Film Face-off: Kevin Costner vs. Nicolas Cage

Film Face-off: Kevin Costner vs. Nicolas Cage

Apr 14, 2014

Kevin Costner's Draft Day opened wide this past weekend, and Nicolas Cage's Joe is currently in limited release. Both of their last names start with a "c." Both men are in their 50s (Costner is 59 years old, Cage is 50). Most importantly, these guys normally fall into a love and/or hate category with audiences. Let's see what happens when they fight to the death in this week's Film Face-off.

Box Office

Nicolas Cage National Treasure

Kevin Costner

Costner's films have earned a total of $1.8 billion in America, and averaged $55 million. Four of those films have made more than $100 million.

Nicolas Cage

Cage's movies have earned $2.4 billion in America, and averaged $44 million. He's had eight nonanimated films make more than $100 million.

Winner: Cage. Yes, Costner has a higher average than Cage, but one of his big films is Man of Steel. It feels like he shouldn't even get half credit for that one. Costner's other $100 million films are The Bodyguard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Dances with Wolves. Those were a while ago. Cage has done it with a variety of films from City of Angels to the National Treasure franchise. He's always been the lead or co-lead with his films such as Face/Off and The Rock. I know Cage had a stretch where he took any and all roles (He's been in 20-plus more films than Costner), but that only makes this a hard-fought victory, and not enough to give the edge to Costner.



Kevin Costner Dances With Wolves

Kevin Costner

Costner took home the Oscar for Best Picture (shared with Jim Wilson) and Best Director for the 1990 film Dances with Wolves. He was also nominated for Best Actor.

Nicolas Cage

Cage won the Oscar for Best Actor with 1995's Leaving Las Vegas. He also won a Golden Globe for that performance. He received a nomination for Best Actor for 2002's Adaptation.

Winner: Cage. Your first thought would be that two Oscars is better than one Oscar. You've crunched some good numbers there. Here's the thing, Costner and Cage are actors first. It's not like Costner only directs now. If you are an actor first, you want to win an Oscar for Best Actor. Cage has one, plus another nomination with a seven-year gap. We should also (barely) look at the Razzies. I was shocked to discover one of these guys "won" six Razzies, with the other never winning. Costner took home multiple Razzies for Wyatt Earp, The Postman and Worst Actor for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. I guess they didn't like the accent. Cage was nominated for Razzies four different times from 2007 to 2013, but never was deemed the worst.




Kevin Costner

If you come across these films on cable, you're sticking with The UntouchablesBull DurhamField of DreamsRobin Hood: Prince of ThievesTin Cup and For Love of the Game (minus the romance).

Nicolas Cage

On a Sunday afternoon with nothing better to do, you're watching Fast Times at Ridgemont HighRaising ArizonaHoneymoon in VegasThe RockCon AirFace/OffGone in Sixty Seconds and Kick-Ass.

Winner: Tie, Costner and Cage. Look, I'm not saying all of these movies are good. They can just easily suck you in. Heck, I can even appreciate the awfulness of The Postman. Of all the films I mentioned, Raising Arizona is my favorite, recently cracking my top five comedies of all time, but I also don't want to overwatch it. The absolute perfect film to rewatch for me on a Sunday afternoon is Tin Cup. I can't watch too many random chunks of this movie. Hmm, that would make an interesting article. Which actor has the best "Random Chunks" films? Anyway, while Costner might have the most rewatchable, Cage has the pile of near-mindless action films that push him into a tie for this battle. If you're upset I included Honeymoon in Vegas you really need to rewatch that fun, mild film.


The Forgotten Film

Kevin Costner

American Flyers. Costner is Marcus Summers. He's a sports physician who convinces his younger brother to train with him for the bike race known as "The Hell of the West."

Nicolas Cage

Drive Angry. Cage is Milton. He's escaped from hell and is now chasing after the men who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter.

Winner: Costner. The power of nostalgia commands me to pick the 1985 film American Flyers over 2011's Drive Angry. I don't have an older brother, but when I was nine and first watched Flyers, it made me realize what I was missing out on. Toss in Rae Dawn Chong, Jennifer Grey and a race called "The Hell of the West" and I'm hooked. Drive Angry is a great example of utilizing Crazy Cage in all of his glory. I don't know if he was in on the joke, but the filmmakers definitely were. Plus, William Fichtner as the Accountant is one of the better villains of the last decade. Yes, I just said that.


The New Movie

Kevin Costner

Draft Day centers on the Cleveland Browns General Manager Sonny Weaver Jr. (Costner). He's attempting to make the team relevant again by maneuvering his team through the draft, while also juggling his personal life.

Nicolas Cage

Joe is about an ex-con named Joe Ransom (Cage) who becomes a surprising mentor to a teenage boy (Tye Sheridan), trying to help him with his poverty and his terribly dysfunctional family life.

Winner: Joe. Cage can act! Did you forget? If so, Joe is completely worth checking out. It is a beautifully dirty film by David Gordon Green. While the ending becomes a little ordinary, the rawness of the movie, combined with Cage's beard/performance, along with the best teenage actor right now (Sheridan), wins me over. Nothing wins me over with the very average Draft Day. There are moments of romance with Jennifer Garner, lame wackiness with an intern, and chest puffing with Dennis Leary, but none of this feels consistent. It tries to appeal to people who really care about the business of the NFL, until it doesn't and just swings for movie cheesiness.


OVERALL WINNER: Nicolas Cage beats Kevin Costner, 3-1-1.

Even if you remove their latest attempts with Draft Day and Joe, Cage walks away the winner. This is slightly surprising considering I felt like Cage had become somewhat of a joke lately, with his ability to take any and every role that came his way. Perhaps Joe is a return to him caring about things like a "script." Maybe Costner has another Dances with Wolves or Bull Durham in him before he's done. For now, Cage is the better "c."




Categories: Features, In Theaters
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