The Simon West directed, Jerry Bruckheimer produced 1997 action masterpiece Con Air is the definition of 90s action excess; an over-the-top, sweat-filled orgy of insane performances, sun-kissed cloudy blue skies, testosterone, and Nic Cage. This is a flick that boils over the brim with random acts of slow motion, excessive explosions and, well, excessive slow motion explosions, all of which are delivered in a fashion that can only be captured in a motion less than normal. Anyway, to celebrate the love I have for Con Air, I have put together this list of a few of my favorite things about the best film to feature Nicolas Cage saving a man from going into diabetic shock.
For me, and likely most fans of Con Air, the cast is a major part of why the film is such a blast. Con Air features a wild mix of actors that cover a wide range that the craft has to offer, from comedic actors such as Dave Chappelle, whose character of Pinball offers some genuine laughs, to a multitude of tough guy/girl character actors such as M.C. Gainey, Rachel Ticotin and Danny Trejo. There’s also a fun, scene chewing turn from Colm Meaney, who plays an abusive, jerk-off DEA agent.
Of course, the real juice of Con Air comes from the impressive number of (mostly) well respected actors, some of whom have sat comfortably at or near the A-list. You have Ving Rhames and John Malkovich carrying a hefty amount of the bad guy workload, while Steve Buscemi shows up as the Hannibal Lecter inspired character, Garland "The Marietta Mangler" Greene. On the other end of the spectrum there’s John Cusack as U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin, who is a sort of good guy ying to Cameron Poe’s good guy yang. Oh, and speaking of Cameron Poe, he’s played by Nicolas Cage, who’s sort of an important piece in Con Air’s incredible puzzle.
How Do I Ask a Question Without a Question Mark:
Con Air opens AND closes with the touching sounds of Trisha Yearwood’s How Do I Live, a song that is literally the audio essence of Cameron Poe’s emotional state of mind. I mean, if love is in anyone’s heart, it’s in Poe’s, and despite the lack of a question mark, How Do I Live represents Poe’s passion as a husband, a father, and a man who decided that prison’s a good time to grow a mullet.
I would never normally support a song such as How Do I Live, but how do I deny such a song when it means so much to the film’s lead character. The smile that will grace Poe’s face as he sees the sun of freedom can never be understood by anyone other than Trisha Yearwood. Well, her and LeAnn Rimes. And, well, a bunch of American Idol contestants and number chuckleheads who think they can sing.
John Malkovich Chewing a Hole in the Plane:
John Malkovich as Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom chews scenery like it’s a tough piece of beef jerky, giving a performance that’s about as over-the-top as his insane “ In my club, I will splash the pot whenever the fuck I please” portrayal of Russian mobster Teddy KGB in 1998s Rounders. It’s really incredible, and better yet, some of the dialogue he is given is climbing towards brilliance. No scene is left with out a few teeth marks when Malkovich is done, and that’s saying a lot considering he’s up there with Nic “The Animal” Cage.
“Oh, nothing makes me sadder than the agent lost his bladder in the airplane!”
Nicolas Cage. Nicolas Cage. And Nicolas Cage:
Nicolas Cage as Cameron Poe in Con Air is so epic, the only way to encapsulate his wonder is with bullet points:
His southern accent
After Nic Cage, there really is no more that one person can say, so I will leave you with this: