With the release of his new science fiction romp “Oblivion” this past weekend, I thought it would be as good a time as any to look at the career of Tom Cruise. Now unlike many I actually like Cruise and think he’s a very capable actor. I certainly understand the backlash that followed his past comments and infantile sofa jumping with Oprah. But that was in the past and much more importantly I think his movie resume is pretty impressive and speaks for itself. So today I’m listing 5 Phenomenal Tom Cruise Movies. Now with almost 40 feature films to his credit I wouldn’t go as far as calling this the definitive list. But I have no problem calling these 5 Tom Cruise movies absolutely phenomenal.
#5 – “TOP GUN” – I originally had “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” in this spot. I love that film and consider it easily the best of the franchise. But even though I tried, I couldn’t leave “Top Gun” out of a Tom Cruise list. I fully recognize that “Top Gun” is filled with enough corn and cheese to make a casserole. I also understand that it’s a product of the 80’s and it’s shameless in its display of gratuitous hunk shots. But you know what? I still love it! I still remember being excited about seeing the Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone” video before the film was released and how it amped up my anticipation for the movie. I remember seeing it in the theater and leaving on high. While these days my feelings are more nostalgic, I still hold this 1986 flick from the late Tony Scott close to my heart.
#4 – “JERRY MAGUIRE” – For a long time I heard people I knew singing the praises of “Jerry Maguire”. I had friends who were constantly yelling “Show me the money!” at the tops of their lungs. But I wasn’t able to chime in because I was late coming to this 1996 Tom Cruise drama. But once I finally caught up with it I understood what my buddies had been so excited about. Now I have to admit that it wasn’t Tom Cruise that drew me to this picture. I was really interested in catching up to Cameron Crowe’s work and I was attracted to the sports element of the story. But I found that it was Cruise who really carries the film. I love his performance. He had me sympathizing with him during some scenes and he had me wanting to slap his face in others. It’s a showy performance but it feels right at home in this really good film.
#3 – “MINORITY REPORT” – This is another of Tom Cruise’s films that I caught up with well after its theatrical release. But it’s another one of his films that blew me away after I saw it. This Steven Spielberg science fiction thriller completely caught me off guard. I went in with pretty mediocre expectations but I was surprised to find a well written and deeply layered story that grabbed me from its opening moments. Cruise gives yet another strong performance as an officer in a preemptive crime task force. He’s faced with a variety of moral quandries and soon finds himself in the middle of a complex murder investigation. Again it’s Cruise who drives this movie and he’s an absolute blast to watch as things in the movie go absolutely bezerk. This is a great sci-fi picture.
#2 -“COLLATERAL” – Whether you like Tom Cruise or not you have to admit that over his career he has branched out and hasn’t been afraid of tackling fresh new roles. There’s no better example of that than his role as a professional hitman in Michael Mann’s “Collateral”. In the film Cruise pays an unwitting taxi driver (Jamie Foxx) to drive him around Los Angeles to his five important “appointments”. Armed with firearms and funky dyed hair, Cruise moves effortlessly between his cold-blooded contract killer persona to waxing philosophically in the back of Foxx’s cab. He kills it with his performance and I think it’s some of the best work of his career. If you want to see Cruise’s range, this is a good film to get that.
#1 – “THE LAST SAMURAI” – I’ll never forget the first time seeing “The Last Samurai”. I went to the theater on a Friday morning with no expectations whatsoever. I mean we are talking about Tom Cruise as a samurai, right? I left that theater blown away, so much so that I returned the next day to see it again with my wife. First off, Cruise gives a fantastic performance. It may not be his very best work, but for me this is hands down my favorite Tom Cruise movie. Whether it’s his scenes as a burnt-out alcoholic or the great moments he shares with Ken Watanabe, Cruise makes what sounds like a ridiculous role for him into one of of his more multifaceted performances. I never get tired of “The Last Samurai” and for my money it’s Cruise’s best.
So there they are. My 5 phenomenal Tom Cruise movies. See some you like or dislike? Have different films that would make your list? Please take time to share you thoughts below.