Ah Mr. Cruise, so many judge you, hate you, but none can question your impact on action. Not just good action, but surprisingly intelligent action films. He's done science fiction, action, straight drama, and the always effective spy films that are the Mission: Impossible series. Today folks, it's time to redeem this sullen, unsung hero of film.
Look, I won't pretend that his personal life is a nightmare to hear about. From his Scientology beliefs to his various marriages his name has been dragged through the mud. Yet...people love working with him? What does that say about him? What does it say when actors talk about how Cruise convinced them to join his films such as actors Jeremy Renner? What does it say when people tell stories of him taking normal people to the hospital and covering their medical bills? I'm leaving discussion on his personal life from there, but I'm leaving those tidbits.
Movie wise let's just go down the list. Risky Business, Legend, The Color of Money, Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July, A Few Good Men, his Oscar-nominated role in The Firm, Interview with the Vampire where he won over Anne Rice with his performance of her beloved Lestat character, Minority Report, The Last Samurai, Collateral, War of the Worlds, Tropic Thunder, Jack Reacher, Oblivion, Edge of Tomorrow and of course the ongoing Mission: Impossible series. The last one is probably one of the most consistently excellent film series around, too.
To call Cruise a guy who has lost his steam is like saying Morgan Freeman isn't an improvement to every film he does. Any time he's in a movie I can't wait to see it. I even enjoyed Knight & Day. He's got an energy and focus in every film. With Mission: Impossible 5 coming I can't wait to see what he's got next. He actively is involved in his film's productions as a producer and collaborator to the directors he works with. Him and JJ Abrams have been headlining the M:I series since Mission: Impossible III.
Alas, his personal life has tainted this, much like Mel Gibson. Sorry, guess I couldn't leave this alone since it's a big deal with this guy. All I know is, unlike Gibson, Cruise's infamy seems to be based in paparazzi gossip. His Scientology beliefs have made him out to be a freak...yet people love working with him! People love him! So what does that mean? Is he just great professionally and horrible personally? I don't know. He was married to Katie Holmes and she apparently was afraid of him...but then again so was Sandra Locke who married Clint Eastwood and then accused him of controlling her to the point he wouldn't let her leave the house. Interesting how there has never been definitive proof of either man being a particular danger.
Cruise is definitely different but dangerous? I don't know. I grant you that, with recent scandals like Bill Cosby, you never know a person, especially a celebrity whose job is to keep their life guarded as the prosperity of their career sometimes depends on it. But as my Mom always says, "Doesn't change the fact he makes great films." This is where maturity comes into play, folks. Yes, his personal life seems to be a mess, but professionally that man is everything you want and frankly we as an audience need.
Let's be honest. They don't make action guys like Cruise anymore. Between studios being more safe legally about injuring multi-million dollar actors and the younger breed seeming a little less hardened than the previous generation, we got slim pickings of actors willing to jump of flippin' buildings for real and add a sense of true danger to a film's action scenes that have become riddled with CGI-doubles. I remember when guys told me of Stallone who really jumped off that cliff in First Blood and broke four ribs or Jackie Chan and his numerous stunts. Cruise, in Ghost Protocol, really climbed the side of the tallest building in the world! And the mere fact he did that makes those action scenes even more special. When an actor is willing to put his life on the line for his work that is the kind of commitment you admire.
So, what am I saying? Give Cruise the benefit of the doubt? Eh, do what you want on that subject. Not like most of you actually hang out with him so that doesn't really affect you. And he's not an ass in public. So, really I'm saying focus on what affects you as an audience and that is Cruise never fails to disappoint as an actor or an action star. From Interview with a Vampire to Edge of Tomorrow, the man has gravitas that so many fail to have. So I'm going to give you the choice I never had (I saw Mission: Impossible when I was like 5 so I already had no choice but to love his films. LOL). I'm letting you choose between being someone without the facts and working with what you do know that Cruise is awesome...or you can just miss great films out of ignorance. Call me dictating or me just being honest because as a movie guy I care and want people to not miss out. Either way, your mission, should you choose to accept it or not, is to make that choice. Good night and good luck my friends.