I hate to admit this, but I love Tom Cruise. Not Tom Cruise the brain-washed Scientology fool with his arranged relationships/marriages/couch jumping antics, I’m talking Tom Cruise the actor. And before you say you can’t stand him or “he makes my skin crawl,” you must admit the man can act. And very often, he can act well. The first film I remember seeing him in was Risky Business (1983). Admit it ladies, I know I wasn’t the only teenage girl at the time who enjoyed watching him dancing around in tighty whities in his parent’s living room, singing along with Bob Seger.
And let’s not forget Cruise’s chilling portrayal of one of my favourite literary characters, The Vampire Lestat, alongside the equally hot and talented Brad Pitt (who co-starred as Louis), in Interview With The Vampire (1994). I wasn’t all that confident about Cruise playing Lestat when the casting was first announced. But when I sat down in the movie theater and he appeared onscreen, I changed my mind in a hurry. If that movie didn’t get your blood pumping, I’m not sure what would.
Cruise was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, in his role as Frank T.J. Mackey in Magnolia in 1999. He has also won Golden Globe Awards. But anyone who had to sit through the hot mess that was The Mummy (2017) would not be surprised to learn that the film garnered him a 2018 Razzie Award for Worst Actor.
Also, the man is still really good looking. Cruise turned 56 on July 3rd and doesn’t look a day over 40. He’s either led a very healthy lifestyle or the Scientology brain washing he’s endured is really good for the skin. Although it hasn’t done much for John Travolta, have you seen how he looks these days? So maybe Cruise just has really good genes.
It’s unfortunate that his promotion of such a highly unpopular religion has made Cruise himself somewhat unpopular. But you can’t say he is box office poison, because Cruise hasn’t really had a flop in years. His recent movies have not done well domestically (in the United States). But they more than make up for it in worldwide box office returns.
An example of this is American Made. The 2017 film was well reviewed, but performed poorly in the U.S. With an estimated Box Office budget of $50M, it made just over $51M domestically, but worldwide it grossed almost $135M. His most recent forays into science fiction, Oblivion (2013) and Edge of Tomorrow (2014), performed similarly.
Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow both had engaging story lines and were visually striking films. They reminded me of one of my favourite Cruise movies of all time, Minority Report (2002). The film is an engrossing look into a future where people are convicted and incarcerated for crimes they are about to commit. Minority Report had a $100M budget and grossed more than $350M worldwide.
Tom Cruise’s Science Fiction Substance
Then there’s the Mission Impossible films (#6 opens in theatres on July 27th), which seem to be the only exception to Cruise’s poor domestic box office returns. These films are fun and enjoyable and feature some incredible stunts performed by Cruise himself, but they don’t have half the substance of the aforementioned science fiction flicks.
I’ll definitely see Mission Impossible – Fallout once it’s streaming somewhere but I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming Cruise movie Luna Park, which is still in the production phase. It’s described by IMDb as “a group of renegade space workers venture to the moon to steal an energy source.” If it’s as good as Minority Report, Oblivion or Edge of Tomorrow, you can count me in. Because, despite all his shortcomings, I love Tom Cruise.
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