78 episodes

A deep dive into the strange, fascinating careers of two of cinema's most prolific weirdos -- John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. With Nathan Rabin (Nathan Rabin's Happy Cast) and Clint Worthington (Consequence of Sound, The Spool).

Travolta/Cag‪e‬ Nathan Rabin

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 5 Ratings

A deep dive into the strange, fascinating careers of two of cinema's most prolific weirdos -- John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. With Nathan Rabin (Nathan Rabin's Happy Cast) and Clint Worthington (Consequence of Sound, The Spool).

    #28: Primary Colors/Snake Eyes (with Emily VanDerWerff)

    #28: Primary Colors/Snake Eyes (with Emily VanDerWerff)

    This week on the podcast, Vox culture writer extraordinaire Emily VanDerWerff hops on the campaign trail for an interesting, auteur-driven double feature mired deeply in the politics and aesthetics of the late ‘90s! First up is Primary Colors, a Mike Nichols-directed, Elaine May-scripted adaptation of the Joe Klein-penned roman a clef about the Clinton Years. Travolta does his best Alabama drawl as Senator “Jack” Stanton”, a Bill-esque figure whose political idealism is marred by the many personal failings his campaign team (an all-star ensemble including Adrian Lester, Billy Bob Thornton, and an Oscar-nominated Kathy Bates) have to clean up.

    Then, we dive into the next-level lurid sleaze of Snake Eyes, Brian De Palma’s stylized thriller about a murdered cabinet member, a prize fight in an Atlantic City casino, and a full-bore Nic Cage hamming it up as an amoral detective caught in the middle of it all. It’s next-level dumb, but boy is it fun.

    Which wins out — a well-made, albeit naive, referendum on the disappointments of the Clinton era, or a slick, stupid thriller with Cage as his shoutiest? Take a listen and find out!

    • 1 hr 10 min
    #27: Mad City/City of Angels (with Fiona Underhill)

    #27: Mad City/City of Angels (with Fiona Underhill)

    This week, we (along with special guest, JumpCut Online’s Fiona Underhill) begin our post-Face/Off slide into the latter years of Travolta and Cage with two ‘90s artifacts, Mad City and City of Angels! In City of Angels, Nic Cage takes the ‘fallen angel’ baton from Travolta’s Michael, as a dewey-eyed angel who falls in love with a heart surgeon (a radiant Meg Ryan) and decides to become human to explore that. It’s a remake of Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire that bumps the political dimension for romantic fantasy (romantasy?), but it somehow works?

    And on the other side of the coin, French-Greek auteur Costa-Gavras stumbles into one of his rare English-language films with Mad City, a sleepy, facile Ace in the Hole riff involving a craven TV journalist (Dustin Hoffman) who finds himself in the middle of an erstwhile hostage situation with a disgruntled museum security guard (John Travolta, playing deeply dumb). It’s got a lot to say about the fickle attention of the public and how the media can manipulate it — or at least it thinks it does.

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage

    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage

    Email us questions at travoltacagepod@gmail.com

    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen

    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 9 min
    #26: Face/Off (with Jordan Morris)

    #26: Face/Off (with Jordan Morris)

    It's like looking in a mirror, only.... not.

    It's finally here, folks, the apex of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage's careers, American action cinema, and this podcast's stated mission! This week, the two realms merge with John Woo's Face/Off, in which Travolta and Cage play dual-wielding badasses on opposite sides of the law who find themselves swapping faces and lives as they continue their cat and mouse game.

    As a John Woo film, it's got all the doves, slow-motion dives, and incongruous Catholic imagery you can stand. But on top of that, it's also got Cage and Travolta having the time of their lives, poking fun at the quirks of their own star personas while playing each other... and sometimes playing themselves while playing each other while playing themselves. Wheels within wheels, man!

    Luckily, we've brought an expert along with us to share all two-plus hours of this adrenaline-fueled display of cinematic id: Jordan Morris, podcaster extraordinaire (Jordan, Jesse, Go!), who marvels at the bizarre, shaggy achievements of Face/Off right along with us.

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage
    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage
    Email us questions at travoltacagepod@gmail.com
    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 58 min
    #25: She's So Lovely/Con Air (with Griffin Newman)

    #25: She's So Lovely/Con Air (with Griffin Newman)

    Merry Christmas, you filthy animals! To help us usher in a decidedly bizarre yuletide this year, we’re celebrating a fascinating double feature: a bizarre, shambolic Cassavetes family affair and one of the great entries in the D*****t Film Canon, respectively. What’s more, we’ve got a very special guest to guide us through: Actor and Blank Check podcaster extraordinaire Griffin Newman!

    First is She’s So Lovely, a lost John Cassavetes script turned into a schmaltzy, all-too-conventional romantic drama courtesy of son Nick “The Notebook” Cassavetes. Starring Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn as a self-destructive barfly couple torn apart by alcoholism, sexual assault, and madness, which throws in a ten-year time skip and a reformed, remarried Wright a mentally-recovering Penn has to get back. Sure, it’s got Daddy Cass’ knack for complicated characters and verbose dialogue, but not even Travolta as Wright’s post-cleanup husband in the film’s second half can clean up the mess.

    But to soothe the pain, we get to bask in the flowing locks and sweaty wife-beater of Army Ranger-turned-heroic-prisoner in Simon West’s incredibly mercenary Con Air. It’s the second entry in Cage’s ‘90s action movie trilogy (after The Rock last episode), and it’s as energizing as it is primal and retrograde. You don’t need us to tell you how good this movie is; just put the bunny back in the box and come listen to us gush over it for 45 minutes.

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage
    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage
    Email us questions at travoltacagepod@gmail.com
    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 23 min
    #24: Michael/The Rock (with Roxana Hadadi)

    #24: Michael/The Rock (with Roxana Hadadi)

    Welcome to The Rock! (And a Nora Ephron film too, but we know what you’re really here for.) This week on Travolta/Cage, we finally enter that much-vaunted era of Cage, the Schlocky Action Picture, with one of his greats — Michael Bay’s slick slice of ‘90s milporn cheese The Rock. One of the rare films to crystallize Bay’s particular brand of macho maximalism into something approaching a watchable action film, The Rock lets Cage out of his cage as the twitchy “chemical superfreak” Stanley Goodspeed, forced to team up with the dearly departed Sir Sean Connery to stop Ed Harris from extorting the CIA for money to send relief to veterans’ families. (Remind me why he’s the bad guy again?)

    On the other side of the spectrum, we’ve got Michael, with Travolta in all his now-portly charm as an irreverent angel who comes to Earth to checks notes help two boring journalists find love? Sure Travolta’s fun, and he gets to dance again, but the rest is a cringe-worthy slog through a coastal New Yorker’s vision of what the Midwest must be like. Still, Travolta in those overalls? Good Heavens!

    Luckily, along with us on this long road trip is film critic extraordinaire Roxana Hadadi (Pajiba, RogerEbert.com), who helps us break down the ineffable goofiness of Travolta’s charm and Bay’s oddly populist relationship with masculinity and the military. It’s us, we’re the Rocketman!

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage
    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage
    Email us questions at travoltacagepod@gmail.com
    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 10 min
    #23: Phenomenon/Leaving Las Vegas (with Jason Webber)

    #23: Phenomenon/Leaving Las Vegas (with Jason Webber)

    This week on the pod, we start to crystallize the essence of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage’s mid-90s careers with two decidedly different films about characters engaged in holy martyrdom! Jason Webber, author of Purple Bananas: How Prince Saved Me and Other Selections from the Soundtrack 2 My Life and Juggalo publicist extraordinaire, hops on board for a two-part bender of Phenomenon and Leaving Las Vegas.

    In Leaving Las Vegas, Cage pours himself into the role of a low-functioning alcoholic publicists who decides to drink himself to death in Sin City, with the help of a sex worker (Elisabeth Shue) who loves him without wanting to change him. It’s a heartbreaking film that won Cage his Oscar, thus ensuring that yes, we do have to take him seriously as An Actor.

    On the other hand, Travolta indulges a different sort of Christ complex in Jon Turteltaub’s Phenomenon, a schmaltzy bit of Capraesque Americana where he plays a thoroughly-average car mechanic who suddenly gets photographic memory and telekinesis thanks to a mysterious light in the sky. Is it aliens? Is it a toomah? Will being a holy-anointed supergenius give him an ounce of additional game with the hot single mom (Kyra Sedgwick) he wants to woo? The answers will whelm you!

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage
    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage
    Email us questions at travoltacagepod@gmail.com
    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

James Barratt ,

Excellent Podcast

Hugely enjoyable, highly recommended.

Bob - Inverness, Scotland ,

Recommended

Excellent fun film reviews of all shapes and other things

SirLesterMarwood ,

Delightful pop culture badinage

One of my life’s proudest moments was Mr Rabin liking my Facebook post.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Listeners Also Subscribed To