The 10 craziest Nicolas Cage performances, ranked (including his new movie 'Willy's Wonderland')

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Brian Truitt, USA TODAY
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He’s got an Oscar and was one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the 1990s. What we love most about Nicolas Cage, though, is when he goes "full Cage" – which means completely and wonderfully bonkers.

And we’re not talking about a “stealing the Declaration of Independence” kind of crazy, either. No, these are the kind of unhinged, nutty, curse-laden performances that spawn NSFW YouTube roundups, fun GIFs and viral memes.

His newest project is definitely veering from the norm: In the horror action comedy "Willy's Wonderland" (available on video-on-demand platforms), Cage's character The Janitor doesn't even say anything! He instead lets his fists and any easily weaponized objects around him do the talking as the hero tries to survive a night stuck in a closed-down family restaurant punching, kicking and impaling a bunch of possessed murderous animatronic robots.

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On honor of his new flick, let’s get in the cage with Cage: Here are the 57-year-old actor’s craziest performances, ranked.

10. 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' (2012)

Cage’s second go-round as the flaming-skull superhero lets the actor unleash a lot of rage as he transforms into a vigilante phantom. Fun fact: He’s actually a little scarier when he’s just ol’ Johnny Blaze cackling madly than racing on a cycle from hell.

Joely Richardson and Nicolas Cage are a New England couple dealing with an alien threat in the horror film "Color Out of Space."
Joely Richardson and Nicolas Cage are a New England couple dealing with an alien threat in the horror film "Color Out of Space."

9. 'Color Out of Space' (2020)

Cage is a family man living an ordinary existence with his wife (Joely Richardson) and two kids until a meteorite lands in his front yard. Things get extremely trippy – including a neat purple sheen to everything around it – but also seriously bloody as their minds and bodies are taken over by an alien presence.

8. 'Raising Arizona' (1987)

With wild hair and impressive mutton chops, Cage’s baby-robbing oddball is just one of many goofy aspects of the Coen brothers’ crime comedy. Cage steals the show in quite a few scenes, including one involving cops, dogs and high jinks in an epic diaper heist.

Laura Dern starred as Ripley, with her out-of-control lover Sailor in David Lynch's 1990 drama "Wild At Heart."
Laura Dern starred as Ripley, with her out-of-control lover Sailor in David Lynch's 1990 drama "Wild At Heart."

7. 'Wild at Heart' (1990)

"Twin Peaks" guru David Lynch is responsible for this piece of Southern-fried pulp, with Cage and Laura Dern as a pair of reckless youngsters on the run. All you need to know: Cage’s Elvis-styled Sailor Ripley beats a guy to death — in the first scene.

The Janitor (Nicolas Cage) battles a giant singing weasel and other evil animatronic robots in "Willy's Wonderland."
The Janitor (Nicolas Cage) battles a giant singing weasel and other evil animatronic robots in "Willy's Wonderland."

6. 'Willy's Wonderland' (2021)

Cage's silent role is more stoic action hero than wacky goofball, as his taciturn good guy is suckered into cleaning a shut-down family restaurant and mops the floor with a bunch of demonic Chuck E. Cheese wannabes. Then again, when he's not whooping evil mascot posterior, he's a soda-swilling, dancing pinball wizard.

5. 'Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans' (2009)

Cage’s drug-addicted cop in post-Katrina N'awlins investigates the murder of Senegalese immigrants while trying to square gambling debts. But he also makes time to wonder if fish dream and gets so high off a crack pipe he sees a soul breakdance.

Nicholas Cage (with Molly Parker) stars as a cop investigating a bizarre island cult in "The Wicker Man."
Nicholas Cage (with Molly Parker) stars as a cop investigating a bizarre island cult in "The Wicker Man."

4. 'The Wicker Man' (2006)

This horror redo features the Cage-y one playing a cop investigating a pagan cult community. Ever wanted to see him don a bear suit and punch a lady? There’s that scene, or the infamous one where he screams, “Not the bees!” as he's mauled by stinging pests.

3. 'Vampire’s Kiss' (1989)

The dark comedy doubles as an exercise in madness, with Cage’s yuppie literary agent losing his mind after getting bit by a vampire and becoming convinced he’s about to turn into one himself. When it doesn’t happen, he dons plastic Dracula teeth and runs through the streets screaming, “I’m a vampire!”

Red (Nicolas Cage) prepares for war by forging a destructive ax in the fantasy thriller "Mandy."
Red (Nicolas Cage) prepares for war by forging a destructive ax in the fantasy thriller "Mandy."

2. 'Mandy' (2018)

Even at this point in his career, Cage's still got it. In the blood-soaked heavy-metal fantasy, he plays a lumberjack on a path of drug-fueled vengeance, complete with emotional breakdowns and a destructive battle ax that wouldn't feel out of place in Middle Earth. The fact that "Mandy" totally rules as a flick is mainly because of Cage's fantastically gonzo performance.

1. 'Face/Off' (1997)

As supervillain Castor Troy, Cage dresses like a priest, dances flamboyantly, gropes a teenage girl and sings the "Hallelujah" chorus (from Handel's "Messiah") all before the opening credits finish. The no-guilt, all-pleasure action flick with switching faces and identities lets Cage go all-in with kooky glory.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Willy's Wonderland': Nicolas Cage's 10 craziest roles ever, ranked