82 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
    • 4.8 • 57 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).

    #32: Battlefield Earth/The Family Man (with Alonso Duralde)

    #32: Battlefield Earth/The Family Man (with Alonso Duralde)

    Greetings, rat-brains! This week, we welcome puny man-animal Alonso Duralde for a double dose of religious-themed mayhem: Travolta’s Scientology-adjacent epic Battlefield Earth and Nic Cage’s erstwhile Christmas dramedy The Family Man!

    Battlefield Earth has long carved out a place as one of the great so-bad-its-good classics, as L. Ron Hubbard’s gargantuan pulp sci-fi novel turns into a messy, Dutch-angled workplace comedy with a mincing Travolta performance that must be seen to be believed. It’s Star Wars, plus The Office, minus a tripod.Then there’s The Family Man, which is just as limp and boring as the phrase “Brett Ratner does Frank Capra” implies. Here, Cage traps himself in normie mode as a semi-sleazy inivestment broker whose run-in with a Clarence-like Don Cheadle throws him into an alternate-timeline suburbia where he’s married to the girl that got away (Tea Leoni, holding the entire film on her mighty shoulders). Will he crawl back to his upper-crust hedonism? Or realize that middle-class heteronormativity is the way of all true Americans? Listen and find out!

    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 20 min
    #31: The General's Daughter/Gone in 60 Seconds (with Simon Barrett)

    #31: The General's Daughter/Gone in 60 Seconds (with Simon Barrett)

    This week, the realms of Travolta and Cage come perilously close to merging, as our double feature covers films directed by fillmmakers who either have or will directed the other! In The General’s Daughter, we’ve got a steamy, somewhat dated legal thriller/airport potboiler courtesy of Con Air director Simon West, in which a warrant officer (John Travolta) investigates the rape and murder of a young female captain on a Georgia army base.

    On the other, deliberately dumber side of the coin, we’ve got Gone in 60 Seconds, the Dominic Sena-directed car-heist remake starring Nic Cage as the leather-clad, “Low Rider”-jamming gentleman thief “Memphis” Raines. It came out a year before The Fast & The Furious, but it’s got a lot of neon-soaked machismo under its hood, alongside some neat turns from the typical Bruckheimer stable of too-good-for-this-actors (Angelina Jolie, Robert Duvall, Delroy Lindo). But does its goofiness hold up for two entire hours?

    Luckily, we’ve got a character witness in the passenger’s seatl, in the form of screenwriter extraordinaire (and scribe of the upcoming Face/Off sequel!) Simon Barrett! Together, the three of us discuss the shortcomings of women-in-the-military dramas, Nic Cage’s budding association with muscle cars, and much more.

    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 7 min
    #30: A Civil Action/Bringing Out the Dead (with Josh Gondelman)

    #30: A Civil Action/Bringing Out the Dead (with Josh Gondelman)

    his week on the podcast, comedian and podcaster Josh Gondelman (author of Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results) hops in the passenger’s seat for a wild night of good-to-great cinema with our two boys!

    First up is A Civil Action, the schmaltzy-but-scintillating Steven Zaillian legal drama starring John Travolta as a sleazy personal injury lawyer drawn to the allure of justice, surrounded by a murderer’s row of ‘90s character guys (William H. Macy, Tony Shalhoub, Robert Duvall, the list goes on).

    Then, we chug a Red Bull and pull an all-nighter for Martin Scorsese’s criminally-underrated Bringing Out the Dead, a Paul Schrader-scripted descent into the heart of darkness for an exhausted EMT (Nic Cage) over three crazy nights. The perfect Easter watch!

    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 11 min
    #29: The Thin Red Line/8mm

    #29: The Thin Red Line/8mm

    This week, Nathan and Clint go it alone for one of the podcast’s most curious double features — an art-film masterwork with barely any Travolta in it, and a fully-loaded grotesquery with more Cage than we can shake a snuff film at!First, there’s Terrence Malick’s 1998 war film The Thin Red Line, an elegaic meditation on man’s inhumanity to man, and the way war corrupts the majesty of nature — with an ensemble cast so sprawling even folks like George Clooney can just pop up for 37 seconds! It’s one of cinema’s most beguiling and entrancing works of moralism, and Travolta crops up for about five minutes in a silly mustache to talk tactics with Nick Nolte. Cinema!

    On the other side of the coin, we get a sneaky glimpse into the kind of direct-to-video thriller sleaze Cage would make his living in for the next several decades with Joel Schumacher’s 8mm, a lurid, obvious tale of a snuff film and the doe-eyed PI who chases it. See Cage mug while he watches a filmed murder that looks not unlike a Marilyn Manson video! Thrill as Joaquin Phoenix delights in milking the phrase ‘battery-operated vagina’ for all it’s worth! Gasp as you behold the desperation by which 8mm tries to recapture the brutal nihilism of Se7en!

    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 1 min
    #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

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
57 Ratings

57 Ratings

CriticSean ,

Funny and Insightful

Unique premise, terrific guests and two hosts with wit and chemistry. I’m fascinated by the parallel between Cage and Travolta and this podcast perfectly captures that fascination.

CornellBruin ,

Again ...

... with the Juggalos?

Benstruff ,

Good podcast

Sometimes Nathan is too quiet but other than that it’s fine

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Listeners Also Subscribed To