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MFF Data – Nicolas Cage, Sleeveless Shirts, and His Filmography – An In-Depth Study

September 9, 2022

Quick Note – This Nicolas Cage data is silly. Enjoy the randomness of a thoroughly detailed, slightly pointless, and time consuming dumb movie data article. Also, make sure to listen to our podcast episodes about this data and the time he ran around in a bear suit in The Wicker Man.

This data article came about because earlier this year I was talking to someone about Con Air (because I’m the co-host of Con Air – The Podcast), and Nicolas Cage’s 1990s action run, and the conversation led us to discussing the mythical being known as “Tank Top Nic Cage,” the man who has appeared in Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Con Air, Kiss of Death, Valley Girl, Birdy, The Boy in Blue (watch the trailer please), Wild At Heart, Red Rock West and The Croods (both of them). These are some of Cage’s most well-regarded movies, and they also feature him wearing a sleeveless t-shirt. I began to wonder if there was any correlation between his clothes selection and the critical/audience/box office averages. Also, I recently watched the 2019 movie Primal (listen to the episode we recorded about it) and noticed that he wears a henley throughout. Then, I thought back to Dying of the Light, Rage, Inconceivable, A Score to Settle and Looking Glass and remembered that he wore a henley in those low rated movies. These two clothing choices were enough to fuel my research to see if “Tank Top Nic Cage” is the ultimate Nic Cage. 

To figure out the data, I watched every Nic Cage movie (thank you every streaming service invented, Hoopla and my local library) and logged all the instances in which he wore a sleeveless t-shirt, leather jackets (which he is known for), suits/tuxedos, or a henley t-shirt. I didn’t count uniforms (the pilot uniform in Left Behind doesn’t count as a suit, it’s a uniform), and included all other clothing options in a “None” category. In 8 MM, Cage wears all four of the clothing options I researched, thus, 8 MM is included in all the categories. 

Quick Note – In movies like World Trade Center, he’s buried underneath rubble for the majority of the screen time. I didn’t feel the need to watch every minute of the film. I don’t want you thinking that I slacked on my research though. There are blink-and-you-miss-it sleeveless shirt moments in Looking Glass and Joe, so I knew I had to take the data collection seriously. I’ve just known when I could fast-forward. I also had to rewatch many of the films because I originally only planned to cover sleeveless t-shirts. However, I noticed the suit/leather jacket/henley trends so decided to include them. 

Here are the overall averages throughout his career. 

  • IMDb User Score Average – 5.89
  • Rotten Tomatoes Average – 48.6%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $102 million
  • Academy Award Wins – One – 1996 – Best Actor in a Leading Role – Leaving Las Vegas (1995) – He was nominated for Best Actor in 2003 for Adaptation. 

Sleeveless T- Shirts or Tank Tops (Vests not included)

IMDb User Score Average – 6.12

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.58
  • VOD Average – 4.9

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 54.9%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 62.5% – Highest of all the averages
  • VOD Release – 30.8%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $89 million
  • # of movies – 22
  • # of Fresh movies – 12 (54.5% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 7 (31.8%)

Quick thoughts – With Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Valley Girl, Red Rock West, Birdy, Joe and The Incredible Weight of Massive Talent in this category, it’s easy to understand why it has the highest IMDb and Tomatometer average. The category is loaded. Toss in Racing With the Moon, Wild at Heart, Kiss of Death, The Croods and The Croods 2, and you have a solid group of Fresh, but not wildly loved (by critics) movies. 

The 0% rated Deadfall didn’t help the “Tank Top Nic Cage” category, BUT, if you are a Cage completist, you need to watch it (Arsenal too).

Cage performances you need to watch 

  1. Kiss of Death – Little Junior Brown is a beast.
  2. Joe – It’s proof Cage was crushing it in the 2010s
  3. Valley Girl – Cage is a solid romantic lead
MOVIEIMDb ScoreTomatometer ScoreYear ReleasedWorldwide Box Office
Valley Girl6.483198317
Birdy7.28019841
Racing With the Moon6.76019845
The Boy in Blue5.3NA1986NA
Raising Arizona7.390198723
Moonstruck7.193198780
Fire Birds4.710199015
Wild at Heart7.267199015
Deadfall401993NA
Red Rock West797199310
Kiss of Death5.968199515
Con AIr6.9571997224
8MM6.623199996
Captain Correlli’s Mandolin5.928200162
Bangkok Dangerous5.39200847
The Croods7.2722013573
Joe6.8862014NA
Between Worlds4322018NA
Looking Glass4.6212018NA
A Score to Settle4.7152019NA
The Croods 26.9772020215
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent786202225

Suits/Tuxedos/Suit Jacket

IMDb User Score Average – 6.04

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.54
  • VOD Average – 5.02

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 48.2%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 56.5%
  • VOD Average – 28.2%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $94 million
  • # of movies – 55
  • # of Fresh movies – 23 (41.8% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 12 (21.8%)

Quick thoughts – There are some beautiful movies in this category (Adaptation, Face/Off, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Leaving Las Vegas), and it makes me happy that his prison trilogy (or Beige Volvo Trilogy) features him wearing suits in Face/Off, The Rock, and Con Air

It’s worth noting that Leaving Las Vegas (won an Oscar) and Adaptation (Nominated for an Oscar) feature him wearing a suit AND dying. Is that his Oscars formula?

Cage performances you need to watch 

  • Matchstick Men – So so so good.
  • Vampire’s Kiss – It’s his favorite performance.
  • Adaptation – He plays two characters. Perfection.
MOVIEIMDBTomatometer ScoreYearWorldwide Box Office
Fast Times at Ridgemont High7.178198227
Valley Girl6.483198317
Birdy7.28019841
Racing With the Moon6.76019845
The Cotton Club6.577198426
The Boy in Blue5.3NA1986NA
Peggy Sue Got Married6.486198641
Raising Arizona7.390198723
Moonstruck7.193198780
Vampire’s Kiss6611989NA
Zandallee4.3331991NA
Honeymoon in Vegas5.865199235
Deadfall401993NA
Amos and Andrew5.71719939
It Could Happen to You6.471199438
Trapped in Paradise5.9519946
Guarding Tess6.256199427
Leaving Las Vegas7.591199550
The Rock7.4691996336
Con AIr6.9571997224
Face/Off7.3921997241
Snake Eyes6.1401998104
8MM6.623199996
Gone in 60 Seconds6.5252000233
The Family Man6.8532000125
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin5.928200162
Adaptation7.791200233
Sonny5.6222002NA
Matchstick Men7.382200359
National Treasure6.9462003331
Lord of War7.661200560
The Weather Man6.659200515
The Wicker Man3.715200638
Next6.228200774
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets6.5362007457
Bangkok Dangerous5.39200847
Knowing6.2342009186
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans6.686200912
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice6.1402010218
Trespass5.392011NA
Seeking Justice6.1282012NA
Stolen5.520201218
The Frozen Ground6.4612013NA
Dying of the Light4.5112014NA
Rage5122014NA
Pay the Ghost5.1102015NA
The Runner4.7242015NA
Dog Eat Dog4.7492016NA
Snowden7.361201635
The Trust5.4632016NA
Vengeance5.2NA2017NA
Arsenal432017NA
A Score to Settle4.7152019NA
Prisoners of Ghostland4.2612021NA
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent786202225

Other Wardrobe

IMDb User Score Average – 5.6

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.34
  • VOD Average – 5.02

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 47.5%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 59.9%
  • VOD Average – 32.5%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $94 million
  • # of movies – 31
  • # of Fresh movies – 12 (38.7% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 4 (12.9%)

Quick thoughts – With Pig, Kick-Ass, Mandy, Color Out of Space, Bringing Out the Dead and Army of One, this category features some legit films, but they can’t make up for Left Behind, Season of the Witch, Outcast, Grand Isle, 211, and USS Indianapolis. 

Cage performances you need to watch 

  • Mandy – It’s a sensory blasting experience
  • Bringing out the Dead – Tired Nicolas Cage = Excellent Nicolas Cage
  • Pig – Dude should’ve been nominated for an Oscar. Maybe if he wore a suit…
MOVIEIMDB User ScoreTomatometer ScoreYearWorldwide Box Office
Rumble Fish7.17519833
Time to Kill5.1NA1989NA
Never on Tuesday4.6NA1989NA
City of Angels6.7581998199
Bring out the Dead6.872199917
Christmas Carol – The Movie5.4132001NA
Windtalkers6.133200278
World Trade Center6662006163
The Ant Bully5.862200650
Grindhouse7.584200750
G-Force5.1222009293
Astro Boy6.250200942
Kick-Ass7.676201098
Season of the Witch5.411201191
Drive Angry5.447201141
Left Behind3.10201421
Outcast4.642015NA
USS Indianapolis5.2172016NA
Army of One5.1252016NA
2114.442018NA
Humanity Bureau4.6252018NA
Mom and Dad5.5752018NA
Mandy6.5902018NA
Teen Titans6.791201852
Spider-Verse8.4972018375
Grand Isle4.602019NA
Running With the Devil5.4242019NA
Kill Chain5NA2019NA
Jiu Jitsu2.9282020NA
Color out of Space6.1862020NA
Pig6.99720224

Leather Jackets

IMDb User Score Average – 5.75

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.05
  • VOD Average – 4.98

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 42.8%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 44.8%
  • VOD Average – 38.2%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $99 million
  • # of movies – 24
  • # of Fresh movies – 9 (37.5% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 5 (20.8%)

Quick thoughts – Call me crazy, but his most famous leather jacket moment was in Gone in 60 Seconds. It’s a part of his character. 

Cage performances you need to watch 

  • Wild at Heart – Wowza
  • Lord of War – Cage is really good in Lord of War. It’s an appreciated performance but it’s not one of his most talked about (aside from cinephile circles)
  • Willy’s Wonderland – I love this movie. He has a great bathroom fight with an evil gorilla

Leather jacket fact – For years I thought he wore a leather jacket in Snake Eyes. He didn’t. Turns out it’s a rust brown-colored suit constructed from a polyester/cotton blend woven with narrow horizontal ribs and slubbed for a silky sharkskin effect of gold fleck detailing.

MOVIEIMDB User ScoreTomatometer ScoreYearWorldwide
Valley Girl6.483198317
Birdy7.28019841
Fire Birds4.710199015
Wild at Heart7.267199015
Face/Off7.3921997241
8MM6.623199996
Gone in 60 Seconds6.5252000233
The Family Man6.8532000125
Lord of War7.661200560
The Wicker Man3.715200638
Next6.228200774
Ghost Rider5.2272007230
Bangkok Dangerous5.39200847
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice6.1402010218
Ghost Rider 24.3182012149
The Frozen Ground6.4612013NA
Dying of the Light4.5112014NA
Rage5122014NA
Inconceivable5.1312017NA
Vengeance5.2NA2017NA
Between Worlds4322018NA
Willy’s Wonderland5.5602021NA
Prisoners of Ghostland4.2612021NA
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent786202225

Henley

IMDb User Score Average – 5.45

  • Theatrical Release Average – 6.35
  • VOD Average – 5

Rotten Tomatoes Average – 32.3%

  • Theatrical Release Average – 48.75%
  • VOD Average – 25%
  • Worldwide Box Office Average (not inflated) – $45.5 million
  • # of movies – 13
  • # of Fresh movies – 3 (23% of them are Fresh)
  • # of movies with a 7.0 or higher IMDb score – 1 (7.69%)

Quick thoughts – Uff da. Willy’s Wonderland, Adaptation, and It Could Happen to You are worth watching. Also, Fire Birds and Seeking Justice are a good time. 

Cage performances you need to watch 

  • Deadfall – It’s insane
  • Fire Birds – It’s Cage’s Top Gun. 
  • Primal – The guy who directed worked as the 2nd Unit Director on RRR (2022). 
MOVIEIMDb User ScoreTomatometer ScoreYearWorldwide Box Office
Fire Birds4.710199015
It Could Happen to You6.471199438
8MM6.623199996
Adaptation7.791200233
Seeking Justice6.1282012NA
Dying of the Light4.5112014NA
Rage5122014NA
Pay the Ghost5.1102015NA
Inconceivable5.1312017NA
Looking Glass4.6212018NA
A Score to Settle4.7152019NA
Primal4.9372019NA
Willy’s Wonderland5.5602021NA

Fun Charts

Last stat – His movies are better off when he only wears one of these items. 

  • Only one item (Leather Jacket, Henley, Suit, Sleeveless T-Shirt) – 52.8% Tomatometer Average
  • Two items worn – 47.1% average
  • Three items worn – 39.8% average
  • Four items worn – 23%

Which is the best outfit and why?

  • Sleeveless T-Shirt – 54.9% – Tomatometer Average
  • Sleeveless T-Shirt AND a Suit – 52% 
  • Sleeveless T-Shirt AND a Leather Jacket – 48.75%
  • Leather Jacket AND a Suit – 46.25%
  • Henley AND a Suit – 32.3
  • Henley AND a Leather Jacket – 24.5%
  • Sleeveless T- Shirt AND a Henley – 16%

Which kind of clothing is featured most in his highest ranked films? 

MovieTomatometerClothes
Spider-Verse97NA
Red Rock West97Sleeveless
Pig97NA
Moonstruck93Sleeveless/Suit
Face/Off92Suit/Leather
Adaptation91Suit/Henley
Leaving Las Vegas91Suit
Teen Titans91NA
Raising Arizona90Sleeveless/Suit
Mandy90NA
Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent86Sleeveless/Suit/Leather
Joe86Sleeveless
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans86Suit
Peggy Sue Got Married86Suit
Color out of Space86NA
MoviesIMDb ScoreClothes
Spider-Verse8.4NA
Adaptation7.7Suit/Henley
Kick-Ass7.6NA
Lord of War7.6Suit/Leather Jacket
Leaving Las Vegas7.5Suit
Grindhouse7.5NA
The Rock7.4Suit
Face/Off7.3Suit/Leather
Raising Arizona7.3Sleeveless/Suit
Matchstick Men7.3Suit
Snowden7.3Suit
Birdy7.2Sleeveless/Suit
The Croods7.2Sleeveless
Wild at Heart7.2Sleeveless/Leather Jacket
Moonstruck7.1Sleeveless/Suit
Fast Times at Ridgemont High7.1NA
Rumble Fish7.1NA
Red Rock West7Sleeveless
Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent7Sleeveless/Suit/Leather Jacket
MoviesWorldwide Box OfficeClothes
The Croods573Sleeveless
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets457Suit
Spider-Verse375NA
The Rock336Suit
National Treasure331Suit
G-Force293NA
Face/Off241Suit/Leather Jacket
Gone in 60 Seconds233Suit/Leather Jacket
Ghost Rider230Leather Jacket
Con AIr224Sleeveless/Suit
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice218Suit/Leather Jacket
The Croods 2215Sleeveless

Final thoughts  

  1. Adaptation and Leaving Las Vegas featured a suit wearing Nicolas Cage. He won his Oscar for LLV, and was nominated for his performance in Adaptation. Also, in both films he plays a writer, and he dies. Dang. 
  2. His five highest grossing films feature him wearing a suit. 
  3. His recent run of Color Out of Space, Pig, and Mandy feature him not wearing a suit/leather jacket/henley or sleeveless shirt. 
  4. Face/Off, The Rock and Con Air feature Cage wearing a suit. 
  5. Red Rock West, Pig, Moonstruck, Joe, Mandy and Raising Arizona are some of his highest rated films. In them, he plays a blue-collar (or down on his luck) guy. I like this variation of Cage. Also in Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation his characters haven’t definitely seen better days. 
  6. If you want critical acclaim, have Cage play a blue collar guy who wears sleeveless shirts. It worked in Raising Arizona, Valley Girl, Birdie, Joe, Red Rock West, and Moonstruck
  7. If you want to make money, put Cage in a suit or leather jacket. It worked for National Treasure, Face/Off, The Rock, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Con Air, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Family Man and Snake Eyes

Final Final thought If he keeps it up, “Flannel Nic Cage” might be the ultimate Nic Cage. Adaptation, Joe, Mandy, and Color out of Space feature some legit flannel. There 

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