Their professed preference for Nicolas Cage movies on a local quiz show has made four Brookline High School seniors an Internet sensation, and potential guests of the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show. But what seemed like a spontaneous proclamation of their affection for the Hollywood star on WGBH’s “High School Quiz Show” last month was a bit premeditated, it turns out.
The buzz began when “Quiz Show” host Billy Costa asked members of the Brookline High team to list their favorite movies. In response, Benjamin Doughty said “Con Air,” Jonathan Eber said “Face/Off,” Vikram Mahadevan said the “National Treasure” franchise, and Ben Eggleston said “Raising Arizona.” All of the movies star Cage, and the strange coincidence drew a chuckle from Costa and the show’s studio audience.
A clip of the bit was posted online by WGBH and then posted on YouTube by Brookline High School senior Joon Lee, whom the team has since unofficially named its vice chancellor of marketing. “I was like: ‘This thing could go viral,’” Lee said. He was right.
Within a day, the clip had been viewed more than 100,000 times, and by Thursday more than 235,000 people had watched it. NBC’s “Today” show also broadcast the clip, and Lee said the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show contacted him and talks are underway about flying the kids out to Los Angeles to appear on the show. Tyler Wooley-Brown, the coach of the quiz team, said he has also heard that Cage has seen the video, though rumors the star sent the kids flowers are untrue.
After school Thursday, however, the team confessed they did have a heads up before the show that they would be asked to name their favorite movies, and that’s when they came up with the idea to each name a Cage classic.
Still, they said their affection for the flicks is real (except for Doughty’s claim that “Con Air” is his favorite movie).
“I have to admit that I’ve never seen it,” he said. “I’m going to, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.”