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Who's had a better acting career, Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : Who's had a better acting career, Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage?


Chadm
03-18-12, 01:57 AM
Now I know this may seem like an odd pairing and maybe even an obvious answer but I truly believe Nic Cage has had an oddly deceptive career. Much like a Chris Walken or Dennis Hopper, at first glance they seem like the type of actor who will attach there name to any script that lands on their desk(and they kind of are), but when you go through their resume's and wade through all the garbage you'll notice out of every 4/5 films, theres a real gem of a movie or a great performance. And Cage is no different.

The reason I chose Penn is because I seem to remember back about a decade ago Sean Penn ranting on Nic Cages career choices.

Now from my perspective I really believe Cage has had at the very least as good of a career as Penn, if not better.

And I break it down as follows.


Nicolas Cage Arthouse fair/Critical Hits/great performances:

Raising Arizona
Wild at Heart
Leaving Las Vegas
Bringing Out The Dead
Adaptation
The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

Sean Penn Arthouse fair/critical hits/great performances:

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Casualties of War
Carlito's Way
Dead Man Walking
U Turn
The Thin Red Line
Sweet & Lowdown
Mystic River
21 Grams
Milk

good studio popcorn flicks:

Face Off
Con Air
The Rock
Lord of War
Gone in Sixty Seconds
The Weather Man
The Family Man


good studio popcorn flicks:

The Interpreter
Fair Game


To me their careers match up pretty evenly. But I'd take Cage by a hair. The only difference in my opinion is that Cage has a higher volume of crap.

Thoughts?

PenguinJoe
03-18-12, 02:00 AM
Con Air, The Weather Man, and Gone in 60 Seconds are good?

Chadm
03-18-12, 02:02 AM
I thought so.

The Antipodean
03-18-12, 02:11 AM
I'd rather watch Cage than Penn. Even in bad movies, Cage is worth watching for me. Penn only grabs me sometimes - hated Mystic River,loved Milk.

The Bus
03-18-12, 02:42 AM
How is <b>Bringing Out the Dead</b> a critical favorite, but not <b>Tree of Life</b>?

Chadm
03-18-12, 03:31 AM
I didn't include Tree of Life because Penn is in it for about 5 minutes. and the runtime is somewhere in the vaccinty of 2.5 hours. It would have been akin to including Cage in Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

Jaymole
03-18-12, 06:23 AM
Why don't you list all of their films instead of picking and choosing?

Some of the ones you have not named that I am a fan of; Falcon and the Snowman, At Close Range, Hurly Burly, The Game, The Assassinantion of Richard Nixon, Colors...

Looking at their entire film resume and not just what you wanted to list...Penn by a wide margin. He has consistently chosen more interesting films, much more challenging roles and is obviously not a money whore like Cage.

The fact that there are people here who feel that Cage has had a better career than Penn boggles my mind.

Solid Snake
03-18-12, 06:45 AM
Sean Penn for sure. Cage has had a better financial career but if you're taking them for their quality in craft? Penn. Cage doesn't even come close. 4 shit films to get to a good Cage movie? Fuck that.

Trout
03-18-12, 07:07 AM
What? No Wicker Man?

Hokeyboy
03-18-12, 08:29 AM
What? No She's So Lovely?

RoadToPerdition
03-18-12, 09:12 AM
Definitely Sean Penn. Should've beaten Cage for the Oscar with Dead Man Walking, too.

mcnabb
03-18-12, 09:14 AM
As much as I can't stand Sean Penn's politics, the guy is a great actor had a much better career compared to the much overrated Cage.

Tarantino
03-18-12, 09:21 AM
You never go full retard.

auto
03-18-12, 10:20 AM
Easily Penn for me.

dan30oly
03-18-12, 10:46 AM
cage better actorist

Mike86
03-18-12, 10:59 AM
Sean Penn is probably the better of the two technically, but I enjoy Nicolas Cage more personally.

TomOpus
03-18-12, 10:59 AM
Jeff Spicoli > "Hi" McDonnough

JumpCutz
03-18-12, 11:34 AM
Sean Penn.

AVP77
03-18-12, 12:01 PM
Can't really answer this until I get some kind of definition of what "better acting career" might possibly mean....Appeared in better movies? More likeable on the screen? More likeable off the screen? Made more money? Has more innate talent? Did more with what he's got?

TomOpus
03-18-12, 12:14 PM
Can't really answer this until I get some kind of definition of what "better acting career" might possibly mean....Appeared in better movies? More likeable on the screen? More likeable off the screen? Made more money? Has more innate talent? Did more with what he's got?I almost posted the same thing because a film career is different than film talent.

But I still think Penn is the choice on both.

Cardsfan111
03-18-12, 12:21 PM
I like both, but believe Penn has proven to be a better actor.

Ash Ketchum
03-18-12, 12:46 PM
Penn hasn't performed a single starring role I'd want to see again (except maybe for CASUALTIES OF WAR), but Cage has done two I'd happily watch again: RED ROCK WEST and FACE/OFF, so Cage wins it for me.

Mr. Cinema
03-18-12, 12:48 PM
You created a thread talking about the good Nic Cage performances, and you leave out Matchstick Men?

PopcornTreeCt
03-18-12, 01:29 PM
I think Nicolas Cage is a better actor but agree with Penn's political views, so I voted for him.

auto
03-18-12, 02:50 PM
I think Nicolas Cage is a better actor but agree with Penn's political views, so I voted for him.

Finally some common sense!

Hadrian7
03-18-12, 02:57 PM
I think Penn's a better actor and has a better overall quality to his films, but if given a choice I would always opt to watch a Cage film. There is just something to be said for being entertaining, and Cage's films have that going for them at least.

TomOpus
03-18-12, 03:50 PM
But I'd take Cage by a hair.

Thoughts?
http://i41.tinypic.com/1268e3t.jpg

mndtrp
03-18-12, 07:52 PM
I think Penn is the better actor and has less crap. Cage seems to play the same person in almost all of his movies, and he isn't someone that I can see on the poster and have a good idea that I'm going to like the film.

inri222
03-18-12, 08:12 PM
Sean Penn over Nicolas Coppola anytime.
Some of my faves :
Mystic River
Carlito's Way
The Assassination of Richard Nixon
Dead Man Walking
The Falcon & the Snowman
21 Grams
State of Grace
At Close Range
Casualties of War
The Thin Red Line

And let's not even get into Penn as a director 4 for 4 in my book (The Indian Runner, The Crossing Guard, The Pledge, Into The Wild).

resinrats
03-18-12, 08:30 PM
I don't think I've seen a single movie with Sean Penn in it. I have enjoyed movies with Cage in it so he wins. He'd win on Con Air alone.

FRwL
03-18-12, 10:51 PM
Cage is the only modern day actor of the last couple of years who appears in kind-of movies, and wings his performances (w/ the exception of Bad Lieutenant) and yet... is still strangely likable through all of it and thus heck my favorite modern actor fake ass wig bedamned. I do enjoy his more escapist flicks his career has turned to.

foofighters7
03-18-12, 11:02 PM
this isn't even close. Cage has did way too many crappy films where he was pretty crappy too.

Penn has had a few misfires but nothing like Cage.

Howie2000
03-18-12, 11:47 PM
Sean Penn has a better average but then again he does more mediocre Oscar Bait films which are showcases for great performances but not great filmmaking as opposed to Cage who has made a lot of shitty studio films that would suck and no one would be talking about the performances even if Helen Mirren or Laurience Olivier were in his place. The half dozen or so Cage performances I like I think the films will hold up in time as classics. I think Penn has a ton of performances that will hold up but I can't think of a single film of his that will hold up on its own over time where he has a substantial role besides Fast Times.

JumpCutz
03-19-12, 12:07 AM
I think Penn has a ton of performances that will hold up but I can't think of a single film of his that will hold up on its own over time where he has a substantial role besides Fast Times.

Dead Man Walking
Carlito's Way
Milk
21 Grams
At Close Range
Sweet and Lowdown
State of Grace

Charlie Goose
03-19-12, 12:21 AM
I like films from each guy. Penn is the better actor, although overrated in my opinion. Cage is responsible for a lot of shitty movies. On a personal note, both seem like giant dicks.
So in conclusion, fuck the two of them.

Paul1957
03-19-12, 12:54 AM
Better actor Penn, better career Cage. :)

My Other Self
03-19-12, 01:14 AM
I've always liked Nic Cage movies for the most part. He's had a hell of a lot of stinkers but Sean Penn doesn't do much for me. I'm not saying I don't like the guy, but if I had to pick one of the two it'd be Cage.

davidh777
03-19-12, 03:02 AM
Con Air is high cheese but a guilty pleasure for me. And I'd add the National Treasure films to the popcorn list. But I'd vote for Penn.

Fist of Doom
03-19-12, 05:39 AM
Nic Cage for me. Sure he's made a lot of dreck, but most of it is easily avoidable (really, if you wasted your time watching Season of the Witch or The Sorcerer's Apprentice, you have only yourself to blame).

Love:
Matchstick Men
The Rock
Raising Arizona

Enjoy:
National Treasure 1&2
Lord of War
8MM
Face/Off
Valley Girl
Kick-Ass

I browsed Penn's filmography, and didn't find any films I love (his role in The Thin Red Line is tiny).

conscience
03-19-12, 06:12 AM
Con Air, The Weather Man, and Gone in 60 Seconds are good?

I really like the first two and the third is good for at least a watch. The Weather Man is seriously under-appreciated and Cage gives a really good performance. Too bad it didn't make any traction when it was released. If the Best Actor category hadn't already been stacked that year with five top notch performances, Cage's presence in the category for this film would have been great.

I think Cage has had the better career (although, lately, he has starred in some really crappy films one after the other), but Penn is the better actor.

Favorite performances from Penn:

At Close Range - probably his best, IMO
Colors
Carlito's Way
Dead Man Walking
The Thin Red Line
Sweet and Lowdown
I Am Sam
21 Grams
Mystic River
This Must Be the Place

I think his work in Milk is pretty overrated and, IMO, is actually a slightly toned down version of his I Am Sam performance...

Favorite performances from Cage:

-Raising Arizona
-Moonstruck
-Wild at Heart
-Leaving Las Vegas
-Face/Off
-Bringing out the Dead
-Adaptation.
-Matchstick Men
-The Weather Man
-The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

Kory
03-19-12, 01:40 PM
I like films from each guy. Penn is the better actor, although overrated in my opinion. Cage is responsible for a lot of shitty movies. On a personal note, both seem like giant dicks.
So in conclusion, fuck the two of them.

This.

On another note, I think "The Weather Man" is really underrated.

Shannon Nutt
03-19-12, 02:25 PM
Penn may have a better quality career, but I guarantee you Cage has had a more fun career. Who cares about quality - if they keep paying you and you enjoy it, make whatever movies you want.

Groucho
03-19-12, 02:30 PM
Penn. Cage has way too many stinkers he did for the paycheck on his resume.

Ash Ketchum
03-19-12, 04:02 PM
Penn takes himself way too seriously and, in my opinion, that colors his performances and choice of roles, so Cage gets points simply for not taking himself too seriously. Maybe if Penn made movies like GHOST RIDER and IRON MAN (like Downey), I'd like him better.

Jaymole
03-19-12, 04:38 PM
Penn takes himself way too seriously and, in my opinion, that colors his performances and choice of roles, so Cage gets points simply for not taking himself too seriously. Maybe if Penn made movies like GHOST RIDER and IRON MAN (like Downey), I'd like him better.

You must have hated DeNiro up until the last 20 years.

JumpCutz
03-19-12, 04:56 PM
Maybe if Penn made movies like GHOST RIDER I'd like him better.


So if me makes a piece of shit comic book movie where he phones in his performance, you'd like him better? :eek:

mike7162
03-19-12, 05:41 PM
Sean Penn is one of those guys whose personal life ruins his acting persona for me (see Russell Crowe) - the Madonna thing, the press fights, the third World savior act have all colored my opinion of him as an actor over the years. However, as a director, I find his films superlative, and if anyone ever asks me for a recommendation for something off the grid, I recommend any one of his four films.

I've always found Nicholas Cage to be a tremendously likeable guy, whose offscreen life and talent have morphed into a goofy brilliance that is compelling even at his least committed. So, for me it's Nick Cage

Ash Ketchum
03-20-12, 10:10 AM
You must have hated DeNiro up until the last 20 years.

De Niro was great in his great Scorsese movies--MEAN STREETS, TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL, GOODFELLAS and his early De Palma movies--GREETINGS and HI MOM, not to mention THE DEER HUNTER. But he never took himself too seriously, never talked too much off-camera--in fact he hardly ever talked at all---and never put himself in the center of causes. He just got up there, made a great movie occasionally, and worked for the paycheck the rest of the time. I don't have to see him in ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE or any of his other dreck, but I can watch GOODFELLAS any time I want. If Penn had done anything comparable to MEAN STREETS et al, I'd be a lot easier on him.

Take George Clooney...please! He's proven his movie star chops and made entertaining movies and I'd love to see him in a western. He does take himself too seriously off-camera and keeps inserting himself into causes, but he's done enough of the kinds of high-profile star projects that I've enjoyed to varying degrees--e.g. ONE FINE DAY, OUT OF SIGHT, THREE KINGS, OCEAN'S ELEVEN, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU, BURN AFTER READING, heck, even FROM DUSK TILL DAWN deserves some props--all of the type that Penn would never do, that I tend to give Clooney a pass. I can ignore Clooney's off-camera blather when he turns in an effortless star performance in stuff like OUT OF SIGHT or THREE KINGS. And when he does a serious personal project, it's a worthy effort like GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, which I thought was at least very good. I haven't even seen Penn's directorial efforts because they all sound like such slogs to sit through. (Although I do need to see INDIAN RUNNER for Charles Bronson.)

Maybe I'm being unfair to Penn, but there's something about him that just turns me off from the get-go. And I always found his Spicoli extremely obnoxious and deserving of a swift kick in the ass.

FRwL
03-20-12, 01:26 PM
So if me makes a piece of shit comic book movie where he phones in his performance, you'd like him better? :eek:

Cage somehow fits in this b-movie style in a way, he's definitely going into a Vincent Price territory now which makes it better, aka Season of the Witch, Nat'l treasure, Ghost Rdier, Sorceror's Apprentice. I hope he continues on! In fact he should play the main in the next I Am Legend.

dvdjunkie32
03-20-12, 02:39 PM
Penn is the better actor because he is able to transform himself into different roles. We usually get the same ole crazy eyed Nic or bland Nic in his movies.

Carlitos Way is a prime example of Penn's amazing transformation and acting ability. He totally sold me on that character.

SuperJim88
03-20-12, 03:38 PM
You can lock a pen in a cage, but you can't lock a cage in a pen. I vote Cage.

TomOpus
03-20-12, 04:05 PM
What if it's a bullpen?

SuperJim88
03-20-12, 05:12 PM
You just blew my mind.

inri222
03-21-12, 02:26 PM
"Nic Cage is no longer an actor, he could be again, but now he's more like a...performer." ----- Sean Penn

"The door to our friendship is now closed, in this business you get enough negativity
from the press without having your friends dump on you in public." ----- Nic Cage

Cicero
03-21-12, 02:35 PM
I'm surprised this voting poll is not a blowout. Penn all the way.

FRwL
03-21-12, 11:38 PM
"Nic Cage is no longer an actor, he could be again, but now he's more like a...performer." ----- Sean Penn

"The door to our friendship is now closed, in this business you get enough negativity
from the press without having your friends dump on you in public." ----- Nic Cage

See even in this instance Cage seems like the one with more common sense.

Jaymole
03-22-12, 07:04 AM
I'm surprised this voting poll is not a blowout. Penn all the way.

Because people let their views of the actor off the screen influence them.

And did anyone even realize that Cage added another stellar film to his resume with last week's release of Seeking Justice?

Larry C.
03-22-12, 08:55 AM
I must admit Sean Penn is a great actor but he is a communist. So Cage wins.

d2cheer
03-22-12, 09:04 AM
Because people let their views of the actor off the screen influence them.



And why shouldn't it? Why reward any of these A-holes with my money? Yea Yea because then I would never watch anything. Well some are worse than others. Fuck him.


I can't even remember the last movie I saw with Penn...maybe Bad Boys.

Jaymole
03-22-12, 10:05 AM
And why shouldn't it? Why reward any of these A-holes with my money? Yea Yea because then I would never watch anything. Well some are worse than others. Fuck him.




WTF does that have to do with this thread?

Solid Snake
03-22-12, 10:39 AM
I'm sorry but I don't give a shit about a actor's politics. I just give a damn about their craft. As long as their personal life activities doesn't hurt anyone, much like anyone's life should, why should I care? The only one person I might take issue w/ is Polanski. Cuz..well...you know what he did. That shit should never be tolerated.

inri222
03-22-12, 11:02 AM
I'm sorry but I don't give a shit about a actor's politics. I just give a damn about their craft.

Well said seņor.

I have alot of admiration for Robert Duvall as an actor. But if I gave a crap about an actors political views,
Robert Duvall would be one of the first ones on my shit list for being a Sarah Palin supporter.
But because I don't, I consider him one of our greatest actors.

Solid Snake
03-22-12, 11:22 AM
Hell I didn't even know Duvall was a Palin supporter. That kind of irks me cuz I love the guy and am sure I'd have a blast just talking to him..but he's a fucking human being w/ a belief. Just like I am. I'm sure at the core of him...being a Palin supporter doesn't make Duvall the badass he is. It's beyond that.

covenant
03-27-12, 12:02 PM
cage better actorist

Still???

you've got to be kidding me. :mad2:

superdeluxe
03-27-12, 12:27 PM
Sean Penn is probably the better of the two technically, but I enjoy Nicolas Cage more personally.

This one.

superdeluxe
03-27-12, 12:32 PM
Because people let their views of the actor off the screen influence them.

And did anyone even realize that Cage added another stellar film to his resume with last week's release of Seeking Justice?

While Cage might have much more stinkers, he also has more movies that are re-watchable.

Jaymole
03-27-12, 02:14 PM
While Cage might have much more stinkers, he also has more movies that are re-watchable.

You forgot to add IMO as there are more films I re-watch with Penn than Cage.

And anyway, that is not what the OP is asking...save that for the thread titled "Which is your favorite...."

I look at answering this like I would in deciding between 2 people for a job based only on their resumes...and Cage would never get the job.

superdeluxe
03-27-12, 02:23 PM
You forgot to add IMO as there are more films I re-watch with Penn than Cage.

And anyway, that is not what the OP is asking...save that for the thread titled "Which is your favorite...."

I look at answering this like I would in deciding between 2 people for a job based only on their resumes...and Cage would never get the job.


I assumed people's comments were their opinions.

In regards to the OP's question, What quantifies a better acting career? You could easily say who has the best box office, or oscar wins.

Terrell
03-27-12, 02:43 PM
In spite of the all the shit Cage has made, I find him more interesting than Penn. If you take both actor's best work, I think Cage comes out on top. Having said that, Cage seems to care more about the big paycheck over the last decade.