Dave Firpo (Jon Lovitz) pull their brother Bill (Nicolas Cage) back into... [More]
Directed By: George Gallo

#81
#81
Adjusted Score: 10640%
Critics Consensus: With murky cinematography, a meandering pace, a dull storyline, and rather wooden performances, The Pang Brothers' Hollywood remake of Bangkok Dangerous is unsuccessful.
Synopsis: Remorseless assassin Joe (Nicolas Cage) is in Thailand to complete a series of contract killings for a crime boss called... [More]
Directed By: Oxide Pang, Danny Pang

#80

Fire Birds (1990)
10%

#80
Adjusted Score: 9826%
Critics Consensus: Despite the talent on board, Fire Birds is little more than a subpar military adventure sporting video game-like action, outdated philosophy, and uneven acting.
Synopsis: Army lovers (Nicolas Cage, Sean Young) and their task-force leader (Tommy Lee Jones) join the drug war in Apache assault... [More]
Directed By: David Green

#79

Pay the Ghost (2015)
10%

#79
Adjusted Score: 9389%
Critics Consensus: Pay the Ghost takes a weak stab at supernatural horror, but ultimately, it's only viewers who will pay for watching this sloppily assembled picture.
Synopsis: Haunted by eerie images and unexplainable messages, a man (Nicolas Cage) tries to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of... [More]
Directed By: Uli Edel

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 10658%
Critics Consensus: Dying of the Light envelops the spark of several intriguing talents, leaving audiences lost in a yawning void of uninspired filmmaking.
Synopsis: Forced into retirement and terminally ill, a CIA agent (Nicolas Cage) gets word that his longtime nemesis (Alexander Karim) has... [More]
Directed By: Paul Schrader

#77

Trespass (2011)
11%

#77
Adjusted Score: 12270%
Critics Consensus: Another claustrophobic thriller that Joel Schumacher can churn out in his sleep, Trespass is nasty and aggressive, more unpleasant than entertaining.
Synopsis: Fast-talking diamond dealer Kyle Miller (Nicolas Cage) and his wife, Sarah (Nicole Kidman), live the good life in a beautiful... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#76
#76
Adjusted Score: 15379%
Critics Consensus: Slow, cheap-looking, and dull, Season of the Witch fails even as unintentional comedy.
Synopsis: His faith broken by many years fighting in the Crusades, a knight named Behman (Nicolas Cage) returns to Europe and... [More]
Directed By: Dominic Sena

#75

Tokarev (2014)
12%

#75
Adjusted Score: 11974%
Critics Consensus: Depressingly dull and all-around poorly made, Rage is the rare Nicolas Cage action thriller lacking enough energy to reach "so bad it's good" territory.
Synopsis: Following the kidnapping and murder of his daughter (Aubrey Peeples), a reformed criminal (Nicolas Cage) returns to his old ways... [More]
Directed By: Paco Cabezas

#74
Adjusted Score: 3771%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this animated retelling of Charles Dickens' classic tale, Ebeneezer Scrooge (Simon Callow) remains the same old curmudgeonly hermit. As... [More]
Directed By: Jimmy T. Murakami

#73
#73
Adjusted Score: 15313%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Diagnosed with a fatal condition, a mob enforcer leaves prison after 19 years and plots a bloody course of revenge... [More]
Directed By: Shawn Ku

#72

The Wicker Man (2006)
15%

#72
Adjusted Score: 18145%
Critics Consensus: Puzzlingly misguided, Neil LaBute's update The Wicker Man struggles against unintentional comedy and fails.
Synopsis: A reclusive lawman (Nicolas Cage) travels to a secluded island to search for a girl who has gone missing. Once... [More]
Directed By: Neil LaBute

#71
Adjusted Score: 15088%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After their ship is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, the crew members of the USS Indianapolis face a harrowing nightmare... [More]
Directed By: Mario Van Peebles

#70

Amos & Andrew (1993)
17%

#70
Adjusted Score: 17326%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When erudite black playwright Andrew Sterling (Samuel L. Jackson) moves to a predominantly white suburb, the buffoonish local police surround... [More]
Directed By: E. Max Frye

#69
Adjusted Score: 21365%
Critics Consensus: With a weak script, uneven CG work, and a Nic Cage performance so predictably loony it's no longer amusing, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance aims to be trashy fun but ends up as plain trash.
Synopsis: Now hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still struggling with the curse of the Ghost Rider... [More]

#68

Stolen (2012)
20%

#68
Adjusted Score: 18808%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A former thief (Nicolas Cage) has just 12 hours to come up with $10 million after his former partner (Josh... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#67

Looking Glass (2018)
21%

#67
Adjusted Score: 20542%
Critics Consensus: Looking Glass gives Nicolas Cage a chance to turn in an atypically understated performance, but this is still a suspense thriller with a fatal dearth of suspense or thrills.
Synopsis: Ray must race to save his wife and himself from a gruesome secret connected to a desert hotel and the... [More]
Directed By: Tim Hunter

#66

Sonny (2002)
22%

#66
Adjusted Score: 22024%
Critics Consensus: Sonny is sunk by debuting director Nicolas Cage's evident inability to locate the heart of his movie's story - or properly modulate his cast's performances.
Synopsis: After a stint in the army, former male prostitute Sonny Phillips (James Franco) returns to his home in a run-down... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Cage

#65

G-Force (2009)
22%

#65
Adjusted Score: 26778%
Critics Consensus: G-Force features manic action, but fails to come up with interesting characters or an inspired plot.
Synopsis: Armed with the latest high-tech spy gear, a guinea pig named Darwin (Sam Rockwell) and his team of specially trained... [More]
Directed By: Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr.

#64

8MM (1999)
23%

#64
Adjusted Score: 25322%
Critics Consensus: Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.
Synopsis: Private detective Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) lives a normal life with his wife (Catherine Keener) and young daughter, until he... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 24641%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A tenacious federal agent traces the supply line of a group of cagey and experienced cocaine dealers.... [More]
Directed By: Jason Cabell

#62

The Runner (2015)
24%

#62
Adjusted Score: 23703%
Critics Consensus: In spite of a promising premise and a roundly talented cast, The Runner is a disappointing outing to be viewed by only the staunchest of Nicolas Cage completists.
Synopsis: An embarrassing video threatens the career of an idealistic Louisiana congressman (Nicolas Cage) who dreams of running for the Senate.... [More]
Directed By: Austin Stark

#61
#61
Adjusted Score: 12850%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the near future, global warming turns parts of the American Midwest into a desert. In its attempt to take... [More]
Directed By: Rob King

#60

Army of One (2016)
25%

#60
Adjusted Score: 19950%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Gary Faulkner (Nicolas Cage), an ex-con, unemployed handyman, and modern day Don Quixote receives a vision from God telling him... [More]
Directed By: Larry Charles

#59
#59
Adjusted Score: 30115%
Critics Consensus: Even though Oscar-bearers Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, and Robert Duval came aboard for this project, the quality of Gone in 60 Seconds is disappointingly low. The plot line is nonsensical, and even the promised car-chase scenes are boring.
Synopsis: Randall "Memphis" Raines long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after an ominous visit from an old friend, he... [More]
Directed By: Dominic Sena

#58

Ghost Rider (2007)
26%

#58
Adjusted Score: 31751%
Critics Consensus: Ghost Rider is a sour mix of morose, glum histrionics amidst jokey puns and hammy dialogue.
Synopsis: Years ago, motorcycle stuntman Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sold his soul to save the life of a loved one. Now,... [More]
Directed By: Mark Steven Johnson

#57

Justice (2011)
28%

#57
Adjusted Score: 29717%
Critics Consensus: Seeking Justice is nothing more than a typical potboiler with another phoned-in performance by Nicolas Cage.
Synopsis: A stranger (Guy Pearce) approaches a high-school teacher (Nicolas Cage) and offers to punish his wife's (January Jones) attacker.... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#56
Adjusted Score: 31336%
Critics Consensus: The cinematography is gorgeous, but the movie plays it fast and loose with history and the novel it was adapted from. Mostly, the movie fails because the romance between the leads strains credulity and the story is largely uninvolving.
Synopsis: An epic tale about the enduring hope of love and the devastating brutality of war, set amid the Italian occupation... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#55

Next (2007)
28%

#55
Adjusted Score: 33268%
Critics Consensus: Numerous plot holes and poorly motivated characters prevent Next from being the thought-provoking sci-fi flick it could've been.
Synopsis: Blessed, or cursed, with the ability to see events minutes before they occur, Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) earns a living... [More]
Directed By: Lee Tamahori

#54

Inconceivable (2017)
31%

#54
Adjusted Score: 30022%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Angela develops a friendship with a mysterious woman named Katie and offers her a job as a live-in nanny. The... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Baker

#53

Zandalee (1991)
33%

#53
Adjusted Score: 17734%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An artist (Nicolas Cage) drifts to New Orleans and explores the theme of lust with his poet buddy's (Judge Reinhold)... [More]
Directed By: Sam Pillsbury

#52

Windtalkers (2002)
33%

#52
Adjusted Score: 37332%
Critics Consensus: The action sequences are expertly staged. Windtalkers, however, sinks under too many clichés and only superficially touches upon the story of the code talkers.
Synopsis: Marine Joe Enders (Nicolas Cage) is assigned to protect Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach) -- a Navajo code talker, the Marines'... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#51

Knowing (2009)
34%

#51
Adjusted Score: 40361%
Critics Consensus: Knowing has some interesting ideas and a couple good scenes, but it's weighted down by its absurd plot and over-seriousness.
Synopsis: Fifty years after it was buried in a time capsule, a schoolgirl's cryptic document falls into the hands of Caleb... [More]
Directed By: Alex Proyas

#50
Adjusted Score: 41221%
Critics Consensus: A talented cast goes to waste in the improbable National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which is eerily similar to the first film.
Synopsis: When a long-missing page from the diary of assassin John Wilkes Booth suddenly resurfaces, it implicates the great-great grandfather of... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#49

Primal (2019)
37%

#49
Adjusted Score: 38020%
Critics Consensus: Chiefly of interest to Nicolas Cage completists and hardcore B-movie fans, this action thriller suffers from an unfortunate lack of Primal energy.
Synopsis: Hunter and collector Frank Walsh expects a big payday after bagging a priceless white jaguar for a zoo. But the... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Powell

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 46386%
Critics Consensus: It has a likable cast and loads of CGI spectacle, but for all but the least demanding viewers, The Sorcerer's Apprentice will be less than spellbinding.
Synopsis: Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel) is just an average guy, but the wizard Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) sees in him a... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#47

Snake Eyes (1998)
41%

#47
Adjusted Score: 43266%
Critics Consensus: Snake Eyes has a number of ingredients that promise a trashy fun time; unfortunately, they're lost in an energetic and stylish thriller with a frustratingly hollow core.
Synopsis: Detective Rick Santoro (Nicolas Cage) has never played by the rules. When he attends a high-profile boxing match with his... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 51400%
Critics Consensus: National Treasure is no treasure, but it's a fun ride for those who can forgive its highly improbable plot.
Synopsis: Historian and code-breaker Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) has been searching his whole life for a rumored treasure dating back to... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#45

Drive Angry (2011)
48%

#45
Adjusted Score: 51336%
Critics Consensus: It may deliver the over-the-top action pieces, but Drive Angry prefers to work safely within grindhouse formula than do something truly unique.
Synopsis: Thrown into hell for his crimes, brutal felon John Milton (Nicolas Cage) escapes from the fiery pit after cultists murder... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Lussier

#44

Dog Eat Dog (2016)
49%

#44
Adjusted Score: 52722%
Critics Consensus: Dog Eat Dog's refreshing bundle of quirks and surfeit of visual style aren't quite enough to compensate for an aimlessly forgettable story.
Synopsis: Ex-cons, Troy (Nicolas Cage), Mad Dog (Willem Dafoe) and Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook), are hired by an eccentric mob boss... [More]
Directed By: Paul Schrader

#43

Astro Boy (2009)
50%

#43
Adjusted Score: 55326%
Critics Consensus: While it isn't terribly original, and it seems to have a political agenda that may rankle some viewers, Astro Boy boasts enough visual thrills to please its target demographic.
Synopsis: In futuristic Metro City, a brilliant scientist named Tenma builds Astro Boy (Freddie Highmore), a robotic child with superstrength, X-ray... [More]
Directed By: David Bowers

#42

The Family Man (2000)
53%

#42
Adjusted Score: 57760%
Critics Consensus: Despite good performances by Cage and especially by Leoni, The Family Man is too predictable and derivative to add anything new to the Christmas genre. Also, it sinks under its sentimentality.
Synopsis: Jack's lavish, fast-paced lifestyle changes one Christmas night when he stumbles into a grocery store holdup and disarms the gunman.... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#41

Con Air (1997)
56%

#41
Adjusted Score: 59935%
Critics Consensus: Con Air won't win any awards for believability - and all involved seem cheerfully aware of it, making some of this blockbuster action outing's biggest flaws fairly easy to forgive.
Synopsis: Just-paroled army ranger Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is headed back to his wife (Monica Potter), but must fly home aboard... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#40

Guarding Tess (1994)
57%

#40
Adjusted Score: 58771%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Doug Chesnic (Nicolas Cage), an agent with the Secret Service Uniformed Division, is assigned to protect former first lady Tess... [More]
Directed By: Hugh Wilson

#39

City of Angels (1998)
59%

#39
Adjusted Score: 61945%
Critics Consensus: City of Angels may not tug the heartstrings as effortlessly as it aims to, but the end results will still leave more than a few viewers in tears.
Synopsis: This is the story of Seth (Nicolas Cage), an angel who wanders the Los Angeles area invisible to humans. As... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

#38

The Weather Man (2005)
59%

#38
Adjusted Score: 63076%
Critics Consensus: With fine performances and a dark, dry sense of humor, The Weather Man is mostly cloudy with occasional rays of sunshine.
Synopsis: David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is a Chicago weatherman who, despite success at his job, is deeply unhappy. Eclipsed by his... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 57084%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In their last weeks before deployment to World War II as Marines, teenage friends Henry Nash (Sean Penn) and Nicky... [More]
Directed By: Richard Benjamin

#36

Vampire's Kiss (1989)
61%

#36
Adjusted Score: 61231%
Critics Consensus: He's a vampire! He's a vampire! He's a vampire!
Synopsis: The life of white-collar New Yorker Peter (Nicolas Cage) seems to revolve solely around making as much money and sleeping... [More]
Directed By: Robert Bierman

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 62552%
Critics Consensus: Though this by-the-numbers true procedural seems basic, The Frozen Ground presents a welcome return for Nicolas Cage in a solid performance.
Synopsis: A teenage escapee (Vanessa Hudgens) provides a critical break in the case, as an Alaskan detective (Nicolas Cage) hunts a... [More]
Directed By: Scott Walker

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 65016%
Critics Consensus: Willy's Wonderland isn't quite as much fun as its premise would suggest -- but it's still got Nicolas Cage beating the hell out of bloodthirsty animatronics, which is nice.
Synopsis: A quiet loner (Nicolas Cage) finds himself stranded in a remote town when his car breaks down. Unable to pay... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Lewis

#33

Lord of War (2005)
61%

#33
Adjusted Score: 66567%
Critics Consensus: While Lord of War is an intelligent examination of the gun trade, it is too scattershot in its plotting to connect.
Synopsis: The 20-year arms dealing career of Queens, N.Y., outcast Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) serves as a window onto the end... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Niccol

#32

Snowden (2016)
61%

#32
Adjusted Score: 76358%
Critics Consensus: Snowden boasts a thrilling fact-based tale and a solid lead performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, even if director Oliver Stone saps the story of some of its impact by playing it safe.
Synopsis: Disillusioned with the intelligence community, top contractor Edward Snowden (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) leaves his job at the National Security Agency. He... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#31

The Ant Bully (2006)
62%

#31
Adjusted Score: 65621%
Critics Consensus: Sometimes inventive and witty, this animated adventure into an ant-sized world is a pleasant diversion.
Synopsis: Tired of weathering constant attacks on their colony, ants shrink a destructive boy, named Lucas (Zach Tyler Eisen), to their... [More]
Directed By: John A. Davis

#30

The Trust (2016)
63%

#30
Adjusted Score: 65059%
Critics Consensus: The Trust may not be an all-time heist classic, but its solidly workmanlike plot -- and the chemistry between Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood -- should satisfy genre enthusiasts.
Synopsis: Corrupt cops working in the police department evidence room make plans to rob a vault full of drug money in... [More]

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 65202%
Critics Consensus: Honeymoon in Vegas is a light screwball comedy that has just about what you expect (and nothing you don't).
Synopsis: After losing $65,000 to professional gambler and con man Tommy Korman (James Caan), penniless private investigator Jack Singer (Nicolas Cage)... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Bergman

#28

Wild at Heart (1990)
67%

#28
Adjusted Score: 70522%
Critics Consensus: One of director David Lynch's more uneven efforts, Wild at Heart is held together by his distinctive sensibilities and compelling work from Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern.
Synopsis: After serving prison time for a self-defense killing, Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) reunites with girlfriend Lula Fortune (Laura Dern). Lula's... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 76147%
Critics Consensus: As a visually stunning tribute to lives lost in tragedy, World Trade Center succeeds unequivocally, and it is more politically muted than many of Stone's other works.
Synopsis: Two Port Authority officers, Sgt. John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) and Officer Will Jimeno (Michael Peña), become trapped in the rubble... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#26

Kiss of Death (1995)
67%

#26
Adjusted Score: 68029%
Critics Consensus: An outstanding ensemble cast propels Kiss of Death, a noir-ish crime thriller that's slick and big on atmosphere, even if its script may only provide sporadic bursts of tension.
Synopsis: After his time in prison, Jimmy Kilmartin (David Caruso) keeps his head down and provides for his wife and kids,... [More]
Directed By: Barbet Schroeder

#25

The Rock (1996)
68%

#25
Adjusted Score: 71940%
Critics Consensus: For visceral thrills, it can't be beat. Just don't expect The Rock to engage your brain.
Synopsis: FBI chemical warfare expert Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) is sent on an urgent mission with a former British spy, John... [More]
Directed By: Michael Bay

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 71695%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Charlie Lang (Nicolas Cage) is a simple, kindhearted New York City cop. When he realizes he has no money to... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Bergman

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 75659%
Critics Consensus: Stunning and compelling, Scorsese and Cage succeed at satisfying the audience.
Synopsis: After a disheartening and haunting career wears him down, New York City paramedic Frank Pierce (Nicolas Cage) begins to collapse... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#22

The Croods (2013)
72%

#22
Adjusted Score: 76448%
Critics Consensus: While it may not be as (ahem) evolved as the best modern animated fare, The Croods will prove solidly entertaining for families seeking a fast-paced, funny cartoon adventure.
Synopsis: Prehistoric family the Croods live in a particularly dangerous moment in time. Patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), his mate, Ugga (Catherine... [More]

#21

Rumble Fish (1983)
74%

#21
Adjusted Score: 76664%
Critics Consensus: Rumble Fish frustrates even as it intrigues, but director Francis Ford Coppola's strong visual style helps compensate for a certain narrative stasis.
Synopsis: Disaffected and restless, Rusty James (Matt Dillon) is spoiling for a fight. Abandoned by his mother and living with his... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#20

Mom and Dad (2017)
75%

#20
Adjusted Score: 82866%
Critics Consensus: Mom and Dad's gonzo premise serves as an effective springboard for a wickedly dark, bloody comedy - and an appropriately over-the-top performance from Nicolas Cage.
Synopsis: A teenage girl and her little brother try to survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of... [More]
Directed By: Brian Taylor

#19

Kick-Ass (2010)
76%

#19
Adjusted Score: 86391%
Critics Consensus: Not for the faint of heart, Kick-Ass takes the comic adaptation genre to new levels of visual style, bloody violence, and gleeful profanity.
Synopsis: Using his love for comics as inspiration, teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to reinvent himself as a superhero --... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

#18

The Cotton Club (1984)
77%

#18
Adjusted Score: 77853%
Critics Consensus: Energetic and brimming with memorable performers, The Cotton Club entertains with its visual and musical pizazz even as its plot only garners polite applause.
Synopsis: The lives of various characters intersect at Harlem's renowned Cotton Club. Handsome horn player Dix Dwyer (Richard Gere) falls for... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#17
Adjusted Score: 82581%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling

#16

Matchstick Men (2003)
82%

#16
Adjusted Score: 87343%
Critics Consensus: Breezy and well-acted, Matchstick Men focuses more on the characters than on the con.
Synopsis: Roy (Nicolas Cage), a depressed con artist with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Frank (Sam Rockwell), his partner, find their line of... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#15

Birdy (1984)
83%

#15
Adjusted Score: 83758%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Birdy (Matthew Modine) returns from the Vietnam War scarred from the horrific experiences of battle. He is so damaged by... [More]
Directed By: Alan Parker

#14

Valley Girl (1983)
83%

#14
Adjusted Score: 85176%
Critics Consensus: With engaging performances from its two leads, Valley Girl is a goofy yet amiable film that both subverts and celebrates the cheerful superficiality of teen comedies.
Synopsis: Lovely teen Julie Richman (Deborah Foreman) is steeped in the excessive, pink-clad culture of the San Fernando Valley, complete with... [More]
Directed By: Martha Coolidge

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 88145%
Critics Consensus: Peggy Sue Got Married may seem just another in a line of '80s boomer nostalgia films, but none of the others have Kathleen Turner keen lead performance.
Synopsis: Peggy Sue Bodell (Kathleen Turner) attends her 25-year high school reunion after separating from her cheating husband, Charlie (Nicolas Cage).... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#12

Joe (2013)
86%

#12
Adjusted Score: 90344%
Critics Consensus: Rich in atmosphere and anchored by a powerful performance from Nicolas Cage, Joe is a satisfying return to form for its star -- as well as director David Gordon Green.
Synopsis: The rough-hewn boss (Nicolas Cage) of a lumber crew courts trouble when he steps in to protect the youngest member... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#11
Adjusted Score: 90537%
Critics Consensus: Befitting its unorthodox origins, this Bad Lieutenant benefits from Werner Herzog's typically fearless direction and a delightfully unhinged Nicolas Cage in the title role.
Synopsis: Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage) isn't doing so well. He has a nasty painkiller addiction, courtesy of an injury he sustained... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 100443%
Critics Consensus: A welcome return for director Richard Stanley, Color Out of Space mixes tart B-movie pulp with visually alluring Lovecraftian horror and a dash of gonzo Nicolas Cage.
Synopsis: After a meteorite lands in the front yard of their farm, Nathan Gardner and his family find themselves battling a... [More]
Directed By: Richard Stanley

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 93117%
Critics Consensus: Oscar-awarded Nicolas Cage finds humanity in his character as it bleeds away in this no frills, exhilaratingly dark portrait of destruction.
Synopsis: Adapted from the novel by John O'Brien, this acclaimed drama follows alcoholic screenwriter Ben Sanderson (Nicolas Cage) as he drinks... [More]
Directed By: Mike Figgis

#8

Raising Arizona (1987)
91%

#8
Adjusted Score: 95570%
Critics Consensus: A terrifically original, eccentric screwball comedy, Raising Arizona may not be the Coens' most disciplined movie, but it's one of their most purely entertaining.
Synopsis: An ex-con and an ex-cop meet, marry and long for a child of their own. When it is discovered that... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen

#7
Adjusted Score: 97545%
Critics Consensus: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies distills the enduring appeal of its colorful characters into a charmingly light-hearted adventure whose wacky humor fuels its infectious fun -- and belies a surprising level of intelligence.
Synopsis: It seems that all the major superheroes out there are starring in their own movies -- all but the Teen... [More]

#6

Adaptation (2002)
91%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97000%
Critics Consensus: Dizzyingly original, the loopy, multi-layered Adaptation is both funny and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: Nicolas Cage is Charlie Kaufman, a confused L.A. screenwriter overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, sexual frustration, self-loathing, and by the... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#5

Face/Off (1997)
92%

#5
Adjusted Score: 96505%
Critics Consensus: John Travolta and Nicolas Cage play cat-and-mouse (and literally play each other) against a beautifully stylized backdrop of typically elegant, over-the-top John Woo violence.
Synopsis: Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#4

Moonstruck (1987)
94%

#4
Adjusted Score: 98242%
Critics Consensus: Led by energetic performances from Nicolas Cage and Cher, Moonstruck is an exuberantly funny tribute to love and one of the decade's most appealing comedies.
Synopsis: No sooner does Italian-American widow Loretta (Cher) accept a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny (Danny Aiello), than she... [More]
Directed By: Norman Jewison

#3

Red Rock West (1993)
95%

#3
Adjusted Score: 96586%
Critics Consensus: Red Rock West is a hidden neo-noir gem with some delightful cracks in its surface -- and an opportunity to see Lara Flynn Boyle, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, and J.T. Walsh go toe-to-toe in all their early '90s glory.
Synopsis: When unemployed ex-marine Michael Williams (Nicolas Cage) stumbles into a bar in Red Rock, Wyo., the owner, Wayne (J.T. Walsh),... [More]
Directed By: John Dahl

#2

Pig (2021)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 109577%
Critics Consensus: Like the animal itself, Pig defies the hogwash of expectations with a beautiful odyssey of loss and love anchored by Nicolas Cage's affectingly raw performance.
Synopsis: Living alone in the Oregon wilderness, a truffle hunter returns to Portland to find the person who stole his beloved... [More]
Directed By: Michael Sarnoski

#1
Adjusted Score: 121255%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into... [More]

DreamWorks Animation

(Photo by DreamWorks Animation)

All 41 DreamWorks Animation Movies Ranked

DreamWorks Animation’s first movie was Antz, released two months before A Bug’s Life, and thus this studio was born into incessant comparison to Pixar’s output, molded by it, becoming the snarky and sarcastic foil to its competitor’s earnestness.

DreamWorks Animation would forge most of its identity and formula on the back of one giant, smelly, green ogre: Shrek, which has generated sequels, tie-ins, theme park rides, and billions of dollars, while ensuring Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” never leaving the pop culture’s ironic curriculum.

The studio’s other franchises include Kung Fu Panda, which introduced a whole new world of visual flair and surprising emotional depth to the DreamWorks movie canon, and Madagascar, which pulled off the mega-rare feat of each movie being higher-rated on the Tomatometer than the last. At least the mainline movies. (Penguins of Madagascar 73% is lower than the 79% Madagascar 3 has, but that’s a spin-off.)

Their latest releases were Spirit Untamed and Boss Baby: Family Business, with The Bad Guys and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish on the horizon. Now, we’re ranking all DreamWorks Animation movies by Tomatometer!

#41

Shark Tale (2004)
36%

#41
Adjusted Score: 41565%
Critics Consensus: Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes.
Synopsis: Underachiever Oscar (Will Smith) is a pint-sized fish with grand aspirations. When mob-connected great white shark Frankie (Michael Imperioli) is... [More]

#40

Shrek the Third (2007)
42%

#40
Adjusted Score: 50245%
Critics Consensus: Shrek the Third has pop culture potshots galore, but at the expense of the heart, charm, and wit that made the first two Shreks classics.
Synopsis: When King Harold suddenly croaks, Shrek (Mike Myers) learns he will have to rule the land of Far, Far Away,... [More]
Directed By: Chris Miller

#39
Adjusted Score: 48026%
Critics Consensus: Competent, but not magical.
Synopsis: The adventurous sailor (Brad Pitt) and a beautiful stowaway (Catherine Zeta-Jones) have 10 days to save a prince from execution.... [More]

#38
Adjusted Score: 50917%
Critics Consensus: It's more C-level than C-suite, but as a painless diversion for the kids, this Boss Baby manages some decent Family Business.
Synopsis: Now adults, Tim Templeton is a stay-at-home dad for two adorable daughters, while his estranged brother, Ted, is a big-shot... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 51697%
Critics Consensus: Predictable story and thin characters made the movie flat.
Synopsis: Two con-men (Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh) get hold of a map to the lost City of Gold, El Dorado. After... [More]

#36

Spirit Untamed (2021)
50%

#36
Adjusted Score: 54670%
Critics Consensus: While it might be a passable diversion for younger viewers, Spirit Untamed is a middling sequel that lacks the essential energy suggested by its title.
Synopsis: After moving to a sleepy little town, young Lucky Prescott befriends a wild mustang named Spirit, who shares her rebellious... [More]
Directed By: Elaine Bogan

#35

Bee Movie (2007)
49%

#35
Adjusted Score: 56326%
Critics Consensus: Bee Movie has humorous moments, but its awkward premise and tame delivery render it mostly forgettable.
Synopsis: Fresh out of college, Barry the Bee (Jerry Seinfeld) finds the prospect of working with honey uninspiring. He flies outside... [More]

#34

Home (2015)
52%

#34
Adjusted Score: 56229%
Critics Consensus: Colorful, silly, and utterly benign, Home is a passable diversion, but there's no shortage of superior animated alternatives.
Synopsis: After a hive-minded alien race called the Boov conquer the Earth, they relocate the planet's human population -- all except... [More]
Directed By: Tim Johnson

#33

The Boss Baby (2017)
53%

#33
Adjusted Score: 65133%
Critics Consensus: The Boss Baby's talented cast, glimmers of wit, and flashes of visual inventiveness can't make up for a thin premise and a disappointing willingness to settle for doody jokes.
Synopsis: A new baby's arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator -- a... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#32

Madagascar (2005)
54%

#32
Adjusted Score: 61533%
Critics Consensus: Though its story is problematic in spots and its humor is hit-or-miss for the adult crowd, Madagascar boasts impressive visuals and enough spunky charm to keep children entertained.
Synopsis: Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York's Central Park Zoo. He... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 64543%
Critics Consensus: While not without its moments, Shrek Forever After too often feels like a rote rehashing of the franchise's earlier entries.
Synopsis: Long-settled into married life and fully domesticated, Shrek (Mike Myers) begins to long for the days when he felt like... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell

#30
Adjusted Score: 69039%
Critics Consensus: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is an improvement on the original, with more fleshed-out characters, crisper animation and more consistent humor.
Synopsis: Alex (Ben Stiller), Morty (Chris Rock) and other zoo animals find a way to escape from Madagascar when the penguins... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

#29

Turbo (2013)
67%

#29
Adjusted Score: 70149%
Critics Consensus: It's nowhere near as inventive as its off-the-wall premise might suggest, but Turbo boasts just enough colorful visual thrills and sharp voice acting to recommend as undemanding family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a speed-obsessed snail with an unusual dream: to become the world's greatest racer. This odd snail... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#28
Adjusted Score: 72815%
Critics Consensus: A visually stunning film that may be too predictable and politically correct for adults, but should serve children well.
Synopsis: Follows the adventures of a wild and rambunctious mustang stallion as he journeys through the untamed American frontier. Encountering man... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 81879%
Critics Consensus: A fun follow-up for fans of the original, Trolls World Tour offers a second helping of colorful animation, infectious energy, and sing-along songs.
Synopsis: Poppy and Branch discover that there are six different troll tribes scattered over six different lands. Each tribe is also... [More]
Directed By: Walt Dohrn

#26

The Croods (2013)
72%

#26
Adjusted Score: 76448%
Critics Consensus: While it may not be as (ahem) evolved as the best modern animated fare, The Croods will prove solidly entertaining for families seeking a fast-paced, funny cartoon adventure.
Synopsis: Prehistoric family the Croods live in a particularly dangerous moment in time. Patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), his mate, Ugga (Catherine... [More]

#25

Megamind (2010)
72%

#25
Adjusted Score: 78778%
Critics Consensus: It regurgitates plot points from earlier animated efforts, and isn't quite as funny as it should be, but a top-shelf voice cast and strong visuals help make Megamind a pleasant, if unspectacular, diversion.
Synopsis: Though he is the most-brilliant supervillain the world has known, Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the least-successful. Thwarted time and again... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 77451%
Critics Consensus: Penguins of Madagascar is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Plucky penguins Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) -- the most elite spies... [More]

#23

Flushed Away (2006)
73%

#23
Adjusted Score: 78574%
Critics Consensus: Clever and appealing for both children and adults, Flushed Away marks a successful entry into digital animated features for Aardman Animations.
Synopsis: After an ignoble landing in Ratropolis, a pampered rodent (Hugh Jackman) enlists the help of a sewer scavenger (Kate Winslet)... [More]
Directed By: David Bowers, Sam Fell

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 81906%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: When a meteor full of space gunk transforms Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) into a giant, the government renames her Ginormica... [More]

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 80577%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Avengers for the elementary school set, Rise of the Guardians is wonderfully animated and briskly paced, but it's only so-so in the storytelling department.
Synopsis: Generation after generation, immortal Guardians like Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Tooth Fairy (Isla... [More]
Directed By: Peter Ramsey

#20

Trolls (2016)
75%

#20
Adjusted Score: 84907%
Critics Consensus: Trolls brings its instantly recognizable characters to the big screen in a colorful adventure that, while geared toward the younger set, isn't without rewards for parents.
Synopsis: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn

#19

Over the Hedge (2006)
75%

#19
Adjusted Score: 82241%
Critics Consensus: Even if it's not an animation classic, Over the Hedge is clever and fun, and the jokes cater to family members of all ages.
Synopsis: When Verne (Garry Shandling) and fellow woodland friends awake from winter's hibernation, they find they have some new neighbors: humans,... [More]

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 86137%
Critics Consensus: Another agreeable outing for the titular prehistoric clan, The Croods: A New Age may be the missing link for parents between more elevated family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Searching for a safer habitat, the prehistoric Crood family discovers an idyllic, walled-in paradise that meets all of its needs.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Crawford

#17
Adjusted Score: 83304%
Critics Consensus: Dazzlingly colorful and frenetic, Madagascar 3 is silly enough for young kids, but boasts enough surprising smarts to engage parents along the way.
Synopsis: Animal pals Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are still trying to... [More]

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 83756%
Critics Consensus: The Prince of Egypt's stunning visuals and first-rate voice cast more than compensate for the fact that it's better crafted than it is emotionally involving.
Synopsis: In this animated retelling of the Book of Exodus, Egyptian Prince Moses (Val Kilmer), upon discovering his roots as a... [More]

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 86532%
Critics Consensus: Mr. Peabody & Sherman offers a surprisingly entertaining burst of colorful all-ages fun, despite its dated source material and rather convoluted plot.
Synopsis: Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), the most accomplished canine in the world, and his boy, Sherman (Max Charles), use a time... [More]
Directed By: Rob Minkoff

#14

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
81%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86841%
Critics Consensus: The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate.
Synopsis: Now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black) protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

#13

Abominable (2019)
82%

#13
Adjusted Score: 91096%
Critics Consensus: Working with admittedly familiar ingredients, Abominable offers audiences a beautifully animated and overall engaging adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: After discovering a Yeti on the roof of her apartment building, teenage Yi and her two friends embark on an... [More]
Directed By: Jill Culton

#12

Puss in Boots (2011)
86%

#12
Adjusted Score: 90677%
Critics Consensus: It isn't deep or groundbreaking, but what it lacks in profundity, Puss in Boots more than makes up for with an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm.
Synopsis: Long before meeting Shrek, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) -- just named a hero for saving a woman from a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Miller

#11
Adjusted Score: 95757%
Critics Consensus: With a tidy plot, clean animation, and humor that fits its source material snugly, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is entertainment that won't drive a wedge between family members.
Synopsis: George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#10

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 96905%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he's going to... [More]

#9

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94519%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.
Synopsis: Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream... [More]

#8

Shrek (2001)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 96421%
Critics Consensus: While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride.
Synopsis: Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers) whose precious solitude... [More]

#7

Shrek 2 (2004)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 96790%
Critics Consensus: It may not be as fresh as the original, but topical humor and colorful secondary characters make Shrek 2 a winner in its own right.
Synopsis: After returning from their honeymoon and showing home movies to their friends, Shrek and Fiona learn that her parents have... [More]

#6
Adjusted Score: 105859%
Critics Consensus: The rare trilogy capper that really works, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World brings its saga to a visually dazzling and emotionally affecting conclusion.
Synopsis: When the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois

#5
Adjusted Score: 98834%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, emotionally resonant, and beautifully animated, How to Train Your Dragon 2 builds on its predecessor's successes just the way a sequel should.
Synopsis: Five years have passed since Hiccup and Toothless united the dragons and Vikings of Berk. Now, they spend their time... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois, Tom Owens

#4

Antz (1998)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 97015%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a stellar voice cast, technically dazzling animation, and loads of good humor, Antz should delight both children and adults.
Synopsis: Z the worker ant (Woody Allen) strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work-ethic of the ant colony.... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson

#3
Adjusted Score: 102223%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#2

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103668%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: This engaging stop-motion, claymation adventure tells the story of an American rooster who falls in love with a gorgeous hen... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 105999%
Critics Consensus: Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars.
Synopsis: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life.... [More]

She’s yet to celebrate her 30th birthday, but Emma Stone has already been wooed by Jonah Hill, battled zombies, and smooched Spider-Man — and this weekend, she faces off against Steve Carell in Battle of the Sexes, so now seems like a pretty good time to take a look back at some of the brighter critical highlights from her growing list of film credits, while inviting you to rank your own favorites in the bargain. We’re romancing the Stone, Total Recall style!


Use the up and down arrows to rank the movies, or click here to see them ranked by Tomatometer!

Ever since 1998 and into this Friday’s release of Kung Fu Panda 3, DreamWorks Animation has emerged as one of the dominant forces in animated storytelling worldwide, whose blend of state-of-the-art tech and raucous contemporary humor has carved their own identity in our current cartoon renaissance. Kung Fu Panda 3 inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery, in which we explore the nearly two-decade history of DreamWorks Animation.

In Theaters This Week:



Gravity

96%

Rating: PG-13, for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language.

The sense of tension and the possibility of death are constant in Alfonso Cuaron’s minor masterpiece about a veteran astronaut (George Clooney) and a medical engineer on her first mission (Sandra Bullock) who find themselves lost in space. It’s an incredibly beautiful and harrowing film – technically flawless and emotionally resonant. Yes, there is some language — you’d probably curse, too, if you were floating around in the vast blackness, cut off from Earth — and some violent images as one terrifying thing after another occurs. Older kids — especially those with an interest in space exploration — will totally dig this.



Parkland

50%

Rating: PG-13, for bloody sequences of ER trauma procedures, some violent images and language, and smoking throughout.

This star-studded drama (Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, the list goes on) depicts the assassination of President Kennedy from the perspective of various people caught up in that horrific event. They include Secret Service and FBI agents, Abraham Zapruder (who famously shot the film that captured the killing) and the trauma surgeons at Parkland Hospital, where the president ultimately was pronounced dead. Although director Peter Landesman takes a detached, matter-of-fact tone — and doesn’t show us the shooting itself — he still depicts a graphically bloody scene, which would be uncomfortable for anyone to watch. Thematically, this is probably best for older kids.

New On DVD:



The Croods

72%

Rating: PG, for some scary action.

A visually sublime but thematically simple animated film about a prehistoric family on a road trip. Dad (voiced by Nicolas Cage) is afraid of everything. His daughter, Eep (Emma Stone), constantly makes him nervous with her sense of daring – especially when she meets a guy named Guy (Ryan Reynolds) who introduces them all to a thing called fire. The overly facile message here is: Trying new things is good. It’s a useful notion for kids in the crowd to chew on, but their older companions may be longing for something more substantive. Toward the end, there are some seismic shifts that create a few moments of danger, but otherwise this colorful, vibrant 3-D adventure is suitable for all ages.

This week in streaming video, we’ve got a Certified Fresh apocalypse comedy, a prehistoric family film, a timely thriller about the internet, and Steven Soderbergh’s acclaimed Liberace biopic, as well as a few solid older choices. Read on to find out what’s available to watch right now.


This Is the End
83%

Playing themselves, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and a few other famous pals are partying together when the Rapture hits Los Angeles. Our heroes embark on a cameo-laden quest for salvation, and learn the true meaning of friendship along the way.

Available on: Amazon, iTunes


Disconnect
70%

Jason Bateman and Hope Davis star in a drama about a group of people who have complicated relationships with their computers and smartphones.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Behind the Candelabra
94%

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon star in Steven Soderbergh’s biographic drama about the lives and loves of the flamboyant pianist.

Available now on: Vudu


The Croods
72%

After the cave they call home is destroyed, a stone-age family journeys across its pre-historic environs, encountering wild beasts and learning to love and trust each other along the way.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Cat Ballou
89%

Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin star in this musical Western spoof that earned Marvin an Oscar for his dual role as a pair of gunfighters.

Available now on: Crackle


Five Easy Pieces
88%

Jack Nicholson stars in this psychological drama about a once-promising pianist mired in alienation and uncertainty.

Available now on: Crackle


A Few Good Men
83%

Can you handle the truth? Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Jack Nicholson star in Rob Reiner’s courtroom drama about a Navy attorney assigned to defend two Marines accused of murder.

Available now on: Crackle


Frozen River
88%

Melissa Leo stars as a financially-insecure woman who finds an illicit job transporting illegal workers into the U.S. through Native American land.

Available now on: Crackle


The Devil and Daniel Johnston
88%

Insightful and occasionally heartbreaking, this documentary profiles the cultishly adored outsider musician Daniel Johnston and his struggles with mental health.

Available now on: Crackle

The North American box office enjoyed a spring surge as two new films both scored terrific debuts bringing in business from different audiences. Families led the way driving the animated comedy The Croods to the top spot while the violent action thriller Olympus Has Fallen opened with authority in second place with better than expected results. Add in hot holdover Oz the Great and Powerful and it was a rare March weekend that saw three films gross north of $20M a piece.

DreamWorks Animation, and new distribution partner Fox, had much to celebrate as The Croods bowed at number one with an estimated $44.7M. That was on par with recent March non-sequel toons like How to Train Your Dragon ($43.7M in 2010), Rio ($39.2M in 2011), and the 2D Horton Hears a Who ($45M in 2008) and much better than the performance of the last effort from DreamWorks Rise of the Guardians. That holiday season offering debuted to $23.8M over three days and $32.3M across five days over last Thanksgiving’s holiday frame. Reaching $103.2M total from North America, it caused concern over whether the powerhouse animation factory was losing its touch and producing too much content. The studio has now had three 3D toons over the last nine months.

Croods didn’t have an A-list voice actor like Steve Carell or Jim Carrey from Horton and was not part of a top brand with a built-in audience like last year’s The Lorax so the performance was encouraging. Plus the road ahead looks bright for a number of reasons. Easter holidays will give children plenty of time off over the coming two weeks so the target audience will be very available – not only on the weekends but during weekdays too. Croods earned a great A grade from CinemaScore meaning consumers are liking the entertainment on screen so word-of-mouth should be good. Plus, there are no other big-ticket options for kids opening for the rest of March and April so the cavepeople flick will have its audience to itself for a while. Expect good legs here as reaching $170M domestic is possible.

Featuring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds, the PG-rated toon averaged a sturdy $11,048 from 4,046 theaters. Friday kicked off with $11.6M, Saturday surged an impressive 63% to $18.9M, and the studio is estimating a 25% dip to $14.2M on Sunday. The weekend gross ended up in the middle of the same $40-50M neighborhood as the top toons from the last nine months like Hotel Transylvania ($42.5M), Ice Age: Continental Drift ($46.6M), and Wreck-it Ralph ($49M).

DreamWorks will be hoping for the kind of legs witnessed by its March 2010 hit Dragon which was seen as a disappointment after its first weekend but then went on to show amazing longevity that resulted in a final domestic take of $217.6M, five times its opening. Croods and Dragon both earned the same grade from CinemaScore, though critics were much more impressed by the latter. Reviews were good for Croods, but not glowing. 3D screens accounted for 38% of the gross, up slightly from the 35% for Guardians. Females made up 57% of the audience while 55% was 25 and older.

Worldwide, Croods raked in a towering $108M with $63.3M (including previews) coming from 47 international markets representing 60% of the overseas marketplace. Russia, a red hot market for Hollywood animation, led the way with a superb $12.9M start (74% from 3D screens) followed by Mexico’s $9.5M and the United Kingdom’s $8.3M. The prehistoric family was number one in 44 of those markets this weekend and will open in 19 additional territories next weekend for Easter. With school holidays coming up around the world, and overseas audiences more willing to pay 3D surcharges, the long-term outlook is incredibly promising.

Gerard Butler scored his first hit in three years with the presidential kidnapping thriller Olympus Has Fallen which opened in second place with a muscular $30.5M, according to estimates. The R-rated action film about the White House being seized by North Korean terrorists averaged a stellar $9,845 from 3,098 locations and delivered the actor’s second biggest debut ever after the $70.9M of his career-making role in 300. Olympus also gave distributor FilmDistrict its best opening ever.

In a year when action films have been underperforming in almost every case, Olympus generated genuine audience excitement and brought out ticket buyers. Reviews were mixed and didn’t help much. Audiences responded instead to the intriguing concept, effective marketing materials, and starpower with Butler back into a gritty hero role joined by Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, and Aaron Eckhart. A dose of patriotism added to the success too. Those polled by CinemaScore liked what they paid for as the grade was an encouraging A-.

Adult men made up the largest demographic group for Olympus. Studio data showed that 53% was male and 73% was over 25. The opening weekend was especially impressive considering that the action film had to compete with the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament which has been attracting strong ratings everyday all weekend long.

Following its two-week reign atop the charts, the megahit Oz the Great and Powerful dropped down to third place but still posted a solid showing with an estimated $22M in business. The Disney smash declined by 47% which was not bad considering all the competition that entered the marketplace this weekend. With $177.6M to date, Oz has captured an additional $178.8M overseas for a potent $356.4M global gross to date with sales split evenly between North America and the rest of the world for this very American story.

The kidnapping thriller The Call ranked fifth dropping 49% to an estimated $8.7M for Sony. Halle Berry’s hit film has banked an impressive $30.9M in ten days and could finish with roughly $50M.

Moviegoers had little interest in the new comedy from Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, Admission, which debuted to soft results in fifth with an estimated $6.4M. The Focus release averaged a weak $2,984 from 2,160 locations and was hurt by bad reviews which Fey’s more upscale fan base pays attention to. A dull B- CinemaScore indicates a rocky road ahead. Rudd has also struggled at the box office with his film Wanderlust with Jennifer Aniston flopping last spring with a puny $6.5M debut. With bigger options all doing well with adult women right now, Admission faced intense competition and failed to stand out as a must-see film.

After a scorching hot platform debut last weekend, Spring Breakers expanded nationwide and landed in the top ten but saw sales slump to just passable levels. The Selena Gomez-Vanessa Hudgens pic grossed an estimated $5M from 1,104 theaters for a lukewarm $4,529 average. Co-starring James Franco – who has two films in the top ten this weekend with Oz seeing much more cash – the R-rated drama has collected $5.4M for distributor A24 and has earned good reviews.

Tumbling a troubling 58% in its second weekend, the comedy flop The Incredible Burt Wonderstone grossed an estimated $4.3M for a weak ten-day tally of $17.4M. The Warner Bros. release should end up with a disappointing $25M or so. The studio’s big-budget fairy tale adventure Jack the Giant Slayer also fell sharply dropping 53% to an estimated $3M for only $59.1M to date.

The hit comedy Identity Thief followed with an estimated $2.5M, off 43%, for a $128M cume to date. Dwayne Johnson’s first of many 2013 releases Snitch rounded out the top ten falling 45% to an estimated $1.9M and a nice sum of $40.3M for Lionsgate. The wrestler-turned-action-star is now on week five of what could turn out to be a 20-week consecutive streak in the top ten. Next up, G.I. Joe Retaliation attacking over 3,500 theaters Thursday with the first shows at 7:00pm this Wednesday.

Some solid debuts occurred in the specialty marketplace. The critically-acclaimed Australian girl-group pic The Sapphires debuted in four locations with an estimated $41,000 for a $10,232 average. The Weinstein Co. will roll out the PG-13 film into more markets this spring. Also getting raves from critics, My Brother the Devil bowed to an estimated $12,000 from a pair of New York sites for a $6,070 average. Released by Paladin and 108 Media, the Sundance award winner expands next to Los Angeles on April 5.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $129M which was down 36% from last year when The Hunger Games opened at number one with a record $152.5M; but up 23% from 2011 when Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules debuted in the top spot with $23.8M.

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This week at the movies, we’ve got a stone-age family (The Croods, with voice work by Nicolas Cage and Emma Stone); secret servicemen (Olympus Has Fallen, starring Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart); an Ivy League application reader (Admission, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd); and girls gone wild (Spring Breakers, starring Selena Gomez and James Franco). What do the critics have to say?



The Croods

72%

Picking up where The Flintstones left off, The Croods is a comedy adventure about a Stone Age family. And critics say that while the storytelling in this animated feature isn’t highly evolved, it’s sweet, funny, and visually inventive. After the cave they call home is destroyed, a stone-age family journeys across its pre-historic environs, encountering wild beasts and learning to love and trust each other along the way. The pundits say The Croods lacks sharply-drawn characters, but it’s charming and exciting enough to delight both kids and their parents. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a look at the history of DreamWorks animation, as well as this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Nicolas Cage’s best-reviewed movies.)



Olympus Has Fallen

50%

Is Olympus Has Fallen an enjoyable, over-the-top action flick or a jingoistic Die Hard ripoff? Well, it depends on which critic you ask. Gerard Butler stars as a disgraced secret service agent who’s called into action when the president (Aaron Eckhart) is held hostage in the White House by a group of ruthless terrorists. The pundits are pretty split on Olympus Has Fallen: some say it’s action-packed escapist fun, while others find it to be an excessively violent, by-the-numbers thriller. (Check out director Antoine Fuqua’s Five Favorite Films.)



Admission

39%

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in a romantic comedy? Sounds like a sure thing. Unfortunately, critics say the likable leads can only do so much with Admission‘s meandering script. Fey stars as a Princeton admissions officer burdened by the stresses of her romantic and professional life. She takes a road trip to see an old college classmate (Rudd) who’s now an unconventional teacher with a gifted but eccentric student who could use some help getting into college. The pundits say Admission is slight stuff, and though the fine cast keeps things watchable, the film veers unevenly between drama and comedy without finding a consistent tone.



Spring Breakers

67%

Director Harmony Korine (Gummo) is known for pushing boundaries, but with Spring Breakers, he’s made something approximating a mainstream movie. Critics say it’s a pretty good fit; Spring Breakers is often debauched and trashy, but it’s also visceral and hypnotic. Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens play members of a group of college girls who head to Florida to party but quickly get into trouble after meeting a rapper/criminal (James Franco). The pundits say Spring Breakers is undeniably lurid and occasionally monotonous, but it’s also thrilling and wildly unconventional. (Check out our interview with Korine here.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Gimme The Loot, a drama about a pair of graffiti artists looking to raise funds for a bold act of tagging, is at 100 percent.
  • My Brother The Devil, a drama about a pair of siblings who each find themselves drawn into the world of London’s street gangs, is at 100 percent.
  • 108 (Cuchillo de palo), a documentary about gay rights in Paraguay, is at 100 percent.
  • The Sapphires, a musical dramedy about a Australian Aboriginal soul group, is Certified Fresh at 92 percent.
  • Eden, starring Jamie Chung in a drama about a woman abducted into a human trafficking ring, is at 85 percent.
  • Starbuck, a comedy about a fourtysomething slacker who discovers he’s fathered hundreds of children through sperm back donations, is at 63 percent.
  • Hunky Dory, starring Minnie Driver in a comedy about a high school drama teacher who attempts to stage a glam rock version of The Tempest, is at 58 percent.
  • Come Out And Play, starring Vinessa Shaw in a horror film about a young couple on vacation who discover a band of possessed children, is at 50 percent.
  • Everybody Has a Plan, starring Viggo Mortensen in a drama about a man who assumes the identity of his dead brother and finds himself in the midst of criminality, is at 20 percent.
  • Love And Honor, starring Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer in a drama about a soldier who goes AWOL to win back the girl who dumped him, is at 14 percent.

 

This week in family films, prepare for a journey: we’ll take you across stone age landscapes (The Croods) to Middle-earth (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) to the dusty streets of Paris (Les Misérables). Read on to find out what’s appropriate for family viewing.

In Theaters This Week:



The Croods

72%

What’s it about? After the cave they call home is destroyed, a stone-age family journeys across its pre-historic environs, encountering wild beasts and learning to love and trust each other along the way.

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG for “some scary action.” Despite it’s title, The Croods is pretty wholesome fare, though some little kids might be frightened by various animal attacks.

Is it any good? Critics say The Croods is a funny, charming animated tale with fantastic visuals and exciting action.

New On DVD:



The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

64%

What’s it about? Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf go on a journey to recapture the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from an evil dragon, meeting some wild characters — including the mischievous Gollum — along the way.

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG-13 for “for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.” The film features beheadings, stabbings, characters in peril, and scary orcs and trolls, among other things, so you should probably leave the little ones at home, though teens will be fine with it.

Is it any good? Critics say The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a notable step down from the Lord of the Rings trilogy — though it’s visually stunning and well acted, it’s also overlong and sometimes feels overextended.



Les Misérables

70%

What’s it about? Hugh Jackman stars as Jean Valjean, an ex-con turned factory owner who takes care of his ex-employee Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and her daughter while avoiding the ruthless Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe).

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG-13 “suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements.” It’s got a couple brutal beatings, and it delves into the world of prostitution, so this is probably one for young high schoolers and up.

Is it any good? Critics say Les Misérables is often over-the-top, but the performances are excellent, and director Tom Hooper injects a sense of grit and passion to the proceedings.

Nicolas Cage

He’s one of the most eminently mockable major stars in Hollywood, thanks to his frequently questionable tonsorial choices and evident thirst for somewhat less-than-challenging paycheck gigs, but as much as we love to rib Nicolas Cage, there’s no getting around the fact that he’s done some very impressive work over the course of his long career. Though many filmgoers will always think of blockbuster action flicks like Con Air, The Rock, and the National Treasure series when they hear Cage’s name, he’s never been afraid to take on smaller, less conventional projects with less-than-obvious commercial prospects. We’ll be hearing rather than seeing him in this weekend’s The Croods, but we still thought now would be a perfect time to count down the best-reviewed movies of Cage’s career.


83%

10. Valley Girl

This might be hard for the young’uns to understand, but in the early 1980s, the Valley Girl was a genuine cultural phenomenon, entering phrases such as “gag me with a spoon” and “like, wow” into the lexicon and giving Frank Zappa a richly deserved Top 40 single. Martha Coolidge’s Valley Girl, starring Cage as a mild-mannered punk named Randy and Deborah Foreman as the titular object of his star-crossed affections, arrived in the thick of the whole fad, and although it wasn’t a huge success at the box office, it helped launch the career of the actor formerly known as Nicolas Coppola. In many ways, Girl seems like little more than your average 1980s high school romance flick, but that’s partly because many of its ingredients were co-opted by subsequent entries in the genre; in the words of MaryAnn Johanson of Flick Filosopher, “it’s a measure of how, like, totally influential this little film was 20 years ago that there seems to be nothing special about it today.”


86%

9. Peggy Sue Got Married

From the California Raisins to Monkees reruns on MTV (and David Bowie cutting an ill-advised cover of “Dancing in the Street” with Mick Jagger), the 1960s were hot in 1986 — and once again, Nicolas Cage found himself starring in a picture that aligned with the latest fad. Peggy Sue Got Married was undeniably Kathleen Turner’s film, but this story of a prom queen who passes out during her 25-year reunion and wakes up in 1960 hinges on the love lost (and regained) between Peggy Sue and her high school sweetheart-turned-adulterous husband. And it benefits from sweet chemistry between Turner and Cage, who plays Charlie with all the quirky charm and droopy-lidded intensity that would shortly help him become one of one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. (Of course, it also offered an early example of his infamously unusual approach to his work; according to Cage, he modeled his character’s voice after Gumby’s horse Pokey, almost getting himself kicked off the film in the process — no small feat, considering his uncle was the director.) In the words of the Washington Post’s Rita Kempley, Peggy Sue is “a wistful fantasy, a bright reminiscence, a stroll down memory lane that’s as glowingly conceived as it is slightly flawed.”


83%

8. Birdy

For a movie that won the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes, boasted a soundtrack by a world famous rock star, was made by one of the most well-known directors of the era, and featured a pair of leading men who would go on to greater fame, Birdy has always been curiously overlooked. Alan Parker’s adaptation of the William Wharton novel about the aftermath of Vietnam, as seen through the experiences of longtime friends and fellow vets Birdy (Matthew Modine) and Al (Cage), was too heavy and experimental to hope for major box office success, but instead of going on to achieve cult classic status on the home market, the film that Roger Ebert called “a very strange and beautiful movie” has been largely forgotten. It certainly isn’t your average rental fare, but if you find the time to take in a viewing of this early example of Cage’s dramatic potential, you’ll see what the New York Times’ Janet Maslin lauded as “enchanting” and eFilmCritic’s Scott Weinberg found “quiet, thoughtful, and really quite touching.”


86%

7. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Film properties are recycled and repurposed so quickly these days that it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint the line between a remake, a reboot, and a sequel — and those words were all used to describe 2009’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which picks up some of the narrative threads left dangling by Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant. The truth, though, is that Port of Call is none of the above; while it does use Ferrara’s film as a sort of spiritual starting point, it’s really its own singularly weird piece of work — which is just as you’d expect, given that it’s a police drama about a crooked, drug-addicted cop (played by Cage, natch) directed by noted cinematic misanthropist Werner Herzog (who described his movie as a “rethought” of the original). As tends to be the case with many Cage movies, it finds its star beaming in from his own unique plane of existence, but unlike a lot of entries from the latter portion of Cage’s career, it surrounds his unhinged performance with smart direction, a well-written script, and solid work from the supporting cast. As Wesley Morris put it for the Boston Globe, “Frankly, the story isn’t remotely as interesting as Cage. Nothing is.”


91%

6. Leaving Las Vegas

The year after Leaving Las Vegas was released, Cage would kick off a string of three straight movies that grossed over $100 million apiece, but when he filmed Mike Figgis’ adaptation of John O’Brien’s bleak semi-autobiographical novel, he was known primarily as a go-to guy for quirky, mid-sized romantic comedies like Honeymoon in Vegas. It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that critics were surprised by the depth Cage flashed as Leaving‘s central character, suicidal alcoholic Ben Sanderson — though they probably were shocked by the performance turned in by his co-star, Elisabeth Shue. They certainly were impressed, though, and for good reason; his foggy, muted portrayal of a man at the end of his rope coolly upends the worn-out cliches of countless Hollywood drunkards. As ReelViews’ James Berardinelli put it, “Nicolas Cage, who has a track record of immersing himself in parts, gives one of the year’s most powerful acting turns.”

91%

5. Raising Arizona

And here, friends, is where the lovably bizarre Nicolas Cage we know and love really had his first chance to shine. He received the opportunity thanks to Joel and Ethan Coen, the directing duo whose distinctively quirky sensibilities would go on to help them rake in scads of awards (and appreciable sums of box office cash) — but who, at the time, had only the 1984 cult classic Blood Simple under their belts. For that reason, and quite a few more, it’s somewhat hard to believe Raising Arizona made its way through the pipeline at 20th Century Fox; from Cage and Holly Hunter’s otherworldly lead performances to Carter Burwell’s yodel-laced score, it’s difficult to conceive of a film more out of step with the theatrical slate that gave audiences Beverly Hills Cop II and Three Men and a Baby. Unusual as its ingredients might be, most critics were hard-pressed to deny Arizona‘s charms; though some (including Roger Ebert) accused the Coens of valuing style over substance, the majority agreed with writers like the Apollo Guide’s Brian Webster, who called it “a remarkable spectacle of overblown characters, sights, sounds and events.”


91%

4. Adaptation

Plenty of writers have suffered writer’s block, or taken an assignment only to realize they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. It took Charlie Kaufman, though, to turn the experience into a film: Adaptation was inspired by his struggles to adapt Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief for Jonathan Demme. Cage plays a fictionalized version of Kaufman here, as well as his entirely fictional twin, Donald; it’s the kind of knotty, layered meta-picture that everyone was looking for from Spike Jonze after Being John Malkovich — and that tends to leave unsuspecting audiences befuddled and critics clamoring for more. Adaptation delivered on both counts, racking up an impressive 91 percent Tomatometer to go with its middling $33 million worldwide gross; still, whatever you think of the movie — and a not-inconsiderable number of critics disliked it, including USA Today’s Mike Clark, who called it “a little too smugly superior to like” — this is one of the few recent projects that has asked Cage to exercise his acting chops. In the words of the New York Times’ A.O. Scott, “Mr. Cage and Mr. Jonze share a casual, daredevil sensibility, and the two of them — or should I say the three of them? — pull off one of the most amazing technical stunts in recent film history.”


94%

3. Moonstruck

It’s unlikely that John Patrick Shanley was thinking of Nicolas Cage when he wrote Moonstruck‘s script, but he may as well have been, because there isn’t an actor on the planet who can play an absurdly coifed, incurably romantic, prosthetic-fingered baker the way Nicolas Cage can. Director Norman Jewison does a splendid job of uncorking Cage’s kooky energy, but reins him in enough to keep the sparks flying between Cage’s wildly passionate Ronny and Cher’s buttoned-down accountant, Loretta Castorini. The movie is a heart-on-its-sleeve bit of proudly lightweight fluff, but it’s also one of the sharpest post-’70s romantic comedies you’re likely to see, and anyway, the plot is incidental to the chemistry between the leads; as the Chicago Reader’s Jonathan Rosenbaum put it, “most of the show belongs to Cher and Cage, both of whom are at their energetic best.”


92%

2. Face/Off

Its premise is utterly ridiculous, even for a late 1990s action movie, but who cares? When you have a script that allows Nicolas Cage and John Travolta to spend the majority of the film pretending to be one another after a face transplant, and you get a heaping helping of John Woo action set pieces to go with all that acting, nothing else matters all that much. Popcorn thrillers generally don’t earn 93 percent Tomatometers, but Face/Off represents a high point for the genre, and successfully weds thought-provoking subtext to cool slow-motion shots of people beating each other up and exploding stuff. Both of the movie’s stars are clearly having a great time, and why not? As Variety’s Todd McCarthy wrote, “watching John Travolta and Nicolas Cage square off and literally exchange roles brings back the old-fashioned pleasure of astutely judged movie star pairings in a major way.”


95%

1. Red Rock West

Nicolas Cage had had his share of successes by the time Red Rock West was filmed in 1992, but neither that nor the additional presences of Dennis Hopper and Lara Flynn Boyle were enough to convince Columbia Tri-Star that John Dahl’s Western noir could be a theatrical hit. The film, in which Cage plays a drifter who takes advantage of being mistaken for a hit man, was headed for video when a San Francisco theater owner purchased a print and sparked an eventual three-city limited run. It wasn’t enough to earn back Red Rock‘s budget, of course, but it helped the movie earn a critical cult following, thanks to a sharp script (co-written by Dahl with his brother, Rick) and solid performances from Hopper, Boyle, and Cage, who offers a reminder of the talent that lurks beneath his frequently over-the-top acting choices. Oh, and it’s also a fun film — one Roger Ebert enjoyed so much he called it “the kind of movie made by people who love movies, have had some good times at them, and want to celebrate the very texture of old genres like the western and the film noir.”


In case you were wondering, here are Cage’s top 10 movies according RT users’ scores:

1. The Rock — 85%
2. Lord of War — 84%
3. Adaptation — 82%
4. Raising Arizona — 82%
5. Leaving Las Vegas — 82%
6. Birdy — 82%
7. Face/Off — 81%
8. City of Angels — 81%
9. Wild At Heart — 80%
10. Gone in 60 Seconds — 79%


Take a look through Cage’s complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for The Croods.

Finally, here’s Mr. Cage in The Wicker Man expressing his displeasure with winged insects:

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