Nicolas Cage has had so many great roles that it's hard to pick a favorite. One wonders how he could top modern classics like Con Air, Bangkok Dangerous and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. If you are one of the people who thinks that, wonder no more. As we look back on the years of our lives, we will think back to the dawn of 2011 as a truly grand time to be alive because that is when we saw the greatest role of Nicolas Cage's long and storied career. January, 2011 is when we saw him in Season of the Witch.
I didn't know what to expect when I stepped into the theater but I know what to expect now. I expect to headlines telling me about Season of the Witch's record setting box office. I expect to hear people talk about the ways this movie changed their lives and made them want to be as good a person as Season of the Witch is a movie. And, most of all, I expect to see Nicolas Cage come Oscar time on Stage accepting his Academy Award for Best Actor. Yes, I know that the January premiere date disqualifies it from consideration this year but an exception must be made in this case. If Nicolas Cage is forced to wait until 2012 for what is justly his, that would be a crime that was literally worse than the Holocaust.
Cage plays a Knight of the Crusades named Behmen. I fully expect that name to become the most popular new baby name for both boys and girls this year and to retain the #1 spot for at least the next decade. I personally am planning to change my name to Behmen but I will continue to have people call me Michael so as not to be confused with the large numbers who will almost certainly be planning the same thing. Nicolas Cage takes the biggest chance of his career on the bold acting choice of playing the character as a clinically depressed mumbler and I'll be damned if it doesn't pay off. He fits in perfectly in the world of the film, a dark world in which everything looks as if it were smeared with manure. You would think this would turn off an audience and make them feel so horrible that death that they would pray for carnivorous worms to rise from the floor of the theater and swallow them up so they wouldn't have to watch the end. Fortunately, Cage and director Dominic Sena, the guy who directed Cage in his last truly great movie Gone In Sixty Seconds, knew better. They knew that, instead of depressing you, this movie would have the opposite effect and draw the depression from you. When you watch this, you can feel Nic Cage lifting all your worries and burdens from you and taking them on himself as if you were the sky and he were Atlas. When it's over, you're so relieved that you don't dwell on things like a lack of entertainment or anything resembling logic in the plot.
Season of the Witch is the kind of movie you see more than once for the sheer joy of watching an artist like Nicolas Cage at work and for generations to come, an acting school's curriculum will consist of one thing. They will show Season of the Witch, point at Nicolas Cage and say, "See what he's doing? Do that!" And if we accomplish nothing else in our lives, we will be able to say that we were there when it all began.