"Knowing" and Other Nicolas Cage Box-Office Winners That Don't Deserve to Be Hits

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May the worst movie win. Yes, it happened again. On a box-office weekend where the race should have been between the silliness of I Love You, Man with Jason Segel and Paul Rudd and the sophistication of Duplicty with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, the winner is Knowing! That's right, Knowing, the sanctimonious sci-fi parable starring a hangdog Nicolas Cage in a one-note performance as an astrophysics professor at MIT who learns that the world may be ending and damn soon. With tacky special effects, a scarily done plane crash excepted, Knowing drones on like a sermon that makes you root for the world to end just to put you out of your misery.

And yet Knowing raked in a kickass $24 million as opposed to barely respectable $18 million for I Love You, Man and a deadly $14 million for Duplicity, prompting a Variety headline to shout: "Nic Knocks Julia -- Knowing Throttles Roberts' Return." Ouch! Which of the three big movies that opened this weekend do you think deserved to wear the box-office crown? And how about an even more pertinent question: How does Nic Cage do it? Once a powerful actor who delivered astonishing performances in films as diverse as Leaving Las Vegas, Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, Face-Off, Wild At Heart and Adaptation, Cage has been turning out a series of unwatchable flops -- you trying staying awake during Captain Corelli's Madolin or The Wicker Man or Bangkok Dangerous.

Even worse are the lousy Cage films that score big at the box-office. I'm not just talking the National Treasure films that are at least fitfully entertaining. I'm talking junk, from Gone in Sixty Seconds to Ghost Rider, that manages to deliver big numbers despite a quality level so low it's barely measurable. Am I wrong? What did you think of Knowing and Cage's acting? What drew you to see Knowing in the first place? What titles represent the best and worst of Nic Cage?

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