The Tao of Nicolas Cage: The Cage Cage

Step inside a wonderful cage where all your wildest fantasies become reality.

All the Cage.

Earlier this week the esteemed and never grumpy Christopher Campbell brought to my attention a brand-new VR simulation called ‘The Cage Cage.’ At Cage my interest was piqued, but at double the Cage my full attention turned towards this new creation.

My first step was to visit TheCageCage.com and so that’s what I did. Upon my arrival I was greeted with a wonderful picture of Nicolas Cage and the following note: “This is a VR simulation of what it’s like to be trapped in a cage and forced to watch Nic Cage movies.”

This is exactly as it sounds. ‘The Cage Cage’ places you in the center of a cage and you’re surrounded by a wall of Nicolas Cage clips.

As I tried to take this all in I was overwhelmed with a wave of emotions. Watching Nic Cage movies from within a cage? I’ve been doing that for years! Naturally my first thought was to sue the buffoons responsible for biting my style but before I could send the goons over to rough ‘em up something caught my eye, something that made my blood really boil.

Rereading the description of ‘The Cage Cage’ and I noticed this: “forced to watch Nic Cage movies.” Forced?! Excuse me? Anyone that has to be “forced” to watch Nic Cage movies doesn’t deserve the pleasure and satisfaction of watching Nic Cage movies. These people are not allowed in the cage and instead will be placed in a box and tossed out at sea.

In an attempt to place my rage in check I decided to put in a little research to see how ‘The Cage Cage’ came to be.

“My friend Chris Baker and I were throwing around the idea a while ago, as we very much enjoy the work of Cage,” says Mike Lacher, the co-creator of ‘The Cage Cage’ along with the aforementioned Baker. “Beyond the title being funny, we thought it would be a great test of endurance to be surrounded by Cage. Recently I figured out how to make VR stuff on the web, so I hacked it together in a few hours and was pretty pleased with the result.”

Lacher’s story is one of two friends, screwing around and trying to have a little fun. Baker agrees for the most part, even if the details are a little fuzzy.

“I don’t exactly remember the specific genesis of the idea, but it was concocted while we were working at Buzzfeed, and originally we had conceived of it as a physical installation,” Baker told me. “Something really artsy and intolerable. Mike ported the idea over to VR.”

It seems that not only did Lacher and Baker peer into my life to share with the world what I do, but they did so on Buzzfeed’s dime. How interesting.

While I do quite enjoy the way ‘The Cage Cage’ turned out, I would have much preferred that “something really artsy and intolerable” option. Even though it hasn’t come to that yet, Baker does fully understand the magnitude of what they have done so far and isn’t shy about discussing it’s importance.

“It seems to me that every once in a great while, let’s say every few thousand years or so – Greece in 2000 B.C., 16th century Florence, the late 18th century America – pure genius just kind of presents itself for reasons not wholly known to mankind. This is one of those moments,” the arrogant Baker happily boasted.

With a better understanding of how ‘The Cage Cage’ came to be, I decided to dig a little deeper into the minds of Lacher and Baker to see where they personally stand when it comes to Nicolas Cage and his movies.

“Are there real Nic Cage fans? Like true fans,” Baker wondered after I asked him his true feelings on Cage. “I’m not sure.”

I was dumbfounded by this response, as here I was a true, die-hard Cage fan asking one of the creators of something wonderfully Cage-related and this was the answer I received? Unacceptable, but I chose to let Baker carryon.

“He immediately makes almost anything watchable,” Baker continued. “But he’s not exactly getting me out of my house and into a theater. I’m going to assume that’s true for most people,” Baker wrongly assumed.

“That said, there are a few standout performances that I will gladly defend in casual conversation and often do: Adaptation, Lord of War, Bringing out the Dead,” Baker explained in an effort to redeem himself. “I do like him when he’s used ironically by the filmmakers themselves, but only in the right way. There have been a few misses on this front in the last few years. Kick Ass being one of the most egregious offenders.”

Baker’s thoughts on Cage as an actor left me a bit confused and unsure of how I should feel about him. His website is ilovechrisbaker.com, but can I truly love someone that isn’t all in on Cage? I’m not sure. Lacher on the other hand, he was out to win my heart.

“I love a supercut of Nic Cage freaking out as much as the next internet user, but I do honestly love his work,” Lacher said, proving he’s a smart and trustworthy person. “Face/Off, Con Air, Raising Arizona, Adaptation, and National Treasure are some of my favorite movies. Writing him off as a schlocky actor ignores what a bizarre genius he is. I think some people think he “ruins” movies he’s in with his choices. But look at movies like The Wicker Man and Bangkok Dangerous and Next. Those movies would be boring without him. He elevates tired premises and bad writing to a level of the sublime.”

Baker and Lacher’s overall opinions on Cage may differ to a certain degree, but ultimately both have an appreciation for the Oscar winner. At the end of the day that’s all that you can ask, but I chose to ask more.

If you were privileged enough to spend your remaining days in a secluded cage, safe from all the world’s distractions and enjoying just one Cage flick, what would it be? That question isn’t as easy it sounds. You can’t just pick his best film, you need his most watchable.

Gone in 60 Seconds,” Baker listed off as his selection. “There is something really watchable about that movie.”

That’s an admirable choice and one I can respect. I consider it to be mid-tier Cage, but it ranks high on watch-ability. Cage, cars, Master P? Everything you need wrapped into one movie!

Face/Off is hard to beat for me. I also love Con Air,” Lacher told me before settling in on a final answer. “National Treasure is less good than those, but something about it is very rewatchable. Maybe I’d choose that. I fucking love when they use the hair dryer on the Declaration.”

It’s fitting to me that ‘The Cage Cage’ became a thing shortly after I proposed Nicolas Cage Appreciation Day. It’s the perfect solution for the Cage fan with a lot on their plate. Let’s say you’re too busy to properly celebrate #NicCageDay with a Cage marathon. Instead you can strap on your VR headset, spin around in an office chair and experience 360 degrees of Cage!

How would the creators of ‘The Cage Cage’ celebrate Nicolas Cage Appreciation Day, I wondered. Luckily, I also asked them.

“We should organize a mass-synchronized movie day where we all stream his movies on Netflix at the same exact time. Like a distributed movie date,” Baker suggested as a possible idea for #NicCageDay. “Then talk about it online together. Or maybe we’ll just build the physical version of ‘The Cage Cage’ and start locking up people.”

Good ideas, Baker, good ideas. You may not be so bad yet.

“I’d probably celebrate #NicCageDay by trying to make Cage-like choices in my own life. Like at work, I might try suddenly screaming during a meeting,” Lacher stated, showing a willingness to think outside the box. “Or adopting a performative southern accent with my loved ones.”

Mike Lacher and Chris Baker have done a delightful service for the entire world. ‘The Cage Cage’ will live on forever, allowing people to experience the virtual warmth of being engulfed in a Cage circle. If we play our cards right maybe, just maybe we’ll get the physical thing some day.