Your Voices: On Tom Cruise

your-voices

Your Voices is a simple concept created to encourage conversation and opinions between movie lovers. It works like this: I throw out a certain topic. After that I’ll make my case or share my opinions. Then it’s time for Your Voices. Head to the comments section and let fellow readers and moviegoers know your thoughts on the topic for that day!

Cruise

Tom Cruise

The story of Tom Cruise is fascinating to me. At one time he was the most loved and adored movie star in the business. He was a mammoth box office draw and many of his films hold special places in cinema history. But something happened. Over time people’s opinions and reactions to Cruise dampened. Was it the Scientology thing? Was it the Oprah couch-jumping? All of those were certainly low points in his otherwise stellar career but many actors have done worse. Still his decline in popularity is undeniable and (as is evident by his recent film, the wonderful “Edge of Tomorrow”) he isn’t a guaranteed big money-maker.

Personally I still like Cruise a lot and I appreciate the star quality he brings to a film. But I also think he is capable of really good performances as well as some fun big budget action pictures. Perhaps some of my appreciation for Cruise is rooted in nostalgia. I grew up through the 1980s when he rose to the top of the movie star food chain. I loved so many of those movies. But I also really appreciate some of his later work. In a nutshell I can understand some people’s aversion to Tom Cruise. I just don’t necessarily agree with it and I still find myself interested whenever I see his name attached to a movie.

YOUR VOICES: What is your take on Tom Cruise?

Now it’s time for Your Voices. In light of the so-so success of his recent film, what are your thoughts on Tom Cruise? Do you enjoy his movies? Does he rub you the wrong way? Please share you thoughts on today’s question and I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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44 thoughts on “Your Voices: On Tom Cruise

  1. I think it was mostly the Scientology — and the way that he was (for a time at least) so public about it and about telling other people how they should do things according to Scientologist doctrine. I don’t think the couch-jumping would have been a big deal if it hadn’t been for that “He’s crazy” aspect already flying around; for goodness’ sake, this is a guy who became famous by dancing in his underwear to Bob Seger, a bit of silliness is what he’s paid for.

    As to his acting, I like him. He has a commanding presence, he can be great in a lot of films, and even if a film he takes is a poor one, it’s seldom poor because of him.

  2. I remain a fan of Tom Cat. As he’s matured, I think he’s made some solid choices in material, somewhat following a course Charlton Heston did as he got older. But he remains a fine actor in just about everything he’s done. Many of his earlier work was passed over that could well have earned him acting awards (Born on the 4th of July, Magnolia, Rain Man, etc.). I’m guilty of following too much media doings at times, which has gotten Cruise into trouble with public and movie fans. Finally deciding his own personal life is his own, and ignoring everything else but what he does onscreen. The only thing that matters really, unless he’s some super assassin doing wet work for the drug cartels. Wait, didn’t I see that somewhere 😉

    Great subject, Keith.

    • Good to hear. I’m a fan too. It is interesting though how so many turned against him when he started getting some bad press. I think of so many actors and actresses through the years who have done some pretty awful things but were never scrutinized. Yet he really got a brunt of it from many folks.

  3. I still can enjoy Tom Cruise movies, I don’t have an aversion to him. For an actor in his fifties , he’s still believable as an action star to me. The trailer for Edge Of Tomorrow didn’t excite me but after reading several positive blogger reviews I gave it a chance and ended up liking it.

    • It’s a really good movie isn’t it? I was one of those who was very excited for it but it even surpassed my expectations. And I thought Cruise was wonderful in it. He certainly went against type and it paid off big time in my book.

  4. A fan. I don’t care what his religion is or who he’s married to. He makes it all look so easy and that’s hard to do. I like it when he branches out and does roles beyond Mission Impossible type films. That said, I admire his passion for life and his ability to do his own stunts. I thought he was outstanding in Born on the 4th of July, Taps, The Last Samurai, and Minority Report. I love the MI franchise and so, no matter the film, I don’t tire watching him run, shout, smile, or talk. He’s an icon.

    • Yep, I agree Cindy. And I love what you said about his ability to make it look easy. You know the truly great actors and actresses through the years have had that knack. It’s a special something that the rest of us just don’t have. Cruise fits that description.

  5. Very fair views, Keith and I have to say I’m more or less aligned with you. He’s done some incredible stuff (Edge of Tomorrow; Mission: Impossible; I even liked him against-type in Collateral) and he’s done stuff that has really annoyed me but there most of the time is a good reason to go see a Tom Cruise picture. There’s a lot of the time great great action sequences, spectacular views and the plot line usually has a pulse. These never are the most brainless movies ever.

    But he needs to quit doing Oblivion-type things. Very average action-standard that others can handle and could have possibly made more unique since it would have been a different name. I don’t know. I just feel like sometimes there’s this sense of a ‘generic’ action-hero in the name Tom Cruise.

    But the fact that he’s virtually defined a genre for a couple of decades is mighty impressive. That’s objective reality and no one can take that away from him. No matter how many times he jumps up and down on a couch. 🙂

    • Thanks for the great comments Tom. I too like him a lot in Collateral. As you said, again going against type and doing it very very well.

      He definitely has settled into the action and sci-fi movie genres, But he is always watchable to me. Jack Reacher was another film of his that was smaller in scope but rather fun and entertaining. Pretty much everything he does is fun and entertaining at least on some level. But as you say, I would love to see him stretchout like he’s done in the past.

      • Absolutely. I’m hoping his William Cage could be a possible turn of the weathervane again. I’m not sure. There’s also nothing at all wrong with his standard fare; I suppose I just get numb to them after awhile. But the same is true also for comedians. Even ones I like (Will Ferrell) lol

      • I think you make a great point especially when you’re dealing with a solid actor. Naturally we want good actors to branch out and do a variety of things especially since they’ve shown they can in the past. Hopefully TC has something like that heading our way.

  6. He is a strange fish isn’t he? Personally, I’m not too keen on his beliefs and behaviour but there’s no denying the man can act. There are so many great performances from him; Born on the 4th July was towering work and he held his own against The greats if Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man and Paul Newman in The Color of Money but the most unexpected was him playing unsavoury characters in Tropic Thunder, Interview with a Vampire and Magnolia. I’d like to see Cruise play more of these type of roles.

    • Yes sir, you touch on what makes me like him so much. He has an incredible range, something that we unfortunately don’t see enough of in recent days.

      What I liked about him also is that he’s always kept his beliefs to himself except for that sudden burst of Scientology stuff. I think that is what surprised me so much about all of that. It was so unlike him.

  7. He’s been around so long I think he’s taken for granted a little bit. Inevitably after all that time there’s some films people can take or leave but I think overall he’s still worth watching if the film itself is a good one, and I enjoyed his most recent blockbuster. Pretty amazing he’s still so bankable after 30 years or so.
    I agree with Mark’s comment above – I’d love to see him take on a few more darker, challenging roles, but I think he does keep things interesting generally already. There are a lot of good actors working today but Cruise is one of the rarer breed – a true ‘movie star’ – even if the number of bums he puts on seats has tailed off a little bit.

    • I agree with every word you said. He truly does elevate the movie by just his presence and that is a rarity these days. And as you mentioned, it’s particularly impressive considering how long he’s been around.

  8. I like him! It’s unfair to judge an actor by his personal life. I don’t care what religion he follows, I just like watching his movies, and he continues to impress me with some of the roles he takes. Not to mention, he’s a great action star. Does most of his own stunts. I hate when I say to people that I want to go see a certain movie (like Edge of Tomorrow), and if Tom Cruise is in it, people will be like “I don’t want to see that, I hate Tom Cruise.” Why?! If it’s because they think he’s a bad actor, well then, fair enough. But what I’m finding out is that most people don’t even have an answer to the “why.” They all just jumped on the Tom Cruise-hating bandwagon for the hell of it.

    • You’re hitting on the main reason I went with this topic. There really seems to be a lot of Tom Cruise hating and it has nothing to do with his abilities screen. And I have to admit that it’s really surprise me how sharply some people’s opinions have turned. I like him too and his range of acting has always impressed me.

      Thanks for the great comments.

  9. His Scientology belief is a put off and I bet that cost him a lot of fans. But you can’t deny his star power, he’s the quintessential movie star that one either has or doesn’t. He might not be as bankable but really, what he’s achieved as an actor and producer is quite amazing, I think he’s still a big power player in Hollywood.

    • I think you are spot on my friend. He does have that unquestionable ‘star power’ and he does bring it to every film he is in. Even if the movie is a little flat he rarely is. Someone else mentioned how effortless it is for him. I think that’s accurate too.

      • Cruise may not be the greatest actor but he has that screen charisma that’s undeniable. I’m not a huge fan but even I think he’s so watchable. More so than even Clooney, Pitt, etc. and I think Cruise has a more universal appeal too, that’s why Edge of Tomorrow might perform better internationally.

      • The Cruise and Pitt comparison is very intriguing. I too fin him more watchable than Pitt. Pitt can be really good but he can also be very ‘Brad Pitt playing as…”.

  10. As actors are likely people that I’ll never actually meet or drink a beer with, what they do in their personal lives and what philosophical/theological/religious doctrine they follow is of little importance to me. Whether an actor is a nice guy or a complete asshole is therefore usually irrelevant, as famous movie stars only make an impact on my life when I watch their movies and see them take on different characters. As such, I generally judge my “affinity” for stars based on their artistic skill/talent and how much they entertain me rather than their offscreen personality. As another commentator said above me, it’s unfair to judge an actor by his/her personal life.

    It follows then that a generally well-recognized nice guy like Paul Walker who’s a terrible, wooden actor in my book annoys me a lot more than someone like Christian Bale or Tom Cruise, the latter whom are widely viewed as either arrogant, hot-headed, or just downright “nuts.” But thing is that both Bale and Cruise are terrific actors that always show up, deliver the goods, and turn in fantastic performances in pretty much all their movies. I can’t remember the last time I was unimpressed by a role either of those two men did, nor can I remember a movie not being uplifted by either of their presences.

    In summary, if we as audiences are judging people as actors and deciding whether or not to watch their movies, it makes little sense to base those decisions on what those actors do off-camera in their spare time. Yes Tom Cruise may be a religious zealot or acclaimed cultist, but who gives a shit if he walks the walk when it comes to the job THAT EVERYONE KNOWS HIM FOR? Conversely, who cares if someone like Paul Walker is pleasant to be around if 99.99% of the general population will never meet him and his friendly personality has no impact whatsoever on raising his totally uninspired performances? I certainly don’t.

    And needless to say, if you’re both a douchebag AND a bad actor (e.g. Shia LeBeouf), then I say double the hate, why not?

    • LOL! I love that Shia found his way on this list. I couldn’t agree with you more.

      Fantastic thoughts. I think focusing on their screen work is definitely the right approach. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I struggle to get past the reprehensible real lives of some performers. But that doesn’t mean what they do on screen should be judged by that.

  11. I’ve riffed Tom Cruise before because of his Scientology beliefs and that he typically plays the same character in most movies, but I think when he tries, he can give a great performance. I prefer Cruise in dramatic roles: his performances in Magnolia and Eyes Wide Shut are truly stunning.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can see what you’re saying. I really liked him in The Last Samurai and Collateral. I also appreciated him taking on a slightly different role in Edge of Tomorrow.

  12. I’m a fan of Tom Cruise. Personally, I don’t have any issue separating the person’s work from the person’s personal life and to be honest, I’m not all that well-versed in the whole Scientology thing anyway so it doesn’t bother me. Cruise is never bad in a role and his films are always consistently decent or better.

    I read a fascinating piece about him recently where the author wrote about Cruise being the last real movie star in a modernised, second-by-second world, and I sort of agree with that sentiment.

    Great piece Keith!

    Adam.

    • Thanks man. I’m with you. My attention is always caught when I see his name attached to a film. Part of that is the star quality he brings, but I also think he’s a solid actor. I just enjoy watching him.

  13. Hi Keith! I, like you, am a big Tom Cruise fan. One reason is that he made me a lot of money back in the Top Gun era. I spent thirty-two years in the Hollywood entertainment industry; and twenty of those years as a film buyer.

    The first time I saw Tom was in LA. I was at a luncheon with the president of Orion Pictures and three of his lieutenants. Tom walks into the restaurant and sits directly across from us. What we couldn’t help but notice was that he sat by himself, and he sat facing the wall, so no one would recognize him. One of the men in my party commented, “It must be hard for Tom not to be able to come into a restaurant and be able to sit just anywhere.” Strangely, I never forgot that scene.

    When I heard Warner was making Edge of Tomorrow and the budget behind it, I was glad to see Tom in the lead role. However, I don’t think he needs the special effects to help carry a film. Yes, he like many of us has his life regrets. However, if he keeps on making good films and continues to pick good roles with good directors, etc., then he could make his comeback. Who knows if he has another Mission Impossible on the horizon; but as long as he makes movies, I think his name alone is good for business. http://larry-vaughn.com/

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. As you mentioned, we have all had our stumbles. Cruise is no different. But even that hasn’t effected his star status or onscreen abilities in my eyes. He is still a very talented leading man who has shown a knack for tackling a wide variety of roles.

      As a teenager during the 1980s I was able to see Cruise through every season of his movie career. Without a doubt he has always maintained his ability to entertain me. That counts for a lot in my book.

  14. I find Tom Cruise to be a watchable movie star, but not a great actor as such. No matter how hard he tries, I always think, “That’s Tom Cruise, playing a bartender.” or “That’s Tom Cruise, playing a Vietnam vet.” His star power, probably through no real fault of his own, kind of gets in the way for me.

    It’s interesting that The Celtic Predator further up the page, mentions him in the same breath as Christian Bale. Bale based some of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho on Tom Cruise, when he saw him on a chat show, saying that he saw “this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes”.

    Anyway, if Tom Cruise does ever retire, they can always get Miles Fisher to replace him, who does an amazing Tom Cruise impression!!

  15. I think I’ve outed myself as a Cruise fan for the last three movies he has been in. The only recent film of his that I did not care for was Rock of Ages, and he was the best thing in that film. He is the last star that could open a film and he still can in the right movie, but star power is being replaced by concept branding. (Don’t tell anyone but Johnny Depp is now only that type of star with Pirates, It looks like Tom may be stuck with Ethan Hunt). I’d echo a lot of others here, he needs to do more films like Collateral and Valkarie. When a studio is looking for insurance on a high risk project, a star is where they used to go to get it. If people avoid a picture because Tom Cruise is in it, that seems to carry a lot of negative weight. If I’m interested in a film and Shia or Lindsey are in it, they won’t keep me out. Tom Cruise however can still pull me in.

    • Absolutely. Cruise still pulls me in too. I have that much confidence in his abilities as an actor. He almost always entertains me and in the end that is why I go to the movies.

  16. Any doubt of Cruise’s acting ability was washed away with his performances in Magnolia, Collateral, Interview with Vampire, Tropic Thunder and Rain Man. However I feel he doesn’t always utilise his ability and moves back to his comfort zone of being the kind of generic action hero who is always at hand to save the day in the nick of time.

    • That’s a very fair take. He has hit a run of big action hero roles. I think that’s why I like him so much in Edge of Tomorrow. It’s a sci-fi action flick but he is against type and I thought it was refreshing.

  17. I like his early work and think he is an able if not brilliant actor. That said, I haven’t enjoyed his recent action films. My favorite film of his is Eyes Wide Shut but I also like The Firm, A Few Good Men, Top Gun and Risky Business.

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