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Sure, okay, I know: Nicolas Cage has been so bad, for so long, in so many spectacularly terrible movies, that not only is the man a joke, the joke has begun to fall in upon itself.

But people forget: every now and then he takes a break from his blockbuster hucksterisms to deliver an amazing performance in something singular and lasting. Think Raising Arizona. Or Wild at Heart. Or Leaving Las Vegas. Or Adaptation. Sometimes it’s for laughs; sometimes it’s purposefully stilted; sometimes he’s actually breaking your heart. Weirdly, the most limited hack in Hollywood also demonstrates impressive range.  He’s performed one admirable turn each for some of the great arthouse directors of our time — Coen Brothers, David Lynch, Spike Jonze, Martin Scorcese — yet there’s something inscrutable to how these rare performances come about amid all the interminable Bruckheimer hokum.

So I really have no idea what to make of the fact that Cage is starring in an upcoming Bad Lieutenant film, directed by Werner Herzog, who insists that this is not a remake. (If I were Abel Ferrara I’d be livid, but I’m not Abel Ferrara.)

Uh… sick? Whatever. Nobody directs actors to completely lose their shit quite the way Herzog does, and nobody takes it all someplace new for a one-off performance like Cage. Whether it’s a bad cop we wind up seeing or just a bad actor, I look forward to watching someone degrade himself past the point of recognizability.

UPDATE: The trailer got taken down from YouTube. So I found another one! (Which, maybe, will last a whole 24 hours.)

NEW UPDATE 11/23: I haven’t seen the film yet. But Roger Ebert has — and his review is excellent.

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