May 14, 2006

Why I like Tom Cruise

It boils down to this: he’s been in a lot of movies that I love. I pay as little attention as possible to his public appearance hoo-hah, his marriage to Katie whoever, the baby, Scientology … blah blah blah. Though, obviously (since I’ve mentioned them) I can’t escape that crap.

But for the most part I don’t pay attention. I roll my eyes and change the channel or whatever.

Everything about the Tom Cruise public image makes him someone that makes me want to tear my hair out. And I wish to heaven he’d stop making the work-out movies like those endless Mission Impossible films. (As an aside, when any film is associated with the term “franchise” I head for the hills. It means it’s a hamburger.)

But … Cruise has been in great movies and, part of why they have been great is – hang on to your drawers – Tom Cruise. That’s the puzzler about him. He’s remarkably good. So why is he connected with all the other nonsense?

Well, people are odd. All of them. Including, and perhaps moreso than others, Tom Cruise.

But look at what he’s been involved with (when not flying planes or jumping on Oprah’s couch):

- Collateral
- The Last Samurai
- Minority Report
- Jerry Maguire
- A Few Good Men
- Rain Man


Those films make it difficult for me to dismiss Mr. Cruise. In fact, I prefer to dismiss the other nonsense and see him in terms of those films. He’s really very good at what he does. Perhaps too much so – maybe when you are that good it gets too easy to be self-indulgent and follow whatever random notion captures your imagination.

Whatever the true view of Tom Cruise is there’s no denying he’s good at what he does when he commits to it. So my hope is the current nonsense passes soon and, as I suspect is the case, he gets back quickly to simply bringing great performances to films of good stories.

Tom Cruise, the actor (as opposed to the celebrity) is extraordinarily good at his job. The celebrity is simply annoying. The actor, on the other hand, is about as good as it gets.

1 comment:

Campaspe said...

What? no Born on the Fourth of July? I really liked him in that one. I also agree that he was very good in Rain Man.

So many stars were flamboyantly bonkers in one way or another. The ones I really love are long dead and have had their every oddity exhumed for public exhibit. So I think that maybe if you love old movies, it's easier to forgive modern stars their foibles.