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5 Terrible Things That Are So Great They Can't Be Improved

#2. Nicolas Cage's Performance in Vampire's Kiss

It's fun to talk about how much Nicolas Cage sucks, isn't it? And why not? He's reduced himself to an Internet meme at this point. Look at him go in movies like Ghost Rider and The Wicker Man. He's clearly lost some part of his mind. But you cannot and should not call Nicolas Cage a bad actor. That's just flat out wrong. He doesn't always play big. Look at Kick-Ass, a very grand movie that he played very straight and small. Look as his range, from Birdy to Moonstruck to The Rock. Yes, The Rock, which is a fun movie where he comfortably decided to play "action hero" for the first time.

And then look at films that combine his acting chops with his brass balls to make big choices. In Peggy Sue Got Married, he spent most of the movie portraying a shallow, fame-hungry popular high school kid, and he played it big and silly, generating an audience's contempt and sympathies in equal measure.

And then of course he won the Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, portraying an alcoholic in a way no one had ever seen on screen before. Not just some physical addiction of a self-destructive person -- a much more intense use of alcohol as the poison it is for the purposes of suicide.

Which brings us to one of Cage's hammiest, most maligned performances. In 1989, Cage played a literary agent who gets bitten by a woman after a one-night stand and then has a mental breakdown, believing he is turning into a vampire. Here is some of his scenery chewing:

Yeah.

But if You Tried to Fix It ...

What the hell would you have? Do you think Daniel Day-Lewis would do a more compelling job of portraying a mentally ill literary agent who thinks he's a vampire in a dark comedy? Does Nicolas Cage suck, or is he doing the only thing you could do in a movie like this? Do you want him to play it smaller? Less insane? A more realistic portrayal of an unstable rageaholic with fantastic delusions? The problem is when Cage injects insanity into something that doesn't require it, but this seems perfectly fine. It's supposed to be a comedy, but y'know, it's only a comedy conceptually. It's not like the script is filled with witty zingers, so watching his over-the-top antics is what drives the comedy.

#1. Pabst Blue Ribbon

Ah, the old PBR. Pabst Blue Ribbon. A beer so shitty that its name, conveying its award-winning nature, is considered ironic.


Just like a certain news station's logo.

And although PBR never actually won a blue ribbon, it did win "America's Best" at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Yeah, 1893. I'm guessing that in 1893 one of the qualities in winning best beer was if the judges didn't go blind and piss blood after drinking it. In any event, I didn't come here to beat up PBR. Just the opposite, because sometimes, in the right time and the right place, PBR is just the best beer there is. Let me set the scene. You're in a stressful job, taking a little respite from the drudgery with a burger and a beer at lunch. Now, you're not a Philistine, so it's a quality beer. Maybe it's a Radeberger or a Sixpoint Sweet Action. Maybe you're going balls out and having yourself a Guinness. Who's to say? How do I know every little thing you do? What am I, the NSA?

Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
"The NSA can neither confirm nor deny that Gladstone is in the NSA."

OK. Now your meal and quality beverage are over. You still have 10 minutes. You're not quite ready to go back. What do you do? Another good beer? Of course not. Too much alcohol. Too filling. Bad idea. At this point, you thank those miserable hipster d-bags for making PBR ironically cool again, because now real bars that serve real beer keep cans of PBR in their fridge. You crack one open, and it's just the barest hint of a beer. Watery, weak, and bland, like Costner's performance in Waterworld.

But if You Tried to Fix It ...

If you ordered a real beer, or even a better bad beer, like a Bud, it would be too much. Too heavy. Too filling. Face it: PBR is the perfect beer for when you just want that innocuous plus one. Would you want to drink PBR all day? No. Would you want it with your fine steak dinner? No. Would you want it while you're giving your dog Lester a tick bath after he contracted the critters during your hiking trip to Lake George from August 27 to August 31? (OK, fine, I admit it. I'm in the NSA.) No. There are only limited times when PBR is a good thing. But when you need something quick and weak and light but still beer (technically), it's just about perfect.



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