A guy jumps on a couch once and the people instantly forget that he has the ability to deliver great performances. So for those who think Cruise is all big budget fluff and tabloid fodder let me bring your attention to one of my favourite characters, Frank T.J. MacKey, in my all-time favourite movie. Though Cruise was nominated for an Oscar, for best supporting, he lost out to Michael Caine’s work in The Cider House Rules. Personally I think Cruise’s performance will be the one out of the two that most people will remember in ten years.
Interview with the Vampire
Interview with the Vampire and Collateral provided Cruise the opportunity to play the villain; something he should do more of. While I like Collateral slightly more than this film, Cruise had to overcome much more adversity here. It cannot be easy for an actor when the author of the novel being adapting, in this case Anne Rice, publicly slams you for being cast in the lead role. Luckily Tom got the last laugh as Rice had to eat some humble pie and acknowledge that he was fantastic in the role.
Part of me wanted to include The Firm, or “See Tom Run” as I like to call it, on this list as I really liked that film. Any movie that makes Tom Cruise deathly afraid of the Quaker Oats pitchman, aka Wilford Brimely, deserves the token guilty pleasure spot on the list. Still if I had to choose between The Firm and the pure popcorn fun that is Top Gun, it will be fighter jets all the way. Cocky and arrogant characters fit Tom well, see Jerry Maguire, Collateral, and Magnolia for further examples of this.
The Last Samurai
Yes this film is in the same “white savior” vein of Dances with Wolves, Avatar, and countless other movies of its ilk. Regardless, I really like this film. Many of the movie’s best moments come from the interactions between Ken Wantanabe and Cruise’s character. Tom’s samurai may not have been as cool as Toshirô Mifune’s or Forest Whitaker’s, but he did a good job nonetheless.
The reason films such as A Few Good Men, Rain Man, The Outsiders, and Jerry Maguire did not make the list is due to the fact that Cruise’s supporting casts are the real stars of the show. Chances are your fondest memories of those films are scenes involving NichoIson, Hoffman, Howell, and Gooding Jr. The same thing almost happens in Minority Report as Samantha Morton gives her usual great performance. Though, at the end of the day, it is the pairing of Cruise and Spielberg that keep this film moving a top speed. I still think Minority Report runs twenty minutes too long but otherwise I enjoyed Cruise first real foray into the world of Science Fiction.
Layoff the Cheese
Considering that I am a big fan of the original film, Abre Los Ojos, my views might be a bit biased. Honestly I had no problem with Cruise in this movie. What ruined this picture for me was Cameron Crowe’s need to over explain things instead of letting the audience figure things out for themselves. It was as if Crowe, or maybe the studio, had no faith in the audience’s intelligence.
Far and Away
Reason # 45 why spouses should not work together! I could have easily substituted Days of Thunder in here as I was not fond of that film either. Far and Away was by far the worst of the two films. The interesting thing is Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have no on screen chemistry whatsoever. What about Eyes Wide Shut you say? Well the majority of that film is about Cruise’s solo journey. The times they are together on screen, Kidman is the one doing all the heavy lifting.
Mission Impossible II
I literally walked out of the theater at the end of the film unable to remember on significant thing that happened in this movie. MI2 felt like an extremely watered down version of a John Woo film, and that is saying a lot if you consider that Hard Target and Broken Arrow were more entertaining than this film.
As I commented on another blog’s review of this film, I always think of Ladyhawk whenever someone talks about this film. I think deep down I wish Legend was more Ladyhawk and less…well…Legend. Somewhere Matthew Broderick is pumping his fist victoriously.
War of the Worlds
Remember when I praised the Cruise/Spielberg pairing a few minutes ago…well here is where things get tricky. The first half of this film is actually pretty good. One of my favourite scenes comes when the frantic mob tries to steal Tom’s car not realizing, or caring, that his daughter is still in there. Unfortunately the rest of the film never lives up to the atmosphere that the beginning sets up. I won’t even get into how the Boston elite somehow avoid a world-wide catastrophe!