9. Joe (2013) – Directed by David Gordon Green
The most recently released entry on this list, “Joe” is a 2013 independent film from David Gordon Green. What is so unique about Cage’s role in “Joe” is how reigned-in and subtle it is, in light of many other recent Nicolas Cage films that feature phoned-in eccentric performances and capitalize on Cage’s trademark unhingedness. Instead, Cage plays a man who could very well be a real person, somewhere in the American Deep South. As a mentor to a young boy (played by the promising Tye Sheridan), Cage’s performance is reminiscent of Matthew McConaughey’s character Mud, in the film of the same name. The comparisons are arguably surface-level, but both films being 2013 releases and sharing actor Tye Sheridan certainly make it easier to draw similarities. Cage’s Joe is gruff, to say the least, but also displays a tender side and Cage’s ability to deliver a toned-down, dramatic performance is what brings the character to believability.