RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... National Treasure

He stole the Declaration of Independence, but he couldn't steal critics' hearts: Is Nicolas Cage's fun Indy rip-off really all that Rotten?

by | January 10, 2021 | Comments

National Treasure
(Photo by (c) Touchstone/courtesy Everett Collection)

How can a movie as deliriously fun as the Nic-Cage-does-Indiana-Jones romp National Treasure end up at the green end of the Tomatometer? It’s the kind of mystery that only… well… Nic-Cage-as-Indiana-Jones – a.k.a. treasure hunter and history buff Ben Gates – could solve.

Despite an almost universal shrug from critics upon its release – the movie is Rotten at 46% on the Tomatometer – director Jon Turteltaub‘s National Treasure was an undeniable hit with audiences, earning almost $350 million at the worldwide box office and an Audience Score of 76%. It was campy, it was throwback, it had lines like “I’m gonna steal the Declaration of Independence,” and crucially, it had Nicolas Cage, here teetering beautifully on the edge of the wild man days that would come to define his career for the next 15 or so years. What wasn’t to love?

That’s what we’re asking in the latest episode of our podcast, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast from Rotten Tomatoes)Gates himself wasn’t available to help us puzzle-solve, so joining hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis is the equally adventurous Marlow Stern, senior entertainment editor at the Daily Beast and self-professed Nic Cage obsessive. Together, the trio follows the clues to such big topics as The Nic Cage of It All, The Underratedness of director Jon Turteltaub, the Marvelous Wig of Jon Voigt, and Why Oh Why Such a Large Chunk of This Film Takes Place in Urban Outfitters.


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Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”


If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.


Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.


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