13th Jan2020

Nicolas Cage Appreciation Society: Best Of Times (1981)

by Kevin Haldon

So with the New Year upon us I decided that I wanted to mix things up a little bit and bring something new to the website/podcast. I thought about how the whole website started with the 365 movies in 365 days and wondered maybe something like that would be pretty cool. Then I remembered an epsiode of Community where Abed watched a load of Nic Cage movies in a whole weekend and it sent him a bit mental.

Thus the Nicolas Cage Appreciation Society was born… A tribute to the 1 time Oscar winner, 5 times Razzie nominated, method-acting icon. With a total of 103 movie credits (at the time of writing). With every one of them better than the last, this should be a pretty interesting dive into the legacy of one of the greatest actors of our time. I will be writing up reviews on the site but also listen into the podcast episodes where I will be giving cheeky run downs in our What Have You Been Watching section.

I would love it if our Readers/Listeners would even get involved watching this mans legacy with me… I mean whats the worst that could happen?

Where to start… Well lets start at the start, with his acting debut. 1981’s The Best of Times.



Director: Don Mischer | Writers: Bob Arnott, Carol Hatfield (as Carol Hatfield Sarasohn)
Stars: Crispin Glover, Jill Schoelen, Nicolas Cage

So not really a movie but The Best of Times was an ill fated TV movie that served as a pilot for a series on ABC. After having watched the show I can see why ABC never really went for it to be honest. The blend of 4th wall breaking real talk with zany teenage antics is Tommy Wiseau levels of surreal. The show is based around short skits about the lives of 6-7 teenagers struggling with such things as doing what they are told by their parents, picking up chicks, the plight of being a woman and getting life experience while singing and dancing to Dolly Partons 9 to 5… Oh also there seems to be a really weird laughter track that seems to have very little rhyme nor reason.

Holy shit… This thing was a sight to behold… So its kind of like a sketch show that is trying to give you all of the hilarity with some inexplicable darkness. I feel like back in ’81 this could have been something groundbreaking but watching this in 2020 is equally cringey, awkward and down right hilarious. I would love to see someone make this today, especially with one particular scene in which two women seem to discover that they are in fact women who can achieve anything in life while on the other hand getting mega excited about having seen a boy naked (swings and roundabouts I guess). in the space of the 60 miute episode we get 3 musical interludes that come out of absolutely nowhere with the cast seemingly doing all there own singing and dancing as if they are in Fame or something, this isnt a complaint though more of a ‘Oh well thats something that happened’.

I can not fault the work of the actors, Crispin Glover is showing real early promise of the actor he will become and everyone else is playing thier role to a standard. While the writing and dare I say it directing is pretty off kilter, it doesnt exactly offend you and it had a lot of promise. I would have liked to have seen where they were going with a show moving forward, Alas it was not to be and Nics break into the big screen was around the corner with a part in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

How was our Lord and Saviour Nicolas Cage??? Or Nicolas Coppola at this point

Honestly he is by far the best thing in this show… This is Nic Cage starting out and you can see sprinkles of what is to come. He has one particular scene right in the middle of all these weird skits where he stops on the beach and talks to the camera about being drafted into war against El Salvador. This one scene is Leaving Las Vegas Nic, the height of his career Nic. However its in between scenes of wacky zany Nic working out on the beach talking about Rocky, deciding which college he will go to based on if he will be able to surf or not. There is definitely a sign of things to come for our man here, stealing every scene he is in, while showing us that Cage range we have all become accustomed to.



I will always try to end these cheeky little write ups with some Trivia about the movie we have just seen… In this case the only real trivia was that it was the acting debuts of both Nic Cage and Crispin Glover. That is not good enough why not go for one that I feel most will know but If you didnt well here goes.

Nic Cage is the nephew of Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola hence why he is credited as Coppola in his earliest work. He reportedly changed to his screen name Cage so that he could make his name on his own merit and not ride his uncles coat tails. This also makes him nephew to Rocky and Godfather actress Talia Shire and cousin to Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola (now thats movie pedigree). You may have known all of this but did you know the surname Cage came from comic book character Luke Cage!


So going forward I will not always be doing these flicks in order (unless you guys want me too, let me know) I shall be picking them at random after all there is 103 to choose from. However next up we shall be going with his first official big screen debut… Fast Times at Ridgemont High. A movie I will hold my hands up and say I have never seen but only heard good things. I believe Nic is only a bit part but they all count and we must watch them all.


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